Highway One California Hills

Carmel CA Travel Blog

The Insiders View Blog - Carmel Mission Inn’s blog page where we hope you will find information that will enhance your overall experience in Carmel California.

Hurricane Point and Point Lobos State Reserve

Kentyn Reynolds - Wednesday, January 08, 2014
By Don Smith

Once the light begins to fade from the Pt. Sur location, get back in your car and drive north for about a mile to Hurricane Point for sunrise light.

Hurricane Point gets its name from the strong updrafts that at times can make opening a car door a struggle; yet, in the early morning, winds are generally non-existent and the first light of sunrise will bathe the hillsides with warm light.

Hurricane Point

Hurricane Point

I recommend a horizontal composition for this scene. Pay attention to the large boulders (protruding through the ocean) on the left side of the frame and place the right side of your composition to include the rolling hillside, the contiguous headlands, and the famed Bixby Bridge.

Hurricane Point may just be the most photographed location in all of Big Sur – it is a definite “can’t miss!”


Point Lobos State Reserve

Evening Sky - Point Lobos State Reserve

So what if you are not an early-riser? No worries. Because the Big Sur coastline lays out north to south, sunsets are beautiful (unless our summer fog has taken hold).

The best bet – whether it is clear or foggy, is to grab your camera and head a couple miles south of the hotel to Point Lobos State Reserve. The Reserve is a scenic wonderland with photo opportunities at seemingly every turn.

I love photographing both the south end (especially in the morning), and the north end (with all of the marvelous Monterey Cypress anchoring the northern tip).

This image was captured during a January evening along the Allan Memorial Cypress Grove Trail.

Don’t be so quick to pack as soon as the sun sets as I captured this image about 10 minutes past sunset. I simply metered off the brightest part of the sky and allowed my foreground to turn to silhouette. This remains one of my favorite images from the grove!


Don Smith teaches two photo workshops along the Big Sur coast each year and they are headquartered at the beautiful Carmel Mission Inn. There are a limited number of spots available for April 2014. Please go to Don Smith Photography website for more information.