Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer | Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California

October 17, 2015  •  9 Comments

  Drake's Beach at Point Reyes, CaliforniaDrake's Beach at Point Reyes, California I was happy anywhere I could see the ocean.”  Ai Yazawa, Japanese Author

Point Reyes Drake's Beach Golden Hour 2 panoPoint Reyes Drake's Beach Golden Hour 2 pano


Driving about an hour north from bustling San Francisco, we’re transported to largely uninhabited Point Reyes National Seashore. Here, at Point Reyes Peninsula, dramatic shoreline cliffs converge with crashing ocean waves.

< Drake's Beach, Evening Reflection, Nikon D800E 1/60 at f/16, ISO 250 

Point Reyes Limantour Beach GrassPoint Reyes Limantour Beach Grass

Located on the San Andreas earthquake fault line, the 71,000 acre national nature preserve is home to countless wildlife species, marine ecosystems and the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Point Reyes Kehoe Beach River to SeaPoint Reyes Kehoe Beach River to Sea

< Drake's Beach Golden Hour, Nikon D800E 1/15 at f/20, ISO 250

With photo opportunities galore, our first challenge was determining where to start and how to spend our limited time in this vast scenic park.  Intially, we visited the lighthouse and each of the beach areas.  With the exception of readily accessible Drake’s Beach, hiking was required to access the shoreline areas.  Thus, we saw few other people along the highly photogenic shoreline - a huge expanse of sandy beaches separated by steep, impassible cliffs.    Point Reyes Tomales Point CliffsPoint Reyes Tomales Point Cliffs

< Limantour Beach at Dawn, Nikon D800E, 1/50 at f/18, ISO 400

Roint Reyes Tomales Bay Sunrise 1 panoramicRoint Reyes Tomales Bay Sunrise 1 panoramic This being a January trip, we encountered fierce winds and bitter cold on our ridgeline hikes and a quick visit to the lighthouse. Our most tasking hike was on the exposed Tomales Point Trail, flanked by the ocean on one side and Tomales Bay on the other.  We had the peninsula pretty much to ourselves, encountering only one other hiking party and herds of Tule Elk during this six hour trek.


About three miles into the Tamales Point hike, we were rewarded with a truly spectacular view of the rugged coastline.  We made a mental note of our vista point, opting to shoot the scene on our return hike in the late afternoon light under less windy conditions. On our return hike, we were blessed with wonderful lighting, but no break in the wind.

< Kehoe Beach, River to Sea, Nikon D800E 1/20 at f/18, ISO 160

Our Bear Valley Trail hike to Mt. Wittenberg (1,407 feet) was also quite a challenge, given gusting winds and cold spitting rain. We started on this venture too late in the afternoon, making for a rushed hike and little time for serious photography. Still, the sights from the Bear Valley summit trail remain vivid in my mind’s eye, drawing me back for a return visit to Point Reyes.


A special thanks to my brother and fellow photographer, Brian Reinkensmeyer, for his great company on yet another unforgettable photo trek.   We’re both grateful for times like these, out in nature with cameras in hand. 

< Tamales Point Trail View, Nikon D800E, 1/160 at f/16, ISO 320 

Related posts:  Impending Coastal Storm: California Landscape Photography; Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii; and Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography

< Tomales Bay, First Light, Nikon D800E 

1/25 at f/22, ISO 500

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer


Truly awesome pics you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love it!!!
Once again you have captured the beauty of the amazing things to see on this beautiful planet. Looking forward to your next photo email. Keep up the great work!
Brain Reinkensmeyer(non-registered)
Great trip, that sunset at Drakes beach was a very memorable night. One of our top five photo experiences along with the Golden Gate Bridge sunset a few nights latter.
What lovely ways to connect with nature. I would think people in offices would want these to help balance their environment!
We are looking forward to your exhibit in Flagstaff.
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Mom - You and Dad are still my biggest supporters. Thanks much for your note and encouragement, always. Marcus
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