I usually try to avoid shadows on the beach when I photograph because I've always thought they detract from the identity of the shell or the seaweed or whatever. If the sun's out, I'll crouch and nullify its shadow with my own. It looks as if maybe I was wrong, yet again. When I decided to feature shadows, I captured delicate images where the shadow doubled the visual pleasure. Maybe I need to challenge all my dearly held beliefs so I can uncover the beauty my rigidity has been hiding from me.
This morning I went out to walk along the beach feeling a bit jaded, and thinking “I've walked the beach so many times. I've seen everything.” And of course nature proved me wrong.
Crossing the dunes, I encountered a lengthy and chubby diamond python. He was unperturbed by my presence, lying along the dappled sand and nosing into a scrubby dune wattle. He didn't move as I circumambulated him, closing in for some closeups.
The beach had collected sea-weed, and amongst it I found my second surprise: large jellies, many a good 30 cm across and 10 cm tall, blue and honey-coloured and viscous.
You’re never quite sure what you’ll find when you amble along the beach at low tide. Last weekend, the northern end of Potato Point beach was deep in sea-weeds. So deep that sand had built up and the weed contained pools, drawing blue from the autumn sky. The seaweed floated, as it would under the ocean, and the watery gleam that is such a devil to photograph disappeared in the aquaeous light. For this luxuriance you would usually need a snorkel and underwater daring. All I needed was one eye watching where I put my foot, and the extra eye of the camera.
The seaweed entered my mind and wouldn’t leave. I lay in bed, between awake and asleep, trying to compose a description without using the letter “e”. Such bizarre disciplines only happen liminally.
Piling thick, from way down and far out, a wild uprooting. Mahogany, khaki, rust, tan; dull mint, pistachio, amaranth, asparagus; apricot, pumpkin, coral pink, burgundy, fading gold, glinting gold. Frondy, tubular, strappy; twists, coils, curls. Voluptuous in sand pools, floating, wafting, drifting.