Photograph by Max Vuong

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Along the cliffs of coastal San Diego is home to the Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana), the rarest pine species in the United States. Endangered, it only grows in San Diego County and on one of the Channel Islands, endemic to the coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion in California. Ages of coastal winds, sun and rain combine to produce this rhythmic landscape.

I originally intended to shoot this with the sun still in frame but after studying this area I saw the best conditions at dusk. The array of colors in the sand strengthened as it saturated in the pink cool skies and the layers in the soil danced as the low light gave them lively depth. Another benefit to shooting at twilight is that I could shoot at a slower speed letting the colors marinate.

Erosion and human foot traffic literally change this landscape week to week and on this particular night I can say I saw something no one else ever will. It’s such a humbling and wonderful thing to experience.

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