lake como in the snow

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Last year, I spent January 1st by the piers of Monterey and the final days of December next to these chilly harbors. Lake Como, as far as I understand it, is a celebrated summer oasis for boaters, architecture-lovers, and relaxation-seekers alike: of course we visited in the middle of winter, and spent our only full day dodging icy rain.

Yet Como’s weather deities smiled upon us at last during our final four hours in the area, and I had the opportunity to capture a waterscape unlike any I’d ever photographed before, pairing blue waves with distant snowy peaks!

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seventeen-mile drive

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Yesterday, Western Massachusetts suffered a messy and miserable mix of sleet and snow and hail: so please believe that I’m taking any opportunity to send my mind back to California!

Of course, we couldn’t stop in the Monterey area without winding our way along the scenic Seventeen-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. The afternoon began misty and grey (why is that so much more beautiful by the sea than among the gloomy bare trees of New England winters?) and blossomed into another glowing sunset.

And although I can’t teleport myself back to the other side of the country, at least you can follow me on a multi-mile journey around a meandering coastal road!

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Field Notes from Beachcombing

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I come from a family of dedicated, competitive beachcombers. We’ve established a daily morning beach ritual during our trips to Kona, and have also encountered sea glass and shells on both U.S. coasts.

There’s not much in the way of wisdom that I can impart to aspiring beachcombers, since it’s a very personal, simple activity: all you need is a shoreline and the willingness to look closely. So take the notes that follow with a grain of salt (or, perhaps, sand) and go out there yourself, if you can! You never know what you might discover!

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Happy holidays!

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Whether you are celebrating Christmas today or just want to rejoice in the beauty of the ocean & terrible puns (I wish there were a holiday specifically for that purpose!), I’m sending you all my best wishes. Thanks for reading my blog!

“It never rains in Kona…”

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…were the opening lyrics to a little ditty my sister and I used to sing as children (vaguely to the tune of “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” but it was mostly an original composition). Of course, we were mostly kidding: we knew that of course, it had to rain in Kona sometimes: in comparison to our home in the Volcano rainforest, though, it seemed like Kona was about as close to a beach paradise/desert as you could get in Hawai’i.

It’s true that I’ve rarely seen Kona on a stormy afternoon, and as we kicked off our most recent trip with a bout of pouring rain, I now have a better sense of how our dry opposite coast transforms with a bit of cloud cover. It means waiting a day for the azure waters and sunny sands that usually signify a Kona beach expedition, but I think it has an overcast beauty to it–don’t you?

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Shades of Sea and Sky

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I grew up in the North Pacific, slowly accepted the Atlantic as a second home, once sailed in the Gulf of Alaska, and spent one cold semester gazing out at the North Sea. Now I’ve discovered the oceanic love of my life: the Ligurian Sea, a gorgeously-hued part of the Mediterranean that gently troubles the shores of the Cinque Terre.

After a few months in the colorless, wintry haze of the East Coast, I basked in the colors of the Mediterranean as much as its warming sunshine. As a wannabe-mermaid and nature photographer, I wanted to take these blues and greens home with me like a piece of beach glass, hoarding them with all the other gems of seas and sunsets I’ve ever seen.

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After the Storm | Shipwrecks in Tempest-Tossed Art

XKH191676 Coastal Scene in a Storm, 1782 (oil on canvas); by Vernet, Claude Joseph (1714-89); 32.4x41 cm; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; French, out of copyright

Claude-Joseph Vernet, Coastal Scene in a Storm, 1782.

I dream of the sea. From oceanography to maritime history to sea shanties, I just can’t get enough of those seemingly endless waters that cover a good percentage of our planet.

Usually, this isn’t particularly handy as a professional skill, but since I’ve been doing extensive research on images of shipwrecks in early modern European art of late, I’ve finally found an excuse to learn more about my favorite tempestuous topic.

And boy, is there a lot to learn! Continue reading