My November 2013 Photo of the Month is Thanksgiving Surf, a photograph made at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in San Diego.
Thanksgiving Surf Background
Sometimes, having some free time outside on a holiday pays off. I headed to the coast after reading about heavy surf conditions in San Diego. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is my favorite stretch of Southern California coastline.
When the surf is heavy, there are many options. I spent some time surveying the usual areas with the large wave crashes. I found one area just down from the Froude parking lot that I liked. Every few seconds, a beautifully large wave would hit the outcroppings, and I just needed to anticipate and be ready to click the shutter.
As the sun got low on the horizon, I also noticed the spray was beautifully bright. This was an added treat.
As luck would have it, a lone surfer decided to call it a day. As he climbed up on the rocks, he stopped for just a moment to admire what I was watching. The waves were beautiful. His presence made all of the elements come together. The waves look huge, but more impressively so when scaled with a normal-sized human. I learned the power of this from Galen Rowell‘s impressive Horsemen beneath giant sand dune photograph.
It was also important that he was looking at the waves himself. I think this helps the image even more.
Heavy surf photography is fun, but it can also be dangerous. Its important to be careful and know your surroundings. I was once dunked on by a wave I had my back to. It is also very slippery, even with shoes with good grip. This isn’t photography where you want to hurry. Its important to be slow, deliberate, and contemplative.
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.