Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back from Vacation

After a week in sunny, breezy southern California, I'm back in humid, hot Illinois. *bleh* I went loaded down with memory cards for my cameras (Canon PowerShot A540, Canon Digital Rebel XTi), but never had to switch out from either one. My daughter, who'd never flown before or been to California, is not the world's most patient child, and does not care to stand around while Mommy frames a shot.

Our last night in Oceanside, we ate at Ruby's Diner, which has a fabulous location out on the end of a pier. Like an idiot, I forgot to grab my camera, but my brother offered to drive me back to the condo so I could get it and take me back out so I could shoot the sunset. The clouds had been uncooperative the whole time we were there, obscuring the sunset at the point where the sun hit the water... I was sure I'd get it this time. Wrong! My sis-in-law says the best sunsets are in January.

So my brother and I hung out on the pier after the disappointing sunset, and I shot surfers. I had to use ISO 800 for most of them, so the pictures are grainy as hell, and more than a little blurry because of the movement of the water and the men, plus the lighting was a little strange from the sodium lights on the pier and the disappearing sun (while I had it), making the water look a little pinkish on the foam. I ran a cooling photo filter over it to correct some of the color. Far from perfect, but you can definitely see that, yes, that is a surfer.

These guys were surfing right next to the pier, so I had an excellent vantage point, even if the light was not my friend. If I hadn't forgotten my bloody camera in the first place, I would have had the light while we walked to the end of the pier for dinner. (Doh!)

This shot was taken the night before, from the walkway of the building we were staying in. I shot it from the 3rd floor, and it was well past sunset, so I was using a long exposure time. You can really see the peach-tinged glow from the lights on the pier. That's the diner out at the end (right side), and my brother and I were watching the surfers from the near (north) side, about a third of the way down the pier.

The palms you see are growing along the beach where we spent some time. The road behind it is called simply "The Strand." The places up and down The Strand are rental properties, and some of them are quite tiny, like this little row of stucco cottages.

These are practically doll's houses. One room, essentially, with a loft for sleeping. You can see in them especially well at night, when everyone is out on the front porch or sidewalk, talking with neighbors, and they have their front windows uncovered and front doors open to the ocean breeze. There's another row of them behind these, staggered so that the space between the front row becomes the ocean view of the ones behind. The front row is literally about 10 yards (9 meters) from the beach. Front porch, sidewalk, The Strand (one lane), sidewalk, beach. If it looks a little grey, it is grey. This was what every morning looked like, until the sun was up high enough to burn off the haze from the ocean. Once the haze is gone, the beach looks more like this:

The flag with the black circle on a yellow field is a "blackball" - and it means no surfing allowed. It's a safety thing; surfers can be dangerous to swimmers and boogie boarders. Surfers resent it hugely.

The beach may look strangely empty, even if the photo was taken on a Tuesday. It's about 5pm (PDT); the tourists have largely left to go have dinner. I found it very interesting that people will set up their umbrellas, pavilion tents, coolers, blankets, etc, etc... starting around 7 in the morning, to stake out their spot on the beach, stay all day, but leave before sunset! It's the west coast, this is where the sun sets on the (mainland) US! 'Course, maybe they already know what my sis-in-law does: this is the wrong time of year for spectacular sunsets...

No comments: