The Portal is one of my favorite places in California! I just discovered it about 3 years ago after 30+ years of not visiting Big Sur (in favor of Yosemite). During the winter, the sun sets far enough south to allow the setting sun to shine through this very unique hole in the rocks creating a spectacular light show. There are many challenges in capturing a great picture:
1) weather - desired upper level clouds with a clear view to the horizon
2) surf - heavy surf creates a great spray from the rocks in the foreground (also creates danger to the photographer and, more importantly, his camera)
3) crowds - there is often a congregation of many many photographers all wanting to stand in exactly the same spot (typically in the beam)
4) Dynamic range - the range of lights and darks in the scene is a very real challenge to capture
5) weather - wind and temperature and unpredictable along the coast - be prepared to be hot and cold (in the same visit)
6) Parking - we were recently turned away at the highway 1 turnoff because the parking lot was full
7) vision - Anyone can take pictures...the challenge is - what do you want in the image...(this is the fun part)
Below are a scattering of recent images from my trip in January of 2015. I will return (very soon).
Mike The Occasional (unexpected) big wave hitting the photographer. (Camera stayed dry!) I shot the rest of the shoot in my bare feet.