Up until 1967 the residents of Fort Bragg, CA, used to dump all their trash over the edge of the coastal cliffs into a small cove. Back then you would have found a smoldering pile of junk, including everything from coke bottles to entire cars. Fortunately they got smart enough to stop the uncontrolled dumping, and over the course of several decades the ocean transformed the horrific trash heap into something miraculous: a beach composed almost entirely of tiny polished pebbles of multi-colored sea glass. It is an inspiring success story of the forgiveness and self cleansing our Earth is capable of. Unfortunately, though, there are limits to this process, and I suspect we will one day find out what those limits really are.

Sea Glass, Glass Beach near Fort Bragg, California

Sea Jewels : Prints Available
Millions of pieces of polished sea glass cover the beach appropriately named ‘Glass Beach’ near Fort Bragg in California.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 70-200mm, handheld
Exposure: iso 100, f/4, 1/1250th

Click image for larger view!

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California

Treasure Beach : Prints Available
Glass Beach near Fort Bragg, CA, at sunset.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, Nikon 14-24mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 400, f/22, 1/25th
Notes: the iso 400 was a mistake. Three exposures blended manually for depth of field. An additional exposure for controlling dynamic range in the sky.

I generally don’t spend my time photographing old man made trash heaps, so the rest of my time on the coast I explored more natural treasures. Anyone who grew up in California (or other areas where kelp forests are plentiful) knows the joys of swinging giant kelp arms through the air. Well, in all my time on the beaches of the Pacific coast I had never seen as large a pile of fresh kelp as on this trip. It was like a gigantic bowl of pacific vermicelli, with natural sea salt flavorings, of course.

Click image for larger view!

Beach Kelp, Mendocino, California

Pacific Vermicelli : Prints Available
Endless piles of kelp on the beach, illuminated by the setting sun.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 70-200mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/14, 1/15th
Notes: 3 exposures blended for depth of field with Helicon Focus

There is something magical about the way that hazy coastal sunlight illuminates vegetation. Be it piles of kelp, lichens, or damp and mossy branches. There is a special quality of life that comes out of the playing light and shadows that I find incredibly appealing. Next time you see the sun glinting through the crisp and damp forest, take an extra moment to enjoy it.

Click image for larger view!

Lichen Sunlight, Van Damme State Park, California

Glowing Beards : Prints Available
Misty sunlight illuminates a lichen covered tree in Van Damme State Park along the northern California coast.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 70-200mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 1/25th

Click image for larger view!

Black and White Tree, Van Damme State Park, California

Crawling with Light : Prints Available
A backlit tree shimmers in the soft coastal light in Van Damme State Park, near Mendecino, California.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 70-200mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 1/20th

Tags: , , ,

2 Comments to “Coastal Treasures – Mendocino, CA”

  1. Ariel says:

    Cool stuff, Floris. As always! 🙂