Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nearing year's end...

“You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right.”

~ Maya Angelou

Ain't that the truth... and in my case... as my body and the environment it is in is always my home, my home has wandered all over the west. My house stretches east to the Rockies and west to the Pacific and a beautiful one it is too.

Sometimes though, I wonder at the capriciousness of my life when I was younger. I suppose that, being pretty much a happy individual, my needs were simple. It has gotten a bit tougher as I've gotten older. I suppose these 2 children I've been raising have something to do with that... but I'm lucky having the two I do. They're good kids, smart and, lucky for them, they've inherited their mom's good looks instead of mine. Of course they do show signs of having inherited my sense of humor... hah! A parent's revenge.

As usual I digress... I was speaking to the caprice (that is so obvious to me now) I exhibited when I was young. I'm not a big fan of regret. Its an exercise in futility. However I do believe in introspection and understanding one's self. But regret can distract from being comfortable with who we are. I mean if you're a wife beater, a thief, a creep... then by all means have a hefty dose of regret and let that weight maybe change you.

But me... I'm a nice guy. I've done some good things in my life, not too many bad ones. When I've struggled I've had friends and family there for support (I mean not like a jock strap kind of support...) and when I've been on the up side of things I've given and shared. Its the way I was raised. Of course there are things that, in retrospect, I wouldn't do now... but we're human and humans make mistakes and man, am I human.

Being human carries more than just a modicum of responsibility. A lot of who I am comes from my family, my parents. A lot of it comes from paying attention to life and whats going on with those around me. My dad always preached learning as much about mistakes as you can from the mistakes other people make. But... being human... we have to make some of our own. There is absolutely no way to avoid it. And there isn't a human out there who is perfect or mistake free. The trick, I think, is to be comfortable in my own skin. To grow in spirit, to accept as much responsibility as I can handle... maybe a tad more, just for the challenge... and to do right by those around me.

So... I'm thankful fo the blessings I've had and I can look back and smile knowing I've done ok, I tried hard and sometimes... I just plain goofed off. And even that goofing off has been beneficial. I know that my eye for these nature pictures I do comes from doing nothing but sitting and looking and seeing the environment I'm in... of understanding light as it shifts and moves throughout a day, across a season and over the year.

I know I'm a far, far better photographer now than when I first thought I was a good photographer. This past year has been a process of shaking off some cobwebs, a process of learning again as I switched from film to digital. The computer in my camera has taken me a year to finally get comfortable with... makes me feel like that old dog...

I'm hoping y'all enjoyed your Thanksgiving (if you're U.S. types... I sure don't expect that other nations sat down with some Indians who saved their butts 300 years ago... I mean I don't know for sure, but I think that makes sense) and that you stay warm and dry through the winter coming...

Here are some pics from the last year, mostly from around here around the farm... but including some of the work from all over. Enjoy! (and remember... your family loves receiving fine photographic art as gifts for Xmas! order now...)

Friday, November 9, 2007

The BIG water...

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

~ Saint Augustine

I remember as a kid up in Washington, going to the beach with my family to dig razor clams. I'm sure being a little one I didn't do a whole lot of digging. I don't remember much except that it was always cloudy. I do remember how good those fried clams were (and still are... although my mom's have always been the best, I won't be having those anymore... sigh...). Nothing like fresh fried clams.

When we left Washington we moved to Bakersfield, CA. A city far from the ocean. But it is a city that exists in a place that once was covered by salt water. We used to go to a place called Shark Tooth Mountain and dig around for shark's teeth. And funny how things are in life... back then we didn't know that it wasn't the shark's bite that could do damage to a person's health but the digging in the soil. That site is notorious for containing the spores that cause Valley Fever. My mother conracted VF and I suspect that her getting sick played a big part in our moving down to the LA Harbor.

When we finally settled down in San Pedro we lived just below Rolling Hills Estates on the east slope of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and we had a pretty nice view of the LA basin... Long Beach and the harbor area all the way over to Orange County. My dad was friends with one of the Harbor Masters and I remember us going with him on his boat. We also used to go to the Long Beach Naval Shipyards and tour the Navy vessels when they'd come in and dock there.

My dad loved that stuff, being a WWII vet and all. But it was the ocean... almost always nearby in my life.

When I was discharged from the Air Force in 1974 I moved to Santa Maria where most of my family was living. Moving to Santa Maria got me back close to the ocean. While kind of a sucky town, Santa Maria has a great location only 15 miles from the Pacific and the Guadalupe Dunes and Perfix Beach. Its a wondrous place... one of these days(/years) I'll get my old Kodachrome® slides scanned... those images are probably some of the best photography I've ever done and I'd love to share them here. Many of you may know those dunes not knowing you know those dunes... ya know. Cecil B DeMille's The Ten Commandments was filmed there. And for those of you not as old as Moses (The Ten Commandments is an old movie...) a more contemporary view could have been had if you have seen Johnny Depp in the 3rd installment of Pirates of the Caribbean:

Of course I was Pirating around those Dunes long before Depp! It was a favorite spot for that crew of troublemakers I hung around with in college at Santa Maria's Allan Hancock College, which is truly one of that town's saving graces... Even after bro' Bagley had gone on back to Texas and bro' Jim had drifted north brother Marty and I would go with Lance the wonder dog and hike the dunes a lot. Many times I would have Marty or someone drop me off and I'd spend a few days with my dog, camped up on top of the Dunes, hiking and fishing, taking photographs... aaah... such was the life, splendid isolation. In fact that area has been the focus of a few of the most intense dreams in all of my life... and some of the most intense awake moments of my life. I can't say enough (not here anyway, watch for the book!) about the Dunes and my experiences on the central coast.

But... now that I'm living here in Orgon I'm a bit further from the ocean and I miss it. But it is only 60 miles away. Last week Marty and I went over to the coast two seperate days. I've driven the coast highway many times since living here but my actual trips to go the beach have been few in all my years here. I love the ocean, the beaches, and I see it with my own unique perspective. The first trip was just a day to go hiking and I took my camera. The second trip was specifically taken as a photo trip. I watched the tide table and the time and planned for a day when low tide was at sunset. As luck would have it there was also a bit of weather hanging off the coast so there were some clouds in the sky too...

So, here you go. Enjoy a day (well... actually two days) at the beach. These were all taken at Hobbit Beach, just north of the Heceta Head Lighthouse (the rocky point you see in my pics is Heceta Head's north side):

As always I love selling my photos, contact me ( ). Non-Profit Orgs can use my images w/o charge, with permission and photo credit. All images copyright Allan Erickson, 2007