Keyhole Rock, Pfeifer Beach, California

Keyhole Rock, Pfeifer Beach, California
Keyhole Rock, Pfeifer Beach, California has an opening in the massive rock which sits in the ocean. It has a mystical orange glow streaming through the opening in Big Sur, California. This is a natural phenomenon. This phenomenon only occurs during a few weeks of every year. It occurs when the sun sets in the right corner. The tide must be at the appropriate height. There also needs to be a clear sky on the horizon. It is the setting that sun catches the wave’s reflection in a certain manner. The beam of orange light only lasts for five minutes. This is just before the sun finally sets. The light was created by the sun. It is the reflection of the light from the water onto the arch’s inner wall that creates this beautiful orange glow that streams through the opening in the rock.

The almost supernatural light in Keyhole Arch in Pfeiffer Beach, California, acts as a magnet to professional and amateur photographers from all over the world. They want desperately to capture the stunning brilliance. Wendy M. Seagren was among the lucky ones who waded into the water to get the perfect shot of the light. She positioned her tripod on a small rock and waited. She hoped the waves would not knock her over along with her camera gear. “It was all worth it”. The arch is a natural formation and measures about 20ft by 20ft. The special beam of light only lasts for about five minutes before the sun finally sets. Its brevity means that photographers are forced to jostle for position on the beach to get the correct angle – approximately 35 degrees.

This was my first and only try at photographing the beautiful sunbeams coming through the opening in the rock.  I got lucky.  For more information about Pfeifer State Beach and the surrounding area go to

Order Keyhole Rock Pfeifer Beach California

  • Other sizes are available upon request. Please contact Wendy M. Seagren
  • Each print is hand signed by the artist, Wendy M. Seagren.
  • The temporary rights for usage of a photo is available for purchase. Contact Wendy M. Seagren.