Near Pescadero, CA

8x10 Platinum/Palladium Contact Print

8x10 Platinum/Palladium Contact Print

Near the town of Pescadero in California lies a beach known as Bean Hollow, which I have visited often. As I wandered along there one afternoon, photographing along a fairly ordinary (though there really is no such thing as ordinary along the California coast) shoreline, a man approached me and suggested that I try another nearby area where the rocks and formations were "completely different" from what I was seeing now.

Although it was a ways away (and I was a bit sceptical), I packed up my gear and took a look. What I saw astounded me. This was an area of great variation in a small region. There was tafoni, sand, seaweed, rocks that had collided with each other, different shapes and textures, all the drama that I look for as a photographer. Since then, whenever I've been near Pescadero I've made sure to photograph this spot.

On the day that I made this photograph, the fog hung along the shoreline, moving in and out of the coast, often obscuring the sun, and cooling things off enough that I wondered if I made a mistake by not wearing my coat. I'd photographed some sea grass moments earlier, and was enjoying listening to the soft chortle of the low tide against the rocks. Because of the tide and soft light I had plenty of time to work, and I have many images from this day that I'm excited by.

This image of the tafoni took a while to compose. As a large format photographer who does contact prints, I don't crop. That means the image had to be correct in the ground glass. I particularly struggled with getting the balance right with the figure in the lower right. As I was composing, the fog's movement in and out caused the light to shift from hard to soft and back again. When everything was right I released the shutter and captured this image.