The Big Sur Coastline rivals any in the world. Granite cliffs trailing into the ocean, amazing blue water, surging waves...waterfalls falling into the ocean! It has something amazing for everyone.
Scott Donschikowski and I met a group of 11 eager photographers for a day of fun in the sun exploring this scenic coastline. Before we settle into highway 1 and all of the coastal beauty we like to make sure everyone is familiar with their camera gear, and getting set with thinking creatively. We make our first stop in the Carmel Mission. This building always feels like stepping back in time. You can almost feel how early church goers must have felt walking into the courtyard in the late 1800s. I love this area because there's SO much to see in terms of composition; Repetitive shapes, complementary colors, contrasting tones, flora, old and new, and more. Our goal is to make people aware of how to set their cameras, and start to understand how the manual part of their gear works. It's time to stop blaming the camera, and start learning!
Time just flies by here. I've been in this mission about 50 times, and every time I find something new to show someone, and the lighting, flowers, or SOMETHING is different...it's an ever changing story that the class is able to help tell in their own creative way. We cover it all here. APerture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and how they all differ from using a tripod to hand holding...
Our next stop after a winding drive down highway 1 is McWay Falls. McWay looks tropical...there's a white sand beach, icy blue water, and a waterfall falling on to the beach...there's even a palm tree to help set that tropical mood. The sun came out and really warmed up the scene too...all we needed was a hammock and a drink in a coconut.
The goal here is to stop down the light, and work towards getting long exposures. We do that with grad filters, polarizers, and solid ND filters. Those who had them Scott and I explained how to use them...those who didn't we loaned out some for them. By the time we finished here everyone was getting some nice ⅓-½ second exposures, and starting to blur that water a little.
The final stop for the night is Pfieffer Beach...a secluded, you gotta know where it is, type place. There are no highway signs that point you here...you really need to know where it is located to visit. On this beach sits an arch rock that the sun illuminates during the winter months, sending out a beam of light. It's quite spectacular. When we arrived the first little bit treated us to this phenomenon. Scott and I helped get the class set up as best we could...but the waves, and marine layer kept shifting the light beam. "Shoot this side...no no no...that side...no no no...this side!"
Once the light was gone, we helped the group work on the longer exposures...and how to create the milky water they'd all wanted to learn how to capture. Really nice images on the backs of those cameras! Time flies when you're having fun, and before we knew it there was no light left, and it was time to make the last bit of a drive up highway 1 back to the parking lot where their cars were waiting to take them home so they could process all those images they took.
Until Next Time,
Brian, Scott, and the rest of the Aperture Academy Team
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.