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Not Just Another Day at the Beach - Pescadero State Beach California

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As you walk down the trails to any of the beaches along this area of the

coast you will see warning signs regarding Sleeper Waves and to beware of

them and I thought I always had been, never turning my back on the ocean.

Sure I like most photographers around these parts I have been chased back

up the beach by large waves. It's something you come to expect. It was a

fairly windy day and there were some showers as the sunset was unfolding

after a recent Pacific storm. The waves were big at times but

nothing I hadn't seen before and could easily outrun. I had taken about two

dozen shots (including this one) of the setting sun when I decided to climb

the rocks and stand on the ledge you can see on the right side of this

image. Once there I set up the tripod and noticed the ocean spray and

mist from the shower was blurring the view so I pulled out my cleaning cloth

and was cleaning my filter when it hit. Out of the corner of

my eye I caught a large splash on the rocks below and looked up to see the

rocks completely disappear under a large wave which raced incredibly fast up

the beach reaching all the way to the base of Highway One, a good 100-150

feet or more up the beach and completely cover the area where I had just

been shooting the sunset under 3 or 4 feet of rushing water. I suddenly

wondered if I was high enough but by the time I had the thought the wave had

already passed my position and it didn't matter anyway as I could go no

higher. As quickly as the wave had rushed up the beach it was headed back

out to sea. Had the wave come about 5 or 10 minutes earlier I would have

been carried a good ways up the beach camera gear and all. There was NO

WAY I could have outrun this one or even scurried up the rocks just 20 feet

or so away. It was sheer luck and boredom of the scene which I had many

pictures of that got me to move up the rocks. I thought to take a

picture of it but I simply didn't have a wide enough lens to get anything

that would show the scale of what had occurred just a few feet below me.

I did snap off one shot but just had moving water toward the end of the wave

going back out to sea. Nothing really worthy posting. It took me a while

before I was ready to move down off my perch on the ledge but eventually I

made my way down and took a few more shots.


So today, this photographer is seriously thinking of heading towards

Yosemite or the Sierra for the next few photo shoots and steering clear of

the beach for a while. Anyways, I did get this and a few other fine

sunsets at the very north end of Pescadero beach along the California coast.

I'll post more later.


Be careful out there.




© Darvin Atkeson

LiquidMoonlight Photography

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Taken on April 28, 2010