The drive from Castle Crags to Half Moon Bay took longer than I anticipated, in part because I was further north than I thought and because traffic was heavier than expected. All was well until I hit the 80 slowdown. Then time stood still.
I arrived at Half Moon Bay a little after 4, and found that the sky was heavy with clouds, and sprinkles were falling. I began setting up my tent, all the while hearing the waves crashing in the background. Once finished, I grabbed my 4X5 and headed for the beach where the clouds blended with the ocean, creating a fusion of sea and sky. I took several pictures and put my camera away.
Later I walked the beach and see where I'd want to shoot tomorrow. I came across a dead sea lion that had washed ashore. Its head had been eaten away and it was surrounded by seagulls' foot prints. Edward Weston would have photographed it, as would Ricky Fits from American Beauty (I still tear up when I watch the plastic bag scene), but the majestic quality of this death escaped me. Or did it?
As I circled I saw how the two hind fins fanned out like a flower, and the footprints in the sand from the seagulls added texture. The light was failing, but I feared that that the scene would change if I waited to take the shot in the morning. I made one 2 minute exposure and one 5 minute exposure. We'll see which one is correct.
As I was walking back, three Stanford students who were enjoying a bottle of white wine, stopped me and asked me to take their picture. With my 4X5 on my shoulder, I dropped to my knees and took their picture with one of their iPhones. That picture may have been the best of the day.