Look Closely | Piedras Blancas Beach | San Simeon, CA

Piedras Blancas | San Simeon, CA

When you capture a photo, especially a wide-angle, take a good look at it.  Zoom in once you load it on your computer…chances are your camera caught something that you didn’t realize was there.

The details that my camera captures constantly amaze me.  Sometimes its a rotten surprise, someone or something that you didn’t want in your otherwise beautiful image.  Other times, a zoomed in glance shows wonderful things…like Hearst Castle and a flashback to great childhood memories. :)

Let me explain: the photo below was taken a couple of weeks ago while my mom and I were camping in San Simeon. It had been a foggy, but fun morning.  Mom & I had driven nearly up to Big Sur and back, stopping to photograph whenever the mood struck. As we were heading south, at around 2pm, we pulled into the Piedras Blancas beach lookout. The fog was FINALLY starting to lift and it was gorgeous!

I took a path out to a lookout point out on the rocks and looked back toward the beach. I set up my tripod and took this long-exposure photo (30 seconds at f/10, ISO 100, 50mm).

Piedras Blancas | San Simeon, CA

At first glance I knew I liked this photo, the colors popped out at me, especially the turquoise cotton candy-like water; but it wasn’t until I got home and started editing that I noticed a few things. In the upper left there is a building on the hillside barely visible in the haze of the lifting fog.  I zoomed in and noticed it was Hearst Castle!

Piedras Blancas | San Simeon, CA

As I continued to examine the photo I also noticed a big drainage pipe on the beach on the right hand side. Now, you may think that isn’t important, or maybe it even detracts from the photo, but for me it was a “ah-ha!” moment.

Piedras Blancas | San Simeon, CA

When I was a kid my parents would tow our camping trailer up the coast on the weekends. We’d find a lovely spot and set up camp. Piedras Blancas was OUR beach. We’d spend the weekend playing in the sand and splashing in the waves if it wasn’t too cold and fall asleep at night to the sound of crashing waves. It was heaven.

One of the things we explored while camping here was the drainage pipe (shown above).This pipe runs underneath Highway 1 and is quite large.  We would use it to cross underneath the highway to go for walks in the open land on the other side. The pipe was dark and scary, but it opened up to a new and beautiful place. It was kind of a portal for adventure!

You can see why this beach holds a special place in my heart, and how an ugly, old drainage pipe can spark great memories! I was really excited to see it when I zoomed in on this photo. This place has changed a lot since I was a kid. There were no lookout points with fences and paths, just a bluff with a trail down to the beach here and there. There were no elephant seals and only occasionally did we share our beach with other campers. Thinking back on the times my family spent at this beach makes me smile.

Sometimes it pays to explore your photos, look closely – you never know what you’ll find!

Have a wonder-filled day!

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