Pescadero and Pomponio: Beaches of the Left Coast

Hang a soft left onto Moody Road. Twist up and over the gold plated hills through Los Trancos until the tiny stretch of asphalt turns to a road called Alpine; which cuts through Lahonda down to San Gregorio where the highway ends at the doorstep of the Pacific. A right turn will bring you up to Half Moon Bay and beyond to the circus of San Francisco.  Pull a Louie and you’ll be heading south along Highway 1 until finally you hit the legendary esoteric home-base of hippieism: Big Sur.

I photographed there and it was as they say; breathlessly gorgeous with color and light so pure that it would make an orangutan purr. Yes, I’ve been to Big Sur. Yes, I like Big Sur. No, this is not a story about Big Sur.

Big Sur, on Kodak Ektar 100 with the Nikon F3 and 85mm F/1.4

Instead, I choose to tell you about the two smaller jewels you will find somewhere along that disgustingly beautiful coastline between Big Sur and San Francisco.

Pomponio and Pescadero

Pomponio is a California State Beach with no real population aside from the religiously frequent hoard of fisherman and clammers who patrol the yellow gray shores each morning. Pescadero, on the other hand, is slowly but surely eroding in to a tourist Mecca for those, like me, who attempt to distance themselves from the over saturated coastal hotspots. Ironic really, the very intentions we have for escaping the other bustling touristy epicenters in the end become the vehicle for spreading them further. They call that a ‘paradox’.

During my time on the coast I made photographs using almost every instrument of photographic destruction I own: full frame DSLR, full frame mirrorless, full frame 35mm….I mean…135 format film, 6×7 medium format film and of course…of course I had my big boy: the 4×5 view camera which still receives curious looks of wonderment even when deplyed on such hallowed pictorial ground.

My baby, the estimable Bronica GS-1 6×7.
F3 Nikon loaded for bear with Rollei IR 400 Infrared Film
The Zone VI 4×5 doing it’s thing.

And by God hallowed ground it is. This stretch of coast has been the photographic haunt of Weston, Adams, Cunningham and Van Dyke among others. There are big ghosts here, loud ghosts. In a way, a part of me will remain there, too.

Photos from the Edge

So, with no further gilding the proverbial lily I have curated a selection of photographs made of the misty shores of Pomponio and Pescadero, California.

Low Tide and Cliffs-Pomponio on Ilford Pan-F Plus 50, Bronica GS-1 6×7 with Zenzanon 100mm F/3.5 PG
Early Morning Crabbers, Early Morning Fishermen-Pomponio on Ilford Pan-F Plus 50, Bronica GS-1 6×7 with Zenzanon 100mm F/3.5 PG
The Gull of Pescadero-Pescadero on Ilford Ortho Plus,Z one VI 4×5 with Schneider 135mm f/5.6 Symmar-S
The Breakers- Pescadero on Ilford Pan-F Plus 50, Bronica GS-1 6×7 with Zenzanon 100mm F/3.5 PG
Low Tide Crabber- Pomponio on Ilford Pan-F Plus 50, Bronica GS-1 6×7 with Zenzanon 100mm F/3.5 PG
Pomponio on Artisa EDU Ultra 100, Zone VI 4×5 with Schneider 135mm f/5.6 Symmar-S
Late Evening Surf-Pescadero on Ilford Ortho Plus, Zone VI 4×5 with Schneider 135mm f/5.6 Symmar-S
The Fisherman of Pomponio-Ponponio with Sony A7R MK1 and Helios 44-2
Beach House-Pescadero on Kodak Ektar 100, Bronica GS-1 6×7 with Zenzanon 100mm F/3.5 PG
Kelp and Mussels-Pomponio on Kodak Ektar 100, Bronica GS-1 6×7 with Zenzanon 100mm F/3.5 PG
Early Morning Fisher-Pomponio on Kodak Ektar 100, Bronica GS-1 6×7 with Zenzanon 100mm F/3.5 PG
A Great Escape with Sony A7R and Nikkor 70-300mm F/4-5.6 G
The Walker-Pomponio with Sony A7R MK1 and Helios 44-2

 

 

 

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