2019 The American Landscape Contest Finalists

We received more than 1,700 submissions to our 2019 The American Landscape Photography Contest. The following slideshow displays our 25 finalist images, as well as the three winning shots!

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Purple Sands of Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California

Purple Sands of Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California

Photographer: John Hanou

Description: In March 2019, I participated in Don Smith’s Spring Big Sur photo workshop. Most of our travels took us anywhere from five to 40 miles south of Carmel, California. One of our stops was at Pfeiffer Beach and, for those that don’t know, John Pfeiffer grew potatoes in this area at the turn of the century. The land that’s now the Julia Pfeiffer Burns-Big Sur State Park was acquired from the Pfeiffers by the State of California in 1933. This shot was taken in the Los Padres National Forest Pfeiffer Beach Day Use Area just north of the park. The beach is primarily known for its iconic “Keyhole Arch,” one of the most photographed spots in California. For a few weeks each year, the sunset casts an unearthly glow through Keyhole Arch that’s absolutely breathtaking. The beach is also known for its spectacular rock formations, crashing waves, sunsets and purple/violet-colored sands. Please realize that not all of the beach sand is purple as it’s also interlaced with the typical tan-colored sands of California beaches. When I first saw the sand, I was mesmerized by the wonderful streaks of purple and tan sand that the ocean wave action was presenting my eye. This shot was taken at the north end of the beach, very close to Keyhole Arch, and it exceeded my expectations.

Gear & Settings: Nikon D800, Nikkor 28-300mm lens at 45mm, Manfrotto tripod and ballhead. Exposure: 2 sec., ƒ/29, ISO 100.

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