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Thread: PCH in summer? (LA - SF)

  1. #31

    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Somewhere between SoCal & Norway
    Posts
    292

    Re: PCH in summer? (LA - SF)

    Hi,

    Just got back from the trip, it was great. Very foggy, spent many hours hoping the sun would peek through before it set, and was rewarded on one of the days with 6 minutes of sunshine after hours of heavy fog, so it was worth it.

    Photography West gallery did let me in. The Weston Gallery seemed like they weren’t interested in visitors. Oh well.

    Waiting now to get the chromes back and need to find time to develop the B&W soon.

    Phil’s Fish Market was amazing, well worth the wait to get in (went on a weekend, probably not the best time), amazing food.

    Is there a time of year when there’s less fog? I wouldn’t mind catching the tail end of a storm, or maybe a sunset somewhere along the coast.

    I also discovered that the new 90mm lens I bought was what I’ve been missing these last few years getting into LF, I think over half of my shots were with the 90mm, a handful with the 150mm and a final few with the 210mm. There was one shot where I wished I had something even wider.

    Thanks again for all the great advice and suggestions!
    Last edited by 6x6TLL; 13-Aug-2021 at 09:30.

  2. #32
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    15,682

    Re: PCH in summer? (LA - SF)

    It's cat and mouse with winter storms, and the cycle varies a bit year to year, being more unpredictable than ever with the whole world climate now getting seriously roto-tilled. But the fog traditionally ends sometime in late Aug, and then the air goes dead and warm once inland Calif starts cooling down and reaches temp equilibrium with here on the coast, fully stopping the inward flow of marine air in Sept and Oct. But in my opinion, that's NOT a good photog season here, either in terms of color, light, or comfortable activity. Oct is traditionally our one hot month on the coast, and the most forest fire prone. And tons of people will still be flocking toward the beaches.

    It's during Nov, Dec, and Jan, between storms, that the air is calmest, most open and crisp, and the lighting more angled and especially appealing, if you're looking for that classic Weston look. There are far less people and more wildlife around. Intermittently rainy days can be especially nice for solitude and dramatic lighting, but that's all based on the immediate forecast. Just keep a raincoat in your pack. I personally love what fog does for photos, but appreciate the crisp direct lighting of autumn and winter too. Famous places like Pt Lobos which can be overwhelmed with people in Summer can be downright intimate in winter. Accommodations are easier to get, and the risk of forest fire smoke under present circumstances should at least statistically diminish after some rain arrives. Also, forays on back roads inland will not be hot like in summer, and offer their own exciting photo possibilities. But always check local back road conditions in advance. Those coastal hills are rather unconsolidated, geologically, and slides are common during big storms.

  3. #33

    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Somewhere between SoCal & Norway
    Posts
    292

    Re: PCH in summer? (LA - SF)

    Thanks Drew,

    the fog was great and provided amazing atmosphere, I was just looking for some other looks as well, as many days the fog was simply a grey wall that didn't help provide any depth or visual interest. Other days it was much more interesting. Something more brooding and dramatic would be nice, as I was shooting mainly B&W.

    One other thing I noticed is that every single road inland was closed except for the old Coast Road - the 11 mile section between Bixby bridge and Andrew Molera State park. Had some incredulous 4x4 drivers we passed who were impressed that I would take a Mercedes S-Class over that section of road, but it's a solidly built car and did just fine. Found a few spots with some great redwood groves and sunlight filtering down to the forest floor and took a few sheets while there.

    I'm not sure why the other roads were closed, I checked every one I saw and all had locked gates across them. Maybe next time.

    I have nothing against a little rain and always have an umbrella and raincoat in the trunk, that kind of weather makes for more interesting photographs and clearer skies.

    Sounds like I'll have to go up there again this winter and see it in another light.
    Last edited by 6x6TLL; 13-Aug-2021 at 13:52.

  4. #34
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    15,682

    Re: PCH in summer? (LA - SF)

    Gated road closures were probably due to "red flag" severe fire risk conditions. They don't want anyone camping back in there or smoking a cigarette. There has been a tremendous amount of unwanted camping this past year in those particular counties. It's Covid related, with not everyone back to work yet and wanting somewhere to go. It didn't happen in the past; most of those roads were lonely. And lots of agencies are logically taking advantage of pandemic restrictions to get backlogs of road and tree work done, even in our immediate communities here. Some of this involves seasonal closures, since numerous back roads are either single-lane or unsafe to repair or re-bridge in portions without total closure. Additionally, a flood of funding has come through for this kind of work, especially in and around parks. So it all makes sense, and will probably be mostly all done long before you visit again, which I hope you will do.

    Spring can be wonderfully green and wild-flowery, especially a bit inland; but true to the stereotype, March tends to be windy. Pinnacles NP is a certainly a lot more comfortable in Spring than Summer. But the kind of light you seek is characteristic of Nov to Feb.

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