Tag Archives: beach people

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.


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.

surfing madonna

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.

chasing bubbles

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.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Between the Lines

Open an book and you will find words on a page…but there is so much more to reading than decoding words on a page.  There is meaning behind the words, under the words, and between the words.  We often refer to reading between the lines, the act of interacting with text–both inferring and bringing our own experiences and understandings to the texts we read.

And while photos are not made of words, they too can be read.  We can do a literal reading of an image or read between the lines.  Playing with this idea this week–here are some of my examples of reading between the lines.

In a literal sense of the phrase, I found myself playing around with looking through the spaces in the steep stairs at Swami’s beach.  You can see the lines of the wooden planks going in different directions, and looking between them you can also catch a glimpse of the sea, the sky, and even a person down below.


Last weekend out near the Oceanside pier, I played around with capturing the sun between the lines of the pilings, railings, and deck of the pier. As the sun set, it flirted in a game of hide and seek between silhouetted lines.


I love the storytelling element of the idea of between the lines.  I have my own version of street photography that I call #beachpeople.  As my attention was drawn to this couple having wedding photos taken near the pier, I found myself imagining the narrative that went with the wedding dress, the bouquet, the bare feet, and the football.  (And I loved capturing the couple “between the lines” of the pier structure…with the beautiful lighting provided by the setting sun!)


I was also drawn to some more traditional lines…like these of the classic neighborhood sign in Encinitas.  Because a street fair was going on and the streets were closed to traffic, I was able to walk into the street and approach the sign from a different angle than I usually am able to.  I am also fascinated by the lines of the tree branches intersecting with the lines of the street sign.


I noticed all the products hanging from lines at the street fair.  These bags are not only hanging from lines, they are also made of lines–intersecting, crossing, weaving here and there.  And what is between them? The lives of the makers?  Do they reap the fruits of their labor?


And the unexpected often lies between the lines.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to look up at the telephone wires and find shoes hanging from their shoestrings.  But when I looked up this time, I saw birdhouses hanging from the wires!  What is the story of the birdhouses? What narrative lives between these lines?


Then, sometimes lines are not lines at all.  Instead they are wings, clouds, waves, and cliffs; the lines of the seascape that are both familiar and new each time I see them.


So your challenge this week is play around with the idea of between the lines.  You can be literal and find lines to capture with your lens, or interpret something you see between the lines of your photo.

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #betweenthelines for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

So grab your camera and start reading between the lines!  What will you find when you are thinking through your lens?

Fall’s Nighttime Beach

As the season shifts from summer to fall

nighttime begins to stretch, lengthening shadows

and shortening the day

Light plays hide and seek with the sun and clouds

painting with colors only nature knows

seagulls in the blue light

seagull in soft light

The photographer frames the bride in the glow

of the setting sun

and she turns, and smiles washed in the soft warmth of the sinking sun

sunset bride

and the dog frolics, running the gauntlet of kelp

through the rivulets of salty water as the low tide starts to rise again

sunset dog

At the edge of nighttime, light creates silhouettes

shadowy outlines framed by light

a bicyclist

sunset bicycle

a seagull

seagull silhouette

As I head for home, the lights come on

darkness is near

stone steps lights

Those who play at the beach into the night

build their bonfires

and settle in

to enjoy

fall’s nighttime beach

sunset bonfire


Beach Humanity

There is something magical about the beach.  Ears filled with the roar of waves, the backbeat of rocks rattling as they tumble against each other in the surf, the distinctive whistles of the sandpipers, and the urgent calls of the seagulls as they oversee the beach.  Blues, greens, turquoise, and greys fill my eyes as they mix with the bright white of the foamy waves crashing. And there is the pervasive energy of play…beachside games of catch, pickup jumprope with kelp as the rope, surfers and boogie boarders, swimmers and waders, sand castle builders, mud throwers, walkers, runners, bike riders–I could go on forever!

Summer on the southern California coast teems with humanity.  Every square inch of sand seems to be claimed by an umbrella, beach chair, towel or shovel.  But I’m reminded that as September arrived, the mornings and nights belong to the locals.

Last night we made an impromptu trip to the beach, arriving in the afterglow of the sunset. The tide was low, bonfires already glowing, exercisers still working up a sweat in the cooler (but not yet chilly) evening temperatures.  A light mist had rolled in along the shore, a relief to the record-setting highs we have been experiencing.

I was playing with angles with my camera last night.  And noticed this child dragging kelp…I love the way that the beach provides its own toy chest.

kid with kelp

You can see the emptiness…and the beauty of the evening beach in this shot of my hubby walking on the slant and reflected in the wet sand.

night walk on the slant

As we walked back up toward the parking lot, this little girl was attracting a crowd as she lifted bubbles from her bucket.  In spite of the darkness, you can still see the colors in the bubble…and the littler children mesmerized as they watched the giant bubble float.

night bubble

This morning, with forecasted hot weather–even on the coast–and a busy schedule for the day, we headed back to the beach early…arriving shortly after 7am.  While the crowds hadn’t arrived yet, there were plenty of people enjoying the beach.

I noticed this man playing with his dog in the surf.  The dog joyfully chased the disk and returned it to the man each time he threw it, asking for one more time.

man with dog

I was even able to catch the dog in action as he ran in my direction, seeming to show me the great catch he had just made!

running dog

I noticed this mom playing with her baby in the surf.  The baby would kick his feet each time the mom lifted him up and then tipped his toes into the water.

mom with baby

As I walked on I noticed this little boy with two surfboards.  As I looked out into the waves I noticed a man (his dad) heading in to collect his board so they could head back out into the waves.  The beach is definitely a place for families.

boy with two surfboards

Towards the end of my walk I saw this guy fishing.  The water was warm this morning (more than 70 degrees) so the fisherman was comfortable in trunks as he cast his line.


There were others I wasn’t able to document with my lens, but noticed as I walked.  Couples walking with their coffee, the cute older couple with matching sun hats, exercise walkers with earbuds, runners staying above the waterline to keep their shoes dry, a father and daughter stretching before heading out with their boards, the older woman in her bikini, tennis shoes, and sun hat out for a walk, someone meditating with crossed legs and fingers touching…

One of my favorites things about the beach and the humanity that inhabits it, is that each person finds his or her own way of interacting with it.  You can wear a bathing suit, a wetsuit, shorts, jeans…or even a wedding dress.  Shoes are optional and are often seen in pockets, hanging over shoulders, or held in the hand.  You can sit, stand, lay, run, walk, jump, dance, catch, throw, search, dig, build, chase…the options are endless.

I have quite a collection of images of #beachpeople this summer as I’ve noticed and studied the humanity I find on the beach.  And what I know for sure is that most of them seem to come to the beach for fun, for pleasure, to escape the heat, the stresses of work…it is a place filled with play and playfulness.  Adults playing with children, adults playing with other adults…enjoying the water and sand with the joy many often leave behind with childhood.

The beach is a magical place.