Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shooting the Big Sur Coast

If you're ever shooting on the Big Sur Coast, it helps to chat with the officers of the California Highway Patrol there. Aside fromresponding to accidents caused by the ocasional tourist who causes a truck to jackknife due to leaving her bicycle laying down on the road (true story), a lot of their time is spent interfacing with the public. They know every turnout and access point (and have participated in rescues people making their way to inaccessible spots), so they can help you spend your time there efficiently and safely

This waterfall, McWay Falls, is apparently one of two waterfalls dropping into the ocean in the continental United States, the other being Alamere Falls on Point Reyes.

This waterfall is accessed via the parking lot for Julia Pfeiffer State Park, but the park doesn't open until 8am, so I took this from a turnout up on Hwy 1, a few dozen yards higher than the standard path. The park also asks for a $10 fee for entry and parking!

There are some seriously quirkly rules and restrictions for accessing much of the coast, so I'll try to add notes as I add photos. For example, I blew off Pfeiffer Beach, a Forest Service access (due to all of those trees on the beach?), but unfortunately they've allowed a concessionaire to profit from Federal Recreation Passholders who bought the annual pass under the understanding that it would gain them entry to USDA Forest Service sites. They also close at sunset, not 30-40 minutes later when the sunset color is over, so it's virtually worthless to photographers who prefer to shoot in the best light(at least the ones who choose not to risk getting a ticket). I'll be sending the confused USDA bureaucrats some correspondence on that one... and I'll share the names with concerned photographers as well so your voices can be heard and your interests represented. Bureaucrats don't like risk, so I suspect they may show some flexibility if their users start raising a stink about counterproductive policies. Point Lobos State Park just up the road allows photographers to stay until 30 minutes after sunset, stilla bit tight but a far more reasonable compromise.