How I Got the Shot- Point Sur Lighthouse

Landscape photography is not only about the land, the composition, and the scene. It's most importantly about the light, the weather and how the photographer captures it.

Being at the right place at the right time is no accident. It comes as a result of careful research and planning and this image is no exception. After many years of photographing the Big Sur coast, we always spend one morning on our workshop "chasing the light". We carefully choreograph our locations so that we are in the right place at the right time in the best light.

When we arrive at our shooting location we never really know what it's going to look like. We always get there before the sun comes up over the mountains behind us. As the sun rises, it slowly casts a glow on the rock and travels up to the lighthouse and then eventually lights up the beach. The secret to this image is to capture the light when the sun is low enough in the sky to highlight the features of the rock, the beach, and the ocean without over exposing it.

Most days along the California coast, we aren't as lucky to get this special combination of light and shadows and interesting clouds. The trick was to capture the whole scene and a correct exposure.

As you can see, most days at this location are dramatically different. The combination of the dark shade and bright light can make the conditions more difficult to photograph, but also allows for a completely different composition.

That's what I enjoy about landscape photography, you can keep returning to the same spot and create completely different compositions.

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