The Big Sur coastline reminds me so much of the Italian Riviera; Rocky, beautifully blue, and fantastically photogenic. It’s no shock that our Big Sur coastline workshop draws in a lot of interest each time we offer it.
DeAnna and I met a group of 8 eager photographers for an afternoon of exploring this wonderful part of the state. Everyone has a little different background with photography so we like to be able to try and cover as much as we can in our short time together.
Our first stop is the historic Bixby Bridge. What a marvelous piece of architecture. This location is a great place to get those photographers who are newer to the hobby or their gear a little more instruction on how to move forward.
While the lighting in the mid-afternoon can be a little harsh, and contrasty and not perfect for color shooting we like to encourage the group to try and see things as light and dark tonal ranges which are great for monochrome shooting.
The second stop of the day is one of my favorite spots- McWay Falls. It’s hard to believe that this idyllic cove, with turquoise waters and a beach waterfall was once the daily view for someone’s home. Thankfully the owners moved on, and the land was turned into part of the Pfieffer-Burns SP…now we all can come enjoy and photograph this scenic location. We really try to work on two things here. The first is getting longer exposures to smooth out the water. This is achieved by utilizing solid ND filters to help hold back light and create a situation where a longer shutter speed is needed to make a balanced exposure. The second thing we try to work on is composition, using leading lines and framing with surrounding landscapes.
This is a beautiful place and everyone had some sweet looking shots for sure!
The final stop for the night is Pfieffer Beach. This beach has a great sea arch to photograph. During certain times of the year the setting sun will shine right through the arch, like a beam. That only happens on the rare days when there isn’t any cloud cover to speak of…and on our night, there was a great deal of atmosphere lingering along the horizon. Despite the face the sun wasn’t going to shine through the keyhole, we still have a lot here to photograph….the area is still stunning, and we can shoot long exposures, utilizing the rushing surf between the shoreline rocks. The sand here is purple in places too…which combined with the black and traditional white sand creates very mesmerizing abstract patterns. Part of landscape photography is learning that Mother Nature doesn’t always do exactly what you hope…but with a little knowledge and some practice you can make beautiful images at any time of day in any conditions! It was a full day for sure…and DeAnna and I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone and seeing all the awesome images they were making.
Until Next Time,
Brian, DeAnna 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.