Big Sur – 15 Memorable Moments Of My Favorite Coastline

Little-Sur-River

Winter Light – Little Sur River – Big Sur Coast
Canon 1DsMKIII, 32mm, f/16, (4) blended exposures, ISO 200

When it comes to photographing coastlines, I find it tough to beat the absolute beauty, grandeur, and ruggedness of Big Sur. Generally defined as a magnificent 98 mile stretch of land and sea from Carmel to the north, to Cambria at the southern end, Big Sur offers a plethora of photographic opportunities – especially in the coming winter and spring months as the fog (making only sporadic appearances) gives way to more colorful sunsets and sunrises.

Big Sur is an amalgamation of the Spanish El Sur Grande and its English translation the Big South. The name Big Sur refers to the spectacular cliffs, beaches and forests found along this magical route. Author Henry Miller perhaps summed it up best when he described Big Sur as, “the greatest meeting of land and water in the world.”

I share my 44 favorite locations in my e-book: The Photographer’s Guide To The Big Sur Coast (second edition) which is available for all the popular readers.

Moreover, I offer two photo workshops (spaces still available) to celebrate its magic:

Winter in Big Sur and The Monterey Peninsula :: 5th Annual Magic Light, Moonlight, and Pfeiffer Beach Arch Photo Workshop :: January 15-18, 2014 (3 spots left)

Springtime in Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula :: 7th Annual Wildflowers, Full Moon, Misty Fog and Headland Color Photo Workshop :: April 14-17, 2014 (5 spots left)

What follows are some of my most memorable moments and images that I have had the privilege of witnessing and photographing.

Pfeiffer Arch Sunset

Portal to the Sea – Pfeiffer Arch – Big Sur Coast
Canon 5DMKIII, Nikkor 14-24, f/22, (5) blended exposures, 100 ISO

Moonset-Over-Sea-Stacks

Moonset Over Sea Stacks – Garrapata State Park, Big Sur Coast
Canon 1DsMKIII, 16-35mmL, f/11, 15 second timed-exposure, 400 ISO

Julia-Pfeiffer-Echium

Echium Splendor, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur Coast
Canon 1DsMKIII, 26mm, 1.7 seconds, f/16, ISO 100, Singh Ray Slim LB Polarizer

Highway-1

Highway 1, Big Sur Coast
Canon 1DsMKIII, 210mm, f/16, 1/50th, ISO 200, (converted to B&W with Nik Silver Efex Pro)

Carmel-River-Beach

Winter’s Fire, Carmel River State Beach, Carmel, CA
Canon 1DsMKIII, 16mm, f/16, 1.3 second, ISO 200, Singh Ray Slim Polarizer + 2 stop grad

Garrapata Winter Sunset

Tidal Surge and Winter Sky, Soberanes Point, Garrapata State Park, Big Sur Coast
Canon 1DsMKIII, 19mm, f/16, 1 second timed-exposure, 100 ISO, Singh-Ray Slim Polarizer

Calla Lilies and Dusk Skies

Calla Lilies and Dusk Skies, Garrapata State Beach, Big Sur Coast
Canon 1DsMKII, 28mm, f/22, 4 second timed-exposure, B+W Polarizer

Winter Sunset at Garrapata State Beach

Mini Wave Cloud at Garrapata State Beach, Big Sur Coast
Canon 5DMKIII, 44mm, f/16, 1/10 sec, ISO 200, Singh-Ray LB Polarizer

Night Sky and Bixby Bridge

Night Sky and Bixby Bridge, Big Sur Coast
Canon 5DMKIII, 24mm, f/2.8, 15 seconds, ISO 800

Winter Sunset McWay Cove

Winter Sunset McWay Cove, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur Coast
Canon 5DMKIII, 16mm, f/16, (4) exposures blended, ISO 100, Singh-Ray Slim Polarizer

Weston-Beach

Weston Beach, Point Lobos State Reserve, Carmel, CA
Canon 1DsMKIII, 24mm T/S, f/516, 1/3rd sec., 500 ISO, Singh Ray LB Polarizer + 2 stop grad

Dawn Light Over Point Sur Light Station

Dawn Light Over Point Sur Light Station, Big Sur Coast
Canon 1DsMKIII, 90mm, f/18, 4 second timed-exposure, 200 ISO, Singh-Ray LB Polarizer

Summer's Dawn

Spring Dawn, Soberanes Point, Big Sur Coast
Canon 1DsMKIII, 28mm, f/22, 15 second timed-exposure, 100 ISO, Singh-Ray LB Polarizer

Garapatta Beach Moonset

Garapatta Beach Moonset, Big Sur Coast
Canon 5DMKIII, 17mm, f/16, 1/6th, 500 ISO

2014 Photo Workshops – Complete List

5th Annual Magic Light, Moonlight, and Pfeiffer Arch Workshop – Winter in Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula – January 15-18, 2014 (Only 2 spots remaining)

6th Annual Northern Arizona Workshop – Grand Canyon (full moon), Page (Horseshoe Bend and Upper Antelope Canyon) and Sedona – March 14-18, 2014 (WORKSHOP SOLD OUT :: WAITING LIST ONLY)

7th Annual Springtime in Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula – Wildflowers, Misty Fog and Headland Color – April 14-17, 2014 (5 spots remaining)

5th Annual Kauai Workshop – Garden Isle and Tropical Paradise – June 20-24, 2014 (3 spots remaining)

2nd Annual Monsoon Photo Workshop – Grand Canyon National Park – August 9-13, 2014 (co-taught by Don Smith and Gary Hart – filling fast)

3rd Annual Fall Color in Grand Teton National Park – Workshop #1 – September 23 – 27, 2014 (WORKSHOP SOLD OUT :: WAITING LIST ONLY)

3rd Annual Fall Color in Grand Teton National Park – Workshop #2 – September 28 – October 2, 2014 (7 spots remaining)

6th Annual Arches/Canyonlands National Parks and Monument Valley :: Full Moon Over Red Rock, Arches, Canyons and Monument Valley’s Mittens – October 4-8, 2014 (10 spots left)

4th Annual Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks :: Bryce Canyon Hoodoos and Zion Fall Color – November 1-5, 2014 (10 spots left)

Software Discounts

Photomatix Pro 4.2 type in code at checkout: donsmithphotography 15% discount

Topaz Software type in code at checkout: SMITHPHOTO 10% discount

Helicon Focus click on link to receive 15% discount

Hardware Discounts

Special Year End “Black Friday” Offer From Think Tank Photo NOTE: (Use Promo Code WS-643)

Would Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

3 Comments on “Big Sur – 15 Memorable Moments Of My Favorite Coastline

  1. Hi Don – It is impossible for me to pick a favorite among these classically amazing images. I believe I have viewed most, if not all, of them and yet each time that I see them, something “new” strikes me. Not a lot unlike listening to Oscar Peterson, or Stevie Ray Vaughan, or John Coltrane – each time we hear, we feel something new and thrilling. It is such a pleasure to view your work and always it brings a new thrill.. The Big Sur Hwy 1 shot in B&W just made my jaw drop – man that is an awesome rendition Don. The floor monitors are coming to get me so I will sign off – but thank you so much for these – best wishes to you for Thanksgiving too. Cheers – Denny