Highway 1, Sonoma County, Heading South — Addendum

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California / Inspiration / Landscape / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes


It’s True Confession time.

On Monday, April 1, I put up the original post of this shot, with the rather cryptic commentary: California Highway 1 is one of the most beautiful — and thrilling — roads in the world. I also said that there was no editing in Photoshop.

I received a fair number of comments complimenting me on the shot and agreeing that it is a spectacular road. I should have felt great. I didn’t. I felt a bit like a fraud.

It was intended to be an April Fools joke, but nobody called me on it.

It started like this: in 2013, a friend joined us for a weekend on the Sonoma coast. She had never driven that stretch of Highway 1 before and she found it more than just a little unsettling. There are parts where if looks for a moment like you’ll go right off the edge before a curve saves your life by appearing at the last second. It goes on like this for miles. For the uninitiated it does wonders for the digestion.

I made a number of tries to get a shot of that perspective but was unable to due to lack of turnouts for parking and the risk of getting flattened or run off the cliff by a truck. So, in 2014 I go the best shot I could and Photoshopped it the rest of the way as a gag for my friend. There are two versions. A subtle one, as above and in the original post on April 1, and this not-so-subtle one. Maybe I should have posted it instead:


Here’s the original shot:


And so, as the late Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

(Sony RX100. RAW processing in DxO Pro; Lots of editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at www.amagaphoto.com All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


  1. Frank Riemer says

    The original did indeed look as if it just dropped off. Unsettling and odd for sure, but not impossible.

    I would have needed the down arrow sign with “splash” symbols added to get your intended communication. It was too “dry” otherwise. (Back at you.)


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that your more creative effort would mean a lot of laughs for the many who drive that stretch. The skid marks and the splash sign are awesome. The original gave me a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach and I doubt it is a road I’d be comfortable driving as a new experience. Even the actual road would be a little unsettling, especially for this guy who likes driving dirt roads through the woods.
    I think it was a great April Fool’s joke.


    • Thanks, Steve. I do wish I’d posted the other one. The road is quite a thrill. For someone who doesn’t know it, it is challenging to drive, especially because the views are spectacular, so the driver is tempted to gawk. Fortunately the are lots of turnouts — just not near one of the “holy crap I’m going to fly right off the edge” spots.


    • Thanks, Paula. It does dip down sharply in places. Just not THAT sharply! If you Google “California Highway 1” or “Pacific Coast Highway” you’ll get an idea of the views. Sonoma County is north of San Francisco. The views on the Big Sur coast, which is probably what you’re going to find on Google, are even more spectacular.


  3. I’ve cringed in the car many times as my husband drove us along this road but as a non-local don’t know every curve or dip specifically. I think you did a great job of giving the impression of what really happens on the road Michael. Cudos on the joke!


  4. Wish I’d seen this April 1. Wonder if I’d have gotten the joke, but since no one else did, I probably wouldn’t have either. For me, it’s the road sign that makes the photo, either with or without the splash marks. Fun.


  5. Pingback: AMAGA Blog — Just a Year Ago Today – AMAGA Photography Blog

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