Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Morro Rock

with 48 comments


Within an hour of leaving the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery in San Simeon on November 3, we arrived at our Morro Bay hotel. It was close to the coast, so when I awoke early the next morning and saw some color in the sky, I hurriedly walked the few blocks to the water in hopes of recording the famous Morro Rock at sunrise. I think this was the only time in my life I’ve done back-to-back sunset and sunrise pictures.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 14, 2016 at 4:56 AM

48 Responses

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  1. No wonder Homer said “rose-fingered dawn”.


    December 14, 2016 at 5:03 AM

    • I like your Classical reference. I haven’t thought of that epithet in years. I wonder if the sea beyond Morro Rock looked wine-dark.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2016 at 7:02 AM

      • I read “Iliad” this year. Must admit – for the first time from cover to cover. I counted all the epithets of the sea, more than 20. None of them was “blue” 🙂


        December 14, 2016 at 7:46 AM

        • When I started college, the first book assigned in the required Humanities course was The Iliad (Richmond Lattimore’s translation). I imagine the ancient Greeks who lived by the sea became much more attuned to its nuances than could be caught by as simple a description as blue.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 14, 2016 at 8:25 AM

  2. Just when I think you couldn’t possibly outdo yourself, you outdo yourself. I didn’t think anything could be better than the leafless aspen. Then, I thought nothing could be better than Cathedral Rock. Now, I’m thinking nothing could be better than this. The colors, the rock, the reflections, the ripples: it’s perfect.


    December 14, 2016 at 6:30 AM

    • I’m afraid I’ll be pushing my luck after the trifecta you’ve mentioned. I see some pink in the sky outside my window in Austin as I write this, but it’s not the same.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2016 at 7:06 AM

  3. This is the absolute best photograph of Morro Rock I’ve ever seen. Great job Steve!

    David W Moll

    December 14, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    • Thanks, David. I’d passed by Morro Rock two or three times in earlier decades without spending any time there. It’s a good thing we stayed the night so we could explore a bit in the morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2016 at 7:40 AM

  4. What a perfect place to meditate…


    December 14, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    • I didn’t notice anyone meditating there, Sally, but you could have if you’d gone there in the quiet of the early morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2016 at 8:50 AM

  5. Thanks, Steve, not only for this one but for all the other fantastic sights in this series!


    December 14, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    • You’re welcome. I still haven’t come back down to earth from this trip. Plenty more pictures from it will be coming along, easily extending into 2017.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2016 at 11:15 AM

      • You just gave me one of the few reasons to be looking forward to 2017: let these pictures come!


        December 14, 2016 at 11:25 AM

        • Thanks for the kind words.

          Yet be of good cheer:
          The forthcoming year
          Will allay your fear.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 14, 2016 at 11:33 AM

          • Great quotation. Let’s keep our hope up.


            December 14, 2016 at 11:36 AM

  6. You’ve made my heart leap up with this one. How I love this rock 🙂


    December 14, 2016 at 11:10 AM

  7. Great rock and even greater background. What a great lot of color you captured. Great shot. Great, great, great. I hope too many greats don’t grate you.

    Steve Gingold

    December 14, 2016 at 5:48 PM

  8. That’s a much more impressive photo of the rock than mine! You definitely had better weather along the PCH.


    December 14, 2016 at 6:10 PM

    • I did there, but not in some other places that we visited. On a long trip a traveler inevitably encounters some stints of bad weather.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 14, 2016 at 6:16 PM

  9. […] November 4th, a couple of hours after I’d looked across the inlet toward the sunrise colors around Morro Rock, we checked out of our hotel and drove over to go walking around the base of the rock, as plenty of […]

  10. “Sunsets are so beautiful that it almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of heaven” – John Lubbock
    This picture certainly did show me what heaven looks like. Magnificent colors, and magnificent portrayal of the water itself.


    December 15, 2016 at 2:46 PM

    • Thanks for your appreciation of this sunrise image. Had I set out a few minutes later or walked not so quickly I’d have missed it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2016 at 3:30 PM

      • By, the way, I tracked down the relevant paragraph from John Lubbock’s The Use of Life. You’ll notice that the wording found on some websites doesn’t quite match the original:

        “There is yet a light,” says Ruskin,” which the eye invariably seeks with a deeper feeling of the beautiful, — the light of the declining or breaking day, and the flecks of scarlet clouds burning like watchfires in the green sky of the horizon.” The colours of the sky seem to lighten up the earth, and “the orange stain on the edge of yonder western peak reflects the sunset of a thousand years.” Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the Gates of Heaven.


        Steve Schwartzman

        December 15, 2016 at 3:41 PM

  11. The reflection and colors are just gorgeous


    December 17, 2016 at 8:58 AM

  12. Love this Steve .. 😃 the colours and reflection are special


    December 17, 2016 at 12:48 PM

  13. Superb subtle colours in this classic shot. Such a shame that the WP reader ‘refreshed for 2017’ by the geeks in WP now crops portrait mode images by taking a slice out of the centre of the image thus decapitating the rock.


    December 21, 2016 at 2:19 AM

    • I’ve almost never used the WordPress reader, but I took a look just now and I see what you mean about the decapitation and depeditation of vertical images. I agree with you that changes aren’t always for the better. I still prefer WordPress’s old editor to the “improved” one.

      In any case, I’m happy that you like this early morning view of Morro Rock.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 21, 2016 at 3:40 AM

  14. […] wispy clouds above Morro Rock in California on the morning of November 4th, 2016, appealed to […]

  15. Wow great picture. My first time seeing it we just drove through. Would love to stop and visit the area.


    December 29, 2017 at 8:58 AM

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