California Central Coast with James Neihouse

The fog and mist of early morning mix with the sea spray along the coast and hang in the air until the first rays of sunlight scatter them like leaves before the wind. It’s easy to see why this stretch of California Coast is so magical, with the Santa Lucia Mountains rising right out of the Pacific creating an impossibly rugged coastline with an endless variety of enchanting headlands, arches, sea-stacks, and secluded beaches. For the seascape photographer this is truly paradise.

Our adventure will take us from Montana de Oro, south of Morro Bay to Salmon Creek Falls, just north of Ragged Point, and along the way we’ll be treated to some breathtaking seascapes. We may encounter Sea Otters around Morro Bay and Cambria, Elephant Seals at San Simeon, and maybe even some zebras (yes, I said zebras).

This workshop is about honing your photographic abilities, both aesthetically and technically. Of course we don’t have to limit ourselves to just beautiful seascapes, there will be opportunities to photograph wildlife, do a little macro work and possibly even some night sky imaging, it’s really up to you.

It is our feeling that photography is not just about making an amazing image, it’s about the artistic and physical journey to that image. We endeavor to create for you a dynamic, fun learning environment, surrounded by like minded creative people, while enjoying the beauty of nature and having a great time doing it.

The life of the sea otter

Story and photography by Frank Toller

These marine mammals live mostly on the North Pacific coast and typically weigh between 31 and 99 pounds. They are able to live their entire life in the water, in part because of a massive fur coat, the densest in the animal world. They feed on invertebrates such as sea urchins, clams, crab, and abalone as well as octopus and some species of fish. The otters will use rocks to scrape their prey and open shells, making them unique among marine mammals as tool users.

The sea otter population has risen from 1,000 to 2,000 years ago to 100,000 now. © Frank Toller

The sea otter population has risen from 1,000 to 2,000 years ago to 100,000 now. © Frank Toller

They can go onshore and occasionally will do so. The otters are very friendly and while taking these pictures on Jetty Road at Moss Landing, California [55 miles south of San Jose on the coast], I observed the animals allowing children to approach within six feet. The kids and pups seemed equally curious about each other. Continue reading