HEAVENLY FALLS ~ Big Sur, California
As a landscape photographer, my goal is creating images that go beyond a generic view of a location, but instead captures its truest essence…an authentic, emotional moment in time. Big Sur is one of the most majestic places on the planet and McWay Falls is quintessential California coastline. The 80-foot waterfall cascades onto a pristine beach below, one of only eight waterfalls in the United States that flow directly into the ocean. Despite calling California home for most of my life, I had never been able to nail a shot that I loved of this classic destination. This time around I opted for a portrait orientation and chose my composition carefully to include as much of the sky as possible while keeping the cove as the main subject. I set up my tripod and began firing off exposures as the sun began to set towards the horizon. The cliffs lit up with gorgeous golden hues and the waters of the Pacific never looked more beautiful. As day turned into night, I took another series of long exposures of the star-filled sky. Pushing my camera to its limits, I was finally able to capture McWay Falls in all its brilliance.
ARTIST STATEMENT: As though by a magnet, I’ve always felt the world pulling me, luring me to explore its mysteries and wonder. For a long time, I put my dreams on hold. Then one day in my practice as a radiologist, I met a patient whose journey would forever change my outlook.
In the Fall of 2006, a man came to me with a nagging discomfort in his chest. At 38 years old, he was so young that I thought surely it must be something benign or otherwise inconsequential. In a matter of a few short hours, his CT scan revealed that he was suffering from terminal lung cancer. His story is a reminder to us all that each day must be viewed as a very special gift.
I’ve witnessed hundreds of patients whose lives have been abruptly changed by a life-altering or life-ending diagnosis. At times we may convince ourselves that we are immortal, and that cancer or some other catastrophe only affects others, but we have no guarantees in this life. Time is too short to get lost in a blur of days, weeks, and months.
And so, I began to think more seriously about all those overseas adventures waiting for me, and soon enough, I grabbed my camera and voyaged to all 7 continents. I’ve observed Tibetan monks in prayer, hiked up the Virunga mountains of Rwanda to marvel at the Silverback gorillas in their natural habitat, and watched Bengal tigers cool off in a shallow lake to escape India’s searing heat.
I’ve met people, young and old, who have lived amazing yet ordinary lives. Along the way, I’ve spent several decades honing my craft as a portrait photographer. Whether I’m making candid images of women immersed in prayer in Abu Dhabi or portraits of television actors in my Venice Beach studio, I’ve continuously sought to capture life’s fragility and beauty.
There are no rewinds in life, so find the time to discover your inspiration, explore the extraordinary, create the unimaginable, and then leave nothing on the table.
~ Harv Greenberg, M.D.