Point Lobos State Reserve on the Big Sur Coast south of Carmel is the quintessential California seaside location. Once the haunt of luminary residents Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, its rocky cliffs, cypress groves, pebbled beaches, and blue lagoons provide an endless variety of photographic opportunities.
As part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary its waters are home to abundant sea life including the endangered sea otter. And extensive trails wander through the rare groves of Monterey Cypress, which only occur here and in the nearby town of Monterey, and are the classic wind-swept symbol of the central California coast.
In today’s modern world of fast-paced digital photography it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of new technology. Cameras, software and accessories are being released at an alarming rate, and it’s easy to get caught up in the race to stay ahead of the curve. But it’s important to remember that first and foremost we are artists, and that technology serves the art and not the other way around.
You can be sure Rembrandt didn’t lust over the latest brushes or Ansel Adams the latest developer or papers whenever their interpretation of light and shadow faced a challenge. Instead, they trusted their familiar tools even more to allow their hand and eye (the only lasting tools of the trade) to record the scene faithfully.
When you do upgrade your equipment (and we all do at some point) you owe it to yourself to thoroughly understand its features and functions. No one likes reading manuals, but it’s time well spent that you’ll appreciate the next time the light is fleeting and you’re focused on capturing the moment, not fumbling with dials or menu settings.
So purchase when you must, but don’t lose sight of the forest through the trees. Put your energy into developing your vision and spend less time worrying about the march of progress. Art is about the seeing and no one will ever look at your images and say “that was made with a Nikon or Canon”. More likely, they will say “what was s/he feeling”! The more comfortable you are with your equipment the more it becomes an extension of your mind’s eye and allows you the freedom to truly see the world around you. And that’s when your vision outshines all the other tools in your bag.
The appropriately named Mist Trail is one of the world’s classic hikes, and a highlight of any trip to Yosemite National Park. As an alternate to the John Muir Trail when hiking to Half Dome or Clouds Rest, the trail ascends a series of stone steps above the Merced River with dramatic views in all directions.
The trail climbs steeply out of the Valley and during a heavy flow the swirling mist is a perfect way to cool off during the warm summer months. A rainbow often forms at the base of the falls, and the upper portion of the trail is actually carved into the adjacent cliff providing an exhilarating finish as the water plunges over 300 feet to the canyon below.