Looking Back at Point Lobos

Surf - Point Lobos - 2008

This morning I happened across an earlier post of mine from 2009 that pointed to a New York Times Travel section article about Edward Weston and Point Lobos titled “In Point Lobos, Where Edward Weston Saw the World Anew“.

“The place has never been the same since Weston showed it to us. Just as his friend Ansel Adams has defined how generations view Yosemite and the High Sierra, so it is hard to look at the dark ocean, tide pools, kelp beds, sand, stone and bent cypresses of Point Lobos and Big Sur without filtering them through the lens of Edward Weston.”

Around the same time, a friend gave me a copy of Weston’s Daybooks – fascinating reading about his photographic – and other! – explorations.

Looking to do one of my daily photo editing projects, I explored back through my archive for photos I had taken in 2008 from a visit to Point Lobos – and came across the image above. It’s not done in the Weston black and white style – I tried but liked this color version much better!

The original image was shot using my (since sold) Canon EOS 40D DSLR with the 24-105mm f/4 IS lens. It was post-processed in Lightroom 3 and then in Photoshop with Nik’s Viveza and Color Efex 3. It’s the color of that water in the wave and the gentle golden beige in the sandstone that kept me in color, rather than black and white, for this image!

Sand Dollars on the Ceiling

Hanging in a stairway in the Clement Intercontinental Hotel in Monterey is this beautiful “sand dollar” light – at least that’s what I think it is!

The colors rotate through this light – creating some beautiful effects on the ceiling and surrounding walls.

Here are a few others of the colors from my exploration last night.

A Lonely Sailboat on Monterey Bay at Dusk

PixelBender Version - Sailboat On Monterey Bay

After dinner tonight, a photographer friend and I went out back of the hotel hoping to catch some sunset views of Monterey Bay. The marine layer tonight was a bit thick – not at all unusual this time of year! – so not dramatic sunset lighting occurred.

But we did get this shot of a lonely sailboat coming home at dusk – the particular image has been tweaked just a bit using the Pixel Bender filter in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Click on the image to bring up a larger version against a black background.

Steinbeck and Things

Perhaps my favorite fiction author has been the late John Steinbeck. I best remember reading his Travels with Charley in Search of America back in high school – describing his road trip with his poodle driving a camper around America.

180px-Travels-with-charley-cover.jpg

Unlike some of his other books, Travels with Charley wasn’t required high school reading – it was my choice to read it and that made it even better. According to the Wikipedia article on the book, “the real reason for the trip was that Steinbeck knew he was dying and wanted to see his country one last time.”

Part of my love of Steinbeck’s work is the place he often writes about in many of his books – Monterey and Pacific Grove. His writing about those locales just brings them back to life. You can smell the salt water and, perhaps, even the sardines!

In an op-ed piece titled “A Recession Only Steinbeck Could Love” in today’s Washington Post, Rachel Dry writes about how there’s been an upsurge in interest of late in re-reading Steinbeck’s most read novel “The Grapes of Wrath”. She says “there’s nothing like a Great Recession to make people want to read about the Great Depression.”

Dry goes on to note Steinbeck’s views late in his life about American materialism – “the domino effect of materialism”. She concludes that “even if his rage makes him seem too curmudgeonly to take advice from, Steinbeck’s observations are worth listening to at this moment. Untangle yourself from things.”

It may be springtime in America – but it still feels pretty dark and cold. Feels like it’s time again to re-read Travels with Charley. Maybe follow that with Stegner’s Crossing to Safety.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Carmel and Point Lobos

It’s Sunday morning and while sipping coffee and reading the New York Times, I came across their 36 Hours travel column which this week is about Carmel-by-the-Sea, one of my favorite spots on the planet! Reading that 36 Hours article brought back memories and stimulated me to do a little writing about them!

I first got acquainted with the Carmel area over 20 years ago when I was working at Visa International. For many years, the Visa board of directors held its February board meeting at Pebble Beach every year – at the Lodge. I loved the natural beauty of the area – even if I didn’t have a golfer’s appreciation for it that most of the directors did!

Continue reading “Sunday Morning Coffee: Carmel and Point Lobos”

Headin’ south at the end of the summer…

National Steinbeck CenterThis afternoon, I meandered my way south from the San Francisco Bay Area to Pacific Grove, one of my favorite “home towns”.

Along the way, I stopped at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, Steinbeck’s home town. John Steinbeck is one of my all-time favorite authors and the Center tells the story of his life and times very well. Literary Traveler profiles the Steinbeck Center. This year (2002) is the 100th anniversary of his birth.

At the bookstore, I picked up a copy of a small book titled “Steinbeck Country” by David A. Laws (2002, ISBN 0-09723874-0-4, Windy Hills Press, PO Box 7215, Menlo Park, CA 94026). I was curious about the book because the author must live very close to me. It’s a guide to exploring the settings of Steinbeck’s stories in and around Salinas, Monterey, and environs. The book is very nicely done — obviously Steinbeck and the Monterey/Salinas areas are some of David A. Laws’ favorite subjects!

Had to resist buying any new copies of Steinbeck’s books at the bookstore — even though one of my favorite things to do while in the Salinas/Monterey area is to read one of his local books. At home, I especially enjoy the three volumes of Steinbeck’s works published by the Library of America.

Out in the rotunda of the National Steinbeck Center, I noticed a flyer for “California Stories“, a project sponsored by the California Council for the Humanities. They’re sponsoring a statewide program during the month of October for citizens of California to read Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath“. During a vacation in Hawaii a couple of years ago, I was totally engrossed in reading Steinbeck’s masterpiece – after ignoring it in high school! Highly recommended! I also enjoyed the driving tour of Steinbeck’s Pacific Grove.

Salinas Valley Street Rodders - September 21, 2002Salinas was having a classic car display on the streets surrounding the Steinbeck Center sponsored by the Salinas Valley Street Rodders — the whole thing sorta had that “American Graffiti” feel to it with colorful cars, cool 50-60’s people, great music, all under a glorious northern California end of summer crystal blue sky.

As I was heading southwest out of Salinas on Highway 68 towards Pacific Grove, I discovered KRML at 1410 on the AM dial. I really enjoy finding local radio stations while driving — and this one’s a very special treat. Too many stations are now part of the big conglomerates (Infinity, Clear Channel, etc.) and they all sound the same. KRML is different. Home of Clint Eastwood in “Play Misty for Me”. Local, AM, Jazz. Smooth.

Passionfish - Pacific GroveTonight for dinner it was Passionfish on Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove. Wow. A good friend had recommended Passionfish — saying it wasn’t a fish place. That’s sorta true — about half the menu is fish but not your typical farm-raised Atlantic salmon. The other half is meats of various kinds — slow roasted, grilled.

For dinner, I had the pork tenderloin — it came with sweeps of grainy mustard, sauteed vegetables and a side of classic macaroni and cheese. Delicious. The apppetizer was equally great — seared rare tuna with wasabi slaw (apples sliced into strips with wasabi — yum!) and an amazing ginger sauce. Service was crisp and tight.

Passionfish has an amazing wine list. They price their wines at “retail” — meaning they mark them up 50% above what they pay wholesale for them and then add $1 to cover wine glass breakage costs. The result is the cheapest but most extensive wine list you’ll find anywhere! I had a split of the Rombauer ’00 Carneros Chardonnay — it was just delicious with the pork.

Life doesn’t get much better than this!