I made a trip to Bowling Ball Beach on the Mendocino Coast with my friend Matt Olivar back in December. I’ve been there many times as it is just a few miles from my parent’s house, but I had never seen particularly special conditions there. When Matt proposed that we make the drive, I checked the tides and the weather and realized it would be worth the trip! We drove up the coast, picking up my dad along the way (you have to say “hi” to your parents when you drive through their neighborhood), and made for the beach.
My first goal was to capture the details of the cliffs adjacent to the beach. I had found this spot on a previous trip to the area but didn’t have my camera. I set up low so I could get the details in the rocks. These sandstone formations lead right into the bowling balls that this beach is famous for.
The surf was still a little high (although it was going out), but I decided it was time to get in the water and capture another shot I had been wanting for a while: surf crashing over the rocks just before sunset. I started with a vertical format (below) and then switched to a horizontal (the shot at the top of the post). In each case I had my tripod out in the water and waited for a wave to hit the rocks before opening the shutter. It took me a few tries to get the right shutter speed, so I could show the motion, and I had to quickly pull my tripod out of the water a few times to avoid some of the larger waves. Do you prefer the vertical or the horizontal?
Now it was time to get out of the water and get some shots of the bowling balls reflecting the light of sunset. I worked both to get some somewhat abstract shots of the colors with the rocks as well as a few showing the coastline. The sunset that night was fantastic with lots of color and the tide was just right. Here are a few of my favorites, shown in the order they were taken:
Let me know which ones you like best!