• This rock is lit by light reflecting off a cliff behind me on the beach
  • Some algae
  • There were some huge swells that would splash through the portal, but i didn't want the almost set sun rays to be blocked
  • I really liked these patterns in the sand.
  • Pretty minimal opportunities for reflection with such a low angle, but here's one!
  • And another bit of reflection!
  • The sun is just to the left of here.

The Portal - Pfeiffer State Beach, Big Sur, California

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A November to January sun angle in the central California coast at sunset shines right through a hole in this big rock, the mist from waves splashes up and puts on a real show!

I almost missed this scene because of bad timing. The only way to get to this beach is a narrow 2-mile road, which you can only go so fast on. I got to this spot only 10 minutes before sunset, and that was even when I ran to the beach. I was a part of a forest of about 10 other photographers. I would've loved to get here early and caught some more yellow light coming through the portal, but I'm still pretty happy with this.

I believe this was a medium tide because low tide barely makes it through the portal and high tide just bursts through it with great force. There were some bigger swells at times though, but I didn't want any sun rays being blocked. This was tough because the sun was so low.

View the large size!

Settings and more
Nikon D90
Nikkor 18-55 @ 24mm
Aperture @ f/18
1/10 second exposure
ISO 320
Quantaray 6200DX tripod
No grads (no sky)
RAW file processed with Photoshop

Don't use this image on websites, blogs or other media without my explicit permission. © All rights reserved

somenewperspectives, waterfallcrazy12, and 27 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. Paul Porter Photography 29 months ago | reply

    Nicely captured Zach, especially considering your rush to set up. The portal light is lovely and the tufoni texture is cool.

  2. The Glorious End 29 months ago | reply

    Awesome job! Marc Adamus has a phenomenally timed shot taken here.

  3. photofanman 29 months ago | reply

    that red glow is sweet! nice work =)

  4. Riccardo Brig Casarico 29 months ago | reply

    Solo tre commenti ?? Non ci credo .. questa foto è incredibile !!
    Complimenti !!

  5. Sprengben [why not get a friend] 25 months ago | reply

    This photo is awesome!
    Great stream you have.
    Wish you a great day. Ben

  6. diamir8000 25 months ago | reply

    like there is a golden treasure in the hole

  7. Klimrod [deleted] 23 months ago | reply

    Great spot very well photographed. Congratulations.

  8. TJMAUS 23 months ago | reply

    Incredible shot mate , wow !

  9. pvanhala 21 months ago | reply

    Stunning variety and lighting there

  10. FVDB Photography 10 months ago | reply

    this is fantastic- just got here via the Matador Facebook page!

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