Wandering the Magical Carmel Coast

Carmel River Beach - LifeForcePhotos.com - LA Photographer Christine Murphy
As usual, whenever I go photo hunting, I am up very early to beat the sunrise and I’m off to find the perfect spot to photograph. But in Carmel it is a bit easier to roll out of bed before sunrise because there’s at least one nice spot of civilization that is open even at dawn.
So I make my first stop at the Carmel Bakery and Coffee Company on Ocean Avenue for a morning cup of java and a pastry. Delish! It is a lovely way to wake up amidst a sleeping town. I commune with the other early risers in line who are ready for their early morning stroll or run along the beach.  We say our ‘good mornings’ and then I’m off to find a sunrise shot, bundled up with coffee in hand.  I can’t imagine a better feeling!
Usually, I have figured out in advance where my first stop will be and the route I will take to get there. In my mind, I have a number of stops planned along the way. I may have to spend some time in each place to look about and, yet at times, if I stay in one place too long, I can miss the shot where I ultimately want to end up. It can be a precarious situation with so many lovely distractions along the way. A few times I went searching in another location, realizing later, I should have just stayed put. My motto: When the time comes, make the decision and then follow through with no regrets. That is the rule I finally made for myself and one I TRY to make stick.
My first stop is Carmel River Beach where the river flows into the ocean. Next to it lies the Carmel River Lagoon and Wetlands Natural Reserve. It is an incredible bird sanctuary which is not too far away  from where the Carmel River empties into the ocean.
This shot is the beginning of sunrise at Carmel River Beach. The top photo is also part of this sunrise and it’s changing mood as the sun rises higher and higher in the sky.Carmel River beach -LifeForcePhotos.com - LA Photographer Christine MurphyBelow hundreds of birds sprawl upon the beach in masses, laying cozily together as if to greet the sun. This is the shot of them resting on the beach.

Carmel River Beach

Later, I find these different birds playing in the sun and surf below. I’m uncertain what kind of birds these are — so if you know, let me know in the Comments section below. (thanks!)  Birds on the beach - LifeForcePhotos.com - LA Photogtapher Christine Murphy

One morning as the fog started to lift my brother joined me for an ocean front walk. The morning mist and angle of the sun brought the shaddows out in this photograph to create an unusual look.
Brother on the beach - LifeForcePhotos.com - LA Photographer Christine Murphy

Brother on the beach

These succulent beach flowers are abundant all along the shore drive. I have many of these photos because they are filled with design and color. They have such personality too. I took this photo one early morning near the beach.

Beach Flowers-LifeForcePhotos.com-LA Photographer - Christine Murphy

Beach Flowers

I drive further, feeling out the sun, beach and sky until I find another favorite place right off of Highway 1.  It is time to take position. What is the perfect spot for that rising sun?  I find it at Monastery Beach and position myself for the first light as it touches the ocean waves and makes them glow in white light.
Monastery Beach is a special place. The mountains lay on the other side of the beach –and if you spin around and look up you will see the beautiful Carmelito Monastery that sits atop a mountain. The Carmellite Sisters-by-the-Sea are a community of contemplative and cloistered nuns that have given their vows to religious service.
Seal - LifeForcePhotos.com - LA Photographer Christine Murphy
When the sunrise peaks out, it touches the gleaming waves imbues the sky with a  blue-pink sky that stretches along the horizon. One morning I was looking out to sea for a shot when I had the feeling I was being watched. Sure enough, a seal was floating not too far away. We watched each other for a good 30 minutes. I think he was as interested in me as I was in him. What a darling friendly face with his sweet eyelashes flapping. I could swear he was flirting.
I like to walk along the beach and discover what goes on there. I find this piece of seaweed lying on the sand. The design of water, sand and the seaweed painted a picture to me.
Seaweed and Sand - LifeForcePhotos.com - Christine Murphy

Seaweed and Sand

I come upon a morning moon scene. Pink infused the sky as I peeked through the pines at small islands of white rocks and the full moon still in the sky from the night before. I think this will be a ‘lucky shot” – the one a photographer looks for. It has the feel of a Japanese painting and for a moment I feel like I am in a distant land. I tried to photograph this same full moon on the beach the night before but I couldn’t seem to get it right. This however, is stunning scenery, don’t you think?
Pink Moon - LifeForcePhotos.com- LA Photographer - Christine Murphy

Pink Moon –

I also came upon these birds. How sweet they were!

Once 10 a.m. rolls around, the sun is shining hard and strong and it’s time for an awesome breakfast at one of two of my favorite places. Do I want a view?  If so, there is the amazing Rocky Point Restaurant which I go to a lot. Or ….do I want the best Crab Eggs Benedict you ever had!!!
Kate’s place! That is where I head this time anyway!

Stay tuned for more Carmel-by-the-Sea adventures!
www.lifeforcephotos.wordpress.com has more photos of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

I hope you’re following us on Facebook (link: http://www.facebook.com/whilewanderingbook) and please check out my photo website at www.lifeforcephotos.com

Christine Murphy

Christine Murphy

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17 thoughts on “Wandering the Magical Carmel Coast

  1. As usual, I love your photographs, Christine! Knowing as well as I do, they do reflect your richness and depth and sense of aesthetics. Makes me want to visit! Love, Tanii

  2. My daughter Catherine Weaver sent me here. Gorgeous. I spent large parts of my childhood here. I think the birds you asked to have identified are sandpipers.

    • Thank you Jane. I am so glad Catherine forwarded you my blog of Carmel and I am glad you enjoyed it. That is so awesome you grew up there! That would have been very special. I can only imagine. I love going and exploring so much of the wildlife. That is funny you said sandpipers. Now I feel foolish as I know I knew that!!! Thanks again and I have a few more of these Carmel blogs coming I hope you will read.
      Best to you.
      Christine Murphy

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