Seven-Years Ago (14-April-2010) — California

On the way to a Central California photography workshop, I stopped at Piedras Blancas Beach near San Simeon. The beach was full of elephant seals. I spent a couple of hours while the light was still good. I loved the expressions on there faces. This is my first attempt at embedding a slide-show of some of the images.

Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)


One-Year Ago (14-April-2010) — California

Gone to See America 2010. Big Sur Photography Workshop with Michael Mariant. Day 0: Piedras Blancas Beach.

A year ago today, I drove from San Franciscio to San Simeon for a Big Sur Photography Workshop run by Michael Mariant to begin the following day. With time to burn  I visited the Elephant Seal View Point on Piedras Blancas beach, just seven miles north of San Simeon on the California central coast. Link to an aerial view of Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal View Point. The sun was slowly going down over the Pacific ocean as I took this series of images.

Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec).
Young Male Elephant Seals Jousting at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec). (David J Mathre)
Young Male Elephant Seals Jousting at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec).
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 180 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 180 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec).
Elephant Seal at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/160 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seal at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/160 sec).
Young Male Elephant Seals Jousting at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 220, 210 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Young Male Elephant Seals Jousting at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 220, 210 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Young Male Elephant Seals Jousting at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Young Male Elephant Seals Jousting at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 360, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 360, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 360, 70 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 360, 70 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Elephant Seal at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 320, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seal at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 320, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 220, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 220, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 250, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 250, 300 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Elephant Seal at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/160 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seal at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/160 sec).
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/160 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/8, 1/160 sec).
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 210 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 210 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).
Herring Gull at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 210 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Herring Gull at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 210 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec).

Thursday (15-April-2010) — California

Gone to See America 2010. Big Sur Photography Workshop with Michael Mariant. Day 1: Morning.

The group attending the Big Sur Photography Workshop with Michael Mariant was scheduled to meet for breakfast in San Simeon. I walked down to the shore along the Pico Creek before breakfast to get some early morning images. The first is of the succulent sea fig (Carpobrotus chilensis) plant and its flower. It turns out that this is an invasive species. I then saw some tracks in the sand. I wondered if they were from a mountain lion, but since the nails were present — probably a dog. There was a lot of drift wood on the beach. Some had been used to build a wind shelter. After breakfast, the group went to Piedras Blancas beach to view the Elephant Seals. The same place I was the previous evening. While Michael was beginning his workshop, I managed to catch a patrol of Brown Pelicans flying over in formation. Several more images of the Elephant Seals, including one with a Chipmunk on the sand. The final image includes the Piedras Blancas Rock and Lighthouse in the background (and a yawning Elephant Seal near the bottom right).

Sea Fig (Carpobrotus chilensis) near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/3.2, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Sea Fig (Carpobrotus chilensis) near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/3.2, 1/250 sec).
Animal Tracks near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec). (David J Mathre)
Animal Tracks near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec).
Driftwood Shelter near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/10, 1/400 sec). (David J Mathre)
Driftwood Shelter near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/10, 1/400 sec).
Driftwood Shelter near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/9, 1/320 sec). (David J Mathre)
Driftwood Shelter near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/9, 1/320 sec).
Driftwood near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/10, 1/400 sec). (David J Mathre)
Driftwood near Pico Creek, San Simeon, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 800, 50 mm, f/10, 1/400 sec).
Brown Pelican Patrol, Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/14, 1/800 sec) (David J Mathre)
Brown Pelican Patrol, Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/14, 1/800 sec)
Brown Pelican Patrol, Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/10, 1/400 sec) (David J Mathre)
Brown Pelican Patrol, Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/10, 1/400 sec)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 70 mm, f/16, 1/160 sec) (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 70 mm, f/16, 1/160 sec)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 200 mm, f/5.6, 1/800 sec) (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 200 mm, f/5.6, 1/800 sec)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/6.3, 1/250 sec) (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/6.3, 1/250 sec)
Elephant Seal at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/6.3, 1/400 sec) (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seal at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/6.3, 1/400 sec)
Chipmunk and Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/6.3, 1/250 sec) (David J Mathre)
Chipmunk and Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 300 mm, f/6.3, 1/250 sec)
Elephant Seals and Driftwood at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 145 mm, f/11, 1/400 sec) (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals and Driftwood at Piedras Blancas Beach, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 145 mm, f/11, 1/400 sec)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach and Lighthouse, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 165 mm, f/11, 1/200 sec) (David J Mathre)
Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach and Lighthouse, Central California Coast. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 165 mm, f/11, 1/200 sec)

Wednesday (14-April-2010) — California

Gone to See America 2010. Big Sur Photography Workshop with Michael Mariant. Day 0: Piedras Blancas Beach.

I arrived in San Simeon on the California coast the day before the Big Sur Workshop. After dinner, I drove 7 miles north to the Elephant Seal view-point on Piedras Blancas beach. There are hundreds of Elephant Seals just being lazy and making a lot of noise. The young males are mock fighting, but not doing much damage. This was an image rich environment.

Click on the image to view the whole set.