In the original plan for my California trip I’d planned to spend a day or two winding down from hiking in Yosemite and other parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains and then heading over to the coast around San Luis Obispo for a day or two. After booking several shoots around that area, I decided to just head to that area for a few days between the mountains and heading up to the Bay Area.
When I think beach, what comes to mind for me are those of the Atlantic coast of Florida and South Carolina. In summer the water is warm and generally calm unless a tropical storm makes an appearance. The Central California coasts don’t match the same vision. The water when I was there seemed rough and choppy. Fog hugs the coast in a way that reminds me of fall mornings here near the lakes and rivers that carve through the valleys. Except many days that fog never quite went away. It’s a different terrain in spite of being another place that ocean and land meet.
My last day in San Luis Obispo started very early with at 5 AM meeting Katja Gee. Early mornings are a common element of morning shoots. Here our hope was to catch the light crowds of the early morning until the sun burned through the fog. On the good side the fog never really burned away. On the down side along the beach itself we found a constant light drizzle just steady enough I didn’t want to get my camera out in it. Katja had scouted a good location for us, and we found some nice sports to work with in the woods and trees around the area.
In particular there was a large Eucalyptus tree that we saved for the end of the shoot. I worked around these trees twice in the area, and really love the way the curves and size of the tree can either compliment or dwarf the human form. There are tall trees here, but the sheer scale of some of these trees (not to mention Sequoia and Redwood trees) have a scale and presence that’s hard to put into words. These trees were already old generations of people ago. The photo above shows Katja in a small section of one tree. The photo below shows true scale of the tree with Katja posed against it.
My afternoon shoot in the area had canceled by the time I’d returned to the city. After Katja and my shoot completed, I left to make my way to San Francisco, hoping to arrive before rush hour. I almost made it too.