Big Sur to Santa Cruz: Asilomar State Beach

Asilomar State Beach-1Last weekend I had the chance to spend about 50 hours with a couple of other guys to talk about photography.  Our backdrop?  Big Sur to Santa Cruz.

The first evening we stayed at the Asilomar Conference Grounds – and as we didn’t meet up until around 7PM – we chose Asilomar State Beach as our evening’s shoot – just walking distance from our room.

(Just a side note – if you ever get the chance to stay at the Asilomar Conference Grounds – do it.  It’s a great location – and conveniently located to Monterey and Big Sur.)

Did I mention the fog?  So – our goal for a California sunset didn’t quite materialize on the first evening.

Asilomar State Beach-2 The top two photos were part of my personal project to work on long exposures.  Both used multiple filters – including a 3-stop neutral density filter (threaded) and a 2-stop graduate neutral density (P-filter).  (The first photo also added a threaded circular polarizer.) The top photo was a 20 sec exposure – and even with the fog – there’s warmth in the image as the sun hadn’t yet set.  The second photo is much cooler in color – as the sun had just dipped below the horizon about 5 minutes earlier.

(A quick note on the colors – standing on the beach – looking out at the crashing waves and the fog – it wasn’t entirely evident that these colors would emerge – but the long exposures really helped to capture some of the more subtle hues.)

Typically – I shoot with a shallow depth of field – with an aperture in the f/2.8 to f/4 range.  Stopping down to f/22 on a prime 24mm – which gave me the chance to smooth out the surf and to have a greater depth of field – also revealed a herd of dust bunnies grazing on the sensor.  Thank goodness for that spot removal tool in Lightroom.

And the last photo?  Just the Lensbaby Fisheye trying to take it all in.

Asilomar State Beach-3

7 thoughts on “Big Sur to Santa Cruz: Asilomar State Beach”

  1. These photos are fantastic! The long exposure really gives the impression of the mist sitting like milk on top of the water. Beautiful! (And selfishly – I’m glad that these beautiful shots are of our area!)


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