Monochromatic Inspirations Winner • Scott Eliot
Lands End, San Francisco, California, USA

A winter storm roils San Francisco's rocky Pacific shoreline at Lands End leading to the mouth of the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond to the Marin Headlands. At the northwestern corner of San Francisco there is a wild and windy trail with stunning views. Lands End's trail winds its way around rocky cliffs above the ocean, moving through shady stands of cypress and eucalyptus trees – with paths leading to the beach – and emerges on to spectacular views of the shore, headlands and Golden Gate. With the storm squalls rolling thru, it wasn’t a nice day for a steep hike downhill.

Periodic downpours and the accompanying wind gusts had me keep an eye out for a bit of shelter. As I arrived on the rocky beach between downpours, I immediately scanned for a composition and imagined one I would like from the top of a boulder the size of a house, enabling the composition some perspective from a bit more altitude to capture the crashing surf. I began climbing and quickly setup experimenting with a few different tripod perspectives until I settled on a short tripod position which kept my gear steady from the gusting winds.

I was able to capture a few different exposures before the driving rain, wind and surf were a bit too much to handle – it was time to go!

I like the monochrome version of this image as it conveys more of the serious energy of the elements and sense of place.

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Lee Filters