This past weekend we visited Point Lobos State Natural Reserve as a last minute excursion after a long day of driving and spending time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We arrived shortly before 6 PM and the park entrance attendant very matter-of-factly told us that we’d need to leave by 7 PM.
For better or worse, I’ve never really listened to authority figures in my life and just like to do my own thing. So of course I’m sarcastically thinking, “Yeah, sure, whatever you say,” at this point. We park and I have absolutely no intention of leaving at 7 PM, and certainly not BY 7 PM. 🙂 I’ve got my tripod and everything in tow and I’m intent upon taking some long exposure shots.
We start walking the flat trails and I stop to take a couple of shots (none of which come out that great; I’ll chalk it up as a learning experience)… but setting up a tripod and trying to do a long exposure shot takes time. I do a couple of tests, readjust for exposure, etc. and before you know it it’s 6:45 PM!
I end up taking as many photos as I can as quickly as I can on the off chance that I actually get kicked out of the park.
I pass China Cove which is roped off due to both erosion and the presence of nesting harbor seals. This was super disappointing. I could hear the seals barking like crazy but couldn’t see even ONE, even when I zoomed in at 300mm with my brand spankin’ new telephoto lens.
Yes… I splurged… I figured it’d be an injustice to visit a natural reserve AND the aquarium and not have the appropriate lens to document the experience.
So I’m literally running down the steps to get to the little inlet where literally hundreds of birds are flocking and making a ruckus.
I take photos until 6:55 PM, start running up the stairs, and encounter not one but TWO tiny rabbits. I was stoked! I like rabbits, and these were particularly cute ones. Coincidentally, I was born in the year of the rabbit (or cat, depending on where you’re from).
They’re barely fazed by my presence, but I was downright awestruck and as I hurriedly try to switch lenses, I lose my grip on my prime lens and I watch powerlessly as it falls nearly five feet and crashes to the ground, causing pieces of it to break off and roll away. It was a pretty horrible moment. 🙁
But I continue taking photos of this damn rabbit as my precious lens lies in pieces among sand and grit. Might as well, right?
When I eventually pick up my lens, to my surprise I discover that it was still intact. Hurray! Only non-functional parts broke off, and after collecting them I was able to snap them back on (sort of). It doesn’t look great, but hey– it works, and that’s all that matters to me.
When we end up returning to the car at 7:01 PM just in case, a ranger is at the car next to me and writing a ticket… I nonchalantly ask him for directions out of the park, and we promptly leave. 🙂 Lesson learned!