Photography in Paradise

peeking from behind the sensor

Everything went as planned. Avoiding the election day nonsense was easy. The surf was predicted to be big and I was eager to photograph it and not listen to the political drivel on the news, or for that mater, talk to anyone about the election results. The electoral fiasco seemed to me, to be like Russian Roulette with all the chamber loaded, there would be no winners in the outcome.
I readied the camera gear, filled the gas tank and headed to the central coast of California on Wednesday morning at 3am to avoid the Los Angeles traffic. I also wanted to photograph the early morning light in the Taft oil fields to get the hazy yellow orange lighting befitting the oil industry. A visual descriptive adjective for the pollution that burns your eyes and nose as you drive through the largest producing oil fields in Mc Kittrick and Taft west of Bakersfield.
I like to travel the back roads and avoid people and traffic. Highway 58 west through the Carrizo plains is the ideal road for just that kind of travel from the busy I5 to to Morro Bay bay on the coast.
When I arrived in Morro Bay it was enveloped in fog and the dinky waves struggled to to look awesome. That was OK with me, since the wave reports were for waves to be big on the 8th, not on the 7th. I used the time to relax and visit with my sister-in-law, perform so clean up around the house.
I awoke in the middle of the night to the rumbling sound of a strong off shore wind and pounding surf. Everything was ready to go and all I had to do was rise early before the sun did.
The air was unusually warm and very humid when I backed out of the garage.. The fog was scattered in spots over the dark hills and hazy ocean. I drove to the Cayucos newly constructed replacement pier and padded out on the wooden planks to watch the sunrise. The fog created a deep golden light on the liquid surface surface of the water and the strong winds pushed lofty colored plumes high off the top of the waves. It was a photographers paradise. The pier shivered with each attack by the hug waves. Using a tripod to hold the camera still for the camera was almost useless. I was forced to hand hold the camera, use a high ISO exposure setting and a fast shutter speed to get the sharpest images possible.
You can judge for yourself and see if it worked. ISO 1250, f8.0 lens setting, and a shutter speed of 1250th of a second is what I chose. I used two cameras, the Canon 6D and 5Ds, simply because changing lenses in the wet condition was not an option. The only two lenses were a 70-200mm and the 24-105mm.
By the time I changed locations to Morro Rock the wind had died but the haze was still a visual factor. The waves were crashing over the breakwater there and the sun created a rainbow of colors in the wet spray. I also got drenched.
I finally drove north the San Simeon, where the pier and afternoon lighting are wonderful to work with. The backlit waves have a green neon glow. The fog began to drift back in over the ocean, so I wandered back to Cayucos for the night and a good meal. I left for San Diego the next morning, retracing my path through the hills and valleys on Highway 58 and a quick stop for afternoon light on on oil rigs.
Then, I was submerged in the LA traffic for the next three hours listening the a Brad Thor mystery adventure novel involving the Federal Reserve and a terrorist kidnaping of it’s members. Windows up and radio blaring, I slowly navigated through the freeway maze south, while anxiously waiting to get my images into the computer. Only then I could spend the next eight hours in post production and editing and making prints. It is a skill that I enjoy and I get to relive the moments I spent with nature.
I did not even know who won the election until today, Friday. I don’t care and I can’t do anything about the outcome. I will just search for more waves and things that interest me.

Please let me know what you think about the images. Thank you for looking.

Cayucos new pier

Cayucos new pier

Sunrise Cayucos

Sunrise Cayucos

Lone surfer

Lone surfer

Sunrise color wave

Sunrise color wave

Wave wave moved pier

Wave wave moved pier

The line up wave

The line up wave

Light in the tunnel

Light in the tunnel

Sun color wave

Sun color wave

The finish

The finish

Windy conditions

Windy conditions

North Cyucos

North Cyucos

Wave beauty

Wave beauty

Morro jetty

Morro jetty

Morro Rock

Morro Rock

Morro rainbow

Morro rainbow

Morro rainbow

Morro rainbow

San Simeon pier

San Simeon pier

San Simeon pier

San Simeon pier

San Simeon green

San Simeon green

Total collapse

Total collapse

Sea foam

Sea foam

Sea foam

Sea foam

Left over

Left over

Ship rock

Ship rock

Central Taft

Central Taft

Taft oil field

Taft oil field

Taft oil field

Taft oil field

Taft oil field

Taft oil field

Taft oil field

Taft oil field

McKittrick jail

McKittrick jail