Posts in Category: beach

Beach Rose

Rugosa Rose, or Beach Rose, grows on the backsides of our ocean dunes and long access roads all along the coast. I see as hedges in people’s yards within a mile or so of the sea as well. It is not native. It comes from the coastal areas of Northern China, Korea, and Japan, and was introduced in Connecticut and on Nantucket Island in the 1840s. From there it as spread all up and down the New England coast.

This is an ultra wide close up, taken with an 18mm equivalent lens on the Sony a5100 from about 8 inches. I like the ultra wide perspective on the occasional close up. Program mode. Landscape Creative Style with -1 Saturation. Processed in Polarr.


Harbor Seals, La Jolla, California

When the good people of La Jolla California built a curing sea wall atop a natural rock barrier to enlarge and improve a small portected beach where their children could swim, they may not have realized that they were creating an ideal pupping beach for the Harbor Seals of the area…but that is certainly what they did. Now, Children’s Pool Beach (or Casa Beach as it is officially called) is closed to humans during pupping season, but the tender spectacle of the Harbor Seals giving birth and nursing young, and hauling out during molt, brings over a million visitors to La Jolla each year, including many bus-loads of kids. Fair trade. 🙂 The colony of 200 seals at La Jolla is relatively unique. It is one of the few colonies on the mainland, the only one south of Ventura, and the only colony in an urban area. Seals are shy of humans, and La Jolla is one of the rare places where they tolerate people as close as they do here. 

This is a newborn pup with its mother. In other shots you could see the umbilical cord still attached. Most pups are born on the beach, but they take to the water with their mother within 2 hours. Getting in and out of the water, even in the protected surf of the Children’s Pool, is the hardest challenge and mothers and pups seem to practice the maneuver over and over. The “nosing” behavior you see here promotes bonding between pup and parent and helps keep the pair from loosing each other in the water…and helps the pup to find its mother on a crowed beach. 
Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic on my iPad Pro. 

Dawn Gull

Western Gull, San Diego CA

I am in San Diego for the San Diego Birding Festival where I will represent ZEISS so I waited for dawn and got out to the beach. Staying in a different hotel this year…right on the beach at the mouth of the San Diego River. My room faces the Channel, but the Pacific face is just down the beach. There, were, of course, lots of gulls on the beach this morning, waiting for the sun. Gulls are not my strong suit, and immature gulls are pretty much a complete mystery to me, but I think this is just an immature Western Gull. The first rays of the sun were just touching him as he looked out to sea.

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 250 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Common Tern :)

Common Tern, Mousam River mouth, Kennebunk Maine

The Common Terns are having a meeting
at the mouth of the Mousam River,
where it runs into the sea. Some fishy
thing must be running because they are
active in large numbers along the coast
and up the river a quarter mile. They rest
along the sandbar where Back Creek meets
the Mousam, and are a constantly evolving
gyration of birds along the far shore, diving on
that fishy thing, and then coming back to the
sand bar to show off their catch. Watching
them puts any airshow you ever saw to shame.
Nothing can match the grace and ease of those
who’s lives depend on their prowess in the air.

And I tried to catch just a bit of that with my camera 🙂 Sony RX10iii in my slightly customized Sports Mode. 1/1000th @ f6.3 @ ISO 100. About 470mm equivalent. Cropped and processed in Lightroom.


Sanderlings, Laudholm Beach, Wells ME

Sanderlings, Laudholm Beach, Wells ME

This is a collage of two Sanderling shots, taken on Laudholm Beach at the Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farms in Wells Maine. I like the light and the sense of movement.

Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 @ f7.1. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.

Piping Plover

Piping Plover, Laudholm Beach, Wells Maine.

Piping Plover, Laudholm Beach, Wells Maine.

Piping Plovers are endangered in Maine, largely because the beaches they prefer for nesting are also the beaches both Mainers and tourists prefer for sunbathing, jogging, walking dogs, and general recreating. Add in the population of cats that inhabit beach houses all along the coast, and the native foxes, raccoons, snakes, and gulls…all of whom prey of the eggs and chicks of the Piping Plover, and, if the nest does not get stepped on by a tourist, it is likely to be raided before the chicks hatch or fledge. The State of Maine and the Federal Government have set aside “Protected Areas” for the last nesting colonies of Piping Plovers on our beaches, but dogs, cats, and natural predators can’t read the signs or “see” the stakes and orange ropes that are supposed to keep the areas safe. Neither can, apparently, some tourists. It especially irritates me to see people running their dogs on beaches with nesting colonies, contrary to the clear posted signs. Maine Audubon has a volunteer/paid program that puts people on the beaches to monitor the nesting areas and keep as many predators (human, canine, feline, and other) away from the birds…but they are only there during daylight hours. And of course, the Piping Plovers themselves pay no attention to the protected areas either. They might or might not nest behind the barrier, but they certainly do not feed there. This Plover was way down the beach from the posted signs, running along the little line of green stuff deposited by the receding tide. Back up at the nest area, the State has erected a wire mesh enclosure around a cluster of nests, but while out feeding, the Plovers are on their own. The number of chicks fledged each year in Maine is counted in low double digits, and that is on a good year.

And they are such cute little birds. Full of attitude! This is a panel of 4 shots of the same bird (one of only two I saw that day on the beach). Sony RX10iii at 840mm equivalent. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 @ f5.6. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.

Morning shells

Shells, Velano Beach, St. Augustine FL

We are in St. Augustine Florida for the Florida Birding and Photo Fest where I will lead a series of Point and Shoot Nature Photography workshops. This is shells in the dawn light on the beach across from our Airbnb…a lovely house which we share with a few other guests.

Sony HX90V in-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom.

Late light of April

Mouth of the Mousam River, Kennebunk ME

It is amazing how fast the length of the day is progressing now that the clocks have been set ahead. We went out last night after supper to catch the last of the sun on the beach near our home at the mouth of the Mousam River. This is a sweep panorama showing Great Head and the river mouth, but mostly it is about the spreading cloud tree above…and the light.

Sweep panorama. Sony HX90V. Processed for HDR effect in Lightroom. This is as close to the natural look of the scene as I can make it.

The wacky world of wood…

Weathered roots on driftwood. Timber Point, Rachel Carson NWR.

Every once in a while I see something in the field and realize that it has more interest as a graphic design than as an actual photograph. The Sony HX90V which I carry for HDR landscapes has a Picture Effect called “Illustration” which reduces an image to its graphical elements and attempts to render it as a color drawing, pen and ink style with airbrush style. Often it produces surprisingly attractive results, so much so that I have it set to one of the three memory slots on my camera. I just have to remember to use it. Generally, once I have used it on a photoprowl, I will try several shots during that adventure…only to forget it until the next time some really apt object or subject catches my eye to remind me it is there.

This is the root end of a huge driftwood log on the beach at Timber Point (Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge) across from Goose Rocks Beach in southern Maine. It has been exposed for many years, and the wood, especially around the roots, has weathered into something very like a modern abstract sculpture. Just the thing for the Illustration Picture Effect. Once in Lightroom, I applied some HDR-like adjustments to bring up the shadowed areas deeper into the log. What do you think?



Ruddy Turnstone in passing. Happy Sunday!

Ruddy Turnstone, Kennebunk ME

On one of our after-dinner walks on the beach this week, we found a group of Ruddy Turnstones feeding among the more common Semi-palmated Plovers. The next evening, both were gone from the beach, replaced by hundreds of Sanderlings. It is already fall migration along our coast, and the birds passing through change day to day. I suspect I have seen a Ruddy Turnstone in Maine before, but it was years ago, when birding friends used to encourage me further afield to chase birds, especially during migration. I seem to remember seeing them on Hill’s Beach on the Saco Bay side of Biddeford Pool.The Ruddy Turnstone nests on the coast of Alaska and on the Islands of the Canadian Arctic Shield. They winter as close to us as the shores of Connecticut. I see them in New Jersey in October, and Florida in January…I might even see them in Panama in October, depending on how fast they move south.  Finding them on our local beach was a real treat.

It has been a long time since we humans were migrants, as we certainly were, whether we lived by hunting or herding or trading. Even in the early days of agriculture, we moved with seasons. It is in our blood, perhaps in our genes (certainly in our spirits)…and we feel the tug, spring and fall…the urge to follow the sun south (or north), or, at the very least, the slope of land down to the shore in spring, or up to the forests in winter. I find myself, at this stage of my life, repeating the pattern at least in part. New Jersey and Panama in October, the Rio Grande Valley of Texas in November, Florida and Honduras in January and early February, Southern California in March, and back to Florida in April just in time to catch the north bound migration, which will take me to Ohio in May and then home to Maine for the summer. I don’t know whether that makes me feel the tug more or less…but I certainly can not deny feeling it. I can identify with the Ruddy Turnestone.

Not that I can keep this up forever, season after season, but while it lasts I will certainly enjoy it…taking each season at its best…following fall south and spring north…being at home wherever I am in my yearly journey…giving thanks to the Creator God, who is always with me. Happy Sunday.