On the Windward Side of San Simeon Point

John Durant PhotographerThree frames of Kodak TMY 400

Inside the cove at San Simeon Point the wind is blocked by a headland planted with groves of eucalyptus and cypress. The ocean is calm and the air is still. Glassy waves rifle up the curved beach with tactical precision. Day to day business goes on at Hearst landing – parking cars,  gift shop, tourists – all the trappings of a destination beach.

The windward side is another story: huge waves explode, grinding the ophiolite mineral formations into glistening black sand. This is the way California looked before Hearst built his opulent castle, before newspapers, radio and movie careers. Before the shore-bound Portuguese whalers built the picturesque wharf, before the Americans or even the Spanish arrived. This is California the way the gods intended it to be seen: through the viewfinder of a good medium format camera.

I shot this sequence on Kodak TMY 400 a few minutes before sunset in November of 1995 on my way back to LA from San Francisco. The film’s high speed allowed for hand-held camera (no tripod) and a reasonable shutter speed.  My favorite photo in the sequence is C-43 (dead center). I just finished making three big prints of that negative (20×24). Which is your favorite?

About John Durant

Professional photographer in California
This entry was posted in American Photographic Artists, B&W negative film, California, Central Coast, color negatives, color transparencies, f/64, Film, Kodak T-Max, Kodak TMY, Kodak Tri-X, Photography, San Simeon, Vintage cameras. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On the Windward Side of San Simeon Point

  1. die Reinemachefrau says:

    I vote for C-43 (dead center) as well… The balance between the black sand and the white sea foam is nearly 50-50 – almost perfect! On C-42 you’ve got 58% sea foam, while C-44 the sea foam is at 100%. As in life, harmony is an essential part of beauty.

  2. nadieg says:

    I vote the center one too but if I had a creative choice I’d take all three together like you presented it. I love how it shows the movement and different stages of the waves, like in life. I think keeping them together as a series has more feeling and is just absolutely stunning. Good job!

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