As I drove up Highway 1 for Kylie and Kevin's engagement shoot, I was so captivated by the stormy clouds I was seeing over the ocean that I pulled over multiple times to take photos – something I almost never do, as I'm not really much into shooting landscapes.
As it was, the storm followed me from Santa Cruz all the way up to Gray Whale Cove State Beach in Montara, California. I met Kylie and Kevin in the parking lot around 6pm, with ominous gray clouds building overhead. I told them it was unlikely we'd get to see any kind of sunset, but we were really doing this for the practice above all else. So we wasted no time and ran across the street to the ocean side of the highway to grab a couple shots and check out the view.
Since the parking lot is a couple hundred feet above the beach, we decided to spend a few minutes exploring the trees around the bluff. The sun decided to peek out for a few minutes, so we took advantage.
We started down the stairs, and of course I had to find a couple places for the couple to snuggle along the way (they didn't complain).
At the bottom, at beach-level, we found some running water coming from the cliffs that formed a creek of sorts – the source was questionable, but I was more interested in reflection possibilities than drinking it. After a couple shots, I had Kylie and Kevin sit on a log bisecting the "creek" – at this point the errant drops overhead turned into full-on rain, accompanied by flashes of lightning and rolling thunder. I had them give me the obligatory hands-out-I-can't-believe-it's-raining-in-september-pose.
Walking onto the beach, we were starting to get pretty soaked. I looked at this adventurous couple, and I was like "you guys good?" and they laughed and were totally open to continuing. Mind you, the sky is erupting in huge thunderclaps that seemed to roll on for 1/2 a minute. Lightning was flashing uncomfortably close, and all the beachgoers had rushed off the beach, leaving us alone. Next up, a couple panoramic silhouette-style shots against the ocean backdrop.
With Kylie's hair getting slick-wet, I figured we could dial up the romance factor a bit. "Pick her up!!"
I could tell Kylie was getting a little cold, so I had them hold hands and RUN!
Having a pretty good feeling I'd gotten a good variety of shots, and not being particular eager to attract lightning bolts with my (now very wet) big, metal cameras – we called it a wrap and set off back to our cars.
...and yes, I stopped off on the side of the road on the way home to take (gasp!) a sunset photo...