Considering the Clouds: A Feldgang

It wouldn’t be summer without taking some time to participate in a CLMOOC invitation.  And who could resist an opportunity to engage in a feldgang?  (Yeah, it’s not an everyday term for me either, as I understand it, it’s about paying attention to something you might not otherwise notice.)

Yesterday was the end of an intensive 14-day period of work for me.  When Geoff got home from work, we headed out for a quick dinner and what I hoped would be a view of the sunset at the beach…a mini celebration.  But it was evident, from quite a distance, that a huge wall of clouds would prevent the sunset I was hoping for.

But…the wall was extraordinary.  It was thick and defined.  Not that ordinary gray blanket that obscures the sun that we so often associate with the marine layer in these parts.  The cloud wall did impact the sun and the light…and created a game of peek-a-boo with the sun and the sentinel palm tree that stands guard over my favorite beach.

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The surf was more cooperative than the sky.  Surfers were enjoying the larger than usual waves, showing off their expertise as they whipped and glided and ducked through the barrels formed by the curve of water.  As I snapped photos of the surfers in action, I also noticed the way the clouds and sun above them filtered the light, and depending on the angle changed the color of the water.  With the sun over my shoulder, blues and turquoises peeked through.

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With the sun in my face, sepia tones appeared.  The creamy white of the churning waves creating texture that my eyes could feel.

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Knowing that as the sun dipped lower, the clouds would block the sun’s light, we decided to stay long enough for the sun to be covered by the clouds…but not until official sunset.  I watched and waited and the sun lingered longer than expected.  Time enough to take some more shots of that favorite palm tree.  Even the pelican was enjoying the sky.

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While I didn’t get my celebratory sunset, I did get a chance to study the wall of clouds and notice all the ways it interacted with the sea, sky, palm tree, and sun.

What will choose to explore for your feldgang?

Beach Time

Everyone loves the beach in the summer.  There’s the sun and the sand, the salty water and the cool ocean breezes.  Just the smell of sunscreen brings images of summertime at the beach to mind.  But there is more to the beach than a vacation destination.  For some of us regular beach goers, the beach is a year-round place made up of many different kinds of regulars.

The obvious, of course, are the surfers.  The most dedicated of them never miss a day.  Rain or shine, fog or sun, whether the waves are “crumbly” or “blown out,” they are always there. They come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and all skill levels.  They carry their boards on their heads, under their arms, or in specially designed carriers on their bikes.  It’s a hobby, a passion, a profession, or a combination of all of those.

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There are the walkers, the exercisers, the ones who see the beach as a wide open outdoor gym.  Barefoot or in tennis shoes, they range the lengths of the shore, clocking their mileage, checking their pace, using stones as hand weights or racing up and down the steep beach staircases to test their cardio capacities.

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And there are the artists, who see the beach as their canvas.  With rake or rocks or bubble wands, they find their inspiration in the gifts the sea has to offer.  They know her moods, her rhythms, her offerings.  And they acknowledge her power and presence.  They breathe in the brine and spill out their visions, making art for others to interact with, not just seeing it but feeling it in its raw beauty and playfulness.

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This art, designed to be fleeting, washed away by its inspiration, also inspires my art.  With my camera strapped around my neck, I work to capture those fleeting moments of surfers and exercisers and artists in pixels and prints. I make my mark as I write my world with the light and shadow I see through my lens.

The beach is my place and I am happy to share it with everyone.