Skip to main content

Break On Through

"Break On Through" was taken by Wendy Wolf at California's Pfeiffer Beach. This photo was a winning selection in the Portraits of Planet Ocean Flickr contest.


Wendy Wolf

I took this shot at Pfeiffer Beach, my favorite beach in my home state of California. If you aren't familiar with it, it is a very secluded beach in Big Sur where we have some of the most spectacular scenery to be found. Up until somewhat recently, Pfeiffer Beach remained a fairly well kept "secret" of area locals. If you blink an eye, you will miss the entrance to the windy road that takes you from the hairpin curves of Highway 1 down to this very special place.

As is often the case, it was a very windy afternoon in autumn when I last visited Pfeiffer for the first time since I had moved away from the area. Sand was blowing every which way and I was afraid that it would damage my humble little camera. I was just getting my feet wet and trying to have some fun taking simple photos.

As the sun began dipping towards the horizon, a line of photographers quickly formed. They began setting up their tall tripods in the sand with their very large cameras and lenses, intent on getting that elusive perfect shot. As the sun began shining its spotlight through the portal, so began a small frenzy to try to capture this awesome sight. It may as well have been a Hollywood premiere or a press conference! Not wanting to get in anyone's shot, I tiptoed around here and there and managed to capture a handful of photos featuring various angles of that sensational golden light. This photo is the breathtaking result.

- Wendy Wolf

This photo submission is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History alongside those taken by photojournalist Brian Skerry in the exhibit Portraits of Planet Ocean. Want to see your photos in the museum? Submit them today! Submissions close on July 1, 2015. See a slideshow of other winners.