This is a journal of images by California photographer Skip Moss. The places, people, and events caught through my lens. Photographs of the Central Coast and mountains of California, the landscapes of the Western U.S. and travels abroad.
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Limited edition archival prints are available of the images through or contact me at
All images © 2013 and beyond, Skip Moss.


December Swell Energizes the Central Coast.

The past few days were dominated by a large Pacific Ocean swell that slammed the Central Coast.
I was able to spend two mornings on the beaches from Cambria to Point Piedras Blancas.
Whether it's the movement of the water or simply the excitement of something unusual,  days like this re-energize all of us. We all gather at the edge of the continent and watch nature do her best.

Storm surge at San Simeon Pier

Fishing, really?

No kayak rentals today. San Simeon State Beach

Highway 1. They are in the process of moving the road inland.

These rocks are about 75 to 100 feet high.

Saturday morning, Moonstone Beach.

Shorebreak, Moonstone Beach.

Cambria Coast


Hiking the Southern Big Sur Coastline

 Just a couple of miles from the Pacific lies a little hidden gem hike along the Southern Big Sur coast. After the first few storms of Fall, redwoods, coast live oaks, tanbark oaks, big leaf maples, ferns, lady bugs all come alive. I just wish I could share the smell of redwood duff and crushed bay leaves underfoot, and the sound of jays and hawks and friends enjoying a gorgeous day.
Enjoy, and share if you want.

Imagine the smell and sound of Bay Laurel leaves under your feet,
Through tunnels of Tan Bark Oaks,

Past peeling Manzanita,

Ladybugs hatching on decaying Big Leaf Maple leaves,

and along downed trees.

Coast Redwoods grow in the deep shadows for centuries.

A perfect campsite.

A spot of sunlight finds the canyon floor.

The stories this table has heard.

Young shoots sprout next to their ancient family.
Reaching for the sunlight.
The ideal end to a good day.


Eastern Sierra Fall Colors and the Full Moon Eclipse Attempt

Late September and a trip to the Eastern Sierra for the Fall colors and the overhyped super eclipse moon was a great reason to go.
So where do you go for the ultimate eclipse? Mono Lake, South Tufa, along with forty or so other crazy photographers. We pointed our lenses, and there were some really big lenses, in the exact direction the Ephemeris app on our phones told us to. We waited. The guy who flew in from Ohio, the couple who just drove six and a half hours from San Francisco, the man and wife with telescope lenses too big to lift, two women from the Bay Area, two from Santa Cruz, one from Europe, thirty others. We waited.
The darkening clouds obscured the moonrise, but the sunset in the West was so brilliant that everyone turned away and shot the color.
The sun set, we waited. Many packed it in, the big lenses left, Ohio left, it was just down to four or six of us.
The moon showed up a bit, still covered, but deep red and big.
A newlywed couple in their early twenties showed up at full darkness. In their broken Chinese English they approached me to shoot the moon with their camera. I had a Nikon, they had a Nikon, we were best friends. Handing me their brand new D800  in the dark I reset all the settings, placed it on a rock, and set the timer, they got the shot of the night. I can now say I have good friends in Beijing. My results were less memorable.
Needless to say the experience was worth the time and effort and we all had some good laughs.
Fall colors were spectacular, and we were treated to an ultimate evening alpenglow session at Glacier Point in Yosemite two days later.
Enjoy the images, they will open larger if you click on them.

Virginia Lakes

Upper Rock Creek
Looking for the Super Eclipse you take your chances

Hoping for something better

Waiting with the big lenses, it should be over there

A sunset will be the next best thing 

South Tufa, Mono Lake

And everyone packs it in

Supermoon eclipse with a landscape lens

Above Mammoth

Night sky and camp

Mammoth Crest

This is real color from Glacier Point

Alpenglow, Glacier Point

Highway 41, east of the Temblor range

Ranch Gate, Parker Creek, above Mono Lake.


August in the Eastern Sierra

Almost a year to the day without feeding the road trip bug I managed a four day venture into the Eastern Sierra mountains to a few of our favorite haunts. Four unplanned months have passed without any aerobic activity, the longest stretch I have known. To say that the mountains are rejuvenating is far too understated.
A friend reminded me that Edward Abbey and John Muir had it right, going to the mountains is like going home. Snow flurries, a great thunder and lightning storm, brisk winds, bright sunshine and the beauty of the high places made me physically and mentally whole again.
California is three years into a severe drought. I expected to find normally wet areas dry and dusty. The Sierra has received a very large amount of rain this summer, consequently many of the lakes and streams are hanging on. Levels are at record lows, but not what I expected. Flowers are in bloom, plants are green, and trails are dampened.
I unknowingly captured images of wet places, of storms and streams. "Atmospheric" a friend has said. It was perfect.

All of these images open for a larger view.

Light filters through storm clouds and smoke, Mammoth Lakes.

Evening along the Sierra Crest

The Western Shore of Mono Lake.

Early August Snowstorm, Virginia Lakes Basin.

Sunrise in the Pines, Mammoth Lakes area.

Evening Burst above the Minarets.

It's nice to be here.

30 feet below normal levels, Lake Sabrina.
Almost Empty, Horseshoe Lake, Mammoth Basin.
Normally below water level, these rock structures expose what once was.

Bridge No. 4800049

Evening Quiet along Bishop Creek.

Trout are thriving under the banks.

Oils from underground? Sunscreen? Soaps?

Unnamed Lake below Virginia Lakes Pass

Blue Lake

Mack Lake, Rock Creek.

Just off the well worn trail, a perfect swimming hole.

Roadside Aspens, Sabrina Basin.

Once again I managed to find the first Fall color in August.

lives on the Central Coast of California. These photographs are an attempt to share the story of a place, a person, a moment as it happens. Sit back, take a deep breath, and spend some time enjoying the images.