new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
Pinnacle Rock #3 - Point Lobos, California | by PatrickSmithPhotography
Back to photostream

Pinnacle Rock #3 - Point Lobos, California

I returned for to Point Lobos for a wider perspective of this impressive rock! It was clear all day then I got lucky when clouds came by. They were gone after sunset. No HDR.


Free wallpaper for over 100 of my images in 6 different screen sizes is now available!


See the 1200 pixel version!



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @21

1/4-second exposure @F11

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm - 4x6in) 0.9 + 0.75 (5 1/2 stops total)

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

No polarizer.

ISO 50

Joby Gorillapod (flexible tripod so I could lay down and not fall off the cliff!)

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop



The Story



Point Lobos, at the north end of Big Sur just south of Carmel, California (100 miles - 160km south of San Francisco) could keep a photographer busy for months or even years. It is a peninsula that has been sculptured by large Pacific waves over millions of years and the results are stunning. This is one of the western-most points of rock and is probably 50 feet tall at high tide. Sometimes waves wash over the entire rock and they did during a big set just after this photo was made. This is a wider view with more light striking the cliff face and sea than my previous attempt which is in the 2010 Nature Conservancy calendar for November.


The biggest hazard is getting low enough to have the tops of the rock rise above the horizon. Then you must literally hang off the cliff to get an open view around the right foreground rock. So the Gorillapod allowed me to lay on the rock and not fall in! Also, I had to wait for a seagull to land on the top of each rock, though I made some with no seagull just in case. In a big print, the seagull really helps.






Google Earth


Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.


Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)


Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)


Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')

Or Here:


Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.


The map shows exactly where this is. It is an easy <1 mile hike from a small parking lot.


See my Flickr profile for a link to my newly designed website.


1,376 faves
Taken on April 9, 2010