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Destination Photography: Monterey Bay

Given that California has many densely populated cities that often draw the attention of professional and amateur photographers, world-class locations such as Monterey Bay and Big Sur can sometimes be passed over by folks looking for a vacation that revolves around taking stellar photographs. In all honesty, it would be difficult to come up with a photography travel destination that is more spectacular and diverse than these two coastal gems.

Monterey Bay is a magical region that offers some of the best coastal views this fine nation has to offer in a laid-back city with a very mild climate. The region was inhabited by Native Americans until Spanish settlers arrived in the first years of the 17th century.

In this small city you’ll be able to capture images of determined trees growing from the sides of cliffs that have been cultivated by moist sea splash. Moments later, you’ll be photographing the entrance of one of the dozens of small caves that have been carved out by millions of years of high tides. Folks who strategically and patiently plant themselves on the shore may be treated to the breaching of humpback and grey whales less than a few hundred yards offshore.

Archaeological findings show that Native American tribes lived in Big Sur for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers. In the late 18th century the area was colonized by Spanish explorers and remained that way until the gold rush of the mid-1800s. The completion of Highway 1, which tiptoes along the central coast of California, marked the beginning of an era for the region, as it was able to be accessed by automobile for the first time.

The common lure for all of the area’s many inhabitants has been the stunning views and the enthralling feeling that comes with living on the literal edge of civilization. Because of the ruggedness of the landscape, the large area is only lightly populated, meaning crowds and noise are never a problem.

In short, the region is a photographer’s dream. Rhythmic waves steadily splash against jagged rocks, creating one-of-a-kind, momentary works of art that can be captured forever with the flash of a fast lens. The Santa Lucia Mountains rise sharply from the Pacific Ocean, and watching the sun set over the salty waters exposes the even plain created by the Earth’s curvature, creating ten to fifteen minutes of photography gold.

Keeping all the mind, it is easy to see why we selected this destination as part of our first ever Destination Photography Workshop. Departing December 2011, our group will be traveling from Kansas City to Monterey Bay and Big Sur, stopping at a few beautiful destinations along the way! For more information on how you can join us, click here!

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