The Big Sur coastline is so enchanting. You get the blues of the Caribbean mixed with the rugged coastline that looks like Oregon coastline, or other more remote locales. It's simply the best in terms of opportunities for dramatic seascapes, iconic vistas, and more. Many budding photographers live so close to this wonderful stretch of coastline that they just need a reason to come and explore...and what better reason than spending a day with the Aperture Academy learning, having fun, and witnessing this magnificent scenery through the lens of your camera.
Alicia and I met our class in Carmel...the sun was up, and it was a simply beautiful day. Everyone brought a different level of experience, and we were excited to get him or her out into the field and shooting. Lucky for us our first spot was only a mere 2-minute drive away.
The Carmel Mission is a really great old building. It's fresh off of some multi-million dollar renovations and looks smashing. It's one of my favorite places because it has so many options for teaching. There are places to work on shallow depth of field, wider depths of field, macro, abstraction, repetitive shapes, monochrome, photojournalism, and much more. I think people look at this place as fun, but once they get inside and SEE how much there is to shoot, they leave feeling like they've only scratched the surface!
Alicia and I worked for the first two hours with the class showing them how we see, explaining histograms, composition, depth of field, choice of lens and when to use which lens, focal points, and a host of other topics. It was great to see people wandering around looking for new and exciting ways to see. I always find new things here to shoot that I haven't seen before...depending on the time there are always new flowers, colors, and textures to shoot. I spent some time with some of the class members working on shooting abstractions with the ripples in the fountains.
Time flies in this spot and before I knew it we were on our way south to Bixbie Bridge. This old stone bridge is one of the icons of the highway...and fun to shoot. This spot is a great place to work on using a polarizing filter to help remove glare from the water. It is also a prime spot to listen to men with rabbits on their head sing about having rabbits on their head. We learned a lot about photography but we never DID find out just what that rabbit WAS doing on that man's head.
Our 3rd stop was the famous McWay Falls. This little cove of paradise reminds me of the tropics. There's brilliant blue water, a yellow sand beach, a palm tree, sunshine (well some sunshine...there was some fog too) Our group walked out to the boardwalk and lined up civil war style to get some shots of this famous cove. Vertical, horizontal, close up, wide angle...we shot this waterfall any and all ways. We worked with graduated filters here a little with a few of the class members, as well as continued work with the polarizers. Alicia and saw some dandy images on the backs of the cameras...
Our final stop of the day was a little different. Due to the government shut-down we were unable to head to Pfieffer Beach, our normal stop...but instead we stopped near the Garrapata area and hit Soberanes Cove...a very nice little sea-stack filled cove. Our group lined up around the perimeter of the cove and shot the waning light. We helped with the graduated filters, encouraged students to stay and use the longer exposures. I saw a couple REALLY solid images using some long exposures in the 30 second mark and beyond. Our eyes tell us one thing when the sun drops and light fades, but our cameras will tell a different story. The longer exposures will often really bring out the colors. The warmth in the rocky coastline is still there, the blue of the water is as well and we only need expose for a greater time in order to bring out those colors and give the images a mystical dreamlike look as the time blurs the water and gives it a milky-blue look. SO COOL!
This group was hearty...and they stayed until well after the sun was gone...WAY TO GO GANG! We hate to end such a good time...but everyone had a long day, and I'm sure were excited to head back to their homes and process some of those images...and we're excited to see them as well!
Until Next Time,
Brian, Alicia, and the rest of the Aperture Academy.
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.