Big Sur Session

Location: Big Sur, CA

Print Options

If you've read this blog for a while now, you'll already know my love of exploring Big Sur, CA. It's a small coastal pocket of California made accessible by the PCH highway that is literally carved into the cliffs on the West Coast high above the Pacific Ocean. 

The mountains meet the sea in this area, resulting in awe-inspiring 180 degree views of the ocean as well as redwood trees, rivers, creeks and incredible beaches. Here, the weather changes quickly and you'll often see dense fog, rain, and sun, sometimes on the same day.

On this trip, I brought up a pair of water-shoes with me because I wanted to use the reflections of the creek that feeds into Pfeiffer Beach, I was hoping to see some stars out but the cloud coverage was too thick for that!

Here's a link for a dirt-cheap pair of black water shoes if you're interested in this sort of light-painting. At $3.99 you can't really go wrong!

Print Options

Here's a piece of sushi I made with my Night-Writer light-pen using the white, red and blue color-tips. This particular photo was illustrated in the Pacific Valley of Big Sur. If you visit this area in the Spring, you might see a hillside full of purple and orange flowers. The trail to the the coast is just opposite of this landmark.

flowers

Now let's get back to the creek at Peiffer Beach where I put those water shoes to work.

I've been on an Animal kick recently because I think it's an important thing to draw attention toward - Animals can't talk selfies and snapchats like we can, so we have to take sweet pictures of them and make sure everyone in the world knows just how awesome and inspiring they are and how we should try to protect them - it's in our best interest as a human race to do so.

Each species could be a 'canary in a coal mine' (advanced warning) when it comes to large scale environmental changes, let's pay special attention and try our best not to disrupt or cause harm to their fragile ecosystems.

Print Options

Camera Settings for my Sea Dragon (above): F8, ISO 50, 284 second exposure.

Speaking of the environment, what do you think caused this anomaly? A doorway through solid rock at Pfeiffer Beach:

Print Options

After a steep climb at dawn, I gazed on an aerial perspective that may shed some light on how the arch (image above) was formed.

I'm no geologist, but I know that most of the solid rock is actually sandstone, and that water can bore a hole through sandstone if enough time goes by and it has a relatively single point of pressure.

I think this perspective of the beach gives a pretty clear idea of what might have happened. My hypothesis is that the creek bored a hole through the large rock during strong rainfalls. This would have happened over tens of thousands of years:

keyhole creek

Just look at that constant flow here and imagine it going right into the middle of the rock face instead of left into the cove, and yes that sand really is purple:

pieffer flow

Let's end this post with a killer sunset, I hope you've enjoyed it - stay bright!

Check out Big Sur Session II right here.

Horseshoes

Location: Horseshoe Bend, AZ / Settings: F11-2.8, ISO 200, 229 seconds

Another idea that had some time to develop - Spectral Stallion over Horseshoe Bend. 

I feel like I've been brainwashed by instagram into visiting this location - I see it in photos almost everyday. The hike out there before sunset felt like a modern pilgrimage.

This location was packed when we visited around sunset. You can't blame anyone for wanting to see this in person, Nature can put on quite a show. Be prepared for crowds.

horseshoe bend pano

Astrobandit and I brought a bottle of wine to share over sunset. We got these cool cups from a gem and rock store in Utah - Cheers from the edge.

For more light-fossils like my Spectral Stallion along with printing options, check the gallery:

Primary Goals

Location: Leo Carrillo Beach - Malibu, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light skeletons at F5.6, ISO 250, 165 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

Gear used: Canon 6D, 24-70mm Lens, Manfrotto Tripod, Wireless Remote, and Night-Writer light-pen w Red Yellow and Blue Color-tips.

For this image, I wanted to take advantage of a sunset that just happened - blue hour was giving way to night and the milky way was in the perfect spot.

It was an unusually hot night for the middle of October in Malibu, CA - 85 degrees at 9:30pm when we left the beach!

Check out the full light-skeleton collection by clicking the image below:

Pink Elephants

Location: Alabama Hills, CA / Settings: F9, ISO 100, 86 second exposure.

Gear: Canon 6D,  24-70mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and pink light painting brush filter.

This shot is special to me, it's my way of paying respect to my grandfather who passed away recently.

I remember Grandpa Joe used to drive me and my siblings to school in the mornings when my grandparents would visit San Diego, CA from Buffalo, NY.

Every now and then, Joe would start honking the horn when there was seemingly nothing on the road, he would exclaim ' Did you see that?! Pink Elephants! Right there in the road! Three of them!' - after a few of these occurrences, me, my brother and sister started to chime in before he had a chance to do it himself - 'I see a pink elephant! Right there! Grandpa Joe, you better honk to scare them off the road!'.

 

Circle of Life

Location: Lizard's Mouth - Santa Barbara, CA / Settings: F9, ISO 100, 137 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6D,  24-70mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and gelled Night-Writer.

For the newest addition to my Skeletons gallery, I needed just the right spot - where could I find a 'pride rock' looking area?

Luckily, my sister lives fairly close to a popular bouldering area in Santa Barbara called Lizard's Mouth trail, leading up to a familiar-looking rock with a spectacular view of the California coast. It's a little less precarious as this similar viewpoint in San Diego that I used for my 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' post. 

Mountain weather

Location: Mt. Wilson - Los Angeles, CA / Settings: F6.3, ISO 200, 141 seconds

Hobo Baggins is at it again - up in the clouds this time! He hikes with a goal firm in mind - to see the jewel of the day - a sunset.

At a height of 5,712 feet, (or 1741 meters) he is happy to catch the sun fading away beyond clouds in the distance as the city below prepares for night.

Happy Trails

Location: Pacific Coast Valley - Big Sur, CA

happy trails

I can't do a place like this justice in photographs. 

a nice sunset

For these kind of moments you just have to experience it first-hand. 

pacific coast valley

Blue-hour at the Pacific Valley Bluff trail in Big Sur, CA.

coast valley at night

I hope some of these images will encourage you to take a long drive to somewhere you are curious about

Here's a link to the trail I took this images at.

Ultra-violence

Location: Badwater Basin - Death Valley, CA / Settings: F11 at ISO 100, 608 second exposure

Blue hour in Death Valley is a great time to photograph and I selected Badwater Basin for it's notoriously cracked and flat expansive surface. Because this area is basically a huge deep bowl, it gets incredibly hot in the summer and even in Winter when we were shooting it was around 90 degrees out!

This translates to: not good for camera sensors. I had a difficult time cleaning up some of the noise for this exposure that took nearly ten minutes to shoot. That said, I'm pretty stoked on this ultra-violent creation.