Wintertime can be fickle along the Big Sur Coast. Mountains right next to the shore means it can rain heavy and often. When I lived in the Bay Area, I would try to time my trips by driving through the storms and arriving as it was clearing. The result would be great light and/or incredible swells. For the photo junkies, I used a shutter speed long enough to blur the spray but still short enough to keep the rest of the ocean sharp (1/15 second) and set the exposure manually so the white spray wouldn't fool the meter.