Shark Fin Cove – California Photography Location

Shark Fin Cove - California Photography Hot Spot - Pam Goodyer, Milky way location

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Shark Fin Cove – California Photography

Photography Hot Spot

Davenport California lies along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, situated about 9 miles north of Santa Cruz, on Highway One. Originally on the banks of San Vicente Creek, the town expanded to the north during the twentieth century. Shark Fin Cove is a hidden location without a sign to show its location that is right near our favorite hotel/restaurant Davenport Roadhouse Restaurant & Inn. 

The town is presently noted for the spectacular cliffs and bluffs above the Pacific, beaches in between cliffs, surfing opportunities, the cement plant run by Cemex (shuttered in January 2010), and the former headquarters of Odwalla, a company that makes fruit juices.

To get here leave the Davenport Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn, (grab some organic coffee here), leave the location and while facing the ocean make a left. Go down until you see a parking lot on the right-hand side. There is no sign, but this is where you park to hike down to Shark Fin Cove. It is not an easy hike, so be aware of that before you go. It’s under minutes, but it is very steep.

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Shark Fin Cover - Elkhorn

Just north of here you can photograph sea otters at play at The Moss Landing State Beach area. Be sure to enjoy our little friends but click next door here to make a donation to help make their lives better. You can read all about them by following the link.

sea otter

Sea Otter Nation

Jason Penn Browne – The Founder, has had a long-standing love for sea otters and felt a calling to more pro-actively assist in their recovery. He has had over twenty-five years of Public Accounting/CPA experience, as well as human resources development consulting.

Jason has sponsored and coordinated dozens of training programs and workshops on personal and organizational resources development. He has also authored several books and articles in this field.

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Photography Information

Lens: Generally this area is a wide angle lens location and a milky way location.

Gear List at a Glance: Circular polarizing filter, neutral density filters, tripod, shutter release, wide angle and zoom lens. CPL filters will help you to create dynamic images. We recommend never shooting outdoors without one. They will make your white puffy clouds whiter, take the silver glare off of waters and replace it with a beautiful reflection. You have moving waters at the location so you will want to have your neutral density filters with you to get the long exposure, milky water effect. It is a great spot for a 10 stop nd filter. See our ND filter page for more details if you need some additional information.

When to Go: Any time of year but the best time is during the new moon so you can also do milky way photography.

Camera Settings:

Manual Mode – To do your long exposure running, milky water shots at shark fin Cove, you have to use a tripod.  All of your settings will vary depending on the lighting and what neutral density filter you have. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or the lowest your camera will allow. Aperture is always f22. (It lets the least amount of light in). Your shutter speed will vary depending on the light. Take some test shots to decide on your shutter speed after you put your neutral density filter on. Roll the meter to the middle where the zero is.  (A filter is like sunglasses for your camera to stop light from coming in). Use your live view mode to focus to lock the mirror up and avoid any camera movement. Use your shutter release or your 2-second timer also to avoid camera movement. Voila. You now have your milky water exposure. You want at least a 2-second exposure for running water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. Go to our store to buy your ND filter. Get a 3.0 for super long exposure in the sunshine, an ND 1.2 and an ND8 for shorter exposures. If you can only afford to buy one, go with the 1.2.

See our How to Shoot Waterfall Photography Page for more details.

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We foud it to be the best place with the best rates and great service!

Hotel Information: 

Davenport Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn

Convenient Location:  Located just 10 minutes from Santa Cruz among organic farms, boutique vineyards, and state beaches and hiking trails, is the Davenport Roadhouse Restaurant & Inn.  Our Restaurant features produce from neighboring organic farms, a full bar, and outstanding wines.  Our Inn features ocean views, beds made to our specifications, locally made soaps and lotions, and cashmere-like robes made of soy and bamboo fibers. In a hurry? Visit our Café/Take Out bar serving locally roasted coffees, custom teas, and delicious sweet or savory baked goods made daily.

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Park and Area Information:

Entrance Fees: There are no entrance fees to the park. If you would like to visit the visitors center there is a $4.00 fee to enter.


food and dining photography magazine extra

Davenport Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn – See above in hotel info

We absolutely LOVE this place. It has many healthy meal options and the menu has icons for Vegetarian and Vegan meals and it offers Organic foods too!! We promote healthy living so this is on our top places to eat list.

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