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Prefumo Canyon Vista Point

I’m a big fan of vista points, and this unmarked spot on Prefumo Canyon Rd surprised me with its gorgeous view of rolling hills and mountain ranges.

If you want a place to take pictures near San Luis Obispo or the Madonna Inn, this is the best spot as it’s just a 20 min drive from town. Much closer than Carrizo Plains National Monument, where I went the day after this shoot.

One Shot Wonder

I’m calling this location a One Shot Wonder, although I got quite a few shots here. Still, it’s really just one 360° view, not a spot to spend an afternoon at.

I’m going to classify more locations this way so people get a sense for when it’s a quickie versus a longer experience.

There’s a little pull-off that allows for about three cars, where we parked and got out.

The Nine Sisters

Looking north, you see the rolling hills, and beyond in the distance, the rocky crags of the Nine Sisters.

The Nine Sisters were formed out of volcanic plugs of magma, hence their craggy, unusual look. If you want to learn more and identify them – check this map out.

For this image, I wanted to capture the road winding through because I liked the way it broke up the green. I did kind of wish it wound its way back through the foreground but no luck there.

Prefumo canyon vista

Exposure
1/200s ƒ/2.8 @ ISO 200
Focal Length
20.786mm
Camera
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Date & Time
April 10, 2017, 8:15 pm

The Grass Is Greener

You’ve probably noticed the lush green of the hills in these pictures, so I gotta mention that this was after an epic rainy season in California.

It’s rare for these hills to be this green, other than right after the rains. In midsummer, it’s likely you get a lot of brown hills instead.

What amazed me was how the contrast between the green hills and the rocky ranges behind really accentuated all the colors.

It’s a good spot to pull out the old iPhone for a panorama to catch more of the Nine Sisters in one shot.

Prefumo Canyon Panorama with Nine Sisters

Exposure
1/900s ƒ/2.2 @ ISO 100
Focal Length
4.15mm
Camera
iPhone SE
Date & Time
April 10, 2017, 7:17 pm

Morro Rock

If you climb the little hill on the opposite side of the road from where you parked, you can see Morro Rock in the distance. It’s one of the sisters that’s off the coast in Morro Bay.

I like the way this image splits into three layers, the purplish twilight hues in the distance, the dense green in the middle ground and the bright grass broken by rock in the foreground.

Morro from Prefumo Canyon Overlook

Exposure
1/500s ƒ/4 @ ISO 1000
Focal Length
29.365mm
Camera
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Date & Time
April 10, 2017, 8:29 pm

As the evening grew darker, I took one last shot with the moon in the distance. To the left of the image you can see some of SLO at the foot of the mountains.

I took all these shots with either my point and shoot, the Canon G7x Mark II [AM] or the iPhone [WHICH]. Having a lightweight backup camera is an excellent option for when you just want to jump out of your car and take a few shots.

If this had been a several hour experience, I’d have pulled out the DSLR, but I think I got some good shots with the simpler rig.

Prefumo Canyon Photo Spot

Exposure
1/500s ƒ/4 @ ISO 1000
Focal Length
18.138mm
Camera
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Date & Time
April 10, 2017, 8:31 pm

Prefumo Canyon Vista Point

This is definitely a great spot to check out if you are in the area. Be aware that the hills may not be as green all year round and that sunset brings the best colors out of the scenery.

Shoot me a comment if you have any questions before visiting Prefumo Canyon Vista.

This post has affiliate links. If you use the links, you don’t pay anything extra but Sidecar Photo gets money for another glass of wine!

The Nitty Gritty

What to ExpectA little vista point atop a hill with a couple of parking spots. Beautiful almost 360° view.
When to Visit
This is a One Shot Wonder so really if you happen to be in the area and want to catch a sunset somewhere.

This spot is better when the hills are green, light is golden and visibility is good.
Versatile GearA point and shoot works great here
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
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But if you want some really long exposures, use your DSLR with a wide angle lens.
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
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Useful AccessoriesA polarizer will bring out the most detail and color out of the grass and sky
Hoya HD circular polarizer
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This post has affiliate links. If you use the links, you don’t pay anything extra but Sidecar Photo gets money for another glass of wine!

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Shimona Carvalho
Photographer, Engineer, Traveler who wants to help you take incredible photographs on your next trip.
24hr
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kid-friendly
nature
one shot wonder
panorama
phone-friendly
shoot-friendly
ultra-wide