Waterfalls and Waves, part II

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Big On Black


So there's this cool shelf just north of Four Mile Beach in Santa Cruz, and on this shelf is this cool, pseudo-seastack. And when the tide is right the waves come in, crash against the rocks and send jets of foamy wash around the pseudo-stack to cascade back into the ocean. It's pretty excellent to watch.


I've been trying to get a good shot of this phenomenon for about a month or so - ever since I found this shelf in the first place. But the conditions have to be just right in order for the photo to happen: the tide has to be higher than 3 feet, otherwise the water doesn't come up high enough to go around the stack. At the same time, the tide has to be lower than about 4 feet, otherwise the ledge I'm shooting from gets doused repeatedly by the waves. And you also need some nice sunset color to the southeast.


After a couple of attempts, everything came together for me last Friday: perfect tide levels and a nice, rosy sunset. Hurray!


Hope you enjoy it.






  • Ken Hubbell 5y

    This is super sweet. It pays to be patient.
  • Javier Millán Luengo 5y

    ¡¡Perfect shot!! Muy buena exposición, no estaba fácil. Nitidez increíble.
  • Robby Milo 5y

    Great work man.

    Seen in my contacts' photos. (?)
  • Aaron Reed 5y

    That's freaking sweet man. What an awesome location. Santa Cruz is the only place I have seen that rivals the Oregon Coast. Very amazing water action! Those looked like some big ass waves too!
  • James 5y

    Great shot and great location. Did you get out tonight? Light was nice I missed it.
  • David Thompson 5y

    nice and clean! nice composition, great clouds, nice water movement as well. really nice image.
  • Sathish J 5y

    Fantastic shot. The excess water from the wave flowing down the rocks just looks like a tiny little waterfall on the ledge.

    I was looking at the maps and there doesn't seem to be any safe way getting down there barring rappelling down the cliff near Wilder Ranch.

    Hoping to see more shots from this place.
  • Joshua Cripps 5y

    Thank you very much, guys, your comments and faves are super appreciated.

    @Tropical: that was my reaction too when i first saw this: are you kidding??? :)

    @Aaron: Santa Cruz is certainly amazing, and I didn't even know the coast was like this when I moved here! Hopefully I'll get up to Oregon before too long to compare the two for myself.

    @James: didn't get out. there were some clouds but they were dissolving pretty quickly so i opted to stay home

    @Sathish: don't worry: no rappelling required! just walk along the cliff edge north of four mile beach. when you get above this shelf, there's a little ravine that leads down to it and you can just walk right down to a spot where it's only about a 3-foot drop onto the shelf. here's the location of that little ravine:

    Access to the shelf
  • Steve Boote 5y

    wonderful shot Josh,its great when everything comes together like this and you got a really nice sky too.Superb shot mate.
  • Hark Lee 5y

    Josh, amazing shot, I really like everything in this shot. Very nice processing as well. : )

    - Hark
  • Justin Reznick 5y

    This is stellar Josh! I'm so glad your efforts payed off! Great foreground and sky that compliment each other so well and the awesome waterfall that makes the shot!
  • til213 5y

  • Terri 5y


    :As Admin for this group I give you this Invitation:
    This is a Legacy Gallery Shot!
    Here is your invitation to post your shot to the Best of the Best:
    Legacy Gallery
    Post 1 Award 1 Immediately
    Please tag your shot: Legacy

    ~Admin Approved~

    New!! Challenge H - Seascapes & Shorelines - April 12 to 50 pics met
    **Feel free to add up to 3 images and request your invite if needed*
  • Andrew Kumler 5y

    Very cool shot man, I love the textures, colors ,comp...Its all good... :)
  • Darren White 5y

    Amazing work....the cascade in the middle coming over the cliff is sweet...good thing you wern't standing up there......I am thinking now that it could be cool shot from that vantage point!!!
  • cosplay shooter 5y

  • cosplay shooter 5y

  • David Hogan 5y

    Wow, awesome location, this is great!
  • Tariq Almutlaq 5y

    Amazing angle, composition and very nice colors.
  • Vivienne 5y

    Love the way everything worked out for you here. This is a very cool cascade.
84 faves
Taken on April 9, 2010
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  • 12.0 mm
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