Big Sur is one of those places I could return to again and again and never tire of. The coastline is phenomenally rugged, craggy and drop-dead gorgeous. At Pfeiffer Beach, there's an archway in a giant shoreline rock formation that funnels shafts of golden light through from the setting sun around the Winter Solstice. At Julia Pfeiffer-Burns State Park, there's a picture-postcard waterfall that comes spilling out of a high bluff overlooking the Pacific. At the same location, giant waves pound the peninsula known as "The Saddle," exploding into an enormous white cloud of sea spray. At Andrew Molera State Park, old-growth sycamores grace the skyline with their beautifully intricate and shapes, and at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park ancient giant redwoods stand majestically in old-growth forests. And of course there are places like Garrapata Beach, Pfeiffer Beach and Rocky Point where you can catch wonderful sunsets with sea stacks and boulder-strewn beaches in your foreground.
I've included a few images here to try to give you a good sense of the place should you want to visit for the first time. If you've already been fortunate enough to visit Big Sur, perhaps you'll find something among these images that inspires you to return again for one more potential gallery shot. My personal favorites are the ones I took at Pfeiffer Beach of "The Golden Portal" and "Seastacks at Sunset." At Garrapata Beach, my favorites are of "Calla Lilly Heaven" and "Garrapata at Sunset."
The image "Calla Lilly Heaven" taught me that I'm most likely immune to poison oak, because I was walking through it on my way to get this shot in the creek bed. "Seastacks at Sunset" definitely taught me never to give up hope. I had been chasing a good sunset shot in Big Sur four evenings in a row to no avail — an impenetrable evening fog bank on the horizon would swallow up the sun before it could color the sky. But on my last night in Big Sur, I got the feeling I needed to head to Pfeiffer Beach. The few of us on the beach waiting for a show were not disappointed, as you'll see by this image.
Always carry a 2- or 3-stop neutral density graduated filter with you when you're preparing for sunset shots, or be ready to spend some time in post-processing by taking multiple exposures of the same scene — one for the terrain and one exposing the sky properly — to tame the dynamic range of high-contrast scenes.
Have a blast.