Spending an afternoon on the pier in Pacifica, CA is as good a time as any. Crab fishing has its varied sets of tools and techniques, but the experience to me has been about more than that. Cooking on a portable hibachi and getting crusty with salt spray is the real core of the process.
Of all the plant phyla, I’ve always felt a particular affinity for the conifers. Those spiny softwood survivors have a diverse yet particular set of aromatic compounds that accompany them; I can chart a lot of happy memories to pine or cypress groves and their applied organic chemistry. Starting on the east coast, through the midwest, and finding myself in grad school on the west coast meant contact with a lot of different species. These ocean-wind-sculpted examples from Pacifica, California are particularly dramatic.
Looking back on some of my earliest shots of the California coastline this evening: Light-leaked soft blues and golds are the colors. Is the soundtrack the jangle of surf music guitars or just the crashing of waves?
California coastline is so much bumpier and more dramatic than the eastern locations I grew up with. Can you spot the two tiny people on the left cliff, overlooking the water? Nothing like a couple of tiny people to provide a sense of scale.
This object is not made from wood. (Though the far-off tree in the background is…)
This is is the top of what was once an anchor. Oxidation has transformed iron(0) metal into acres of iron(II) and iron(III) oxides of odd morphology.
Coastlines are so common in stretches of California that they are just a bit mundane. The subdivisions and mid-twentieth-century houses along the shore just don’t seem exotic or strange enough for a “special” place. Seeing a picture like this one makes mid-80s synths play in my head.
This little canyon ends at the beach, and its miniature stream flows back and forth with the tides. On this particular evening, it was starting to rain as the sun set through the clouds. The beach was abandoned, and whole scene felt post-apocalyptic.