Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove, California


When I pulled up to the shore, a dozen photographers stood around with cameras hanging over their shoulders, tripods in hand. I knew no one, and it felt like the first day of a new school. In defiance of the weather report, the shore was socked in and foggy. With a shrug of acceptance, we followed each other down the path toward the beach, spread out, and paired off. I climbed out on some rocks, set up, and clicked off a handful of longish exposers until a wave broke too close, and I remembered the tide was coming in.

There was nothing to do but enjoy the evening, and I could sense the others felt the same. Then I somehow dropped my grey-framed glasses on the beach amongst a scattering of grey and black mussel shells and had to double back to see if I’d get lucky and find them. There’s no reason to be upset about a lost anything, I thought. If I can’t find them, then I can’t find them, there’s nothing to do but—and there they were.

With a scant chance of taking a good photo in the dim light, everyone seemed cheerful, snapping away and enjoying the process. As the sun dropped, the color drained from everything, leaving massive shades of grey. And time took on a different meaning as we lengthened our shutter speed and traveled along the shore, searching for harmony and balance.