Muir Beach Overlook

The French Have an Old Saying…

I spent yesterday hanging out around Mount Tamalpais, Muir Woods, Muir Beach, and the Muir Beach Overlook. I was shooting my very first 360º hyper lapse1 and some time-lapse of the sunset. Regrettably, the sunset was a total bust because the marine layer was so thick. But, I had a couple of unexpected and interesting encounters.

First, below is the hyper lapse of my walk through Muir Woods. It’s different. I think I would have preferred a video that was simply sped up. But, this is interesting. The hyper lapse reduces a 30 minute walk to about 2 minutes. Be sure to use your cursor (Apparently iOS devices can not see it in 360º If you prefer to view it on YouTube, go to this link.) to look around in 360º space.


An older couple was walking the coastal trail at Muir Beach Overlook. As it turns out, they own one of the few homes (there in Muir Beach) that exists in a national park2. Their views of the ocean on one side and the headlands on the other are to die for! When they told me they lived, just the other side of the bluff, and that they were heading home after their afternoon walk, I responded, “Oh, so you live in one of those homes with stunning views–a home that will never go on the market.” The wife replied with a big smile, “Over our dead bodies.”

This picture (below) was shot with my phone a couple of weeks before, from the same spot we had this conversation. It gives a small glimpse of the commanding view they see every day. The photo doesn’t capture the jagged coastline below, which is stunningly gorgeous.

Muir Beach Overlook
They live just to the left of this point and get to enjoy this view everyday.

They were curious about the rig I was using: my BeastGrip with all 3 iPhones attached to it on a tripod shooting time-lapse video. I was talking them through what was going on. The husband responded, “So you must be a professional photographer.” “No.” I said. “I just love shooting photos and video.”

His wife then replied that the French have a saying, “C’est ton partenaire de danse” which means “It’s your dance partner.” The expression conveys that you have a love, a passion that brings you joy. That partner dances to the music of life with you becoming one of your true joys in life.

What a wonderful expression! Yes, shooting is definitely C’est ton partenaire de danse. They were delightful conversationalists.

Not long after that, with the less than blazing sunset as a backdrop, a young man came out and set up to fly his Phantom 4 drone. We were chatting, about 50 feet or so away from my camera rig. While we chatted, a middle-aged couple came up to my rig, and started fiddling with the iPhones, touching their screens, twisting the tripod around. I was shocked! Were they about to steal it?

I abruptly left my conversation with the quadcopter pilot and headed over to my rig speaking loudly enough to be heard by the people I was approaching, “Why are you messing with my equipment?” They stepped back, startled, as if they were young children who had been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. “Is this yours?” the woman replied with an awkward expression on her face.

This middle-aged couple from Iowa thought my rig was one of those telescopes that allowed you to see a great distance out to sea. They thought it was provided by the park and were trying to figure out how it worked. I had, in fact, seen the wife place her eye very close to the eyeball-sized nob of the tripod. She thought that’s where you looked out, and you used the displays to somehow adjust where you looked.

The BeastGrip 3 Phone Rig
She thought the adjustment nob (to which the arrow is pointing) was the eye piece and was attempting to look into/through it.

“We just don’t have anything like this in Iowa.” the husband stammered, followed by “Well, we don’t have anything like this in Iowa, either.” as he gestured to the gorgeous rocky cliffs being battered by the ocean below. Realizing they sincerely meant no harm, I chilled out, and we chatted for a while.

Of course, their moving the tripod head around completely wrecked the time-lapse, but I didn’t lose much–just a few minutes. And the sunset and lighting were a complete bust anyway. Thank goodness it wasn’t a breathtaking scene lost for eternity!

Below is a 360º video of my walking the path to the point (and back) seen in the sunset photo. However, it was shot on the evening these conversations took place and has a beautiful muted look because of the sun being hidden behind the marine layer along the horizon. Be sure to use your cursor (Apparently iOS devices can not see it in 360º If you prefer to view it on YouTube, go to this link.) to look around in 360º space.

  1. A hyper lapse is different from a time lapse. In a time lapse, the camera is stationery and the subject moves. In a hyper lapse, the camera is moving. 

  2. When the park was formed decades ago, those who had houses on this cliff were allowed to keep their property.