On our first afternoon in Big Sur we grabbed some sandwiches from a local deli and immediately asked for advice on how to get to a nice beach. Up the road a couple of miles and down a winding lane and we were at the parking lot for Pfeiffer Beach.
We really didn’t know what to expect as we started to walk the short distance through a wooded area toward the beach, but we could hear the ocean and we could smell the ocean, so we hurriedly made our way along the path eager to reach our destination.
When we first caught a glimpse of Pfeiffer Beach we were not disappointed… it was late afternoon, and the sun was already pretty low in the sky. We could see all along the beach where there was pristine golden sand, giant silhouetted rock stacks, and powerful crashing waves. We all agreed that we had struck gold.
As the sun went down we spent the next hour or so playing on the beach, in and out of the surf, and lazing back enjoying our picnic. I recognized certain scenes from this beach from other photographers’ work, especially one striking rock formation that had evolved into an arched window through which huge waves were crashing. At certain times of the year, the low angled light from the setting sun lights up this arch with a surreal orange glow, and on very rare occurrences this is combined with the moon rising in a location that can be captured looking through the arch. No such luck for us at this time of year, but it was still a lot of fun to be there to enjoy the scene for ourselves.
Little did we know that the would be one of the last times we would be seeing the sun for any length of time… for the rest of the trip Big Sur lived up to it’s reputation with dense fog rolling in and out along the shore.