Big Sur – Rocky Creek Bridge (California)

The specifics of the Big Sur coastal drive is you drive along the coast and see something interesting, so you stop to take a couple of shots and, in five to ten minutes, you continue on your way.

But, for the featured shot, I had to work. When you shoot from the road, the Rocky Creek Bridge is almost entirely shielded by the coastal cliffs. I wanted to include the bridge in my composition.

I had to climb down along the cliff’s edge through the dense and sharp bushes. And even from the very tip of the cliff, I could not capture the entire bridge.

But I had fun, and it was worth it.

Big Sur – Rocky Creek Bridge (California)
California. Big Sur
Loc: 36.379474, -121.902504

The Rocky Creek Bridge is an iconic landmark in Big Sur, one of the most scenic drives in California. It arches over a canyon with a river below and offers stunning coastal views.

The Rocky Creek Bridge was built in 1932 and is one of the oldest bridges in Big Sur. It was the tallest and longest single-span concrete bridge in the world when it was constructed.

And it is a beautiful example of human engineering that does not clash with the natural beauty of the California coast.

The bridge is one of the most photographed bridges in Big Sur and is a popular spot for tourists.

I prefer visiting the coastal area of California near Rocky Creek Bridge during the winter months. It offers fewer crowds and much more vibrant colors of the landscapes.

The view of Rocky Creek Bridge in Big Sur is one of the best places in the USA for landscape photography.


The only challenge with the shooting was that I did not have enough room to set up my tripod. I had to shoot in a monopod mode keeping the tripod legs together.

Editing & Processing

It was a single RAW processing workflow.

Lightroom (85%)

First, I used the Crop Overlay tool to straighten the horizon. I also made the composition tighter by cropping out the rocks in the foreground and the sky.

Next, I used the standard Lightroom Rapid Editing workflow.

I started with Shark Cove preset from my Landscape  Collection.  Then I used TOOLKIT to open up the shadows in the foreground and boost the Contrast.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Shark Cove (9,12, 16, 20, 32)

Photoshop (15%)

First, I boosted the contrast and vibrance; in the end, I enhanced the details and reduced noise.
Plugins: DeNoise (noise reduction), Topaz Detail (local contrast boost).

Total Time: 12min

Before & After Transformation

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

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