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Living in Northern California I have been blessed with easy access to both our beautiful coastline and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Garrapata State Park is at the northern end of Big Sur and has quite a few photogenic subjects in its beaches, trails and coastline. This small cove is one of my favorite spots in the park. The rocky beach makes a great foreground to go with the two sea stacks as a subject.
Depending on the composition you can also get the rocky coastline in the background. On this occasion I arrived a little before sunset looking to get warm light on the rocks. As it turned out the surf was fairly strong and I enjoyed capturing the waves breaking on the stacks. The setting sun provided some great backlight on the water. I composed to include the rocky beach as a foreground and stopped down to f/16 to get sufficient depth of field. I shot at ISO 100 to minimize noise and that left me with a 1/6s shutter speed for my exposure. I took dozens of photos as the waves and light changed, but this was my clear favorite with the power of the water against the rocks. As much as I would have loved to get some great sunset color, this really represents the mood of the day. I’ve been back to this spot several times, but this remains my favorite. The beauty of photographing the ocean is that no two days are the same – there is always something new and interesting to explore.