Tag Archives: ocean photography

Roots

designs in the sand, beach

Roots.

Sunny days or cloudy, high tide or low, the ever-changing elements of a walk on an oceanfront beach stir my senses and imagination. I try to keep a sharp eye out for the unusual. When I spotted these etchings in the sand, I saw a cross-section of roots reaching deep into fertile soil far below the floor of a magnificent forest.

In reality, these markings are nothing more than the tracings of pebbles and shells first being washed upon the shore and then just as quickly drawn back into the sea by its never-ending motion. They still looked like tree roots to me.

“Roots” is my Photo of the Week.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2018

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Filed under human interest, nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography

Sharing life stories created a watershed moment

snowbirds, ocean view

Our ocean view.

By Bruce Stambaugh

We were four snowbird couples, all in our 60s and 70s, gathered for dessert and discussion. We all vacationed in the same Florida condominium building. We had a lot of tales to tell, and plenty of time and opportunity to relate them.

I wasn’t quite sure how the evening would go, given that not all of the couples knew one another. I need not have worried. The ubiquitous congeniality and spontaneity to share kept the conversation moving smoothly, freely, flawlessly. Amtrak never ran so well.

These had been lives well lived, not arrogantly or haughtily, but for family, community, with purpose and genuine, earthy pleasure. Farming does that to you. Most had some rooted connection, directly or indirectly, to the land in their upbringing.

Holmes Co. OH farm

Farming roots.

The group was geographically diverse, too. Bermuda, England, Ontario, North Carolina, and Ohio were each well represented.

After dessert, the stories just flowed. We all sat around a plain rectangular table. The chatter rolled as naturally as the crashing waves on the beach that served as our winter front yard.

Despite our various backgrounds, we had a lot in common. We were all grandparents, each with two children. Surprisingly, the conversation centered on subjects other than the grandchildren and their parents.

Rather, reminiscing of careers, successes, failures, misadventures, heroics, and pure silliness filled the evening. I marveled at the wisdom that surrounded me. Not once did the current global politics enter the confab. That was an unspoken blessing.

morel mushroom

Morel mushroom.

Instead, true stories of hidden treasures, broken dreams, personal confrontations, changing priorities, and even morel mushrooms dominated the banter. Of course, smartphones did fact checking.

The comfort level with one another was sublime, not altogether surprising given the characters in the room. Years of experience from office managers, teachers, cooks, explorers, antique enthusiasts, carpenters, and community volunteers were present and accounted for.

Unfettered wisdom oozed from each participant. Despite some of the type A personalities in attendance, no braggadocios emerged. It was an equal-opportunity session, and all took advantage of the necessary give and take of listening and responding. I felt honored to be a member of this temporary social club.

We had originated from backgrounds that spanned rural, tropical, transient, suburban. That only enriched our camaraderie and the conversation. One refreshing tale led to another.

colorful parasail

An uplifting and colorful conversation.

Though no clergy was among us, it was pretty clear we were in the midst of a sacred moment that lasted more than three hours. There was no agenda, no order of service, no liturgy, no sermon, only immediate trust, mutual respect, adamant admiration, and unending inquisitiveness. The gathering was church defined.

Amid all the world’s problems, I found peace and hope in these kind folks and their faithfulness despite humanity’s all too frequent calamitous interactions. Our friends’ faith rang loud and clear, always, always in humble, gentle, kind voices.

Some of these individuals had just met, and yet here they were affirming and absorbing and encouraging one another without bias or inquisition. I was grateful to be counted among them. I felt safe, secure, sure, loved, appreciated, and appreciative.

In truth, the beachfront location was the magnet that drew us all together in this pleasant place. The genuine fellowship was the glue that cemented our budding friendships.

Humanity too often measures historical events in earth-shattering happenings. For me, this evening of pure, pleasurable fellowship instead modeled the way we all should go. It was a moving watershed moment that pulled me into this new, transformative year.

dawn, colorful sunrise

The dawning of a new day.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2017

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Filed under friends, human interest, nature photography, photography, rural life, writing

Greeting the Day

sunrise photo, family on beach

Greeting the Day.

This photo could be just another beautiful sunrise on the beach. But if you look close, a lot is going on in this scene.

Even in silhouette, you can see a man, his two daughters and the family dog. Look closer and you will notice that the girls are chatting, one with her back to the sun, just having burst over the ocean. The man is holding the dog’s leash, the doggie cleanup back, and his smartphone. In fact, you’ll note that he, too, is reading his phone rather than enjoying the gorgeous sunrise. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Like it or not, perhaps that is truly how much of the western world welcomes in each day. We fixate on getting the day going on our own terms instead of simply greeting the day as it freely shines upon us.

“Greeting the Day” is my Photo of the Week.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2016

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Filed under nature photography, Photo of the Week, photography

Sparkles All Around

surfer, Atlantic Ocen

Sparkles All Around.

I enjoy shooting photographs into the sun. It’s always challenging to get everything in focus and avoid the sun’s glare on the camera lens. When that happens, the results are exciting.

I loved everything about this photo. Your eyes go to the nearly silhouetted surfer headed home after a few hours in the Atlantic’s chilly waters. But it’s what’s all around him that made the scene. From background to foreground, the textures and details glittered from the late morning sunshine.

The silvery sparkle on the surface of the rippled ocean, the folding of the wave, the remnants of previous waves lingering on the beach, the water dripping from the surfer’s foot, and even the grains of sand on the beach sparkled in their own way.

“Sparkles All Around” is my Photo of the Week.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2016

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Filed under Photo of the Week, photography