When the year comes close to the end, the sun reaches the perfect angle to shine at sunset through the Keyhole Arch in Pfeifer Beach, right in the middle of the Big Sur on the beautiful Californian coast. The waves crash rhythmically through the hole in the rock, lighting up in intense orange and red, but you won't feel alone in front of this spectacular view: it's highly likely that you had to elbow your way in through more than thirty tripods, each accompanied by its own photographer, all frantically capturing the scene with the widest range of cameras and lenses I've ever seen in one single place.
For more than an hour, I tried different view points, crossing the view of almost every photographer who was on that beach, surely ending up in some of the frames, and being the target of more than one rant squarely directed towards me. It was all worth it when I found the frame I was looking for.
The sky was cloudless and uninteresting, so for this image I was looking for an intimate landscape, to emphasize the beautiful orange waves through the Keyhole Arch. To achieve my vision, I used a long telephoto lens at 135mm, closed at f/7.1 to slightly blur the foreground, so the attention could focus on the arch. At ISO 100 I could achieve a shutter speed of 1/4s, which is within my ideal range when shooting seascapes, to convey just enough motion in the waves to create a dynamic and interesting scene. The composition follows closely the rule of thirds and by not showing the horizon behind the rocks, the viewer is left guessing the real nature of the rock formation.
Golden Door has incredible details in the water spills and the rocks, so it’s best experienced when viewing a large print from the huge 42mpx source. Beautiful acrylic prints are available on FineArtAmerica.
Golden Door is the first piece of the "Golden" series.