Big Sur in Black & White

Big Sur CA

We traveled to Carmel & Big Sur at the end of April for our joint 30th birthday celebration, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I began going through the photos of the Big Sur portion of the trip. There’s plenty to share in the coming days – our horseback riding adventure, the hiking, a few tasty meals, and lots more – but I started to feel a tad bit overwhelmed as I kept going through our many (many) photos. So rather than diving right in with the Big Sur posts, I thought I’d warm up, so to speak, by sharing a few black & white images of this spectacularly beautiful area.

To be honest, I actually prefer some of the black and white versions of the images to their color counterparts – something that rarely happens with my travel or landscape imagery. I realized that this slight change of preference on my part might have had something to do with the fact that these black and white photos are simply different than the ones I’ve grown accustomed to seeing as I scroll through blogs or Instagram images of the same area.

The feeling first hit me as we were looking out over McWay Falls – a view I see on Instagram at least weekly – that what I was experiencing in person (with harsh mid-morning light overhead, mind you) was not nearly as perfect as the image I’d had in mind. It was beautiful, of course, but after years of seeing an impeccably lit McWay Falls on a screen, I almost felt let down. Michael, on the other hand, doesn’t follow as many of the same travel-centric accounts as me, and had an entirely different experience. His was one of awe. Mine was one of oh.

I had the same feeling just one other time that week – at a location I’d venture to guess is Big Sur’s second most popular landmark on Instagram – Bixby Bridge. Every other scene we experienced, both in Carmel and along the Big Sur coast mesmerized me, and we’ll always remember the trip as one of our favorites, but when recounting the experience to friends once we were home, they asked me if I would stop following these travel accounts so that the same thing does not happen on our next trip. The thought had crossed my mind, but I’m torn, because as the planner of our trips, social media has become one of my go-to sources for mapping out our itineraries. Even our own Instagram account can be guilty of contributing to the (over)-exposure of some of these sights and locations. I guess I don’t really have an answer yet – it’ll be a process of trial and error, until I can hopefully find the balance between research and oversaturation, famous landmarks and places off the beaten path, perfect light or a slightly different perspective.

Big Sur Coast

The Road to Big Sur

McWay Falls Trail Big Sur

McWay Falls

Big Sur Hikes

Big Sur Pfieffer State Park

Big Sur Mountains

Julia Pfieffer State Park Big Sur

Big Sur

One thought on “Big Sur in Black & White

  1. I totally get this. I always tell John not to show me photos of the places we’re going, because my experience is heavily shaped (usually negatively) if I’m not “experiencing” wherever for the first time in person, almost as if it doesn’t seem real. On the other hand, he thinks this is totally bizarre and wants to look at as many photos as possible in advance! Worried about this for our trip to the Southwest next summer, where the views are already kind of fake-seeming! (Grand Canyon!!)

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