Write up by Instructor Brian Rueb
The sky looks great, Alicia and I are both excited for a great day at Big Sur. The storm system, while present in the morning has let up and left a great sky that I hope will stay with us throughout our day.
The first stop is the iconic Carmel Mission. Though there is some construction on the building, what I think makes the mission so special is those intimate details in the gardens and courtyards.
Alicia and I had fun showing people some of these little details, and watching the group shoot some of the hummingbirds fluttering about.
A few people managed to get some really nice shots of the bird too! I worked with a few students on upping the ISO and shutter speeds to capture the drops of the fountain in mid flight, which was cool.
Next stop was a little pull out along scenic highway 1. We walked out to the cliff side and worked with the class on some slower shutter water shots as the blue waves broke along the jagged shoreline. This was a good spot to show the fun of shooting with a telephoto lens, and using the tripod to capture moving water and longer exposures.
The drive down Highway 1 is so pretty, I always nearly miss the proper turns as I’m trying to not get swept away by those gorgeous vistas! We made it safe and sound to McWay Falls, and just in time for the sun to clear the clouds and give us some warm evening light to shoot.
We had fun here trying to play with shutters and use histograms to help get the most balanced shots of this scene, which was a bit contrast-y with the white foam in the waves. It was a great way to learn how to read a histogram and use exposure to compensate for the highlights, and get a good image. A few students got to use their graduated neutral density filters to help block some of the sun and brighter parts of the image.
On the way back to the van a student pointed out a couple California Condors sitting far off in a tree…very cool to see these rare birds, even if it was from afar.
The final stop of the night was the lovely Pfieffer Beach. This time of year the sunbeam of the setting sun shines right through a really cool rock arch, and luckily there was enough breaks in the clouds that the class got to have some fun shooting it! I moved up close and took a couple practice shots to show them how to set up and a few creative ways to compose an image…I was proud to see a few students right there in the waves getting their shots!
Once the light beam had gone away, the class moved to their left to shoot the cool colored clouds and use polarizers to get nice shots of the cliffs and the outlet stream running from the woods to the sea. Some really nice images were on those screens!
We also got to drive across a rushing river a couple times too…that was super exciting! There’s so much to see on the Big Sur/Highway 1 route…I found myself saying a few times that everywhere was a good spot for sunset…and it’s true!
What a fun group! I think everyone got some real nice shots…
Thanks to all our great students, on behalf of myself (Brian), Alicia and the rest of the Aperture Academy team!
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.