Photographing the Oceano Sand Dunes Near Pismo Beach

1212_PSA_Big Sur_0289-Edit

The Oceano sand dunes have been a destination for photographers for many years.  Edward Weston and Ansel Adams were two of the first great photographers to recognize the beauty of this area.  The dunes are part of a CA State Park that includes an area for hiking and walking and another one for driving off-road vehicles.  Here is what you might see.

This blog is more of a travel guide than technical suggestions for photographing dunes.  If you want our suggestions for photographing sand dunes, please see our popular blog on the subject.

Every photographer "needs" a red Jeep
Every photographer “needs” a red Jeep

One fun thing about the Oceano area is you can drive your car on the beach and right up to the dunes.  We recommend that you drive along the beach and park just south of the  Arroyo Grande river crossing.  Walk east away from the beach over the tall dunes and grass and shrubs to see the dune field.  Our assumption was that there was not much wind recently and the dunes were full of foot prints.  Make sure to explore and walk around, but be aware of where you are stepping.  The safest thing to do is follow in someone else’s foot prints.

Here is the mess you might see upon arival
Here is the mess you might see upon arrival

Some suggestions from us:

Photograph the sand up-close

1212_MFA_Big Sur_202-Edit

Look for natural abstracts

1212_MFA_Big Sur_197-Edit

Think in black and white

1212_PSA_Big Sur_0476-Edit

Look for interesting shadows

1212_PSA_Big Sur_0286-Edit

Use the sky

1212_MFA_Big Sur_193-Edit
1212_PSA_Big Sur_0303-Edit

 To see more of our photographs, please go to

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s