Since I had seen images of the Calla Lilies in this little gully I had wanted to see it for myself and to photograph this spot. So, in mid-March this year I drove for 6 hours throughout the night to be at this well-known Big Sur location for sunrise.
The lilies only bloom for a limited time and I had already heard that that it was near the end of the bloom. So when I arrived at location in complete darkness, checked out that I was at the right spot and wandered down a narrow path avoiding all the poison ivy around I was initially very pleased to have no other one person around. The whole place for myself!!
However, when I was looking for a nice composition, I noticed that a lot of plants had been bent, trampled down and were just in a very sad state. Since the roads had been very wet and previous days had been windy, I wasn't sure if the plants were just shredded by the strong winds, rushing stream in the gully or through human activity.
Carefully wondering around with my tripod, trying not to slip and break off even more plants, I found this one composition which I am very happy with. I mounted my brand new 11-24mm super wide angle lens and captured this at 11mm! It was the only composition that provided a nice looking flower arrangement.
I stayed throughout the whole day around Big Sur to also shoot the location at sunset, but when I came back in the afternoon the whole place was like a zoo. There were masses of people around: photographers jostling for positions, heaps of people posing selfies in front of the flowers, families with kids and dogs running around pretty much carelessly and it was no longer a surprise to me that the whole plants and vegetation were in the sad state. I watched for about 15 minutes without ever taking my gear out, walked back to the car and started the 6hr drive home before sunset arrived.
There have been a lot of discussions in the past how some of the spots have become so popular and overcrowded and maybe what impact we have as photographers showing off these locations (to the public). I have been thinking a lot about this issue and if we as photographers should ‘share’ every place or just keep some secret – I haven’t come to a conclusion.