In several places along the California coast (among many other areas) the sandstone rocks and cliffs are riddled with small holes, like little rounded pockets often evenly spaced. These strange formations, called tafoni (singular: tafone), are thought to be formed when structurally variable rock is subject to erosive forces such as salt weathering and long drying times interspersed by periods of wetness. They are typically found in coastal areas (often in sandstone), as well as arid and semi-arid deserts.

I found this nice collection of tafoni, filled with gem-like stones (either naturally, or more likely by curious beach goers), along the coast near Santa Cruz (thanks to my friend Ben Glatt for the tip).

click for larger view!

Pebbles in Tafoni, Santa Cruz

"Simple Treasures" ~ Santa Cruz, CA
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 45mm TSE, 12mm extension tube, tripod, water bottle
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 0.3 sec
Processing: This image is composed of a 2-shot panorama, with 3 focus settings blended with helicon focus and touched up by hand.
Notes: I used water to make the rocks wet to naturally enhance their vibrancy

Life has been super busy the last month, but I will try to share some more images from various trips soon!


4 Comments to “Simple Treasures : California Tafoni”

  1. Ron says:

    Well if Ben Glatt shared the location tip with you are you going to share a more precise location with us?

  2. Ron – I generally don’t share the precise locations of my images except with close friends (and workshop clients), and in this case I also want to respect Ben’s decision not to publish the precise location. I hope you understand. In all honesty, if you look at a map of the coast in the area around Santa Cruz you could probably make a pretty educated guess as to where it is based on the geology and names!

  3. Derrick says:

    Hi Floris, Lovely shot. I remember Ben’s shot well and when I was down that way looked for Tafoni filled with rocks and couldn’t find any! I was wondering why you shot this with 3 different focus settings? Using a T/S lens couldn’t you have just tilted the lens to increase the DOF – or was this not so because you were directly perpendicular to the subject?

  4. Floris says:

    Thanks Derrick! They are there 🙂 Even with the T/S lens sometimes it’s not possible to get everything in focus – the magnification here was pretty high, which was causing some trouble since there was a fair amount of depth to the ‘holes’.