At this point, I might as well start a series called "Adventures with Conner." I've basically become his personal photographer, but I'm cool with that. This time we decided to roll up Highway 1 after getting off work to try and grab some astro/climbing shots on the coast. Conditions weren't ideal, but they rarely ever are. The moon was pretty bright which I figured wouldn't be great for stars but would also mean I could use the moonlight to light up the coast with some longer exposures. We set off just after sunset and after grabbing some dinner we were off to the races. The plan was to go up to Fisk Mill Cove where Conner wanted to solo Peg Leg (5.9) on Sentinel Rock. On the way up we decided to take a pit-stop at Dry Creek, so that Conner could solo a short route called Sand Bagger (5.7) with a pretty epic backdrop. We got there about 10pm. The hike down was steep but the views were amazing. I set up the camera and took some test shots to see what different exposures and compositions would look like and once I got it all dialed in it was time for Conner to climb. On his first few attempts he couldn't seem to get the feet right at the start so he would do a few moves up and come back down. It's hard to tell from the photo, but once he makes a move off the ground he is immediately looking down at a 50ft+ drop to the boulders below... so I was in no mood to rush him up the route just for a photo. If we would have bailed or if he chose not to climb, that would have been perfectly OK with me... the scene alone was amazing... warm enough to be hanging out in the t-shirt. But of course he didn't bail and we ended up with some pretty incredible shots. The hike out was a thigh burner, but it was worth every bit of pain to get an image like this.
The second stop for the night was Fisk Mill Cove. We got there about midnight and made our way down to Sentinel Rock, maneuvering through fallen trees on the trail and navigating the boulder field on the beach. Once we got settled, the idea was that Conner would climb Peg Leg once on lead and then stash a rope, harness, and belay device at the top so that once he was finished with the solo he could just rappel off since the route doesn't go to the top of the cliff. He began the climb, and a couple bolts up realized that a portion of the route was pretty wet, which would make a free solo attempt quite a bit more dangerous for him even though he can climb 5.9 in his sleep. So we decide that since we already got a cool climbing shot we should just take some test shots so that we knew what it would look like on a future attempt once the route dried out. Once again, Mother Nature was telling us not to get greedy. Even though the second climb didn't go down, I was super excited to be out playing with my camera on a beautiful night. I was so stoked to be learning about my camera and getting some fun images. By the time the night on the beach wrapped up, I was wrecked.... so sleepy and physically tired from lugging gear up and down trails and up and over boulders. By the time I got home the sun was just peaking over the horizon. I maybe got an hour of sleep before my girlfriend's alarm went off for her to get up for work... and I was so excited to look at the images I couldn't go back to sleep after that. I was basically a zombie the whole day, but it was worth every second and I would've done it again the following night given the chance. Life is too short to not partake in the occasional all nighter chasing adventure up and down the coast.