I’m not the first and I won’t be the last person to visit this particular patch of Calla Lilies along the Big Sur Coast. Calla Lilies grow all along the California coastline but this spot has become increasingly popular amongst photographers: it has beautiful scenery, it has hills the draw the eye in, a beach and water that sneak into the photo, hundreds of beautiful wildflowers, it’s easily accessible, and most importantly, it’s easy to tell a story here. This story is one that makes me smile every time I look at this photo and think of the day I took it.
This has been a strange weather year for the state of California. We were in a drought and the flowers had no clue what was going on. They started blooming early and I feared with the cooky weather that the flowers might both bloom and die early. I asked Sammi if she wanted to take a drive down to Big Sur, stop at Nepenthe for a drink, and then find the flowers. She agreed.
The day couldn’t have been better. It was 70 degree blue-bird day. We arrived at Nepenthe, a local restaurant and bar, just as a group of friends was getting up from the best spot in the entire place. For the next several hours Sammi and I enjoyed a beer, some wine, and margaritas while soaking in the views and trying to get a tan. We were having such a good time, in fact, that we didn’t realize it had gotten so late. 3 hours had passed and we needed to rush if we were going to make it to the lilies in time for sunset. The marine layer retreated as I drove and a few little splashes of clouds appeared in the sky. As we raced down to the flowers those few clouds started to catch the colors of the setting sun.
Luckily, we were the only ones here (3 weeks later and I would have been amongst 20+ photographers!). We ran around like crazy chickens trying to avoid the poison oak and find the best patch of calla lilies. Rushing a photograph is never recommended and I stressed the entire time. I couldn’t find a patch void of dying flowers. I couldn’t get my tripod where I wanted. My lens wouldn’t go wide enough. I fell into a patch of thorns. The entire time Sammi stayed calm. She pulled me up when I fell, helped me get the tripod in the right spot, ignored the foul language uttered under my breath, and reminded me that ultra-wide lens was packed in my bag. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion and partner that day! It was so peaceful that we stayed well after sunset and needed a flashlight to get back. The best part of it: I came home with a photo I’m happy with!
Nikon D800 w/Rokinon 14mm f/2.8:
14mm, f/9, 0.8 sec, ISO 500