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Archive for the ‘Sand and Shoreline’ Category

Tide Line Still Life: My Beach Treasures

Posted by Jody on November 26, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Marjorie Callahan Beck of Tide Line Still Life.

Tide Line Still Life: My Beach Treasures

Moon Shell Bubbles

Moon Shell Bubbles

As an art history major in college, still life has fascinated me for many decades. Still life is defined by the Tate Museum as art that focuses on “anything that does not move or is dead”.  From paintings of food on the interior of Egyptian tombs to meticulously crafted mosaics from Rome, artwork that consists of carefully arranged inanimate objects has been a part of the history of art from ancient times.  The objects found in a still life can be natural or man made, and the artist deliberately arranges found objects, considering their size, color, perspective, and overall balance with one another. Flowers, fruit, vegetables, and just about any imagined object has found its way in to still lifes; whatever the artist decides to include is acceptable.  It is my love of the sea, and all things marine, that draws me to famous still lifes that include marine life.

Moon Shell Eye

Moon Shell Eye

I have a passion for the sea, and I have been walking beaches for my entire life. Several years ago I began noticing arrangements of objects found on the beach, and I was amazed at the artistic perfection of many of the compositions. It is important to note that the objects in my photos are never rearranged or positioned.  Unlike still lifes in museums, the photographs are not contrived; I photograph the objects exactly as I find them.  Yes, I have “lost” many perfect arrangements because I was too slow with the shutter and the tide was too quick!

I suppose that at this point I could become fairly philosophical about nature’s creations trumping man made compositions.  I could easily argue (unsupported by research), that the earliest still life artists were inspired by what they found arranged in nature.  Instead though, I will simply state that the ocean (and rivers and lakes) is an organic system responsive to the life it holds, and contributing to the world that surrounds it.  Regardless of its power and grandeur, though, it offers me snatches of sweet serendipity when I walk its tide lines.  And more often than not, I am able to find perfectly composed arrangements of pebbles, shells, feathers, and sand. These are not man made, but instead created by the ebb and flow of the sea, the wind, and the blowing sand.  These compositions are my beach treasures.

Meniscus

Meniscus

What I look for when I walk the tide line is a balance of color, form, and texture in the arrangements, in the same way that these three elements are present in still life paintings. As I walk, I look for compositions that offer surprising splashes of color, or sometimes truly magnificent monochromatic compositions. Compositions with pebbles often present lovely clusters, and this past summer common mussels were a source of endless inspiration. Recently, our local beach has been full of migratory birds, so there have been feathers aplenty! The objects, the weather, time of day, and my overall mood all contribute to what I notice as I walk the beach. I am fascinated by what the different seasons wash ashore on the same stretches of sand. Several of the storms this fall contributed to captivating arrangements when the sea retreated.

Mussel Splash

Mussel Splash

Feather Line

Feather Line

Most of my work is done walking my local beaches in New Jersey, USA. I do, though, take time to photograph tide lines whenever I travel anywhere near the sea. I have walked the freezing winter tide line in Northumberland, England, and I have sun-blistered the back of my neck midday in the sub-tropical summer. Each sea’s tide line presents its own assortment and arrangements of objects.  Lately, my favorite time to photograph has been in the early morning. The shadows are quite striking as the sun rises, and they often create a very different still life than is possible on a cloudy day.

Yellow and Blue

Yellow and Blue

Most of my photos are taken with a Nikon D3200 with an 18-55mm lens. I have been known to quick grab my iPhone for a photo if my camera is not with me, and I want to remember an interesting array of flotsam or jetsam. I am afraid that I have a bit of a compulsion to walk very long distances with my head facing down towards the sand.  I do not want to miss that one perfect arrangement! I have quite a bit to learn about the technical side of this craft, but am concentrating on identifying compelling arrangements at this time.  I do only a minimum of processing work on the pieces that I publish.  Because of convenience, most of the work is currently done on my iPad using Snapseed.  There is so much to learn about the technical side of this craft, and I will be digging in a bit more in this area over the winter.

About the Author (by Jody):  Marjorie Callahan Beck (Maggie) has inspired me to take my time and look a bit closer at the tide line on my upcoming visit to the seashore. Her fabulous Tide Line Still Life blog is an absolutely delightful beach photo journal showing the beauty and solitude in the very smallest details “created by the ebb and flow of the sea, the wind, and the blowing sand.”

Feather Shell

Feather Shell

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , | 22 Comments »

Safe, Fun, and Successful Beach Metal Detecting!

Posted by Jody on October 8, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Daniel Bernzweig.

Packing List for a Safe, Fun, and Successful Beach Metal Detecting Trip

So you have decided to take a trip to the beach? Whether your next metal detecting trip takes you near or far from home, there are some supplies you simply won’t want to be caught without when beach treasure hunting. I’ve been metal detecting since I was a boy and, as a result, I know a lot about what you’ll need to have on hand to be prepared for anything, as well as what happens when you head out unprepared! Here is a comprehensive packing list that will make any metal detecting beach adventure, fun, safe, and successful.

Metal Detecting on the Beach in Santa Cruz, California

Metal Detecting on the Beach in Santa Cruz, California

First off, of course, is your metal detector. You can’t go metal detecting at the beach without one! But be sure your machine is made to handle the conditions you’ll encounter (e.g. waterproof, right size search coil, ground balance controls, etc.). Otherwise, revise your plans, or you may end up making a costly mistake. The beach is actually one of the first spots that most people envision when they think of metal detecting. And in reality, it is a great place to begin as it is restocked with targets on a daily basis.

You’ll also want to have some quality metal detecting tools along while searching for treasure at the beach. A pinpointer and a digging tool are standard, and many detectorists also take along a metal detecting sifter or shovel. Other metal detecting accessories you may want to have with you include headphones, extra batteries, and/or additional search coils.

A protective treasure case is another essential you’ll always want to have on your metal detecting trips. Any non trash target you unearth should be put into your case and cleaned when you get home, not on the field. In many instances, like with coins for example, rubbing off the dirt will scratch the item. It’s better to take everything home for proper cleaning and inspection; even though the wait can be a bit difficult, to say the least!

It looks like he found something!

Score!

Sunscreen and protective clothing should always be worn when out metal detecting. With an engrossing hobby like this we often forget just how long we’ve been working under the hot sun, and the end result of that is a nasty sunburn; unless you’re properly dressed and sun screened, of course.

Always take enough water with you, plus some extra in case you’re out longer than expected. The same goes for food.

Having a few first aid supplies on hand while out metal detecting has come in handy more times than I can count. A few bandaids, some antibacterial ointment, some first aid tape and gauze pads (additional items if you have more space) are easy to put into a plastic bag and take up very little weight and room in your pack.

Bringing a GPS along with you when you’re out metal detecting is probably one of the only precaution I might describe as optional. That said, having one can be a priceless safety net in certain situations.

If your metal detecting trip will take you in and around water, here are a few more things to add to your packing list. If you plan on doing any shallow water metal detecting a wetsuit or waders may be warranted. Additional equipment is obviously required if you plan on metal detecting while snorkeling scuba diving. When metal detecting in and around water you’ll also need a few special metal detecting accessories, including a sand scoop, a waterproof search coil and a waterproof backpack or other container for your treasures. As long as you have these important items along, your metal detecting trip is sure to be safe, a lot of fun, and most likely more successful, too.

Daniel Bernzweig

Daniel Bernzweig

About the author: Daniel Bernzweig manages MetalDetector.com in Southborough, MA. He has written on the subject of treasure hunting and metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He enjoys traveling with his metal detector and helping to educate others in the correct use of metal detectors in their explorations.  You can check out his article “What are the best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting at the Beach” for some great tips on equipment selection.

~~~

A note from our treasure hunters:

We simply love to share when it comes to beaches, treasure hunting, beachcombing crafts, and beachy tips. How about you? Do you have a favorite beach you’d like to share with us? Maybe you have some great tips for beach picnics, seaside safety, or seashore activities. Please check out our Submission Guidelines for info on jumping into the fun at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches.  You may be our next Featured Guest Writer!

Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

The Spice of Life

Posted by Jody on September 16, 2013

Texas Gulf Coast Seashells

Texas Gulf Coast Seashells

Variety is the spice of life!

~~~

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

5 Creative Ways for Getting Sand Off Your Feet After the Beach

Posted by Jody on September 4, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Emma Roberts.

Going to the beach is awesome; getting sand in your house and car, not so much. It’s funny how a great afternoon playing in the sand and running in the waves can be dampened when you realize how much of a mess you’ve made tracking all that sand back inside with you. It almost looks like you tried to bring the beach home. Fortunately, there are a few ways to prevent your car and house from looking like a hurricane hit them by getting the sand off your feet after you leave the beach. Some are inventive, some are obvious classics, but they’re all worth incorporating into your next beach day.

Just add water for instant sandy feet!

Instant Sandy Feet: Just Add Water!

Baby powder

Seriously. Toss a bottle of baby powder into your beach bag and get ready to have your life changed. When you leave the beach, apply a nice heap of powder to your feet and rub it in. This absorbs the moisture that’s causing the sand to stick to your feet, and you’ll be able to brush off the excess and walk away. Plus, now your feet smell nice and clean.

Portable water supply

One of the best ways to wash sand off your feet is to use, well, water. A lot of beaches have shower-type stalls where the sand meets the parking lot and you can spray down your legs and feet and knock off the worst of the dirt. Sometimes, though, that’s not enough. (And sometimes you’ll still have to cross some sand to get to your car, in which case, you’re back to square one.) The solution? Pack a small plastic tub and a big bottle of water before you go, then use them when you’re standing next to your car. It doesn’t take much; just enough for you to submerge your feet and rinse them down. Then you can towel off, dump the water and be on your way.

Welcome mats

This one’s so obvious that most people overlook it. Take a welcome mat with you — or buy one for the occasion that you can leave in the car — and set it down next to your vehicle before you get in. Use a towel to knock off the bigger chunks, then wipe your feet on the welcome mat to clear out the rest of the sand.

Sandy Feet at Carmel by the Sea

Sandy Feet at Carmel by the Sea

Dry sand

Dry sand can actually adhere to the wetter sand on your feet and help to remove it. It’s a little like how lint sticks to itself, so a ball of lint can help you clean the lint trap in your dryer. When you’re ready to leave, scoop up some dry sand and rub it along your feet and legs, making sure to rub it into the wet sand that’s stuck to you. The dry sand can help slough off the wet stuff, making it easier to just dust off your feet with a towel before you go.

Specialty products

Staying sand-free is such a problem that there are a growing number of specialty products available to help you clean up after a day at the beach. For example, Sand-Off uses a special mitt that comes with a powder built right in, so all you have to do is apply the mitt to the sandy part of your body, let the powder squeeze out and wipe away the sticky sand. It’s good for multiple uses, and it’s a small enough product that you can toss it in your beach bag and forget about it until you need it.

Keeping excess sand out of your car and house can feel like an endless battle during beach season, and there’s always the chance that you or your kids will track some home no matter what you do. However, with the right preparation, you can go home clean and happy and leave the beach behind.

About the Author: Emma Roberts, a frequent contributor for SummerNanny.com. Read her contributed article 20 Blogs With Crafty Ways of Using Beach Sand. She can be contacted at her email: robertse055@gmail.com.

A note from our treasure hunters:

We simply love to share when it comes to beaches, treasure hunting, beachcombing crafts, and beachy tips. How about you? Do you have a favorite beach you’d like to share with us? Maybe you have some great tips for beach picnics, seaside safety, or seashore activities. Please check out our Submission Guidelines for info on jumping into the fun at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches.  You may be our next Featured Guest Writer!

~~~

Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

52c – Brighton Part IV

Posted by Jody on June 17, 2013

Jody:

This is one of our favorite beach blogs: The Coastal Path ~ One family’s walk around the coast of Britain. This week the family is touring the Brighton Pier and Brighton’s fabulous shingle beach (a beach which is formed of pebbles). By the way, don’t even think about collecting those beach pebbles! Brighton’s Seafront Officer once told me: We do not allow stone collections from the beach unfortunately. This is because we need to maintain the level of shingle on the beach to assist with coastal defence, so for this reason it is not permitted.

 ~ Oh well, there are plenty of other beaches to comb!

~~~

You can read our family’s very own Brighton Beach memoir here: Brighton ~ A Top 10 British Memory.

~~~

Originally posted on The Coastal Path:

We left the Brighton Wheel and headed off up the pier for the rides.  Brighton Pier started off life as the Palace Pier, built in 1823 to service passenger ships arriving from Dieppe.  Over the years it grew and grew into the attraction it is today.  I was quite astonished to find that over its long history it has not once been destroyed by fire, flood, or fractious young fellows with far-fetched foibles (ie kids with matches).  Compared to many of its brethren, Brighton Pier has fared well over the years.

Brighton Pier

As we walked up there were good views back to the east.

View Back East from Brighton PierWhat we were really looking for, however, were the rides.  My wife and aunt decided they were far too mature for such juvenile delights and left the kids and I to our childishness.  It was quite fun, really…

Wild River with insert…although some of us got a little wet…

Wild RiverThe…

View original 191 more words

Posted in Amusement Piers, Beaches of Great Britain and Ireland, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

SHORE THINGS: BEACHCOMBING ON A PRISTINE ABACO BEACH

Posted by Jody on June 17, 2013

Jody:

What a wonderful way to start the week! Let’s grab our sunhats and go…

Originally posted on ROLLING HARBOUR ABACO:

Shore Things 16

SHORE THINGS: BEACHCOMBING ON A PRISTINE ABACO BEACH

The Abaco bay known as Rolling Harbour is a 3/4 mile curve of white sand beach, protected by an off-shore reef. The beach is pristine. Or it would be but for two factors. One is the seaweed that arrives when the wind is from the east – natural and biodegradable detritus. It provides food and camouflage for many species of shorebird – plover and sandpipers of all varieties from large to least. The second – far less easily dealt with – is the inevitable plastic junk washed up on every tide. This has to be collected up and ‘binned’, a never-ending cycle of plastic trash disposal. Except for the ATLAS V SPACE-ROCKET FAIRING found on the beach, that came from the Mars ‘Curiosity’ launch. Sandy's Mystery Object

We kept is as a… curiosity, until it was eventually removed by the men in black…

Shore Things 14I’d intended…

View original 252 more words

Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline, Seashells | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

Posted by Jody on May 14, 2013

~Patterns in the Sand~

Pattern

Art on the Beach

 ~ Making Patterns in the Sand ~

Manhattan Beach in Southern California

On Manhattan Beach, Southern California

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is Pattern.

~~~

Posted in Sand and Shoreline, Southern California Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Beach Activities for Everyone ~ Even Non-Beach-Lovers (Seriously?!)

Posted by E.G.D. on April 25, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Post Writer is Erica Kritt from The Cruise Web:

The ever-popular Seawall Beach at Galveston Island, Texas

The ever-popular Seawall Beach at Galveston Island, Texas

I confess, I used to hate the beach. I hated the sand getting in everything, I thought it was boring, and on top of that I don’t like my beach bod. However, now I love the beach. Working at a travel agency, destinations that are rich in beaches come up a lot, so I have a lot of knowledge about what to do on a beach. I’d like to share how the beach can be a fun place for everyone from grandpa to baby with a few activities that will be fun for all. Believe me, if I could get over my dislike of the beach, then you or your family members can too.

Looking to Relax
If you can find a quiet beach, you are set, and even if you are at a popular spot, put on your shades and some soothing music and focus in on the waves coming in and out. Lounging on the beach is a great chance to get out in nature, but you can surround yourself with creature comforts, like a pillow, your e-reader and some tropical smoothies.

Most relaxing activity: Many cruise lines have private islands in the Caribbean and the Bahamas, where you can even experience a massage in a cabana right on the beach.

Shelling with Family

Shelling with Family

Looking to Explore
A beach has a lot to offer for both kids and adults looking to discover creatures they’ve never seen, or to find those special shell treasures. In fact, finding a good beach could be an expedition in itself.

Best Exploration: Snorkeling excursions are a chance to see the creatures that lurk just underneath the water. In the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, you’ll have a chance to see beautifully colored fish and interesting coral formations.

Looking to Play
Sand castles aren’t just for kids, on the shore you can try your hand at making sand sculptures. The beach is fun, but things can get really fun in the water. At many beaches you can rent wave runners, or fly high while parasailing over the ocean. Some cruise lines even offer passengers the chance to take a horse ride on the beach and even in the surf.

The Most Fun of All
Anytime you can learn a new skill, it makes your experience that much more rich. Beaches in Hawaii and other tropical destinations offer surf lessons where you can test your balance in the ocean.

As you can see, there really is an activity on the beach for everyone. All you have to do is make sure you visit a beach that offers what you are looking for, read reviews, speak with a travel agent, and get ready for some fun in the sun.

About the Author: Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web, a travel agency that specializes in cruising. Her favorite beach has to be the one on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas.
~~~

Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

“Where’s the beach?”

Posted by Jody on March 18, 2013

Last weekend Greg and I had the chance to visit the awe-inspiring Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado.  We had enough time to arrange our drive from Albuquerque to Denver to include an overnight in Alamosa, which is about a 35 mile ride south and west of the park. It was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up. The Great Sand Dunes are the tallest dunes in all of North America. The spectacular main dunefield stretches over 30 square miles at the foot of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains (the entire park covers nearly 376 square miles). Simply put, this is one of the most Bucket List worthy places in the United States. Our family had been to the park many years ago, and we couldn’t wait to get back for some hiking and R&R.

Here’s a list of what we found!

Sand ~

Sand

Sand

Driftwood ~

Driftwood

Driftwood

Dune grass ~

Dune Grass

Dune Grass

And sand dunes as far as the eyes could see!

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

You might be thinking: “This is a beach inspired blog, Jody! Where’s the beach?”

And I would reply, “It’s right here!” :-)

The Beach at Medano Creek

*This is the beach at Medano Creek!*

“Well then, where’s the water?”, you ask.

“Look up! It’s high in the snow pack (14,000 +/- feet) of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains!”, I answer.

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado

Every year, Medano Creek is formed by the melting winter snows. From April to June (and sometimes into July), the icy streams formed by the annual snow melt trickle down the mountain sides to create the Medano Creek beach and play area that are just perfect for splashing, surfing, wading, skimboarding, and floating! In fact, depending on water level, visitors may participate in any non-motorized activities in the creek. Sand boarding and sand sledding on the dunes are all the rage. Sand castle building is a very popular waterside activity, too.

We’re planning a trip back for fun in the sun and water in May or June so there will be more photos to follow. For now, here’s a look at more of the beauty that is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. It is by far one of the best of the best recreation areas the USA has to offer within its vast (84.4 million acre) National Park System!

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

<----- This way to the dunes.

<—– This way to the dunes and beach.

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Can you spot the hikers?

Can you spot the hikers on the ridges?

Hikers on the Dunes

Hikers on the Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Winter at the Great Sand Dunes

Winter at the Great Sand Dunes

~~~

Have a great day at the beach!

~~~

Posted in Beaches of North America, Inland Shores, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , | 38 Comments »

Happy Hiking to Abbotts Lagoon Beach!

Posted by Jody on March 13, 2013

Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

Abbotts Lagoon Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Northern California

The lovely 1 ½ mile walk through coastal vegetation (across a bridge over a small river dividing the two-stage lagoon and traversing soft, shifting sandy hills) might seem a bit more like a hearty (yet low-key) footslog than a “moderate walk.” The unequaled Abbotts Lagoon “trail”  brings hikers through soft, deep sands that seem to slow one down to the bare minimum speed. In this piece of Point Reyes paradise, wayfarers can expect a scenic and unhurried journey!

Trailhead Marker

Trailhead Marker

Greg and I weren’t in any rush on the day we visited! The leisurely pace made it all the easier for us to really take in the spectacular scenery along the diverse trail. Wildflowers abound at Abbots Lagoon, and bird watching is simply unavoidable!  We didn’t actually see very many birds on our January visit, but these lagoons reportedly attract many species of migrating shorebirds in the fall, followed by ducks during the winter months.

If you’re really lucky, you may even spy a peregrine falcon looking for a tasty meal! The sand dunes backing the beach are also home to the threatened western snowy plover. It’s important for visitors to keep an eye out and tread carefully on the sandy beach during their nesting season (spring and early summer).

The Beach at Abbotts Lagoon

The Beach at Abbotts Lagoon

Eventually the path opened up before us to an awe-inspiring panorama of the Pacific Ocean. This varied trail brings happy hikers right to the shores of the Great Beach. The far-reaching Great Beach is actually made up of many sections of sandy shoreline, and the beach at Abbots Lagoon is just one small, beautiful portion of the uninterrupted 11 mile expanse of bluffs, dunes, and natural shoreline.

Greg and I were blown away by the beautiful “sands” we found near Abbotts Lagoon. Sifting through the rich greens, bold reds, and bright yellows of the tiny beach pebbles was an amusing highlight of a lovely walk to a beautiful beach on a warm and sunny winter’s day!

The beach at Abbotts Lagoon

The beach at Abbotts Lagoon

Up, down, out and across; there’s something to see in every direction on the trail to the beach at Abbotts Lagoon!

Happy hiking!

~~~~

Helpful link: National Park Service/Point Reyes National Seashore

Posted in Beach Birding, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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