Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Big Sur welcomed me home

My best friend works and lives in Big Sur. Too much information? Sorry. Please do not stalk her. Anyway, my point: one of the first excursions we took after arriving in California was down the coast on a beautifully drizzly day to visit her at work and eat a yummy dinner at Big Sur River Inn (a must-see, especially in the Spring or Summer when you can sit in the river and drink cocktails). While we were waiting for her to finish up at work we drove a little further down the coast to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. When one performs a Google image search of Big Sur different angles of a waterfall or a bridge come up. Go ahead, try it. Well, that waterfall is in Julia Pfeiffer and no one can get down to that beach because it is protected so it will always look pristine and picturesque. This makes it a staple of the tourist-eye-view of Big Sur because it is always beautiful and there are never footprints along the shore. None of us had ever taken that trail, though, so that is why we ended up there that early evening.

What I did not know about this site before we went there is that this particular piece of land was once owned by a family that had a house nestled on the cliff overlooking that waterfall. Pieces of the house are still around making it look like a tropical ruin that one would find in a video game or adventure movie. The house would have had the most majestic panoramic views of the Big Sur coastline and the lone waterfall if it were still standing today. The house even had a tram up to the road to bring people and supplies down and the tracks can still be seen. It was just so... cool. To be honest, I wish it was still a house so in my day dream of winning the lottery that could be my day dream house. However the family generously donated the land to California State Parks so that it would be preserved and in the agreement the family made sure that the beach under the waterfall was to be kept off limits and forever private for sea creatures, sand and ocean water.

As a photographer these types of places are always so hard for me to decide whether to shoot or not. Of course my finger wants to trigger away because I want to make sure that the beauty that my eye at that very moment is seeing is captured and shared and awed over. At the same time, part of me is instantly uninspired because there are so many pictures out there of these places. Another problem that is particular to places as stunning and dramatic as Big Sur is that pictures rarely do the scenery justice. The colors are never as precise and the scale is always skewed and the angle is never quite right and the lens can never get the whole image and, well, you get the pict, er, idea. This day, I forced myself to shoot and these images are a glimpse into the beauty that my eye grabbed.

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