Garrapata Beach


Most traditional photographers who think of Garrapata Beach probably think of Brett Weston's iconic photograph of the same name, taken in 1954. On my visit to the Monterey area this time around I hoped to see the location of Weston's image, but had no luck.

I started the morning camping at Fremont Peak, which offers a view of city lights that I enjoyed. No one else was at the campgrounds, and I found it peaceful. It was like owning the whole mountain (I will not be so lucky the rest of my stay). 

In the morning I awoke and headed for the Vietnam Memorial in Carmel. The parking enforcement officer and a city employee helped me find it, and I took my photograph before heading for Garrapata. Normally when I'm in Monterey I visit Point Lobos, but I'm forcing myself to explore new regions, which proved fortuitous. First I drove to Pebble Beach, to the amusement of the security guards controlling traffic to the club house, who seemed relieved when I told them I was looking for the cove, since my 9 year-old Focus with the cracked windshield was decidedly out of place with the rest of the vehicles in the country club.

Then I headed to Garrapata. As I drove by Lobos, a sign hung in front saying the parking lot was full, and cars lined the streets, and I'm sure all the number of people there would have made photography difficult. 

Garrapata, on the other hand, was fairly open. Although one of the trails was closed, the trail that I took led to some interesting sea stacks and rock formations. The blue sea was clear and white streaks of sand could be seen through the water, almost like shocks of grey hair.

The tide was low and I dropped down among the rocks onto some geological shapes that I found every bit as interesting a I would have at Lobos and began shooting. The fog drifted in and out, creating a light that alternated between hard and soft.

Two fairly large crabs fought over territory in a large static tide pool at my feet that was green from an algae bloom as I photographed my final set of rocks before leaving for the Salinas Vietnam Memorial.