Saturday Afternoon on the Pier

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.

Saturday Afternoon on the Pier

Saturnalia Sunset

One of my favorite times (of the entire year) for photography is after Christmas dinner. Life is slow and sedate, and it matched the placid(ish) rolls of the Gulf of Mexico perfectly. Even the shapes of people are soft and indistinct—an impressionist’s idea of a family playing in the waves. Spending the holidays in Florida has a certain appeal.

Saturnalia Sunset

Beachtime

How do you write about a boy playing on the beach in southern Brazil without resorting to cliché? I’ll have to tackle it, in any case. Summer is ending, weekends at the beach are numbered, and I wanted to make a weekend post just to show this photograph that so effectively conveys the feeling of being the last person at the beach. Even when it’s time to go home, we can still hope for one more wave.

Beachtime

Crashing California Cliffs

Not far from Muir Woods, the Pacific coast cliffs of California are a starker, steeper, and foggier place than I expected. The nearly sheer cliff face, the scraggly trees hanging on for dear life, and the weather- (and person-) beaten railings make the whole place feel mythical. The fog density hit just the right soupiness on this particular day; we could just barely see and hear the waves crashing on the rocks below.

Crashing California Cliffs

Sand Fortress IV

Another in my ongoing series of sand castle photographs (see I, II, and III), this shot comes from the gorgeous coast of southern Brazil. While everyone else is off playing in the surf, these two boys stayed behind on the beach to construct this complex of truly epic sand castles. (That sand castles are as wondrous and short-lived as childhood is perhaps too trite a metaphor for me to acknowledge in any way beyond the parenthetical.) I just love the universality of building sand castles on the beach–from the east coast to the west, and the from the northern hemisphere to the south, it’s a worldwide past time.

Sand Fortress IV

Pirate Island

As a child, I held on to the fantasy of discovering a secret island all my own–one stocked with secret forts and pirate treasure and relaxing fishing spots. During our trip to Brazil last fall, I was entranced by the rocky but just-the-right-sized islands off the coast of Florianopolis. If I could have only gotten out there, I know pirate treasure awaited me.

Pirate Island

Crashing Wave Path

Far along the beach, the Atlantic waves crash against Brazilian stone. The Sun has just dropped behind the horizon, and I’m standing on these steps beyond a strange little pseudo-bridge and this odd sculpture. To this day, I’m still not sure whether it’s functional, or purely decorative.

Crashing Wave Path

No Dark on the Beach

The beach at Costão do Santinho is as bright as day, 24/7. In the winter, it was eerily empty (save for a few roaming packs of wild dogs, later on…) I’d like to imagine that the warmer weather brings all-night volleyball tournaments.

Either way, the mist-capped waves, black rocks, and bright bits of algae make the lonely beach even more alien.

No Dark on the Beach