Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Monster Waves in the Pacific.....

Wave Action Pacifica Pier
....hammer the California Coast! On December 11th and 12th a High Surf Advisory was issued for the California coast with waves recorded as high as 42 feet in the Pacific. Record rains pummeled Oregon and Washington causing mud slides and flooding. On Friday December 11th I traveled to Surfers Beach near Half Moon Bay to record the action at a 5.9 foot high tide. Construction work has been on-going at Surfers Beach to address the major erosion issue near highway 1.  

Surfer Beach 12/11/15
Although the action at Surfers Beach was exciting I heard reports that the surf was off the charts in Pacifica California. I was disappointed I had chosen Surfers Beach for my photo shoot when I heard the news of Pacifica. Since the best action is at high tide I had missed the window for Pacifica.  As luck would have it the High Surf Advisory continued into the next day 12/12/15 and I headed for Pacifica at high tide!

As soon as I arrived near the Pacifica Pier I knew I was in for a treat as many of the side streets leading to the pier were closed due to flooding. I had in tow 4 cameras, a Canon 7D2 with a 10-22 wide angle lens, an Olympus E-3 with a 50-200 zoom lens, a Canon 7D with a 400 prime lens and a Panasonic video camera, not to mention my IPhone 5 smart phone. Some of my past King Tide photos have been taken during King Tides in Pacifica and I have been drenched before in the excitement of shooting and being blindsided by a wave. I've sort of come to expect a drenching in these endeavors, kind of like taking a bullet for the team!

A Single Frame from the Animated GIF
I started filming with the video camera and got a 6 minute clip of the wave action pummeling the pier and surrounding streets. The video gets more exciting at the 3 minute mark and beyond! I then started shooting with the still cameras and thought I was in a fairly safe spot after observing the wave action for awhile. The animated GIF above tells what happened next, I was totally blindsided by the biggest wave of all. I was so absorbed in the action I did not perceive the enormity of the wave about to crash on to me. I guess being oblivious to my surrounding enabled me to continue shooting and catch the entire wave frame by frame until it blanketed me......wahoo!
There was much excitement in the area, everybody was enjoying the display and you could hear owes and awes as another spectacular wave crashed ashore! I shot enough frames of a young girl having a grand time dancing and Moon Walking to the surf undulations to create the animated GIF.

Young Girl Moon Walking to the Surf
High Surf Excitement 

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