instagram arrow-down


The Arch and a Surging Tide

The Surging Tide Rushes Through and Around a Natural Coastal Arch and Meets on the Other Side. Big Sur Coast, California.

I have looked down from the road above this coastal arch numerous times on my visits to the Big Sur coast. I always found the arch interesting. How long, I wondered, had the tide pounded the rock before first opening up a crevice and then carving it out further and further to create that arch? A thousand years? Ten thousand?

The odd thing: every time I visited and observed the arch on past visits, the Pacific had lived up to its name—the water beneath the arch remained completely calm even as incoming waves crashed along the opposite coastline.

So I turned my attention to that opposite coastline, capturing the action of the waves as they broke, rolled across the beach, and then receded. I set up quite a few shots—horizontals and verticals—and was just about finished for the morning when my wife told me that I should take another look at the arch.

No longer calm, the tide now rushed through the arch to meet waves wrapping around from the front of the rock face. 

I quickly set up and made a series of photos. A few of the images I created captured the moment just before the two waves met. How cool. Unfortunately, the show lasted only a few minutes. The motion of the tides again shifted. And the water no longer rushed through or around the arch. 

But now I have another reason to return.