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Sea Arch, Big Sur

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 8 January 2010 in Landscape & Rural.


Spring Big Sur Photo Workshop - March 29 - April 1, 2010 (Sold Out - Waiting List Only)
Northern Arizona: Grand Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Sedona Photo Workshop - May 3-7, 2010 (Sold Out - Waiting List Only)
Redwoods and Mendocino Coast Photo Workshop - June 15-18, 2010 (space available)
Kauai, Hawaii Photo Workshop - July 12-16, 2010 (space available)
Big Sur Photo Workshop Summer August, 2010 (Exciting details TBA soon)!
Arches/Canyonlands Photo Workshop November 2010 (Details to be released soon)
New Article on my Website: Night Photography

Books Available for Purchase on my Website:
The Photographer's Guide to the Big Sur Coast (e-book version - 102 pages)
On the Edge (printed version - softcover and hardcover - 120 pages)

Winter light can be a treat in many locations, but for the Big Sur coast, it is extremely special. The cooler temperatures means the absence of fog, which in turn, allows for the warm light of sunset to be seen (refracted in the mist) and photographed.

Pfeiffer Beach has become somewhat of a cult attraction amongst nature photographers. The beach is home to two sea arches with the main Pfeiffer Arch located about 100 yards to the right of this arch. During a period of roughly two months, both arches can display a magical shaft of warm light near sunset if conditions are right. I have made many images of the main arch over the years, but have always been less than satisfied with my attempts with this lesser-photographed arch.

A couple nights ago the conditions were what I would term "green light" for the magical shafts to appear, and I wasn't disappointed. This image was captured about 30 minutes prior to sunset; shortly after capturing this frame, the light disappeared but intensified through the main arch.

What grabbed my attention perhaps more than the warm shaft, was the turquoise color of the water and the curved line cut in the sand. That simple line added some visual motion to the foreground which I felt complimented the motion in the water and the shaft itself. This allowed for a pleasing and complimentary foreground that had been missing in my previous attempts.

Pfeiffer Beach is a photographer's paradise at this time of year. I will be announcing a workshop soon that will feature capturing the magical light shafts of the Pfeiffer Arches. It is tentatively scheduled for next January 2011. I hope to make an announcement sometime next month. If you are interested, let me know and I will add you to my list.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/2 second F/16.0 ISO 200 31 mm

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