The Big Sur coastline has been dealing with restricted access for many months due to a violent rockslide last winter after months of rain. This, of course, impacted our workshop route somewhat and limited us from visiting some of our very favorite spots along the coast. Lucky for us, the road has recently reopened, and a couple folks showed up to our class on Sunday to come visit these wonderful areas and learn more about photography.
Aron and I took our group to the world famous Bixbie Bridge first. If nothing else this place really showcases some amazing ingenuity with bridge building. What I love is the view up the coastline and the terrific lines and tonal values of the bridge in contrast to this rugged coastal view. Everyone has a little different camera so Aron and I spent time with each of our workshop participants to make sure they new how their gear worked. The bridge makes for great subject matter, so we could cover aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and lots more while moving around the area.
With the arrival of daylight savings time, the sun disappears around 5pm…so we moved next to Pfieffer Beach. Here there’s a wonderful sea arch that the last rays of light will shine through the arch and light up the foreground. On our way out to the arch, we noticed some wonderful light hitting the sand, and the iconic “purple sand’’ that dusts the beach here. Zooming in on little scenes like this really can twist perception and almost look like an aerial shot, or an image of larger sand dunes shot from far away.
Lucky for us, the horizon was clear of cloud cover and that light was creating a wonderful beam through the arch and we loved helping our group get set up to shoot this natural phenomenon. On this night we opted to break off our shoot here right at sunset and motor south to McWay Falls…this tropical waterfall is beautiful and we decided with the quickly fading sun it might be fun to shoot this waterfall at night. Our brave group hiked out to the end of the trail in the dark, set up, and shot some night scenes here. Aron and I helped with the settings and giving the gang a little insight into the types of shutter speeds and ISO’s needed to capture night images. It seems like there should be no chance of getting images in such a dark location…but a little bumping up of the ISO and the use of remotes will allows us to shoot longer exposures to make use of the available light…however limited that light is!
It was a whirlwind tour for sure, but we really covered a lot of different light situations, and saw several wonderful locations over the course of our time together. Contrasty monochrome light at the bridge, warm evening light, and complete dark…we saw it all, and photographed it too!
Until Next Time,
Brian, Aron 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.