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Photographers flock to Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur to capture one thing—the sunset through its famous "tunnel rock." On this particular evening, I, too, was one of those photographers awaiting the sun's perfect descent into the Pacific. Aperture open, tripod steadied in the sand, I was ready. But then I noticed the real image worth capturing, that of the photographers huddled over their lenses, surrounded by family or friends who joined them for the experience. Humbled by the distances they traveled to be in this moment, especially in comparison to my easy 25-mile drive down the coast from Carmel, I instead decided to capture a reminder of their energy and enthusiasm.February 16, 2012 Like Add a Comment
Having lived in this area for the better part of three decades, you would think that I would have known about this beach long ago. Maybe that's part of its magic. Take an unmarked, hairpin turn, drive a few miles along a narrow, winding road, pay a nominal fee, and stroll less than a mile from the parking lot and you're there. Pfeiffer Beach in Los Padres National Forest. Your reward: dramatic rock formations, crashing waves, and glittering purple sand from the manganese garnet in the cliffs. Like I said. Magic.February 10, 2012 Like Add a Comment
The warnings posted state: "Impassable in Wet Weather" and "4WD or AWD Recommended." Yet, the views along the 14 mile Old Coast Road from the famed Bixby Bridge to Big Sur, CA are the reward for carrying on. Over bustling rivers, through towering redwoods, and peaking atop the mountains in Los Padres National Forest make this terrain worth the travel. About three-quarters of the way, when heading south, sits a "rock pasture" offering shades of hillsides and tempting deer trails. Just down the "road" opens up panoramic views to include the Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Coast Highway quite far below. The warnings might ought to include to keep your eye on the road, as the hairpin turns in the descent are breathtaking in a different sort of way. This trip is advised for adventurists with the right vehicles and patience for rugged terrain. Should you opt to venture this route and forgo the traditional Highway 1, understand that you may have to move a rock or a log to continue on, and don't forget your camera.February 6, 2012 Like Add a Comment
Cliff-edge acrobatics and bushwhacking are the order of the day on many of the trails in Los Padres National Forest. Stretching along the Pacific Coast from Ventura to Monterey, this forest is often overlooked in favor of its cousin Yosemite to the east. However, those who prefer to follow the road "less travelled by" are rewarded by rugged trails, eye-popping panoramas, and solitude. A lucky few may even glimpse the rare spectacle of the California Condor or the Perigrine Falcon in flight. The forest also boasts one of North America's largest mountain lion populations. While Los Padres is not for the faint of heart or the ill-prepared, it is truly a jewel of the West.March 30, 2009 Like Add a Comment