My timely re-wording of the famous Mark Twain quote:
“The nicest summer I ever spent, was a winter in Santa Cruz.”
(The actual Mark Twain quote is: “The coldest winter I ever spent, was a summer in San Francisco.”)
Mild nights, pleasant days, and sunshine have created weeks of fine weather. Normally, during this time of year, wave after wave of winter storms arrive from the Pacific and dump heavy rainfall. It is especially rainy in the Santa Cruz mountains where I live. Summers are always dry but the winters are predominantly wet, raw, cool, and stormy.
There has been almost no rain now for 13 months. California is in a drought emergency. The upside of this is I’ve been able to go for frequent walks with my new camera (a Canon 70D). I’m especially fond of strolling along the seashores where there are sea birds, marine mammals, and the continuous presence of the beautiful succession of waves. I’ve become increasingly captivated by the silky, shimmering and powerful arc of the breakers. Moving water becomes magical when frozen in time through photography.
Yesterday I went to the Santa Cruz Wharf to hunt for subjects to photograph. A lone snowy egret played at the water’s edge. Sea lions snoozed on the infrastructure of the pier or floated lazily in the small swells. Others formed a living writhing raft, flippers waving and heads bobbing for air. Farther offshore a single sea otter relaxed serenely on its back like breathing furry flotsam.
The wharf is a funky place. The seafood restaurants, the shops with tacky souvenirs, the fudge and saltwater taffy, the dilapidated areas always under construction. The railings (and everywhere in general) are frequented by gulls and pigeons who leave behind their guano (better known as bird poop.) A few people fished, some appearing retired, others looking down-and-out. Tourists window shopped and admired the moaning, barking sea lions. To the north, against the hazy backdrop of West Cliff, surfers waited on the sparkling waters for the next perfect wave. To the south, beachcombers walked the shifting sand in front of the now silent Boardwalk amusement park.