When I was a teenager, we lived on the seafront in Cowes. The road was a short distance in from the waterfront but a side street led down to the sea itself and you could walk along from there in either direction, either along to Egypt Point or in to the town center. The railings that stopped you falling in to the sea (if standing up was not something you could manage on your own) were mounted between a series of posts and, on one of these posts, there was a sculpture of a lion. Clearly weathering had taken a toll on this lion but repairs had been carried out over the years. When I was there last year, we took a walk along this same stretch and it was great to see this familiar old fella still guarding the shoreline.
The walk along the beach in Deception Pass State Park starts out in amongst a lot of people. The West Beach near the parking lot had a lot of people enjoying themselves while we were there. However, they didn’t want to go too far it seemed as, when we started walking along the shoreline towards the North Beach, we rapidly found ourselves a lot more isolated. There was the occasional person passing the other way but we were, for the most part, on our own. Standing on the shore and looking out across the water on a sunny afternoon was really relaxing.
Cannon Beach was quite a way north of where we were staying in Oregon. However, it was on our route home so we stopped off to wander along the sands for a bit prior to hunting down some lunch. We were not the only ones enjoying a sunny day on the beach but, given the expanse of sand available, there was plenty of space for everyone to spread out so it wasn’t crowded.
The huge flat sands were most impressive and the rocks that sit out in the water look very cool. It is hard to gauge their scale when they are out like that as they are so separated from the people that you don’t have enough of a reference to work with. It is safe to say that they are pretty big though. There was a bit of sea spray in the air which made everything take on a slightly more misty look when you were looking south towards the sun. Looking north this was a lot less apparent. I could see why a landscape photographer would come here to spend some time in the early and late hours.
We were walking along the shore in Pacific Grove when we saw a bunch of people on the dock that is part of the wall of the small harbor. It appeared that they were getting ready to jump in so we stopped to see if they were or not. Jumping into the Pacific in spring is hardly a polar bear plunge but it was still fun to see their reactions as they jumped in. I guess it was still pretty chilly.
Take a walk from English Camp on San Juan Island and you are quickly down by the water. One of the trails leads to a lovely little bay called Grandma’s Cove. I don’t know who Grandma was or even whose grandma she was. Why the cove was hers is a mystery to me too. However, she obviously had pretty good taste because it is an idyllic spot. Almost no one was there when I visited. Unfortunately, a couple of guys were down on the beach and were interested in making art in the sand. This disrupted my vision of the shots a touch but, when you are somewhere so lovely, it is hard to be upset about anything for long.
I’m sure this will look very formulaic to a number of photographers but, for the longest time, I have loved the image of a lone boat in the open sea. I think the first time I took a shot like this was on the Ribble Estuary in Lytham. That was on film of course. Now, even when I know it is not being terribly original, I can’t help myself but be drawn to an image like this. Maybe one day I will have the perfect shot but I doubt it.
The way the light bounces from the water, the shadow that the boat is in, the texture of the waves and the isolation of the boat in the expanse of the water all appeal to me. Hope you like it too.
If you have a nice Sunday morning with nothing planned, heading to Santa Cruz is worth it. The shore on the north side of the bay is a great place to hang out. Everything is so laid back. I guess people don’t go there if they are up tight. It always seems that everyone is having a nice time. That includes the regular contingent of surfers.
The conditions on our last visit were mixed for surfing. Occasionally a good swell would come ashore and everyone would jump on the opportunity. Most of the time things were calmer and the surfers would sit on their boards waiting patiently. There is a line close to the rocks that offers more but seems to be the territory of the more capable surfers.
To get pictures needs as much patience as the surfers have. Of course, it is Sunday morning so I am not in any hurry. I am happy to wait and see what happens. Every once in a while, someone comes in so close to the rocks that you don’t realize that they are there until they are past. In that case, you miss the shot and instead appreciate the skill.
It’s always fun to get a nice surprise while you were out. I was up at Sonoma Skypark with my friend Eric looking at a bunch of pictures he had taken. There is usually something buzzing around on a Saturday so, while the noise of an engine will cause us to look, we normally then return to what we are doing. However, the sound of this engine made us take a second look. It was a Hawker Sea Fury circling high above. This is a plane belonging to Walt Bowe and we watched him high above us. Eric said it was unlikely Walt would do a pass so we just watched casually.
However, as we watched, Walt’s path did look like he was turning in towards us. We paused a little so as not to look foolish but then it was clear he was dropping down towards the field. Fortunately, I had the camera on the table near me. Eric and I jumped up to get to the other side of the field where the light is better. We scurried across as gracefully as two old geezers can and we in position as Walt dropped into his pass. I guess he saw us as we got a great pass from him before he pulled up and continued on his way. Now I want to shoot this plane again but in a more planned way!
Returning from Mendocino County provided the option of driving along the coast heading south. The Pacific Coast Highway is a great choice if you have time on your hands and we did have. Therefore, we headed this way. The run down the coast is a combination of great views, long runs along the cliffs and the occasional area of twisting road around the inlets that occasionally cut into the shoreline. When the road is quiet it is a lot of fun. If you get stuck behind a bunch of RVs, it suddenly is a little less enjoyable.
We stopped a number of times en route to enjoy the view. One diversion out towards a lighthouse provided a lovely overlook of the shore including a bay below us that was full of sea lions. Despite the crashing waves, this area apparently provided a bit of shelter and the sea lions were seemingly taking it easy behind the protection of some rocky ledges.
There are lots of areas with large rocks slightly offshore. This reminded me a lot of the coast of Oregon (which, since we weren’t that far south, is probably not that surprising). Heading south we were looking into the sun so had some lovely reflections of the light off the water. Occasionally the edge of the road was very close to the top of the cliffs so you do have to stay focused as you drive along but it is a beautiful area on a sunny day. I imagine if a storm is rolling in from the ocean, it is also dramatic but a little less welcoming.
My mum’s birthday included a party on Spitbank Fort. This is one of Palmerston’s follies built out in the Solent not far from Portsmouth. The place has been restored in a great way and retains a lot of the character you would expect of a Victorian fort out on the water but with modern comforts as befits a hotel. I will spare you the family photos but here are a few shots to show you just what it is like out there. The service is great so, if you feel like spoiling yourself, check them out.