Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Point Reyes National Seashore is north of San Francisco, about a one and one-half hour drive.  The best time of year to visit is either Spring or Fall.  The Summers tend to be foggy.  The weather In Spring and Fall is very, very variable.  Spring tends to be rainy, and fall tends to be clearer, but storms are always possible.

Subjects to photograph include: seascapes, weather, wildlife (birds and Tule Elk), Point Reyes Lighthouse, sunsets, and migrating birds.  The best times of day to photograph landscapes include twilight through sunrise, sunset through nautical twilight.  All day is the best time for seascapes, cliff faces, and wildlife.  If it is a clear night, try star trails late evening and if it is foggy, try landscapes of the Lighthouse.

Specific Locations include:

Drakes Estero – Birds and Sunrise;

Lighthouse – Landscapes, Lighthouse interiors, migrating whales (in winter);

Abbott’s Lagoon – Birds;

McClure’s Beach – Surf, Tide Pools, Tule Elk, Sunsets;

Chimney Rock – wildflowers in spring (lots and lots of them); and

Lifesaving Station – Near Chimney Rock and close to a sea lion colony

Here are some tips to consider:

1)      Photography can be held back by the weather, but the beginning or the end of a storm can be spectacular.  Waves of 10 ft. or more are common.  Early in the morning, look for dewy plants and/or spider webs.

2)      In mid-day, think black and white compositions.

3)      Always stop at the Visitor Center for news and tips from the Rangers.

4)      Purchase a Trails Guidebook and hike a trail, you will not see many people.  The Rangers can be a big help with the best locations to hike or with wildlife sightings.

5)      Nearby locations that are worthwhile looking at are Bolinas Lagoon (shorebirds), the Golden Gate Recreation Area and the Marin County Watershed Area (waterfalls after a rain).

6)      There are lots of places to eat in Point Reyes Station.  I get coffee and breakfast at the Bovine Bakery plus lunch from the Cowgirl Creamery, both to go.  If it’s lousy weather, the Pine Cone Diner is not to be missed.  If you like oysters, try any of the oyster farms in the area.

The photographer Ken Thompson provided the details and images for Point Reyes National Seashore.

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