California Big Sur Coast Trip Report of Spring Color and Rocky Coasts

New Fine Art Pictures of Big Sur, Garapatta Beach and Monterey

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California Coast Landscape Photography
California Landscape Photography

Soberanes Point, Garrapata State Park, Monterey 17 mile Drive, McWay Falls and other areas on the Big Sur coast are just some of the reasons to be on the California Coast for landscape photography.

It had been a few years since I had photographed on the California Coast and I knew that I had not accomplished what I had wanted to in the past. My good friend, Jess Lee ( and I decided to hit the road and spend some time both on the coast and in Yosemite. Our goal was to add to our portfolios of Fine Art Landscape Photography.

We met up in Fresno and headed for Monterey to see just how much trouble we could get in. I had spent time there once before and it’s amazing how much better it seems you can do on a second trip. I seem to always be able to find new and better compositions than I do on a first attempt. I need to get better at the first time visits.

We struggled with the clouds being a little scarce, which is probably common there in May. The first afternoon was for some serious scouting and reacquainting with the area. I forget if we managed any images that day.

warm late day sunlight on the rocky coast in Big Sur, California
"California Coast" - Click Photo To Purchase

One of the first nice areas south of Monterey is Soberanes Point which is part of Garrapata State Park. In the morning, the sun lights up the orange rocky shoreline while facing to the north. In the afternoon, it’s the other way around with the shots generally to the south.

Red ground cover and blue ocean water at Garrapata State Park on the Big Sur Coast of California
"Big Sur Colors" - Click Photo To Purchase

Our timing was pretty good as the flowers were blooming in quite a few locations. It was a little late for the bloom at Calla Lily Valley, so that one will have to wait for another year.

We headed out in the dark every morning to get to where our best guess was for sunrise and early light. One of my favorite locations for early light was at the Castle Rock Viewpoint looking north.

Warm early morning light on the orange rock cliffs and aqua waves crashing ashore on the Big Sur Coast in California
"Big Sur Morning" - Click Photo To Purchase

Blue and aqua waves crashing on the beach by the orange rocky cliffs on the Big Sur Coast of California
"Soberanes Morning" - Click Photo To Purchase

We made the drive down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to get a late afternoon shot at McWay Falls. We arrived to find out that only part of the trail to the viewpoint was open due to storm damage and there really wasn’t a shot to be had. It is another one that will have to wait for another time.

The beach at Garrapata State Park is a great place for sunsets. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it. The flowers made for some nice foregounds.

A setting sun over the ocean behind colorful ground cover on the Big sur Coast of California
"Garrapata Sunset" - Click Photo To Purchase

A setting sun over the Pacific Ocean with Spring flowers in the foreground on the Big Sur Coast of California
"Big Sur Sunset" - Click Photo To Purchase

I love the aqua color of the water and I just had to take the time to do a little abstract photography of the waves that were almost straight down below a cliff I was on. With a long exposure, the waves became like wispy clouds.

An abstract photo created from aqua ocean waves on the Big Sur Coast of California
"Ocean Wisps" - Click Photo To Purchase

There is an overlook down by the Bixby Bridge that looks south along the coast. The wind was up resulting in some nice waves and it was just a matter of getting the timing right. It made for a nice vertical image of the coast.

A vertical view of the orange rocky coast near Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur Coast of California
"Big Sur Afternoon" - Click Photo To Purchase

Perhaps my favorite photo from the time we spent there was from an area north of Soberanes Point looking south late in the afternoon. I could have done this a little better if I had crawled down an eroded embankment, but I was either lazy or afraid of being able to get back up. Just another one for the next trip.

Warm late day sun lighting up the orange rocky Big Sur coast in California
"Big Sur Splendor" - Click Photo To Purchase

We called it a successful four days and headed to Yosemite National Park.

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