Point Lobos and Soberanes Point

Point Lobos B&W-2034-2I 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.

Point Lobos

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I hiked the Cypress Grove Trail, which passes through one of only two remaining naturally growing stands of Monterey cypress trees anywhere on Earth.

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The trail leads to the Pinnacle and North Point.

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The Pinnacle
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North Point
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North Point

The twisted rings in this cypress root tell the tale of a life battling the elements on Point Lobos.

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Cypress Cove as seen along the Cypress Grove Trail.

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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.

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After his death, Weston’s ashes were spread at Point Lobos on what is known as Weston Beach, where I took these photos.

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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:

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Once More to the North

Once more to the north to shoot photos. Since the sun rises earlier each day, I had to get up even earlier to make the three hour drive and get to my shooting location before sunrise. Up at 3:00 a.m. and out the door by 3:15.

I started shooting on Good Harbor Bay, where Shalda Creek enters Lake Michigan. I had to share the area with a beaver, who was none too happy with my presence. I enjoyed shooting in “blue hour” before sunrise . . .

and the “golden hour” immediately after sunrise.

All that was missing, besides a good cup of coffee, was some clouds to make the sky more interesting.

From there, I headed back towards Glen Arbor, stopping at the Olsen Farm and along Thorosen Road to take a shot I envisioned a couple of weeks ago, when I was scouting the territory.

I next put on my waders and set up my tripod in the middle of the Crystal River, a meandering river that winds back and forth for seven miles from its origin on Fisher Lake to where it enters Lake Michigan.

The final stop was the Empire Bluff Trail, which offered a spectacular view of Sleeping Bear Dune.

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