• Monterey and the start of Big Sur.
  • These mountains are 40 miles away!
  • The foam slowly moved this much in 12 seconds.
  • The best glancing angle of light comes in November and February.
  • The soft light in the clouds made the sand look much more warm and inviting than it looked just an hour earlier.
  • There was another arch right under this now non-existent rock! It fell in the 1970's

Portal to Big Sur

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A November sunset provided a good angle of light.

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Settings etc.:
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12-second exposure @F8
LEE soft ND Grad 0.9 (Angled at 10am-4pm)
Canon 5D
Canon 17-40L @34
ISO 50
RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One
TIFF file processed with Photoshop

Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz is a great place to watch the sunset. This is one of the few remaining arches, as the other ones have been washed into the sea. New ones will replace them as the years go by. The tip of the Monterey Peninsula and the start of the Big Sur coast 40 miles away are shown in the middle of the arch.

In order to show this arch in the best light, I had to wait until November for the setting sun to be at the best angle to show the detail on the arch face. I also wanted some cloud cover, which becomes more common as the 7 month summer dry season comes to a close at this time of year. I used a long exposure to smooth the water, highlighting the arch and distant coastline. And I timed it for when the sand was at its most reflective state at low tide with the slow movement of the water painting lines in the sand.

There was an awesome sunset to the right of the frame, but I resisted the urge to point at the sun because the light was better on the seascape in this direction.

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GT BraZil, Dean Forbes, Zaragozano, and 2322 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. runforyourlife90 35 months ago | reply

    Stunningly gorgeous. My aunt and uncle live in SC so I go to visit them most summers. I'll see if I can top this ;-) Good work!

  2. e.nhan 34 months ago | reply


    I saw this in the 200+ Faves group and Faved it.

  3. Guylaine Begin 34 months ago | reply


    I saw this in the 200+ Faves group and Faved it.

  4. pat_zia 33 months ago | reply

    wonderful!

  5. smortaus 31 months ago | reply


    Wonderful. Love the subject. Nicely done

  6. Ben Sollis (CelticVisions) [deleted] 30 months ago | reply

    Stunning shot !

  7. Luís Henrique Boucault 29 months ago | reply

    Very nice shot! Well done!

  8. Insu Nuzzi 26 months ago | reply

    I admire your seascapes...they are extraordinary!

  9. ArasSamy 22 months ago | reply

    Amazing shot

  10. ☼Sol.Digital☼ [deleted] 20 months ago | reply

    Very nice work, my friend!!!

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    Thank for the sharing
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    It is a pleasure to have you in our group.

    ♥___CONGRATULATION___♥

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  11. حسام الغامدي 16 months ago | reply

    Brilliant work and composition, my friend!
    Have a nice weekend and be safe :)

  12. Ivan . 12 months ago | reply

    Admirable and very impresionant work..!! Congrats and regards.

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