I’ve been up to the Point Arena Light House several times, but I haven’t yet hiked around the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. This area, donated by the Stornetta Ranch family, includes 1665 acres which was newly added to the California Coastal National Monument. This is a dramatic part of the north coast, with sharp sandstone cliffs, small near-shore islands, sea arches and sinkholes, lies just south of the light house. I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d find so I just took my 24-70mm f2.8 lens along. I fully intend to go back with my 14-24mm and 70-200mm lenses to fully capture the beauty and uniqueness of this place.
This is a desolate place, and seems even more so because it’s still shows the signs of recent cattle grazing. I was lucky on this trip because there was virtually no wind; it was heavily overcast which set quite a somber mood for the day. I love hiking the bluffs on days like this, especially when I’m totally alone like I was on this day.
The images I show here reflect the feel of the day as much as the terrain and the visual elements of the coastline itself. The first image shows a flat island just offshore. Small islands like this dot the coastline along this stretch and were once part of the contiguous shoreline until erosion took its toll. This image pretty much captures the mood of the day. You can also see a small sea arch in the island showing the light from the western side of the island showing through.
The next two images show more of the rugged coast and some of the many other geologic features common to this area. The small buildings in the second image are part of an old LORAN installation that’s about to be decommissioned. You can also see the PA Light House off in the distance in the third image.
In the fourth image I decided to go black and white because the color was just too muted and I felt the B&W reflected the mood here a little better. I also thought the geologic features stood out much better in the B&W version. (Also, my latest edition of Outdoor Photographer had a special feature on B&W photography for landscapes, so I had to give it a try.)
The last image captures one of the Monterey Pines along the bluff. All that remains here is the moss and fungi that have taken over this tree. To me it added to the overall mood and bleakness of the place. I think there is great beauty in the desolation here. Go spend a day there and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean. I’m definitely going back as there’s just so much more to see.
Equipment: Nikon D3s; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens. I used NIK Software’s Silver Effex Pro2 for the B&W conversion.