Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Sunset at Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve (part of the California State Parks System) is one of the best places in central California to enjoy the Pacific coast. This rocky shoreline features great vistas and wildlife including otters, sea lions and seals, and tons of birds. There have been two downsides:Being only a few miles south of the tourist mecca of Carmel it can be quite crowded, and closing time has always been way before sunset – at one of the best places in the state to watch the sun set over the Pacific.

This summer the park system fixed one of those problems, and in doing so reduced the other. The change is that the park now closes 30 minutes after sunset. (This may change after the peak tourist season, so contact the park to make sure that this policy is still in effect before visiting.) Yesterday I went there to photograph the evening light – the park listed sunset as 7:15 so I was able to stay until nearly 7:45.

It was a nearly completely calm evening, with low surf and almost no wind. The “golden hour” light was beautiful, occasionally illuminating wispy clouds of fog.


Dusk, Point Lobos State Reserve. Monterey Peninsula, California. September 15, 2007. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell.

Surprisingly, there was almost no one in the park at this most beautiful time of day – quite a contrast with a typical weekend during the day, when the park can be so full that all the parking spaces are taken and cars are queued up at the entrance waiting to get in. There seemed to be a small number of people waiting for the sunset, but most of them left around 7:15 as the sun dropped below the horizon. Extraordinary light continued, and perhaps even improved, for another 20 minutes or so – but I don’t think that there could have been more than a dozen people left by then.

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September 16, 2007 - Posted by | News, Places

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