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Archive for the ‘Sand and Shoreline’ Category

A Sea of Windswept Sand

Posted by Jody on May 14, 2014

The Land of Enchantment has some absolutely wonderful beaches. But where do New Mexicans go when it’s still a little too chilly to head to our state’s beautiful shorelines? We might just head to the biggest gypsum sandbox on earth! That’s exactly what Greg and I did with our grandchildren when they came for an extended visit recently.

White Sands National Monument is the located on the world’s largest gypsum dune field. Nestled in south central New Mexico, at the northernmost edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, White Sands is the perfect place to kick off your shoes and explore a small slice of the 275 square miles of cool, powder fine, glistening white sand dunes. Barefoot is definitely best! Walking in the silky sand, sans sneakers, is the ultimate in luxury for winter-weary tootsies!

On the spring day we arrived, the air temperature was in the mid-80’s, and it was windy, which is typical for the Tularosa Basin. The sand was blowing, and our views of nearby mountains were slightly obscured by the dust in the air. Yet it was the perfect day for sifting, rolling, sledding, and just plain trekking up and over the seemingly endless, wavelike dunes.

Click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through:

There is water here, hidden below the uppermost layer of sand. Indeed, throughout the extensive dune field, highly mineralized water is just a few feet from the surface. The depth of the ground water varies from about five feet below the surface on the east side of the dune field, decreasing to one to three feet below the surface nearer the western end.

In the evening we joined in on the ever-popular, no reservations necessary, ranger-led Sunset Stroll:

There was a beach here once upon a time:

“The gypsum that makes up White Sands is ultimately derived from marine rocks. Shallow seas covered much of New Mexico throughout the Paleozoic Era (570-245) million years ago). Marine deposits as old as 500 million years are present in the San Andres Mountains, but by far the most abundant sedimentary rocks in southern New Mexico are Permian in age (290-245 Ma). In the Permian Period, North America was part of a great megacontinent called Pangaea, and present day New Mexico was submerged in a tropical sea just south of the equator. The limestone mountains at Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks represent the remains of a large barrier reef that was part of this Permian sea. In the middle of the Permian Period there was a major fall in sea level, causing vast stretches of water across southern New Mexico to nearly dry up. It was during this drying-up phase that large quantities of gypsum rock were deposited.”

Source: Geology Fieldnotes, NPS.gov

All resources within White Sands National Monument are federally protected.  Collecting sand, natural objects, and historic items is strictly prohibited. We took home some wonderful memories and these photographs. The saying goes: “Leave only footprints,” but even our footprints were not left behind in the windswept white sands of south central New Mexico.

Have a great day at the beach (or former beach)!

~~~

Helpful links: White Sands National Monument home page,  Plan Your Visit, and park brochures galore

Alamogordo Visitor’s Guide

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve 

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Posted in Inland Shores, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

“Where can I find sea glass?”

Posted by Jody on April 16, 2014

Here are a few handy tips for our sea glass treasure hunters!

Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches

Collecting sea glass is such a fun hobby. Many an eager beachcomber has headed to the seashore in hopes of discovering the ideal piece of sea glass (also called beach glass). Finding that perfectly frosted, wave tumbled jewel can make the very best day at the beach even better!

Often times people will ask, “Where can I find sea glass on _(fill in the blank)_?” My answer goes something like this: “That’s a great question. In my experience, the best beaches for finding sea glass are near the more populated locales, especially around areas with bars. Party scene locations tend to produce more glass in the surrounding water. Check for low tides, too. You will most likely find more sea glass when the tide is out and the beach is lengthened. Have a wonderful time! Let us know what you find! ~Aloha”

Sea Glass, Surfside, Texas (©Jody Diehl)

A…

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Sand and Shoreline, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

How sweet it is!

Posted by Jody on February 1, 2014

I just opened this lovely email from our dear blogger friend Maggie of Tide Line Still Life:

Jody,

Because of your fun photo today, I just wanted to share with you my kick-your-shoes-off-on-the-beach photos.

Kick off your shoes II! Photo by Maggie Beck

Kick off your shoes II! Photo by Maggie Beck

The story behind them is lovely . . . my nephew and his bride had been married a year. She is from Japan, and they had not had a real ‘wedding’. He told her that there would be family photos on the beach because we had all gathered as a family that weekend in August. Yes, there were photos, but we had all come to the shore (as many as could be there) because my nephew had arranged (with help from mom and aunties) to surprise his bride with a beach wedding ceremony. First, he got her out of the house for a long walk on the way to the wedding/photo site. We then scrambled to put food together, get the cakes from their hidden places, and then scurry to the beach to be there by the time they arrived.

How sweet it is! Photo by Maggie Beck

How sweet it is! Photo by Maggie Beck

Shoes were kicked off, vows were renewed with my brother, his dad, presiding (he is ordained), tears were shed, photos were taken, and then we celebrated!The other photo is the cake that I made in addition to the ‘real’ wedding cake.

Also very sweet!! Photo by Maggie Beck

Also very sweet!! Photo by Maggie Beck

Anyway, it is horribly cold and icy here this morning. I had to cancel two appointments because I can’t get out. Your blog post was exactly what I needed to warm the day and to bring back a delightful memory of this past summer.

Warmly,

Maggie

Maggie, I am also truly tickled that we connected through our love of “all-thing-sea!” Many thanks for sharing such beautiful family memories with us. Your cake must have been a smash hit! ~Jody

Warm congratulations to the very special pair.

May they always find in each other the love, laughter, and happiness that true partners in life share!

~~~

Please feel free to send along your “Kick Off Your Shoes!” photos and stories! We love to spread the sunshine around!

~~~

Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Kick off your shoes!

Posted by Jody on January 10, 2014

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” 

~Henry David Thoreau

Kick off your shoes!

Kick off your shoes!

~~~

Posted in Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Warm Winter Wishes!

Posted by Jody on January 8, 2014

Greetings of the Season!

Warm Winter Wishes!

~~~

Don’t forget your hat!

~~~

“Snowman” created by Courtney of San Diego State University.

Posted in Beachy Keen Art, Sand and Shoreline, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Happy New Year!

Posted by Jody on December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

~~~

Posted in Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Surf, Sand, Sun, and Santa!

Posted by Jody on December 12, 2013

Does it get any better than this?

Surf, Sand, Sun, and Santa!

Surf, Sand, Sun, and Santa!

~~~

Posted in Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

Seasonal Seaside Style with The Sandcastle Man

Posted by Jody on December 10, 2013

The Beach at the Hotel del Coronado

The Beach at the Hotel del Coronado

Coronado Beach, Southern California

Coronado Beach, Southern California

The Sandcastle Man

The Sandcastle Man

At the Beach with the Sandcastle Man

At the Beach with the Sandcastle Man

The Sandcastle Man at Play

The Sandcastle Man at Play

Look who's here!

Look who’s here!

Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy

You can visit with The Sandcastle Man on the beach just outside the Hotel del Coronado!

~OR~

Check out the live webcam at the Hotel Del to see if you can spot him on the beach today!

~~~

Posted in Beachy Keen Art, Sand and Shoreline, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Christmas at the Beach ~ New Mexico Style!

Posted by Jody on December 2, 2013

How do you celebrate Christmas with seaside style? Does your favorite beach community dazzle holiday revelers with an annual lighted boat parade? Does Santa Claus arrive on your sandy shores riding a jet ski? Or does the jolly old elf hang ten on a surfboard?

New Mexicans celebrate with a traditional family friendly holiday river cruise! We head to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and hop onto pontoon boats that set sail from the Pecos River Village docks – directly across the Pecos River from Carlsbad Lake Beach Park. The boats travel along the Pecos for prime time views of creatively illuminated back yards and colorful twinkling river islands. Quite happily, our extended family gathered together on this year’s opening night for the ever popular “Christmas on the Pecos” sparkly winter wonderland tour!

Here, we’ll scoot over a bit so you can join us for a festive ride aboard the lovely Bella Sera:

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Now it’s your turn to tell us about your favorite beachy Christmas event!  ~ Pretty please ~ with a sea star on top!

~~~

According to New Mexico.org: “Christmas on the Pecos River has been awarded one of the top 100 “must see” events in North America by the American Bus Association every year since 1996.”

Related links: Home and Garden  …and Beach!

Lake Carlsbad Recreation Area

Lake Carlsbad Beach Park

Christmas on the Pecos

Posted in Inland Shores, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

 
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