Weight of Summer, Premonition

Last Friday, a storm system brought lightning, thunder and a little bit of rain to San Diego again. This isn’t entirely unusual, but this year’s amount of summer storms that actually reach the coastal areas of the county is higher than what I’ve experienced in the past.

Beautiful clouds bear the promise of beautiful sunsets, even though it didn’t seem quite likely to happen with this storm, since we also had a marine layer that reached into the inland valleys overnight (which often means that low clouds out over the ocean prevent the sun from illuminating the higher clouds).

Shuwen and I went for a walk at the beach, to the tide pools of Tabletop Reef — our go-to place for beach walks with Toni. The sand under our feet reminded me, with that odd mixture of sadness and joy of memories, how excited Toni always got here: as soon as she felt the sand under her paws, she would do these cute little jumps and bounces, and then loved to run around frantically on the harder, damp sand near the water.

The ocean was calm but very little of the tide pool rock structures was visible, despite the low tide. Most of the rocks closer to the cliffs are still buried under plenty of sand. The sand that gets washed ashore and buries the tide pools after the winter and spring storms cede is like a physical manifestation: the weight of summer.

Change is in the air, though. The nights are a bit chilly now, the beaches less crowded. The coming storms and king tides of winter will wash the sand away again, pull it out into the ocean, in a cleansing of sorts. I look forward to this.

We were a bit early at the tide pools. A portrait photographer was finishing up a family session. We kept walking a bit further south and I kept an eye on the clouds. It all looked good and interesting, but by the time we returned to the tide pools, the cloud cover seemed too thick. The sun briefly appeared as a pale red disc under the clouds and just above the horizon, and then sank, in what was probably the most eventless sunset that I have ever witnessed WITH the sun being visible. :)

I’m sitting on a huge pile of photos from our Central Coast trip at the end of August, and these new photos make it online first. Seems odd, but it really isn’t:

These tide pools are an extremely familiar place to me; I photographed them in all kinds of conditions and many of the compositions that I chose on Friday are just repetitions (my personal favorite is the vertical image, actually, because it’s a somewhat new angle and has a certain complexity that I like in my photos).

The photos from the trip on the other hand… all new places! I feel like I need to let them sit for a while, disconnect them from the experience, and then come back to them.

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11 thoughts on “Weight of Summer, Premonition”

  1. It’s interesting how some photos need that extra time whereas others feel right far more quickly. I hadn’t thought about familiarity affecting this but it makes perfect sense. Despite the eventless sunset you still created some very pleasing photographs. I more often tend towards horizontal photos, and yet I’m also pulled to the vertical in this set. I think it does a better job pulling me into the scene.

    • With wide angle in particular, I often find verticals are easier to compose — probably because a foreground element (such as that kelp in my photo) is more easily balanced with more sky…

  2. I recognize this as a familiar place…I like the vertical best, too, I think because it’s more dynamic. The seaweed is so beautiful and it plays with the hole in the clouds – really nice. And this is beautifully written, very graceful and heartfelt.


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