Doud Creek Calla Lily Sunset
Photographing the calla lilies that grow along a small stretch of Doud Creek in Garrapata State Park in Big Sur is a massive exercise in patience, to be sure, particularly on a warm Saturday afternoon. The best time to photograph them is when the sun is low to the horizon to the west, backlighting the luminous petals in contrasting warm and cool colors. There is only one prime vantage point looking out towards the Pacific Ocean in a very narrow canyon now completely overrun with tourists who were not present just a few years ago. Couple those challenges with coastal winds blowing through the canyon, and high contrast, which requires bracketing a wide dynamic range and a high ISO to freeze the movement, then using layer masks in Photoshop to blend multiple images to erase the people continuously walking through your shot and voila, there you go: a lily photo, only 8 hours of driving, and multiple post-processing tricks to achieve. Wellies are most certainly your friend here; they protect against an insane amount of soft mud and poison oak, and were useful for composing images from the middle of the creek where far less tourists in white sneakers roam! I sound like I’m complaining, I know, but would I do it again? In the words of Napoleon Dynamite: “HECK YES”!!
1/80 second at 16mm (to capture the foreground), f/16 (to get the sunburst), ISO 1600 (to freeze the motion), no selfie stick wielding tourists were harmed in the making of this image!
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