I recently attended a conference on the Monterey Peninsula in California. This gave me the opportunity to shoot some photos at Point Lobos and Soberanes Point near Carmel-by-the-Sea. I was excited to have this chance. The great photographer Edward Weston (1886-1958) lived nearby in a cabin on Wildcat Hill, beginning in 1938. Weston was a spiritual leader of the Straight Photography movement. Point Lobos was a frequent subject of Weston’s work in the later years of his life. Of the cypress trees on the point he wrote:
Poor abused cypress, — photographed in all their picturesqueness by tourists, ‘pictorialists,’ etched, painted, and generally vilified by every self-labeled ‘artist.’ But no one has done it — to my knowledge — as I have, and will.
I took that not as a challenge but as an opportunity to draw inspiration from the rocks, trees and water that once inspired Weston.
Today, Point Lobos is a state reserve with numerous trails over its 554 acres.
I hiked the Cypress Grove Trail, which passes through one of only two remaining naturally growing stands of Monterey cypress trees anywhere on Earth.
The trail leads to the Pinnacle and North Point.
The twisted rings in this cypress root tell the tale of a life battling the elements on Point Lobos.
Cypress Cove as seen along the Cypress Grove Trail.
The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a refuge for Harbor Seals, Southern Sea Otters, and California Sea Lions, among many other species. These sea lions are resting in China Cove along the Bird Island Trail.
After his death, Weston’s ashes were spread at Point Lobos on what is known as Weston Beach, where I took these photos.
Unfortunately, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve closes each day at 5:00 p.m in November, so it is not possible to shoot at sunset. Farther down Route 1, however is the Rocky Ridge Trail at Soberanes Point. On my last evening on the peninsula, I headed there to take these shots: