My Holiday 2012 Interlude – Over to the Coast!

This morning I had one of my regular holiday reactions – a sort of cabin fever – and headed out of the house to points unknown for a photography adventure. I packed my cameras in the trunk of the car, grabbed a couple of bottles of water, plugged my iPhone into the car stereo and headed up towards 280.

I thought I’d probably head for San Francisco. For the last few years, I’ve had this thing about shooting the Golden Gate Bridge at this time of year – especially if we’ve got clouds in the sky or a breaking storm moving east. We had both today. But my usual Golden Gate day was January 1st. I was a bit early for that.

As it turned out, as I was heading to 280, I was pulled west – over to the coast. I crossed 280 and headed through Woodside to Hwy 84 and up the hill to Skyline. I continued on down through La Honda, San Gregorio and over to Hwy 1. It was a beautiful drive – cloudy light overhead, a podcast on the radio, and nobody else around.

At Hwy 1, I turned left – heading south along the coast. I made a quick stop at Pomponio State Beach – and chatted a bit with another Nikon shooter about how great it was to just be out above the beach enjoying the late December light. The low sun angle this time of year makes it very special – my favorite time of year for great light. I loved the patterns the waves were making – such as the “S curves” below.

Pomponio State Beach

After Pomponio, I continued south on Hwy 1 – passing up the other state beaches along the way as I headed to Santa Cruz. My rough plan was to make a big loop over to Hwy 1, south to Santa Cruz, then up on Hwy 17/85/280 to get back home.

But, of course, there’s Pigeon Point on the way – one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the Pacific coast. I pulled off and had a great time walking along the cliff above the ocean leading south to the lighthouse itself. Here’s a shot taken with my iPhone 5 and post-processed using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

On the Edge - Pigeon Point - 2012

The clouds in the sky and the angle of the light today made for some very special shots – and, on purpose, I was traveling light. No tripod, no serious HDR kind of shooting, just handheld with my Nikon D600 and, when the mood caught me, with my iPhone 5 – such as the shot above. The light and clouds at Pigeon Point were beautiful and I made a number of handheld shots just walking around.

After a great time at Pigeon Point, I headed south – made a detour to try to find the old Bonny Doon Winery tasting room (it’s now in Santa Cruz!) before arriving at Santa Cruz’s Lighthouse Point Park. There’s a surfing museum there in a building that looks like a small lighthouse – but I was captured by the light and skies off the coast.

Rock of Ages - Santa Cruz - 2012

My loop took over to the coast and back took about four hours. It was great therapy for my cabin fever! Special light, lovely clouds in the skies, beautiful venues – it doesn’t get much better than this. I should be so lucky!

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