Capo Beach Photos: Blog en-us (C) Capo Beach Photos (Capo Beach Photos) Mon, 15 Apr 2024 22:54:00 GMT Mon, 15 Apr 2024 22:54:00 GMT Capo Beach Photos: Blog 90 120 Cape Florida Lighthouse-The Dead Man Beside Me Cape Florida LightCape Florida Light

The Dead Man Beside Me

The history of the Cape Florida Lighthouse is 200 years long and protracted with such events as construction fraud, destructive hurricanes, beach erosion that threatened the tower's stability, death, struggles for survival, violent attacks by indigenous people, fires, oil lamp explosions, civil war vandalism, then reconstruction. This short blog will recap but a few events in its colorful history. Stay tuned for the Rest of the Story in a future blog. . . 

In the early 1820's, a parcel of three acres of land on Key Biscayne was sold by the Waters Davis family to the federal government. Keep in mind it was only in 1821 that the US government took control of southern Florida from Spain. Spanish Explorer Juan Ponce De León had named the southern tip of Florida as Cape of Florida in 1513.
After surveying the southern Florida coastline, the U.S. government was eager to erect a light tower that would significantly aid maritime navigation around the southern tip of Florida. Hopes were that it would also greatly reduce future ship wrecks on the Great Florida reef and minimize black pirate activity along the Florida coastline. The lighthouse was located at a slight land projection that came to be known as Cape Florida and was the closest land mass to the prevailing Gulf Stream ocean currents and trade winds. Coupled with the North Atlantic Drift further north, the Gulf Stream helps accelerate traversing the north Atlantic to Europe. 

Soon after being awarded the contract to construct the first lighthouse in southern Florida on Key Biscayne, as well as one in Key West and Dry Tortugas, Samuel Lincoln set sail from Boston to Florida in August of 1824 with plans and construction materials on board. He and his crew never arrived and were never heard from again. Assumed lost at sea, he was replaced by Noah Humphreys to build the lighthouse at Key Biscayne. The original 65 foot brick tower built with a concrete base set on a coral reef had an internal wooden staircase, and was completed by the end of 1825. ( It was later determined that the contractor had defrauded the government by making the upper brick walls of the tower hollow so as to save the cost of brick and to make the schedule.) The area of land where the lighthouse was being built was a vital sailing off point for black Seminoles escaping slavery to freedom in the Bahamas where slavery had been outlawed. Known as the Saltwater Railroad, the building of the lighthouse and the bustling activity in Key Biscayne hindered this escape route.

After being appointed as the first lighthouse keeper, Captain John Dubose, found it necessary, after a few years, to move his wife, 5 children and two former African-American slaves to safer surroundings in Key Biscayne, just north of the lighthouse. However it soon became apparent to him, this was not far enough away from the local Seminole tribes that were growing increasingly hostile. He then moved them to Key West. Hostilities grew even bolder by 1830 when, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, formed in 1824, tried enforcing the Removal Act passed by Congress. By coercing the Seminole nation to relocate to the Indian Territory, established in what today is known as Oklahoma, they outraged them even further and began the Second Seminole War. Subsequently, on July 23, 1836 a band of Seminoles attacked the lighthouse compound in their growing hostility to the US government. 
When in early July, Dubose decided to visit his family in Key West, he left only assistant keeper John W.B. Thompson in charge at the compound along with Aaron Carter, an older African-American handyman. The Seminoles aggressively attacked with muskets in hand. Seeing the attackers coming, the two men escaped from the keepers' quarters and made it to the top of the lighthouse tower with their own muskets and keg of gunpowder. The wooden staircase and wooden windows were set aflame by the attackers. Fires were heightened by the leaking 225 gallon lamp oil tank at the base of the tower which had suffered musket ball holes. The heat from the burning staircase and the subsequent breaking glass lenses and window panes in the lantern room forced the two men out onto the two foot wide open grate metal balcony. Now being targets of the Seminoles from below, Aaron Carter succumbed to a total of 7 musket ball wounds. It is recorded that the elder Carter, with tears in his eyes said to Thompson, ". . . I am wounded, save yourself " and took his last breath. Thompson, laying beside Carter, was not much better off having endured repeated musket fire from below and suffered life-
threatening wounds to his feet and legs. He laid there on the balcony grating in a semiconscious state for almost 12 hours enduring thirst, hunger, musket ball wounds and fire burns all the while with attackers continued their rampage below.

With his clothes now on fire, Thompson, stood up to the railing and was considering jumping to his death after recommending his soul to God as he later stated. But rather, he managed to hurl the remaining gun powder keg down to the bottom of the fully inflamed wooden staircase hoping to end his misery by toppling the entire tower in an explosion. The result however was that only the staircase collapsed and the fire extinguished. The explosion and resulting pillar of fire was seen by the U.S. Naval schooner Motto, some 12 miles away. By morning, when they reached the Lighthouse, the seamen from the ship found Thompson barely alive at the top of the tower, and the attackers temporarily gone. Thompson was unable to get down due to the staircase's destruction and his serious injuries. With a series of ropes and pulleys, and some ingenuity, two naval seamen from the Motto were able to reach the top of the tower and rescue Thompson.

Thompson was sent to a military hospital in Key West and later to Charleston, South Carolina to recover. Though severely handicapped by his injuries for the remainder of his life, he continued to live out his days. 

In light of the ongoing hostilities with the native Seminole nation, the island of Key Biscayne was uninhabitable for settlers and the lighthouse lantern went dark from 1836 until 1846. But in 1847. . . .


(Capo Beach Photos) attacks Carter Dubose explosion fire keg Key Biscayne Key West lighthouse muskets powder reef rescue Schooner Motto Seminole Spain Thompson Wed, 21 Feb 2024 03:53:00 GMT
Cockspur Island Lighthouse - In The Line of Fire Cockspur_Tower_GeorgiaCockspur_Tower_Georgia


Cockspur Island Lighthouse - In The Line of Fire

Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island, Georgia (to the left side and out of view in this photo) was fully occupied as a Confederate fort with a garrison of about 361 men at the beginning of the Civil War. But the Union wanted to end the choke hold that allowed the South to protect the port of Savannah. On April 10, 1862, Union forces began firing varying sized rifled artillery rounds from 11 artillery batteries equipped with 36 of the newly invented “Parrott” rifled cast iron cannons. Artillery batteries were stretched out along the north beachhead of Tybee Island across the Savannah River. The furthest east battery positions on the beach were still able to reach the walls of the Fort with shells despite being some 3400 yards away. This was entirely possible only because of newly invented precision military technology of the rifled cannon. Closer batteries, with smaller sized ammunitions, were located less than 1600 yards away from the walls of the Fort. After 30 hours of relentless precision bombardment, the Confederate forces surrendered Fort Pulaski. The Fort had been built between 1829 and 1847 with roughly 25 million bricks, 7.5 ft thick walls, 25 feet high, and built by enslaved peoples rented from nearby plantations. It was one of over 42 coastal “Third System” fortifications built by the Federal government after the War of 1812. Once thought invincible to standard cannon ball munitions, the new technology of rifled cannons made the U.S. coastal forts very vulnerable.

The Cockspur Island Light located at the SE tip of Cockspur Island was only accessible by boat or by foot at extreme low tide and was directly in the line of the artillery shelling by 3 batteries easterly positioned on the Tybee Island beach. The Light had been extinguished at the beginning of the Civil War so as to not aid Union naval blockades or assaults. The tower was not the military objective of the Union attacks on the Fort but stood in the direct line of fire of those 3 battery positions. In order to be an effective bombardment on the Fort, the Union’s "Parrott" rifled artillery rounds and percussion shells were hurled in such a trajectory over the brick Lighthouse Tower that it suffered no significant damage. 

Courtesy of Google and American Battlefield Trust here is a Link to the Union Pre-Attack Strategy Map:

The original brick Light tower on this site was only intended as a daymark and was built between 1837 and 1839, but was also destroyed by a hurricane in 1839. Six years later, the famous NY architect John S. Norris was commissioned by the US government to rebuild the original lighthouse but as an illuminated tower. By 1848 this Lighthouse and Keeper’s quarters were completed on this islet consisting of oyster shells and rip-rap rock. The brick tower of 1848 was again destroyed by a hurricane in 1854 but rebuilt in 1855 on the same foundation albeit enlarged. This is the current tower shown in the photo. After the Civil War, in 1866, the light was relit. After the hurricane of 1893 it was also painted white to serve as a daymark for navigation . In 1909 this seemingly insignificant little brick tower Lighthouse's beacon was finally extinguished as a navigational light on the Savannah River. By 1909 major commerce was increasing to the Port of Savannah and sea traffic was redirected to the deeper north channel of the River.

By August 1958 President Eisenhower signed into a proclamation a transfer of ownership of the Cockspur Island Light from the US Coast Guard to the National Park Service. Preservation of this Light Tower, Georgia’s smallest, is ongoing. In 2007, the Light was relit for historic recognition.



(Capo Beach Photos) April 10 1862 artillery assault cannons Civil War Cockspur Island Georgia confederacy Fort Pulaski hurricanes parrott rifling Savannah surrender Union Fri, 02 Feb 2024 20:33:55 GMT
BHL-Nuclear Light Baltimore Harbor Light_MarylandBaltimore Harbor Light_Maryland

America's Only Nuclear Powered Lighthouse-

Originally funded in 1894, construction was not completed until 1907 and finally lit in 1908. It is located on Chesapeake Bay, as the last lighthouse built on the Bay it marks the entrance to the Craighill Channel near the mouth of the Magothy River leading to Baltimore Harbor. Construction difficulties included flooding and subsequent sinking of the caisson, re-erecting the caisson and fierce winter storms delayed the completion for almost 18 years. As it turns out, the BHL (Baltimore Harbor Light), as it was known, became one of the most difficult lighthouse construction projects ever built in the United States. Above the waterline it stood 53 feet and some 88 feet below the mean water line, resting on 91 pilings driven into the muddy bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.

It was a partially filled with concrete, steel caisson foundation with a 30 foot diameter building platform, painted white brick octagonal two story super structure measuring 24 feet in width, mansard shaped slate tile roof and with a black lantern enclosure to top it off.  The original caisson engineering criteria was that it needed to resist 100mph winds, 30,000 pounds of ice pressure per square foot and almost constant 3 mph underwater currents.

In 1964, the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender White Pine installed a 60-watt nuclear isotopic power generator about the size of a 55 gallon drum weighing 4600 pounds, as an experiment to see if such a power source could be used in remote areas for sustainable long term power. The BHL was America's only, and the world's first, nuclear powered lighthouse. After two years, the nuclear powered generator was removed having proved itself worthy. As a side note, while the generator was being installed, the lighthouse was passed by the world's first nuclear powered cargo-passenger ship, the historic NS Savannah, now currently moored at the Port of Baltimore, Maryland.

The lighthouse lantern is currently solar powered and still maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard; the lighthouse is fully restored and privately owned.

Photo taken in September 2023 from the shoreline along Shipsview Road near Cape St. Claire, Maryland using a Nikon D850 DSLR, Nikkor 500mm lens (hand-held), manual exposure setting f/14, shutter speed 1/250, ISO 125.





(Capo Beach Photos) caisson caisson style foundation construction delay contractor default ice nuclear powered generator restored storms US Coast Guard maintained lantern light Sat, 06 Jan 2024 00:49:37 GMT
Standby To Standby French Castle_Red Coat Soldier_NYFrench Castle_Red Coat Soldier_NY

Standby To Standby -

Harsh winters, starvation, scurvy, drunkenness, disease as well as attacks by native Americans and foreign armies plagued Fort Niagara at one time or another over its' 300 year history. In the late 1600's the French were especially hard hit by starvation and disease. In 1687 while it was named Fort Denonville, 100 French soldiers were left to winter here, only 12 survived. Of particular concern for British command in the years between 1759 and 1796 was boredom among the rank and file. British red-coat soldiers, also known as "lobsters" and "bloody backs" (as labelled by colonists) were stationed here to secure the entrance to the Niagara River which led to the Great Lakes and to carry out raids on American colonists. Yet in standby preparation, the garrison of British soldiers stationed at Fort Niagara's 1726 era French-built Castle "mansion"  were required to be always ready in full uniform. 

I photographed this British Red Coat re-enactor while visiting Fort Niagara in July 2021. In my brief interview with him, he was stoic and a man of few words. He did convey his role as an era-correct contingent of the garrison. Here was a non-commissioned British regimental soldier, a private or corporal at best and as he put it. . . plagued with extreme boredom. He was enacting smoking a tobacco pipe as so many did and portraying playing cards on the table as a relief for the boredom. Despite being well disciplined troops, this boredom often led to gambling with cards, drunkenness and brawling, all strictly against British military regulations for a British soldier but they did so nonetheless, he stated.

A British soldier was rationed roughly five pints of small beer per diem (usually diluted to avoid excessive drunkenness). Winter boredom would have consisted of much the same, more or less, but with the added difficulty of staying warm in subzero temperatures even while inside. In the French Castle, fireplaces were common in every room to avoid freezing. Supplies would come from England every two months or so but at other times not at all. These soldiers also faced disease and scurvy under harsh winter conditions. Some were married with wives housed at the fort as well. Marriage was greatly discouraged by Commanding Officers.

Fort Niagara in western New York has a long history as a conflicted military stronghold. It was a strategic location for controlling all maritime traffic entry from the Atlantic Ocean into the Great Lakes. The first military settlement at Fort Niagara located at the mouth of the Niagara River off Lake Ontario was established by the French as Fort Conti in 1679. The trading post and military fortification protected their fur trading interests with the indigenous people and their continuing exploration and settlements around the Great Lakes. The indigenous peoples of the Iroquois Confederacy included originally Five Nations: the Mohawks, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayugas, Senecas and later in 1722 the Tuscarora peoples to make it Six Nations. To protect their affairs, the French strived to form an alliance with the Six Nations for the purpose of defeating any invading forces namely the British. However the alliance with the Iroquois tribes especially were strained at best. In 1726 the French were allowed by the Iroquois Confederacy to build what they called a "House of Peace", yet built of stone. The French conned the Confederacy and built the French Castle at Fort Niagara in the form of a french styled mansion so as to minimize the appearance as an armed fortification. But the building housed garrisoned military personnel and munitions storage. See the following link to other Fort Niagara photos taken by myself on this same tour in July 2021. In those photos you will see the stone Castle, the reinforced stone Redoubts used for perimeter protection as well as the bermed fortifications with artillery batteries.

Fort Niagara Photo Tour

The French continued to fortify and strengthen the Fort during the King George's War of 1744-1748 and during the French and Indian War beginning in 1754 through 1757 by building massive earthen berms, structures for provisions and munitions storage. Then in 1759, besieged by night and day bombings, an overwhelming British force and tunneled intrusions, the French held Fort succumbed to a 19 day siege by British forces. In 1770-1771 the British built two stone Redoubts to shore up their perimeter defenses around the Fort. The British held control of the Fort throughout the American War for Independence and used it as a base for raids against American colonists and as a refuge for Native allies, the Tories and British loyalists in the colonies. However in 1796 Britain was forced under treaty to turn over the Fort to the Americans.

During the War of 1812, Fort Niagara was again captured by British troops as a stronghold. They again forfeited control back to the Americans by treaty in 1815. By 1825, the building of the Erie Canal greatly diminished the strategic importance of Fort Niagara.

The Fort has been used for U.S. troop training and staging for the Union during the Civil War, troop readiness for the Battle of Manila in 1899 in the Philippines, and for WWI and WWII. In 1944 it was used as a prisoner of war camp for German and Austrian POW's.

Today the Fort welcomes some 200,000 tourists annually.

Since this photo was taken in very dark interior conditions, camera settings were adjusted accordingly: ISO 1600; aperture f/8; shutter speed was reduced to 1/20 using a Nikon D850 with a 28mm lens but hand held. 




(Capo Beach Photos) British Cayugas Fort Niagara fortification French French Castle Iroquois Mohawks Oneidas Onondaga Ontario red-coat soldier redoubts Senecas Tuscarora Tue, 07 Sep 2021 23:13:32 GMT
Crossing the Bar CapeDisappointment_LookingEast_SmallCapeDisappointment_LookingEast_Small

Crossing the Bar

Over two hundred shipwrecks have been recorded in and around the mouth of the Columbia River where it empties into the Pacific Ocean.

The earliest records date to 1775 when Spanish explorer Bruno de Hezeta (Heceta) discovered and mapped the area. Illnesses among his crew stopped him from any further exploration. In 1788 English explorer Captain John Meares, in an attempt to further discover the Great Northwest Inland Passage, as mapped out by Heceta, landed on the north river bank of the Columbia, but frustrated he could not find the actual river. In his frustration he named the high cliffs point Cape Disappointment. American trader Robert Gray crossed the bar in 1792 in his ship The Columbia and gave the river its current name. There is evidence that earlier Spanish ships may have floundered and crewmen lost as early as 1679 at the mouth of the Columbia River. Evidence suggests that some periled crews of sunken ships made it to shore only to be captured by local Indian tribes such as the Chinook and Clatsop then traded to other tribes as slaves. Hundreds of crewmen and passengers are known to have perished by drowning. Since 1850, the mouth of the Columbia has been labelled the Graveyard of the Pacific.

The fierce currents, winds and tidal actions here create an underwater shifting sand bar that causes ships to run aground or drift off course only to be dashed on the rocky banks of the River. Today's large ships wait as long as a week for the fog, winds and currents to be just right for the crossing of the bar. River pilots are needed to navigate safely across the sand bar. All throughout the 1800's mariner traffic was essential for providing Portland and other inland inhabitants with supplies. Exporting products such as grain and timber was also vital for the areas' economy. The shifting underwater sand caused such concern in the late 1800's that Congress appropriated funds to build a jetty extending out from the Clatsop Sand spit on the south side of the mouth in 1914 and a northern jetty in 1925. This in hopes that it would mitigate the shifting sands. Elevated railroad tracks were built out into the River to deposit large rock for the jetty. Even today, the channel is regularly dredged to keep the channel depth acceptable for marine traffic. Currents are so fierce at the mouth of the Columbia that salt water flow has been registered as far as 106 miles up River and fresh water plumes reach out into the Pacific for a 100 miles. This is no normal river delta. 

In 1856, Congress decided it was vital to build a lighthouse high atop the northern cliff above the Cape. This photo shows the 53 foot high conical shaped Cape Disappointment Light at an elevation of 220 feet above the River. (The small observation deck structure in front of the light tower is used by the Coast Guard to observe the constantly changing sand bar and alert mariners of pending dangers.) By 1870 it was discovered, after several shipwrecks, that the lighthouse was so high above the River level that it often could not be seen during thick fog and the bell mechanism not heard due to the noise of the waves below. The location also was too far east from the ocean and could not be seen by ships approaching from the north. A second light, the North Head Light, was erected in 1897 about two miles further north atop the cliffs facing the Pacific Ocean.

Photo taken May 2019.

(Capo Beach Photos) cape disappointment light Columbia River delta Graveyard of the Pacific Gray Heceta marine Meares pilots plumes raging river sand ships shipwrecks Wed, 14 Apr 2021 03:49:04 GMT
Herring Cove Nova Scotia Herring Cove_Nova ScotiaHerring Cove_Nova Scotia

Herring Cove, Nova Scotia

Driving to the southwest out of Halifax one morning in August 2019 on highway 253, we were on our way to photograph the Chebucto Head Light at Duncan Cove off Highway 349. About 15 kilometers down the road from downtown Halifax, I spotted a little fishing cove that certainly looked picturesque. With camera in hand I had to stop. This was Herring Cove, a regional municipality suburb of Halifax of about 3000 people. The town had been a productive fishing community and remnants were still very visible. However, that working industry had faded. One of the last locally famous full-time fisherman of decades past retired in 2018. Today's fishing activity here consists mostly of a few lobster boats moored to the old docks in the cove, some of which can be seen in this photo. 

What I did not realize at the time I took this photo is that this little rural bedroom community is the major North American hub of internet cabling between Europe and the U.S. / Canada. Who knew ? This fact is so obscure that not even some of the locals are aware of its significance. Herring Cove Nova Scotia is the shortest point between our continent and England and subsequently the rest of western Europe. As of 2015 it is the landing point for the densest cluster of sub-50ms (millisecond) trans-Atlantic fiber optic cables between the two sides of the Atlantic. There are several major routes that "land" here including those from London (5500km), Liverpool and Dublin Ireland. Branch cables run 750km from Herring Cove to Lynn, Massachusetts (north of Boston) connecting to the U.S. 

Hibernia Networks began work just prior to the year 2000 ( and finished in 2003 ) to establish a 30,000 SF landing point station at Hospital Point in Herring Cove . In 2015, Hibernia Express ( later sold to Global Tech Telecommunications in 2017 ) expanded the investment when they laid the newest high tech clusters of 8 pair copper clad fiber optic cables across the Atlantic that enabled sub-50ms connections. The term "sub-50ms" speaks to the latency or delay in the internet connection signal. Today's cable connections to London provide a "ping" rate of less than 45ms and better. In layman's term, that means that a signal sent from New York for example can reach London and back again in less than 45 milliseconds. Milliseconds, that's a very big deal, the speed of light kind of a deal. The cabling laid in the initial cabling in 2003 were producing rates at only sub-70ms. Today, financial markets in New York can make virtually instantaneous trades with European markets. Very important indeed in today's business world.

The world is not connected by the "Cloud" as they say, but rather by the speed of light undersea cabling signals.

Who knew this about Herring Cove Nova Scotia anyway ? Now we know. . . . 







(Capo Beach Photos) Cables fishing Halifax Herring Cove internet hub landing point station lobster milliseconds network speed of light trans-Atlantic Wed, 03 Feb 2021 01:33:50 GMT
Bergen Night Lights Bergen Night LightsBergen Night Lights

Bergen's Historic Wharf Front -

Though second in population to the capital of Oslo, the Norwegian city of Bergen is the countries largest in port traffic and commerce for both freight and cruise ship passengers. Over 300 cruise ships travelling up and down the Norwegian coastline during the summer dock in Bergen, disembarking some 500,000 tourists on a yearly basis. Many of the cruise ships also venture inland on the many fjords. Norway has over 53,000 miles of ocean coastline, fjords, bays and inland waterways. Sognefjord, just north of Bergen, is Norway's longest and deepest fjord, stretching some 204 kilometers inland.

There is historic evidence that the City of Bergen began in the year 1020 AD and was established officially as a township in 1070 AD. Some of the two and three story gabled-roof wooden buildings seen along the eastside of Vågen Harbor wharf in the background of this photograph date from this period. Others are a little newer, around 1702, rebuilt due to devastating fires of the original buildings.This wharf area is known as old historic Bryggen (the dock) or Tyskebryggen, meaning the German dock. As trade grew more robust in the centuries after 1020, it became the central location of commerce for the Hanseatic League trading companies beginning as early as the 1300's. I have toured many of these historic wharf buildings. My Norwegian heritage as well as my personal interest in these structures as a preservation Architect and photographer, underscores to me the relevance of saving these historic remnants from the past. 

The city began as a destination trade hub for German merchants who would sail into port for trade with Norwegian merchants from the north. Norwegians would trade fish products, primarily dried cod, while Germans would trade dried cereals and grains from Europe.

In modern day, Norwegians take to the roads during the summertime as well as to the waterways in their boats. Ports such as Bergen see an influx of vacationing foreign tourists and Norwegians alike. Night time activities are brisk along the wharf all throughout the summer months.

This photo was taken in August from the west side of Vågen Harbor looking east toward the old wharfside, ten o'clock at night.


(Capo Beach Photos) 1020 AD bergen bryggen germans hanseatic league historic wooden wharf buildings norway port trade tyskebryggen Thu, 07 Jan 2021 00:07:15 GMT
The Lost City of Saint Joseph St. Joseph Point LightSt. Joseph Point Light

The Lost City (and Lighthouses) of Saint Joseph -

The St. Joseph Bay Lighthouse was a white washed brick conical 55 foot tall tower built at the northern tip of the 15 mile long St. Joseph Bay peninsula. The oblong shaped peninsula is about 6 miles at its widest point off the Florida mainland gulf coastline and is now a wildlife preserve. The bay is open to the north and had as much as 60 feet of depth for ships seeking shelter from the Gulf storms. Built in 1838 due to the ever growing popularity of the town of St. Jospeh on the mainland, the old lighthouse marked the entry into the natural harbor of St. Joseph Bay.
No images of this lighthouse exist. It had only one lightkeeper and was abandoned in 1847 in favor of a new light at Cape San Blas, rebuilt at the southern tip of the peninsula elbow which jetted out into the Gulf of Mexico. All remnants of the old St. Joseph Bay Light were washed away in 1851 by a storm surge. The short story of the town and the lighthouse that was built to serve it follows below. . . .

Saint Joseph Bay was a perfect natural harbor for ships seeking shelter. One of the few such harbors on the gulf side of the Florida panhandle. 
Wealthy land owners and businessmen from nearby Apalachicola 20 miles inland to the east and as far away as Tallahassee moved their enterprises to the shores of this natural harbor to take advantage of the economic boom here. They wanted to establish a hub for the cotton trade and more, to draw business from nearby Apalachicola that was hampered by a shallow bay where barges were used to load/unload ships. St. Joseph unofficially started in 1822 but began real expansion in 1835. By 1838 it had more than 10,000 people calling it home. A railroad was vital since the bay had no rivers feeding into it and therefore no barge traffic. The railroad was built to help support the cotton and lumber trade shipping out of this strategic port location. It was Florida's own first major railroad, and by 1839 was renamed the St. Joseph & Iola Line. In 1838 the territory of Florida held a convention in St. Joseph for drafting the territory's state constitution. By all historic accounts, Tallahassee was the capitol of the Florida territory at the time, but St. Joseph was preparing itself to become the new state capitol due to its increasing popularity and rising affluence and prestige if it had not been for what was to transpire. Florida was admitted to the Union as the 27th State in March of 1845. The town of St. Joseph would never see it.

By 1839, Saint Joseph was Florida's largest city and flourishing to the point it rivaled Charleston and New Orleans for beauty, prestige and influence with a population of as many as 10,000. The town was laid out on a grid pattern with a majestic beauty that competed with other large cities having designated areas for houses, churches, cotton mills, brickyard, lumber mills, banks, hotels, city parks, a race track, industrial areas with warehouses for the cotton trade and then the large, wealthy slave plantations located slightly inland bordering mosquito infested uncontrolled swamp lands. Most large buildings including the warehouses were built of brick but houses and others were made of wood. Commerce Street was main street that ended with an 1800 foot long pier out into the Bay allowing railroad cars to come ship side to load bales of cotton and lumber. By all accounts, this was a thriving, booming new city on the Gulf. Hopes were high and business was good.

But along with all the good came the bad that festered corruption and according to local newspapers of the time. . . wickedness. The brothels, gaming houses, drinking establishments, gambling all were a part of it. Seaman loved docking here for those activities. At first, the town was revered more as a resort town but that quickly changed. By late 1839 it was known as Sin City throughout the territory and had an aire of vice and evil.
In 1837 came the financial panic throughout the country. Though not immediately affecting St. Joseph, it did play a role in its downfall.
Early in 1841, banks around the country were beginning to fail and the price of cotton tumbled, which led to the 1842 bankruptcy of the local railroad which was then sold at auction. The estimated worth of the railroad in 1839 was at $500,000; at auction in 1842 it sold for just over $17,900.

In September of 1840, the Schooner Herald of Boston in route north from the West Indies docked at St. Joseph to bury its captain Geo. L.L. Kupfer who had died two days earlier at sea; cause of death - yellow fever. 

Other ships also docked with sailors carrying yellow fever. Sick sailors on board these ships were left behind to recover. But instead of their recovery, it led instead to an epidemic the town was not prepared to deal with. Yellow fever spread among the residents by mosquitos from the local swamps. By mid summer of 1841, inhabitants of St. Joseph had been dying by the dozens and buried in large unmarked graves in the local cemeteries. People left town by whatever means they could find with few if any of their possessions. In the fall of 1841, the town also suffered a severe fire that burnt most of the town's wooden structures and a good portion of the wharf was destroyed by a hurricane. In a period of just a few months the population shrank to only a few thousand. Historic records show that some 1100 persons in town died from yellow fever between those late months of 1840 until mid summer of 1841. Many people fled town in hopes of escaping the devastation. But what they did not know was that the yellow fever "death" followed them, they were already infected and they later died in their hometowns where they thought they were safe. By early 1843 there remained only 500 people in old Saint Joseph, then nothing more than a small fishing village. The final destruction of the town came by way of a hurricane storm surge in 1844 that broke through and over the narrowest strip of the peninsula separating the Bay from the Gulf. It leveled what was left of the once prosperous town of old Saint Joseph. By 1854, the town of Saint Joseph was no more, the last U.S. post office had closed it's doors. The town remained abandoned for some 40 years. In the early 1860's the Confederates started up a salt works factory in St. Joseph that was destroyed by shelling from a Union gunship.

The lighthouse keeper at the St. Jospeh Bay Lighthouse from 1838 until its government closing in 1847 was Ephraim Andrews who never contracted yellow fever. He had remained isolated from the mainland and the town while living out on the northern point of the peninsula.

In 1902 the area saw a resurgence with a new town called Port St. Joe, located about two miles north of the old town site. The new town even today still shares the old cemeteries, segregated into blacks and whites including the large unmarked grave sites of the yellow fever victims. The mainstay of the new town was not only cotton and lumber but also oranges brought in by rail.  The resurged popularity of the area also brought the need for a new light station located on the mainland at Beacon Hill and just slightly north of town in parallel with the original St. Joseph Bay Light at the north end of the peninsula some five miles west. The Beacon Hill light was actually a rear range light and built more like a private square shaped house with wrap around porch having a lantern atop. It was deactivated in 1960 and sold to a local farmer in 1967 for $300 who moved it inland and used it as a barn. The lantern was destroyed in the move. It again was sold and moved in 1978 to Simmons Bayou on St. Joseph Bay. That owner took decades to restore the lighthouse structure to its former glory including a new lantern atop but without the lens itself. The photo of this lighthouse now named the St. Joseph Point Lighthouse is included above in this post. It is located about 8 miles south of the current township of Port St. Joe.

The Cape San Blas Light at the southern tip of the peninsula, since its inception, has been under the threat of destruction from the constant erosion and storms of the Gulf. The Air Force closed the Lighthouse District in 2012 and had considered dismantling the skeletal light tower permanently. But through negotiations and release of ownership of the Light and the keepers dwellings in 2013, the Cape San Blas Light and dwellings (see the last blog on our website: were relocated in 2014 some 12 miles north, to Core Park in Port St. Joe where it stands permanently on display for visitors and local town folk alike.

Photo taken with Nikon D850; Lens: VR24-120mm set at 38mm; AF-S; f/14 at 1/50s; Manual Exposure; ISO 125.

(Capo Beach Photos) bankruptcy bay cotton cotton mills death destruction drafting the state constitution fire Florida lighthouse mosquitoes panic of 1837 plantations prosperity railroad sailors Schooner Herald of Boston slaves swamp territory township yellow fever Tue, 07 Apr 2020 17:38:03 GMT
Devastation and Recovery San Blas Light_From The BeachSan Blas Light_From The Beach

Cape San Blas Lighthouse -

Mariners needed to be warned of the shoals that projected out from Cape San Blas located in St. Joseph's peninsula on the Gulf side of Florida. So in 1847 Congress appropriated $8000 to the effort of erecting a lighthouse. The original light was a 85 foot tall conical brick tower designed to warn sailors some 10 miles out into the hurricane stricken Gulf of Mexico. But the story of this particular lighthouse would continue for another century and a half.

In 1851, the first tower was destroyed by a hurricane. Then in 1857 a new conical brick tower was again erected. This time the tower was devastated by the Union troops from the USS Kingfisher war ship in the early years of the Civil War burning out all the wooded parts, including the staircase and the keepers quarters. The locals had hidden away the lens, the oil and other tools nearby for future use. In July of 1865 the lighthouse regained its operational status.

But like a relentless enemy, by 1869 it was very obvious the gulf was taking its toll of erosion in and around the light tower. In 1875 there was only 150 feet left of beach and by 1882 the base of the tower was standing in 8 feet of salt water.

It came to pass in 1883 that a new skeletal tower was needed which could withstand the fierce winds off the Gulf.  So it was that 1500 feet from the high water line was the spot for this new steel framed high tower. The tower had eight steel framed legs and a concrete foundation pedestal. The center cylinder of the tower housed a small, claustrophobic circular stairway to access the lantern room at the top of the tower. The concept behind the design was that the tower was more light weight and would not sink into the soft sand and the tower could now forcefully withstand the high winds of the storms. The tower withstood the storms but unfortunately could not overcome the constant erosion of the Gulf storm surges. In 1885 the new 98 foot tall tower was lit. By 1890 only 144 feet remained of the beach and the tower was again in danger. In 1894 another Gulf storm damaged the tower and left it in standing water. This condition remained until in 1916, with yet another hurricane storm causing more damage, plans were made to move the tower inland. The tower had been fitted in 1905 with a French made third-order Fresnel clam shell type lens design that allowed the light to be seen 16 miles out to sea, it indeed was a useful navigational aid that saved many a mariner in this part of the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Then in 1919, the tower was relit in a new inland location where it remained until 1952 when the Coast Guard took possession of 1/3 of the Cape San Blas peninsula or what was left of it and the light station was then used for a manned LORAN ( long range navigation ) station. In 1972 it was automated. 

By 1999, the U.S. Air force took possession of the light tower and the keeper dwellings and made significant restoration efforts. The Light Station District was closed by the Air Force in 2012 due again to rapid erosion of the Gulf coastline. In February 2013 the nearby township of Port St. Joe, located about twelve miles to the north, received possession of the lighthouse and the keepers dwellings. New iron screw type piling foundations were installed for the tower to be located in the local park and in July 2014, the city relocated the structures after having moved it up Highway 30A unto Highway 98 to their city park where the structures were to be preserved in perpetuity. The US Coast Guard still owns the third-order Fresnel lens used in the tower.

Hurricane Michael in October of 2018 again devastated the entire area in and around Cape San Blas, Port Saint Joe and Panama City Beach to the north. Tyndall Air Force base located just 12 miles east of Panama City Beach also sustained significant damage. The "eye" of the Category 5 hurricane passed directly over Tyndall AFB.

Beach Highway 98 was rendered in accessible as a result of this storm with significant loss of sand dunes, pavement, sink holes and surf erosion. Hundreds of coastal beach homes were destroyed or significantly damaged. The Cape San Blas light tower having been relocated to Port St. Joe survived with only minimal damage. The Keeper's dwellings however suffered damage that needed major repairs. As of March 2019, the structures were again opened for visitors. 

Having travelled through this area of Florida in February 2020, I personally saw the devastation from Category 5 Hurricane Michael still apparent 18 months later. What was originally categorized as a Category 2 hurricane grew into a Cat 5 with hours on October 18, 2018. Foundation concrete stilts still remain in place but without any house structure above. Roof and siding panels ripped off homes, condominiums and forests of trees for as far as the the can see snapped in two about twenty feet off the ground. Highway 98 is repaired and rebuilt for the most part but still showing signs of sinking and erosion. Highway reconstruction is still ongoing. It is estimated it will take 8 to 10 years for full recovery, if ever. In Panama City, the mayor approximates that about 10,000 residents have permanently relocated out of the area due to Hurricane Michael. The hurricane caused 45 deaths either directly or indirectly with a total recovery cost of about $25.1 billion.


(Capo Beach Photos) beach cape san blas destruction erosion Gulf of Mexico hurricanes port saint joe reconstruction skeletal tower storms Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:10:00 GMT
Norwegian Getaway Geiranger ValleyGeiranger Valley

Norwegian Getaways -

In the big scheme of things, most everyone enjoys getting away from the hectic hustle of the city life albeit for a short time just to decompress. Norwegians have made this a nationally ingrained lifestyle choice.

In Norway, there are over 450,000 cabins or "hytte(r)". Over half of all Norwegians have access to a cabin getaway, whether that be as a family member, a friend or owning one themselves. In decades past, these cabins have been one or two room structures with no electricity and certainly not Wi-Fi. However, such cabins are becoming a thing of the past and they are turning into nothing short of a second home with multiple rooms all while enjoying a simple way of life.

Cabins are so popular in Norway they have become cherished family possessions and can stay in families for generations. A place for solitude and tranquility all while enjoying their preferred location to do so whether it be on the coast, nestled high in the mountains or even on a lake. Norwegians are traditionally a people who revere privacy and love the coziness of living in nature. The idea of secluding one's self with unspoiled nature is almost sacred. Norwegians have a culture of loving outdoor activities regardless of the season. Most days at a cabin are spent outdoors regardless of the weather. Vacationing in nature is a national symbol of Norwegian pride in their own image of themselves, an ideology if you will. This brings with it a clean, simple yet comfortable and private lifestyle. Cabins tend to be more plain and comfortable rather than flamboyant regardless of how well off one might be in daily city life. It represents a respect for and love of nature to surround one's self with the peacefulness of nature, appreciating God's created environment for their enjoyment. And Norway has plenty of nature to enjoy. Cabins represent an opportunity to cross country ski, fish on a lake, hike in the hills, or day pack into the mountains and into forests. Or just sitting on an open deck at the cabin while soaking in the warmth of the sun. 

It should be mentioned that outdoor activities noted above are not limited to just your own property. Norwegian laws provide for unrestricted free access to wander, even across someone else's property. It is not considered trespassing to cross someone's land to get to where you want to go. And any liability is not on the land owner but on you. You can not sue someone for getting hurt on their property. It is a given that you are allowed to roam while respecting the property you are crossing.

The photo above was taken high in the mountain pass south of Geiranger on Highway 63. The entire Geirangerfjord Valley is a World Heritage Site and is an extremely popular tourist destination, especially by cruise ships. You can see in the distance an alpine field with a clustering of cabins. These may be a family cluster of cabins or perhaps friends that wanted to be close with each other. This area is heavily snow covered for months during the winter season. It is not uncommon to be driving through the countryside or a mountain pass such as this and see a scattering of cabins throughout the landscape. These cabins have most likely been there for decades. 


(Capo Beach Photos) cabin coast fishing hytte ideology lakes lifestyle. mountains nature Norway Norwegians respect roaming seclusion skiiing tranquility Thu, 06 Feb 2020 01:31:45 GMT
The Telephone Kidston Island Light_NSKidston Island Light_NS

 The Telephone -

Alexander Graham Bell, his wife Mabel and two young children found this part of upper Nova Scotia to their liking, when in 1885 on a cruising vacation to Newfoundland, they first discovered this area including Bras d'Or Lake. Within several years, the Bells acquired 600 acres on the peninsula seen in the distance behind the lighthouse. This area of the small peninsula was renamed Beinn Bhreagh by Bell, meaning "beautiful mountain" in the Scotish Gaelic or Goidelic language, since it was reminiscent of his birthplace in Edinburgh Scotland. A small house was built on the property overlooking Baddeck Bay to the south from the property and with clear views of the original lighthouse built in 1875 on Kidston Island (formerly known as Mutton Island).

By 1893 the Bells had completed a larger, turreted 'summer house' with a mere 32 rooms that has become known as The Point. The purchase of the land and the building of the mansion was primarily possible due to Bell's invention and subsequent patent of the telephone in 1876. In his adjacent laboratories and on site boatyard, Bell along with other partners, went on to accomplish additional experiments such as the tetrahedral kite, the Canada's first controlled powered flight airplane, known as the AEA Silver Dart in 1909, and the HD-4 Hydrofoil boat in 1919. The boat was intended to be used as a submarine chaser and did set a world watercraft speed record at the time of 114 km/h (71mph). Bell and his wife both passed away in 1922 and are buried on their estate. 

The first lighthouse, built in 1875 on the NE tip of Kidston Island was intended to light the way for mariners into Baddeck Harbour. It was operationally replaced with a fifty foot tall, more visible light in 1912. However, both towers remained in place for many years but the original tower was razed in 1959 after falling into disrepair. By 1991, the second tower built in 1912, received a major replacement and the result is as seen in the photo above. Access to Kidston Island and the lighthouse is only by way of scheduled tour boats. This photo was shot with a 500mm telephoto lens with tripod from the shores of the harbour in the town of Baddeck.

(Capo Beach Photos) Baddeck Beinn Bhreagh Bell channel harbour hydrofoil inventions Kidston Island Mabel Nova Scotia razed Silver Dart telephone tetrahedral The Point tower Wed, 01 Jan 2020 04:32:10 GMT
Sleepy Hamlet by the Sea Peggys Cove Out To Sea_NSPeggys Cove Out To Sea_NS Sleepy Hamlet By The Sea -

Peggy's Cove may seem like a sleepy hamlet but one visit there will convince you otherwise. This photo, for example, was taken next to a line of people getting ready to board this tour boat. Along either side of me at the end of the rickety old dock were ten other people trying to get that perfect photo of this little part of the village. I say village because it really is just a small collection of historic buildings that once made up an active fishing town. Sure there are a few houses scattered up on the surrounding hills but for the most part the buildings are left historic. Development here is not only discouraged but is against their local zoning codes and building ordinances. Tourist goods abound in most of the buildings down by the shoreline. Fishing still occurs here but on a much smaller scale. This town has become a tourist destination where literally thousands of camera toting foreigners and Canadians come to view the restful quaintness of this picturesque place (except for all the tourists). It is located on several large wave washed granite rock outcroppings void of any natural vegetation other than ground cover and seaweed. The cove in this photo formed naturally between some of these large outcropping knolls.
Peggy's Cove is located right on the Atlantic coastline about 45 minutes south of Halifax in Nova Scotia. Depending on the time of day, there can be as many as ten tourist buses in the village, most of which park up on the east knoll by the lighthouse and the Sou'wester Restaurant. While cars can meander through the village on a narrow two lane road, there is no large scale parking areas other than at the eastern knoll by the lighthouse. From there, people are encouraged to stroll about the village. 

There are a few different stories of how this place got it's name. The first recorded name of the cove in 1766 was Eastern Point Harbour or Peggs Harbour, however the village was not recognized officially as a township until 1868. The second version is that it is named after St. Margaret's Bay, the larger body of water directly to the west. Peggy is a shortened nickname for Margaret. The bay was named after the wife of an Irish immigrant in 1770. The third and more popular version of its origin are from a book by deceased local writer, artist and sculptor William DeGarthe. In his book, a schooner tragically shipwrecked on Halibut Rock, the point on which the lighthouse is built, and the only survivor was a small girl that swam ashore and was taken in by local fishermen. Her name was Margaret. She married a local fisherman and became a local resident for many years. She gathered fame in the area as "Peggy of the Cove".

(Capo Beach Photos) atlantic fishing granite Halifax hamlet lighthouse lobster outcroppings peggys cove rock sea tourists tours village Thu, 03 Oct 2019 00:44:30 GMT
Build Them Stout, Build Them to Last Grays Harbor Light_WestportGrays Harbor Light_Westport

Grays Harbor Lighthouse -

Designed by German-born architect Carl Leick, the Grays Harbor Light, also known as the Westport Light by locals, was built to mark the entrance to the only significant port on the Washington coast between Cape Flattery and the mouth of the Columbia River. In the latter part of the 1800's, Grays Harbor became America's largest exporter of lumber, over 60 million board feet by 1890. Since 1854 locals had petitioned the government for a monumental navigational light to identify the harbor entrance to mariners. In 1855 Grays Harbor was home port to over 18 whaling ships. Petroleum production eventually superceded the need for whale oil and lumber production and fish exports dominated Grays Harbor marine traffic. Fishing on the Washington coast was productive by nothing like lumber exports and ship building. Nine steam ships were completed in Grays Harbor shipyards in the early 1890's and it was very evident that Grays Harbor needed a lighthouse. It wasn't until 1884 Congress finally began funding the construction of a light. But delay after delay impacted the start of construction which began in ernest in 1897. The light was dedicated and opened in 1898.

Carl Leick initially moved to Astoria Oregon in the early 1880's and then to Portland in 1889 when he began work as a draftsman for the Engineering office of the thirteenth lighthouse district of the U.S. Light House Board. He eventually became assistant superintendent of inspections with the Lighthouse Board. He is credited for the major designs of over 25 significant structures in Washington State and Oregon including lighthouses at Lime Kiln, Mukilteo, Admiralty Head, Grays Harbor and Northhead Lighthouses in Washington and the second light at Cape Arago in Oregon. By Leick's own admission and others, the lighthouse at Grays Harbor is his best masterpiece. His motto while working on the designs as a light station designer was to "Build 'em Stout and Build 'em to Last". Leick retired from the U.S. Light House Board in 1926.

This lighthouse is Washington's tallest at 107 feet and the third highest along the west coast of the U.S. It has a 12 foot thick foundation of sandstone and the brick walls at the base are four feet thick and taper as the tower extends upward. The original clamshell Fresnel lens design in the lantern room is still in place and is fairly unique when it comes to U.S. lighthouses. The original light was rotated by a weight inside the tower and floated in a trough of mercury for frictionless rotation. The light was originally seen 16 miles out to sea. The lighthouse was electrified in 1931. In 1992 the third-order Fresnel lens was turned off and the light was replaced with a 35-watt lamp system from New Zealand ( ! ) that now can be seen 19 miles out. 

Christian Zauner was head light keeper from 1898 until 1925. On April 18, 1906 he entered in his log that shortly after 5:00am he felt substantial ground shock waves that caused the weight inside the tower, used to rotate the lens, to swing like a pendulum. The 135 metal stairs inside the tower rattled to the point he felt it unsafe to use the stairs. The shock waves were from the earthquake that devastated San Francisco. But the tower stood and had no significant damage.

Visited this lighthouse in late May 2019. The flag was lowered from the lantern level balcony in honor of Memorial Day but also fitting in celebration of the fourth of July, American Independence Day.  The American lighthouses scattered throughout the country, including the Great Lakes, are another sign of our freedom where in a free enterprise system helps marine traffic get the job done whether it be moving goods or people safely up and down our coastlines. The U.S. Coast Guard has been instrumental since 1939 in keeping lights maintained and operational. Most have stood the test of time and are a testament to the American spirit, ingenuity and determination. Until the mid-point of this century, most of these lighthouses have been manned by men AND women who sacrificed of themselves through extremely harsh circumstances to keep American waterways safe.

This photo was taken on May 26, 2019. Camera: a Nikon D850; Nikkor lens 24-70mm f/2.8G at 38mm focal length; exposure compensation of -1.7EV; aperture f/16 with a shutter speed of 1/125s; ISO 160.

(Capo Beach Photos) brick coastline grays harbor Leick lighthouse sandstone ship building tallest US Lighthouse Board washington whaling Tue, 02 Jul 2019 17:48:42 GMT
Port Aransas Light - Who's Got the Lens ? Lydia Ann Light_TexasLydia Ann Light_Texas

Who's Got the Lens ? -

The Texas Gulf coastline is over 400 miles long and an almost continuous string of barrier islands. The few gaps that do exist between these islands become vital entries into harbors and inland bays needed for shipping traffic. Such is the case at Port Aransas where a natural and shifting gap in the island chain became a strategic point of access for the Confederacy and Union forces during the Civil War. The inland harbor access at Port Aransas and all the way up to Corpus Christi was vital for supplying the Confederate forces with munitions, food and providing for cotton export. The Union forces were bound and determined to stop this free flow of supplies with a blockade and seizing the town if necessary. Whoever controlled the lighthouse also controlled the shipping flow both day and night.

What once existed in 1847 as the natural harbor access between Mustang Island and St. Joseph Island was a series of lit buoys that had to be constantly maintained to be kept functional. When a regular steamship service route was established between New Orleans and Port Aransas in 1852, a permanent lighthouse was needed. The federal government acquired land from the State of Texas for a life-saving station at the harbor but also needed land for a tower which would guide ships through the channel. The federal government bought 25 acres of land known as Harbor Island just north of the natural channel access into the harbor. Harbor Island was and still is nothing more than seasonal adjusting marshland, sometimes inundated with water and other times just plain wet, in other words a bayou. After several surveys and committee meetings, a decision was made by the U.S. Lighthouse Board for a permanent screw-pile foundation and brick octagonal light tower that could withstand the gulf storms and marshy-like conditions of Harbor Island. Congress allocated $12,500 for its construction. It was also clear that all the island's access between structures would need to be by way of elevated walkways.

In 1855 a schooner carrying the bricks for the new lighthouse sank on a nearby sand bar. The crew was rescued but the schooner and the brick were lost. New bricks arrived in 1856 and the lighthouse tower was completed and first lit in 1857.

At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, this entire area was under the control of the Confederacy. Fearing that Union forces would seize the light tower and thereby control daylight and night time harbor traffic and interrupt the much needed supplies for the Confederacy, the lantern room fresnel lens was removed and buried in the marshland behind the keeper's quarters. They would retrieve if after they had won the war, or at least so they thought. That original lens has never been found and remains buried under silt and sand of the marshland. In late 1861, the Union Navy began a blockade of the Texas gulf coast islands. In February of 1862, US Marines aboard the USS Afton seized the town of Port Aransas. They virtually leveled the entire town. A few of the original buildings still exist. The town's people abandoned the town for fear of living under Union tyranny. The possession of the lighthouse traded back and forth between the North and South several times throughout 1862. Then on Christmas Day 1862, Confederate General John Bankhead Magruder ordered the destruction of the entire light tower but only succeeded in destroying the top 20 feet, including the spiral staircase, of the tower with 2 kegs of gunpowder. With a Union garrison deployed at the lighthouse in 1863, Confederate troops attacked the lighthouse and killed 20 Union troops. A week later, Union troops regained control of the light tower and the island and held it until the end of the war. After the war, in 1867, the tower damage was repaired by the U.S. government. But the original fourth order fresnel was not to be found. The original brick used was a special colored orange red brown brick. For the reconstruction, the same color brick had to be found. A home in Mobile Alabama constructed of this same type brick was bought by the federal government and demolished for its special brick color.

By 1952 the shifting sands on the coastline at Port Aransas had moved the channel to the point that the light tower was no longer a significant help in guiding ships accurately into the harbor. It was deactivated and auctioned to private ownership in 1955. It changed private ownership several times but as of 1988 became owned by Charles Butt, the CEO of a large Texas grocery chain H-E-B. He began a slow process of restoring the lighthouse tower and the ancillary buildings. It is the only lighthouse in Texas with a permanent keeper who lives on the premises. It is the second oldest lighthouse in the State of Texas.


(Capo Beach Photos) brick civil war confederacy fresnel lens buried gunpowder harbor island lighthouse marshland octagonal Port Aransas tower union Sun, 05 May 2019 22:26:01 GMT
Under Renovation Grand Haven LighthouseGrand Haven Lighthouse Under Renovation -

Originally built in 1893, the Grand Haven inner lighthouse south pier (and outer lighthouse), have recently been under renovation. In 2013, the City of Grand Haven repainted both the inner and outer lighthouse structures. The outer light is also known as the foghorn house though that feature was not added at this location until 1922. In the fall of 2016, renovation of the lighthouse pier structure began by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This involved the partial demolition and reinforcing of the concrete pier structure to the inner lighthouse as well as the removal of the existing walkway surface. Reinforcing steel was also needed in the surfacing to help stabilize the concrete surfacing. The walking surface from the inner light to the foghorn house was not originally included in the $2.1mil. budgeted project. However, an additional $1.4mil. was added to the budget for the project, allowing the remaining 200 feet of pier concrete walkway to the outer light to be renovated as well. This meant the project completion was delayed. More delays were also caused by Lake Michigan water levels rising and being at an all time historic high. Even a high water level of just 6" posed hazardous working conditions to the workers. When the wave action of the Lake sends water over the walkway, it becomes very slippery and safety is of great concern. Two separate high water level delays caused the first reopening date of November 2017 to be pushed to July 2018. When that could not be met, again due to high water levels, the third reopening was scheduled for this spring 2019. It has now finally reopened. 

The initial renovation project did not include restoration of the elevated iron catwalk which was so much an iconic element of the Grand Haven Lighthouse pier. When the catwalk had to be removed for the pier work, the towns people banded together for fund raising drives so that the catwalk could be restored and reinstalled. The fund drive goal of $1.0mil. was raised. The catwalk is now being reinstalled this spring 2019. 

The photo above was taken in May 2018 while the outer 200 feet of walkway between the first light and the outer light was underway. This photographer will plan a follow-up trip to visit the Grand Haven lighthouse south pier to get a final image of the completed project and will share that image soon.

Stay tuned. . . . . . . . 

(Capo Beach Photos) grand Haven Lake Michigan lighthouses renovation U.S. Army Corps of Engineers walkways water level rises Thu, 21 Mar 2019 23:59:44 GMT
Cana Island Lighthouse Cana Island Light_Door County WisconsinCana Island Light_Door County Wisconsin Cana Island Lighthouse -

After 16 years of service as the light keepers of this lighthouse in Door County peninsula in Wisconsin, the Sanderson family including their three young boys, knew the island well. Their family farm was not too far away in Sturgeon Bay, also in Door County. Well before they even applied for the position of light keepers, they knew the location of the triangular shaped 8.7 acre plot of land known as Cana Island and how isolated it was. It had been built in 1869 as a result of the ineffectiveness of the Bailey Harbor lights built as aids to mariners entering Bailey Harbor just 16 years prior. They also knew how long, cold and hard the winters were on the peninsula. But they had not been prepared for the repeated storms of the winter of 1880, including what was known as the Alpena Gale. . . recorded as the one of the severest storms in Lake Michigan history. The island had originally been barely 10 feet above the Lake level, but was flooded by that storm in 1880. The entire base of the Light was surrounded by water. The entire first floor of the two-story light keeper's house directly adjacent to the tower was flooded. Even the second floor walls of the house were dripping with water. The Sandersons' storm experience was vividly recorded in William Sanderson's journal. He felt he needed to record all events regardless of how seemingly insignificantly they might appear because the light keepers before the Sanderson's, Julius Warren and his wife Sara, were supposedly relieved of their duties for not properly recording all activities at the Light among other things. The storms of 1880 were very tough on the Sandersons, their chickens and pig drowned from the rising water levels and the Sandersons themselves had to escape several times for their own safety to the brick boathouse further back to the center of the island.

Every year there were issues that made the stay at the Light more and more difficult. In 1882, his wife's salary as the assistant light keeper was terminated because Congress did not appropriate enough funds to pay her. Of course this did not apply to just her but all assistant light keepers that year. In 1885, Congress also decided that rather than send work crews to the individual Lights to repair and upgrade the structures as had been the custom, this responsibility would now be put on the light keepers themselves.

In 1884, Congress appropriated funds to help the flooding problem on Cana Island. But it was not until the spring of 1990, that help to do that actually arrived. Much needed rip-rap was added around the base of the Light as well as the construction of a 400 foot long surf barrier wall added to the east side of the island where the majority of the storms came from. But by 1891, the Sandersons had had enough. They submitted their resignations and returned to their family farm in Sturgeon Bay. In his resignation, and as one of his last entries into his journal, William Sanderson wrote: " Cana Island is one of the most inhospitable and undesirable places that can be imagined."

The cream colored Milwaukee brick used for the construction of the house and Light was too soft and by the late 1890's had deteriorated to the point something had to be done. In 1902 the U.S. Lighthouse Board and its engineers decided as a solution the Cana Island Light tower needed to be covered with steel plates and riveted to together in order to properly save the tower structure. These remain to this day as can be seen in the photo above. The void space between the steel plates and the existing brick was filled with concrete to ensure a more stout tower structure. The entire outside was painted white. Though the island was located a mere 300 feet from the mainland, it needed an elevated causeway for maintenance access rather than by boat. However, the causeway was built with wooden planks that soon deteriorated. A concrete causeway was later installed that made access easier and more permanent. However, the Lake water level does fluctuate from year to year due to storms and spring runoff so even the concrete causeway gets flooded over. Because of this, tourists are often "ferried" to Cana Island across that 300 feet in a tractor hay wagon. 

(Capo Beach Photos) Alpena Bailey Harbor Cana Island Door County isolation Milwaukee brick peninsula rivets Sandersons steel plates storms winter Mon, 04 Feb 2019 01:44:26 GMT
Woman Lightkeeper Sand Point LightSand Point Light

The Woman Lightkeeper -

Some locals said she could not do this job. They said that it was too tough for a woman to handle the rigorous hard work routine and chores of being a lightkeeper in the town of Escanaba Michigan. Winters were harsh and rugged. Mary Terry was to prove them all wrong. . . for eighteen years she proved them wrong.

John Terry had been assigned as the lighthouse keeper by the U.S. Lighthouse Board at the Sand Point Lighthouse at Escanaba in 1866 before it had even been built. Construction began in 1867, but before it had been completed, he died of tuberculosis. The U.S. Lighthouse Board was in a habit of assigning qualified male lightkeepers to these positions. And these positions were difficult to fill. At that time, the Board was under the direct supervision of the Department of the Treasury. Up to this point in time, few women had qualified for such a position of authority as a lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes. The first in the State of Michigan had been Catherine Shook in 1849 at the Point Aux Barques Light, who was appointed when her husband drowned in a capsized boat on Lake Huron. She was left tending the light as well as her eight children. The U.S. Lighthouse Board sometimes was put in the position of assigning women because they were either already familiar with the particular light from their husband's work or women were the only ones who applied. When a man was appointed, they would have official photos taken and issued a uniform and given professional provisions. Women on the other hand received no photos and no uniforms. But women were given the same pay as men !

Having moved to Escanaba, Michigan in 1863, both Mary Terry and her husband John had established themselves as well respected and reliable citizens of the community. The local newspaper advocated for Mary to be the new keeper upon John's death. Mary Terry lit the Sand Point Light for the first time at sunset on May 13, 1867. She held this position for 18 years until her mysterious death in 1886. The circumstances of her death were suspicious. The entry lock on the outside had been shot off. Her body was found in the oil house, not in her bedroom. She had been severely burned to the point the coroner could not fully confirm the identity of the body. Locals first thought she had been killed and the lighthouse set on fire to cover up the crime. But she had a sizeable amount of money ($4000) in a safe along with all her important papers. None were taken. There had been previous evidence that the furnace for the Lighthouse was in poor condition and some suspect that was the cause of the fire. The task of getting to the light was difficult due to its remote location on the point and this having happened in the winter, the fire department took hours to reach the lighthouse through the snow.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1939. The light from the fourth order fresnel lens could only be seen 11.5 miles out into the Bay. Due to dredging and shifting sands of the point, the light became further and further away from the critical location of being at the point, and visible to the passing ships. So in 1938 a crib light was established several hundred feet off the point to better warn mariners of the pending underwater rocks and sand bars jetting out into Little Bay de Noc.

The boathouse in this photo housed a common rescue boat used by the Lighthouse Board at the time. It currently houses a boat that is not original but rather a slightly larger restored wooden rescue boat that came from a nearby coast guard rescue station. The original boat at this location would have been manned by two people and pushed out to the Lake on rails and then winched back into the boat house by the type of winch you see in this photo.


(Capo Beach Photos) boathouse fire fresnel lake michigan lighthouse michigan rescue restored robbery sand point suspicious winch women lightkeepers Fri, 14 Dec 2018 06:45:43 GMT
Within Range Baileys Harbor Rear Range LightBaileys Harbor Rear Range Light

Within Range -

The Baileys Harbor Range Lights in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin are the only remaining operational range lights in Wisconsin. The rear solid white light, as can be seen at the top dormer of the house in this photo, has a focal height of 37 feet while the front solid red range light (not seen in this photo, has a focal height of 23 feet. The lights are about 980 feet apart and have a bearing of 340 degrees. When approaching mariners align one light above the other they can rest in knowing they are in safe waters headed into Baileys Harbor. Both were electrified in 1923. The rear light was renovated in 1993 and the front range light renovated in 2012. Both lights became operational again in 2015. 

Constructed in 1868 and first lit in 1870, the lights operated with lard burning wicks that required tending every three hours 24/7. Because the maintenance required cutting of the wicks and cleaning the lens every day, light keepers were often referred to as "wickies". In those early days, all navigational lights were managed by the government run Lighthouse Service and they were fastidious about the maintenance requirements. Light keepers had few options for their own time and had a rigorous schedule every day. A daily journal was a must and all events of any kind required documentation.

On the Great Lakes, however, light keepers only maintained the lights for about 8 months. Once the lakes froze, the light keepers were allowed to leave their posts until the following spring when marine traffic once again started up for the season. The keepers in the northern states needed to be extremely hardy souls since local help was a rarity and conditions harsh. Loneliness often got the best of the hardiest of souls. Few roads existed to access the lights and most access was by boat only. Winters were extreme cold and they often only had a wood burning stove for heat. Their water sources often froze over. All maintenance and repairs were done solely by the keeper or his assistant, and sometimes required the assistance of the keeper's wife and children. The Lighthouse Service would ensure that the keepers received a years food supply in the spring including meat, flour, beans, coffee/tea. It was left up to the light keeper to buy a cow for milk and chickens for eggs if they so desired. A good salary would be around $600 per year.

(Capo Beach Photos) baileys harbor boats front harsh lard maintenance mariners range lights rear wickies Mon, 29 Oct 2018 04:51:32 GMT
Tilt Ludington LightLudington Light

The Ludington Tilt -

Even as early as 1891 it was evident that the entrance off Lake Michigan into Pere Marquette Lake at Ludington was busy with lots of marine traffic. Marine traffic that also included a ferry that travelled to Manitowoc Wisconsin on the other side of the Lake. So much traffic that Congress appropriated $6000 to build a significant navigational light at the entrance to the Ludington Harbor. The first light was built on the south pier head and stood only 25 feet above the waterline, but it had no attached housing for a light keeper and his family. It wasn't until the first light keeper in 1891 was almost swept to his death struggling against November gale force winds to get from shore to service the light. In 1900, quarters were built to house the keeper and his family.

Then in 1906 the Army Corps of Engineers drew up plans to build arrowhead shaped wooden breakwaters to protect the harbor entrance. Completed in 1914, the wooden structures quickly started to decay and by 1919, it was decided that the wooden breakwaters had to be replaced. By 1924, the tower seen in this photo was constructed on the new north concrete breakwater. It was to be made of steel plates over a steel skeleton that was to last 300 hundred years. 

The four-sided white pyramidal steel tower had portholes at all three levels and was shaped like a ship hull to deflect the fierce gale force winds off Lake Michigan. Unlike so many other light lenses of the period, the fourth order fresnel lens used here was made in New York rather than imported from France. It saved time and was less expensive than the French glass optics. In 1972 the light was automated and the Fresnel lens was replaced in 1995 with a new 300mm acrylic optic. 

In 1994, the Army Corps of Engineers discovered that the Light had begun to settle unevenly on the crib on which it was built. The cost to fix this tilt of 4 degrees off vertical was considered prohibitive and it has remained as is to this date. Look carefully at this photo taken at sunset and you will see the Tilt, leaning to the right side.


(Capo Beach Photos) breakwater gale force winds lake michigan light ludington north pierhead steel tourists Tue, 28 Aug 2018 04:41:42 GMT
Destination Charges Eagle Harbor Lighthouse_2Eagle Harbor Lighthouse_2

Shipwrecked with No Place to Go -

The 444 foot long steel steamer City of Bangor with a 30 year long career on the Great Lakes had run aground just off the Keweenaw Peninsula near Eagle River on Lake Superior November 30, 1926. It had been en route upbound from Detroit to Duluth Minnesota with 248 brand new Chrysler and Whippet automobiles onboard when it ran into a rock reef along the shoreline while trying to seek safe harbor from a gale force wind freezing blizzard. The following day with the ship now covered like an iceberg due to the lake spray freezing over the entire vessel, the Coast Guard Life Saving Station at Eagle Harbor spotted the ship while returning to Eagle Harbor with the rescued crew of another grounded ship, the Thomas Maytham. After dropping off the Maytham 19 man crew in Eagle Harbor, the Coast Guard rescue boat headed back to pick up the 29 man crew of the Bangor. That crew had made it to shore with their own lifeboats but had spent a cold night in the heavily wood and remote area of the peninsula. They had suffered severe frostbite and hypothermia while spending the night without proper clothing or food supplies in the sub-zero temperatures. Some would have to be hospitalized.

By February 1927, a total of 202 cars were salvaged from the below deck cargo hold. These cars were in excellent condition because the cargo bulkheads held firm despite the engine room being totally flooded. There had been 18 cars spiked down above deck but those were all lost into the lake and swept overboard during the storm. These would later wash up on local beaches when spring arrived. The salvaged cars were driven off ship by way of a make-shift ramp of snow and ice. The cars were driven along the frozen shoreline to nearby Copper Harbor and left there until the following spring. Of the 202 salvaged, not all were worthy of reconditioning. Those that were got transported to Calumet Michigan for shipment back to Detroit by way of rail car. Some cars remained in Copper Harbor and were proudly driven by local towns people for many years after. The cars taken to Detroit were resold in the Detroit area. No word as to whether the buyers were told of the ordeal or if they had to pay the destination charges twice !

One of the 1927 Chrysler cars salvaged is in a local museum in Eagle Harbor as are several surviving items from the Coast Guard life-saving station. The station no longer exists here but was located across the harbor from the Eagle Harbor Lghthouse shown in this photo.

(Capo Beach Photos) automobiles bangor blizzards calumet cars chrysler coast guard detroit duluth eagle harbor frozen ice lake superior life saving maytham salvaged shipwrecked whippet Mon, 16 Jul 2018 03:55:16 GMT
Civil War Veteran Lightkeeper  

South Haven South Pierhead LightSouth Haven South Pierhead Light

The One Legged Lightkeeper -

Captain James S. Donahue served in the eighth Michigan Infantry during the Civil War. In the Battle of Wilderness he lost his leg from the thigh down. Despite this, he was hired in 1874 at the age of 32 to become only the second keeper of the South Haven Pierhead Lighthouse. Being a light keeper even with two legs was a daunting task. They were typically on call 24/7/365. Donahue performed all his tasks admirably for 36 years which included walking the 75 foot long elevated walkway with crutches on open planks, in all kinds of weather regardless of snow, ice, fog, sun or rain. The lantern required lighting every evening and had to be resupplied with adequate quantities of oil. He also had to keep records of all events including weather, visitors, mariner accidents, repair the residence and maintain the life saving light, as well as keep all supplies ready for all storms that might come. Over his career, he and his son(s) were responsible for saving the lives of 17 ship-wrecked seaman either stranded on grounded ships and/or in danger of drowning. The tasks were relentless, day after day and the records show he never missed a day nor shirked his responsibilities. His job was not without personal tragedy. In 1875 his first wife died of lung disease, leaving only him and his son to fend for themselves. He married again in 1876 and had 5 more sons and a daughter, all shown in a family photo along with the family dog in 1893.

The original lighthouse was a wooden tower some 30 feet tall supported by pillars and connected to the mainland with an elevated wooden walkway from the keeper's house on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. The original wooden tower was lit in 1872 and in 1900 was relocated another 400 feet out into the lake when the pier was extended. Eventually it was totally replaced with the current cast iron cylindrical tower in 1903 and painted white (more on why most Lake Michigan lighthouses are painted red in later blogs, stay tuned). Donahue retired in 1910 after 36 years of service at the South Haven Pierhead Light. The United States Lighthouse Service, which was a newly established governing agency begun in 1910, awarded him a silver medal in recognition of his service of 36 years. However, the town folk of South Haven were so outraged that he received only a "silver" medallion that they had their own "Gold" medal forged to present to him during the retirement ceremony. Donahue died in 1917 and was buried with full honors.

(Capo Beach Photos) civil war hero lake michigan light lightkeeper michigan one legged pierhead red service south haven light Mon, 11 Jun 2018 04:17:38 GMT
A Fishing Village Ona IslandOna Island A Fishing Village  

The Island of ONA was once a thriving population of 50. Over the last six decades it has dwindled to about 40. Once considered a great location for accessing the abundant fishing banks of the northern Atlantic, the fishing community of the island suffered from the decimation of the Northern Atlantic Cod due to environmental reasons as well as over fishing. As a result, profits from fishing decreased to the point that a basic living could no longer be sustained. Fishing boats still work off this island but in limited activity.

Over the past twenty years or so, the island has maintained a steady increase in tourist trade with artist studios and pottery shops. The island is small enough that tourists can easily walk the island without a car. On the south island of Husøy exists an ancient Viking burial ground.

The island is really two islands, the larger island of Husøy and the smaller island of Ona, jointed together by a small bridge over a 15 meter wide waterway. The ferry docks on Ona. Upon docking, one is immediately greeted by the presence of the prominient red painted cast iron lighthouse built on top of a rock cliff in 1867 which still operates but is now automated. The light only operates from August through May because the remaining months are lit by the midnight sun. The rock cliff outcropping the lighthouse is built on is named Onakalven. Accessed only by ferry four times a day, the excursion from the west coast mainland takes about two hours and stops at several other islands on the way. A very pleasurable trip if you should ever decide to visit the west central coast of Norway.

(Capo Beach Photos) artists cod ferry fishing island lighthouse livelihood norway ona pottery red Sun, 01 Apr 2018 04:48:25 GMT
Eureka Slough Railroad Bridge Eureka Slough Railroad BridgeEureka Slough Railroad Bridge

One of a Kind -

The Eureka Slough bridge just off Highway 101 in north Eureka is owned by the Southern & Northwestern Railroad. It is now abandoned due to a deteriorated condition and has be deemed unsafe for all kinds of traffic. It has been replaced by another bridge nearby. Originally built as a tower swing bridge in 1916, it was revamped as a extremely simple vertical lift deck plate girder bridge in 1972. The total length of the 19 foot wide bridge is 720 feet, yet the lift portion is only about 90 feet in length. In this photo, the remnants of the old swing bridge center round pier can be seen still retaining the original ring gear elements. When it was revamped, it became the only vertical lift bridge in the State of California that operated without cables, pulleys, or counterweights but rather hydraulically by way of a diesel powered compressor.

The abandonment of the bridge has led to colorful graffiti signatures considered by some locals as an eye sore but as a treasured historical landmark by others.

(Capo Beach Photos) abandoned bridge eureka highway 101 northwestern railroad slough vertical lift Mon, 05 Feb 2018 06:01:20 GMT
Early Morning in Kolob Canyon Kolob Canyon in SnowKolob Canyon in Snow

Kolob Canyon in the morning light -

An early spring morning in Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park West. From the Visitor Center at 5076 feet we headed up the Kolob Canyon Road past Paria Point and the Lee Pass Trailhead, then up to the Timber Creek Overlook Trailhead, elevation about 6200 feet, and 2 1/2 miles from the visitor center. The area had just gotten a dusting the night before and the air was definitely brisk and invigorating. Looking east here across Timber Creek Valley to the Timber Top Mountains.

(Capo Beach Photos) kolob morning snow spring timber creek timber top west zion Wed, 29 Nov 2017 06:51:23 GMT
Rural Norway Lindesnes PastoralLindesnes Pastoral

  A tranquil scene near Lindesnes, Norway.

(Capo Beach Photos) harbor life life by the sea lindesnes norway rural water Fri, 06 Oct 2017 04:34:07 GMT
Portland Head Lighthouse at Dusk Portland Head DuskPortland Head Dusk Portland Head Lighthouse at Dusk -

in 1787, at the personal direction of George Washington, two masons from Falmouth (modern-day Portland) were given the task of building a lighthouse with a fund of $1500 in under four years. Because the fledgling government of the United States started out with very little money, Washington told the masons to use local materials they could find along the shore and from nearby fields. The tower was built of rubblestone and was to be 58 feet tall according to the plans they were given. However, when completed and the masons climbed to the top of the tower they realized it was too short and the light could not be seen beyond the nearby headlands. They raised it another 20 feet and that problem was solved. George Washington appointed the first light keeper Joseph Greenleaf in 1791 who was a patriot that found favor with the first president. For the first two years of his duties, Greenleaf was not paid the money owed him. He died in 1795 while still the lightkeeper.  

To the far distant right in this photo can be seen the Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse built in 1905.  It was built on a series of rock ledges that had become treacherous to navigate around while entering the harbor. It has a twin known as the Graves Light in Boston. The lighthouse was built of granite quarried from Vinalhaven, Maine. Not much granite comes from there anymore, now it is mainly lobster. The lighthouse was put up for sale in 2010 and after no interest was shown by locals nor government organizations it was sold to a private citizen for $190,000. 

(Capo Beach Photos) dusk granite greenleaf harbor lighthouse patriot portland portland head ram island ledge light vinalhaven washington Mon, 28 Aug 2017 04:28:19 GMT
Bodie Island Lighthouse Along the Graveyard of the Atlantic Bodie Island LightBodie Island Light

Bodie Island Lighthouse -

It was 1837 and something had to be done. Scores of ships were in constant peril along the Outer Banks of South Carolina due to treacherous navigation along the Carolina's coastline. So many shipwrecks in fact that the area became known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. What few residents there were here at the time would find bodies washed-up on shore as a fairly common occurrence. There were multiple attempts to build lighthouses in the area north of Cape Hatteras, the first of which were on Pea Island south of Oregon inlet. The first Light began construction in 1847 but had to be torn down in the early 1850's due to a leaning foundation. Another replacement completed with a better foundation in 1859 was blown-up by Confederate troops in 1861 retreating to the south during the Civil War fearing the lighthouse would be used by the oncoming Union troops as a lookout that would give away Confederate troop locations. But in 1871 a permanent replacement had begun just south of Nags Head South Carolina at Bodie Island. Completed in 1872, this lighthouse would drastically reduce maritime casualties from tragic ship wrecks. The current 165 foot tall light was built with bricks from Baltimore and ironwork from a New York foundry. It was equipped with a first order fresnel lens bright enough to assist mariners setting their course regardless of whether they were navigating north or south of Cape Hatteras.

Lighthouse keepers had their share of ordeals when they first arrived, not the least of which was the fact it was secluded with the only access by way of boat. Families of the light keepers lived on nearby Roanoke Island where their children could attend school. They would visit for the summers only. Venomous snakes populated the high grass areas around the lighthouse property. Even today there are elevated walkways for visitors to avoid the snakes while strolling the surrounding areas around the lighthouse. Weather on the Outer Banks also led to extremely high ground water and tidal surges during treacherous winter storms. In 1932 the lighthouse was automated and control of it was transferred to the National Park Service in 1953. The lighthouse has undergone several renovations the most recent of which was in 2013 and it remains an operational navigational aid. 

(Capo Beach Photos) bodie island graveyard nags head south carolina stripes tall brick lighthouse venomous snakes Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:34:07 GMT
Candy Striper West Quoddy HeadWest Quoddy Head

The Candy Striper -

The West Quoddy Lighthouse is the easternmost lighthouse in the contiguous U.S. Built on a easterly-pointing peninsula in southeastern Lubec, Maine where it keeps mariners safe while passing through the Quoddy Narrows between Lubec and Campobello Island Canada. A lighthouse was first built here in 1808 but was so poorly built in had to be rebuilt in 1831. The current one is a painted striped brick tower as shown above and was built in 1857. The stripes were painted shortly after it was built. It was automated in 1988. It stands 47 feet tall and the third order fresnel lens is 83 feet above sea level. The light keeps mariners safe as they pass through the Quoddy Narrows that border the U.S. and Canada. The original lighthouse in 1808 was built for $5000, and the lightkeepers yearly salary was a mere $250. Congress had appropriated an amount of $15,000 when it was rebuilt in 1857 and the lightkeepers salary was raised to $450 per year.

In 1990 U.S 25 cent postage stamp depicted the lighthouse with only 13 stripes rather than the actual 15 stripes. The only other lighthouse with red and white painted horizontal stripes in the U.S. is on Assateague Island on the eastern coastline of Virginia. The red stripes were common place with Canadian lighthouses because it made the towers stand out against the snow. The color red has the longest visual wavelength so it can be seen the furthest out to sea. The West Quoddy light can be seen about 18 nautical miles out to sea.

(Capo Beach Photos) assateague brick canada lighthouse lightkeepers lubec narrows nautical painted quoddy red stripes virginia white Mon, 15 May 2017 04:58:30 GMT
Salvaged Rusty Ship Rusty ShipRusty Ship


Shipwrecked - The Squall

Along State Road 166 to Castine, Maine lies the Morse Cove Marina. The small little two lane rural road is a round about way to get to the Dice Head Lighthouse at the entrance to Penobscot Bay. Hardly a highly travelled tourist thoroughfare, the small road is lined with alder and birch trees that easily conceal the entrance to the marina. In a rush to get to the lighthouse, I had time for no other distractions that day, I was on a mission, after all, to photograph another lighthouse. But out of nowhere while traveling down this rural two lane my eye caught a glimpse of a burnt orange object near the water of Penobscot Bay and I knew i had to investigate. The object was undistinguishable from the roadside so I turned into the Morse Cove Marina and parked. I approached the shanty one story wooden office structure and walked inside but no one was there. Stepping back outside I yelled "hello, anyone here. . . " while closing the door behind me. But no answer. It was lunchtime and so it must have been for everyone who worked there. I walked over to the large dry dock hanger on the other side of the sloping concrete boat launch ramp leading to the water. Again, I yelled, "anyone here", but again no answer. So I decided to head down to the water. There was a long narrow elevated wooden dock leading to the rusty ship seemingly stranded by the extreme low tide at the end of the dock. Despite the tide, it was obviously a long term resident of the marina. A definite salvage undertaking not for the faint of heart.

Rather than head down to the boat on that precarious wooden dock, I ventured down to the sandy rock beach to photograph the ship from high water eye-level. It was quite an image, stranded by the low tide, set against the bright-blue Maine sky laced with dark gray clouds. When a photographer sees an image like this, ripe for the taking, the shutter must fly. 

I do not know much about this ship called "The Squall", an obvious salvaged marine vessel that has seen better days. Is there a hope to restore this vessel ? Or is it strictly for salvage metal ? I knew I could not let the opportunity pass me by. It is the same point I have tried to make in previous blogs, such as in Victoria Beach Ledge in March of 2014, While looking for the obvious, the unexpected may appear. Turn around and take a minute or two to see what else there is.

(Capo Beach Photos) beach dock eye-sore low tide marina penobscot bay pilings rocky rusty shipwreck steel wooden Mon, 27 Mar 2017 05:24:00 GMT
Lester the Pig Hey Lester -

The cargo ship Carrier Pigeon bound for San Francisco from Boston ran aground on the shores of Pigeon Point, just 50 miles south of the Bay area. The ship had painted on its bow a carrier pigeon in flight but it was of no good fortune that day in June 1853. The ship had been built in Bath Maine in 1852 for $54,000. It had taken three months sailing around Cape Horn and was headed to San Francisco with foodstuff and supplies for California's gold rush fever. As thick dense fog lingered for days off the coast, the ships young captain grew impatient and headed in toward shore for safety thinking he was still a safe distance off. The ship fell prey to the projecting promontory outcroppings of the point. Within the hour, hundreds of town folk from nearby Pescadero ran to the seashore to help those on the ship. With the aid of their small row boats, all crew from the ship were saved as were much of the supplies. All for the keeping. . . thought the towns' folk. A few days later the floundering ship sank on the rocks of the point. The captain renamed this protruding rock formation Pigeon Point in honor of his lost ship and the name stuck. Again in the 1860's two merchant ships, the Coya and the Hellespont ran aground several hundred yards off the point but this time the crew and passengers were not so fortunate. Only 37 crew and passengers were saved while all others perished. So outraged were the local towns' people of the government's lack of concern for navigational safety at this coastal point that they petitioned the U.S. Lighthouse Service Board to build a lighthouse at Pigeon Point. Monies totaling $90,000 were appropriated and in 1872 the lighthouse was completed and officially lit. It is among the tallest lighthouses on the west coast, rivaling Point Arena further up the coastline in California and Yaquina Head in Oregon. The lighthouse had actually been finished in 1871 except for the interior spiral stairway fabricated by a firm in San Francisco. Weather and difficulty in erecting the spiral stairway had delayed getting the stairway installed. The first use of fuel was premium lard oil, derived from pigs. The lantern was that of a first order Fresnel lens that had been originally used at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina. It had been salvaged during the civil war when that lighthouse lantern had been extinguished and removed. The lens came into good use at Pigeon Point. In 1888, the fuel of choice became kerosene, no longer pig oil. Today, the Fresnel lens has been removed and stored in an adjacent museum building. The light is still active by use of an aerobeacon which can be seen in this photo at the top mounted to the exterior railing. The estimated cost to renovate the lighthouse in its current state of disrepair is $11.1 million.

Shipwrecks continued at Pigeon Point despite the lighthouse until 1953. In 1974, the Coast Guard automated the Light and soon found that the lighthouse was falling victim to severe vandalism. It was then that they stationed Seaman Albert S. Tucker and his wife to fend off vandals. However, they continued to have intruders until they acquired a pet pig that within a year had grown huge tusks and weighed 800 pounds. His name was Lester, the family pet and he had become the "watchdog" over the Lighthouse. He successfully kept at bay all intruders from that point forward. One day while cleaning and maintaining the lantern room atop the 115 foot high tower that had 147 steps to the top, Seaman Tucker turned around in surprise to see Lester beside him ! Perhaps Lester was expressing his fondness for pig oil no longer being used. . . .wonder how Lester ever got back down ?

(Capo Beach Photos) boston cargo carrier pigeon civil war fresnel hatteras lester lighthouse pig pigeon point saved seaman tucker shipwrecks survivors vandals Tue, 28 Feb 2017 06:44:49 GMT
From the Other Side of the Island Ona CanneryOna Cannery

My Favorite Place -

I really don't know what it is about this island of Ona in Norway or why this particular spot on the island tugs at me so much, but it is one of my favorite places in the world I think. Two separate islands connected by a small bridge are together referred to as Ona. This old cannery building is located on the southwest side of the larger island of Husøy and it has made it to my blogs before, back in March 2014, but I really want to post it again in case you missed it. This island of Ona has only 40 permanent inhabitants. It was once a thriving fishing community dependent on the abundant fishing grounds so long ago off the Norwegian coastline but now is only a ghost image of its former self. This side of the island is very desolate and requires about a thirty minute walk from the ferry landing. The ferry only arrives twice a day, morning and afternoon. The island is about 24 miles to the west out into the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland. The island also has millennial old remains of a Viking era burial ground from about 852 A.D.

This old cannery building has long since been abandoned and continues to show further neglect every time I visit. But it gives me comfort to look on this building while standing on the low tide bedrock surrounded by kelp and tide pools. It is so serene. So apparently permanent yet so obviously temporary. Free from the hustle of any kind of city life, this scene tells me a story of a place where people of the past depended on their fishing livelihood. Resting on man-placed stone piers, rising from the bedrock, makes it feel like it could last a thousand years but with a wooden carcass of a building that has exceeded perhaps its' eighty year life. What contradictions of longevity and the present, surrounded by centuries of historic memories.



(Capo Beach Photos) atlantic bedrock burial desolate ferry fishing grounds island kelp norway ocean ona tidepools vikings Sun, 29 Jan 2017 22:42:04 GMT
Tourist Destination - Laguna Beach Laguna Beach_NightfallLaguna Beach_Nightfall Laguna Beach, California -

Known world wide as the tourist destination in southern California, the City has always tried to keep this village a low-key casual place to hang out and enjoy the southern California life-style. Countless artists have not only made it home but also a focal point of their artwork, poets have used it as subject matter, while the Beach Boys included it in their ballads. Tourists can shop art galleries, dine, sight-see, beach walk, play beach volleyball, sunbath and surf to mention only a few. Everything here works together toward a general attitude of a laid back beach town. Laguna Beach exists as one of about 18 sand & surf beach town communities stretching from Huntington Beach to San Clemente. After settlement by the early explorers, Laguna Beach was developed and then flourished as an Arts colony at the beginning of the 1900's. The Arts community became formally organized with the formation of the Festival of the Arts and Pageant of the Masters in 1932 which followed the closing of the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Accessing this surf town in the early days was by way of the Laguna Canyon Road and further access south to Aliso Canyon was only by way of a dirt road. In 1926, the official Pacific Coast Highway became a paved two lane road from Newport Beach to Dana Point and was dedicated by actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Main Beach Park of Laguna Beach, part of which is shown above, was formed in 1968. The City purchased several private properties stretching for about 1000 feet along the beach and razed all the buildings to create the main destination beach and boardwalk tourists enjoy today. The concrete lifeguard tower at the Main Beach Park was moved there in 1937 from across the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) by a team of horses where it stood as a commercial landmark for the Union Gas Station.

Laguna Beach stretches from Newport Beach to the north to Monarch Bay to the south and includes some 20 unique coves and beaches. The town includes some 7 continuous miles of coastline and has a estimated population of 25,300. Some five million tourists visit Laguna Beach each year.

(Capo Beach Photos) PCH art beach boardwalk coastline destination galleries highway sand surf tourists travel volleyball Tue, 03 Jan 2017 05:30:40 GMT
Do You Know How to Drive ? Nauset Light-FramedNauset Light-Framed























Can You Drive ?

When Eugene Coleman and his wife were first reassigned as light keeper's to the Nauset Lighthouse at Eastham, Massachusetts in 1942, neither knew how to drive. After all, they had not needed to, after being light keepers at the Cape Neddick Lighthouse (also known as Nubble Light) in York, Maine for the previous 12 years. Cape Neddick was on an island just slightly offshore near York Maine. When reassigned to the Nauset Lighthouse, they were pleased to be able to socialize with nearby neighbors but sometimes needed to drive. Neither knew how to drive when they first arrived, but they soon learned.

The Nauset Lighthouse to where they were assigned was a relocated light tower from Light Station Chatham, about 17 miles to the south down the coastline of Cape Cod. At Chatham there were two twin towers, but the north tower had been shut down in an effort by the Coast Guard to reduce expenses of maintaining two lights. 

Originally in 1838 at Eastham (Nauset) there were built three lights to nautically distinguish them in between the single light at Highland further north and the two lights at Chatham to the south. The three lights were replacements for previous lights that had eroded away by the ever collapsing cliffs at Nauset Beach. These lights became known as the Three Sisters, because they were about 22 feet tall with white towers and black lanterns making them appear, at least from sea, as if they were women in dresses with top hats. By 1911 with the eroding cliffside, two of these three were taken out of service and sold to locals but the middle one stayed and was moved back. It was renamed The Beacon. But in 1923 it also fell into disrepair due to the eroding cliff and it too was auctioned off. It was replaced with the brick and cast iron light from Chatham. This light had been originally built in Chatham in 1877 and was dismantled in order to be moved to Eastham in 1923. It was placed 200 feet from the cliff edge. But by 1996, the tower was again in danger of collapse. The tower was moved as one piece, across the road, some 800 feet to the west. In 1997 the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the tower and transferred it to the National Park Service. It is currently maintained by the Nauset Light Preservation Society. It is estimated that by the year 2070, the tower will again need to be moved.

This photograph is taken from inside the doorway of the adjacent oil house.

The lighthouse can currently be seen as the logo on a bag of Cape Cod brand potato chips.

(Capo Beach Photos) cape chatham cliffs cod erosion lighthouse nauset sea the Beacon three sisters Mon, 28 Nov 2016 06:25:32 GMT
Cape Cod Lighthouse Highland Light StormHighland Light Storm

Cape Cod Lighthouse -

In 1797 George Washington authorized this Lighthouse be built to warn mariners navigating from Cape Ann down to Nantucket. The original lighthouse was wood and stood until 1832 when it was replaced with a brick version. So badly constructed and in danger of collapse due to beach erosion, it was demolished in 1857. Immediately following the demoliton, the current 66 ft. high tower was constructed and fitted with a first-order Fresnel lens. It is considered the oldest and tallest on Cape Cod. However, in 1996 this current lighthouse was moved back about 450 feet from the cliff edge, again due to severe cliff erosion that was progressing at about 3 feet per year. The light is built on a geological area known as the Clay Pound. It is the highest point anywhere on Cape Cod and therefore led to the name it has as The Highland Light. When the lighthouse was moved in 1996, dual rails were placed from its location at the cliff's edge to its current location. The tower, built of brick was strapped with wood planks and wrapped in steel cables to minimize the jostling of the conical shaped masonry exterior. The structure was pushed in its vertical position ever so slowly up the slight incline to its current location. 

The day we visited this lighthouse it was extremely windy with 40 mph gusts and torrential rains. The downpour broke clear just long enough to venture out to grab this photograph. The storm was the tail end of Hurricane Matthew that had inflicted damage to the east coast of the U.S. starting in Florida.

With so little light available for this mid-afternoon photo and without a tripod at the time, it meant opening the lens to f/9 (any less would have drastically affected the depth of field in this photo) and stabilizing myself for the shutter speed of only 1/40s at ISO 100. I could have increased the ISO setting to say 400 for better light exposure but generally I favor the increased image resolution over faster shutter speed.

(Capo Beach Photos) brick cape cod clay of pounds highland massachusetts trudeau truro Mon, 31 Oct 2016 04:48:42 GMT
Isolated Island
Vikeholmen LighthouseIsolated on This Island

Isolated -

On the small island of Vikaholmane at the entrance to Skudeneshavn harbor lies this lighthouse or navigational aid called Vikeholmen. The harbor was established in 1849 and the lighthouse built in 1875. It is one of four lighthouses on the larger island of Karmøy just north of Stavanger on the southwest coast of Norway. It is at the northern tip of what is known as the North Sea Road which stretches from Kristiansand to Haugesund. Karmøy is well known in Norway for its sandy beaches, chiseled low lying rock formations and heathered moors.

Of the four lighthouses (Høgevarde, Skudenes, Vikeholmen, Geitungen) on this larger island of Karmøy, Vikeholmen is the only one standing isolated at the entrance to the shipping harbor of Skudeneshavn. It was originally established by fishermen of the area and even today is run and maintained by the Seaman's Club of the harbor. Skudeneshavn is a major shipping and ship building port and the lighthouse has always been considered vital to the health and safety of the harbor. The seas around the island of Karmøy is fraught with underlying rocks and turbulent currents. The lighthouse as seen in this photo is not the original, it is an automated navigational aid today located on the same site and can be rented out as a vacation cabin. This lighthouse is one of 24 along the North Sea Road of the southwest coast of Norway. This area has been traditionally one of vital shipping and territorial reign since the early days of the Viking Era, beginning in 752 A.D. The nearby strait of Karmsund which separates the island of Karmøy from the mainland, became the source of the kingdom name "Karmøy" whose first prominent resident was Viking King Harald Fairhair, the first king to have unified Norway under one Kingdom of this name. His Royal Estate was located in Avaldsnes, on the north side of the island. That site is today the largest Viking era archaeological dig in Norway. The placement of lighthouses along this southwest part of Norway stems from the North Sea being such a vital connection between the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Fierce domination for its control has been a source of conflict for moire than a thousand years. During World War II, Germany felt it so important, they tried to fiercely dominate it. This is one major reason so many outposts were established by Germany along the coast of Norway, primarily at lighthouse sites, to make sure Allied forces were not invading and cutting off their naval lifeline to the Atlantic.

This photo was strategically taken from the site of a privately catered restaurant across the harbor from the lighthouse. While crews were setting up for the banquet that evening, I took this photo from their outdoor dining area while using a table as my tripod, a Nikon D800 with a 28-300mm telephoto zoom set at 300mm.

(Capo Beach Photos) avaldsnes baltic sea fairhair harbor island karmøy lighthouse norway outpost shipping skudesneshavn vikeholmen viking era world war II Mon, 26 Sep 2016 04:21:50 GMT
Lillesand by the Sea  

Lillesand SeasideLillesand Seaside


From Poverty to Prosperity and Back Again-

The southern coast of Norway, especially along an inner seaway known as Blindleia, is often referred to as the Riviera of Norway. While it is true Norwegians like to spend their holidays, or vacations as we Americans called them, in warmer climates such as Spain, Greece, and Portugal, many Norwegians vacation along the southern coast of Norway. Many have summer cabins and boats, spending every precious warm summer day soaking up the sun with all its inherent activities. This is especially true for such southern coastline towns as Lillesand.

Originally called Sanden, or sand beach, back around 1680, it later became known as Lillesand. It was down the road from Kristiansand and needed to be distinguished from it by simply calling it the little or smaller version of a town. It is historically known that the only inn in this area was started by a man named Jakob Justøn Wulff. He is the person most mentioned in connection with the beginnings of this historic ship building and timber shipping sea town. A few kilometers away is a town once called Møglestu, which was once a ruling seat of the Viking age. This town later becomes known as Vestre Moland and forms a larger muncipality with Lillesand in the 1960's.

In 1688, Lillesand was granted trading rights which lead to the import of grains and the export of local timber. Prosperity followed but in 1760, the area fell on hard times due to crop failures and local political unrest. A local farmer by the name of Kristian Lofthus formed a protest against the governing officials and ruling towns people. He was incarcerated for this and died in prison a few years later. He had such great influence however for his actions that many historians say he affected the men that later wrote the Norwegian Constitution in 1814. He is considered the most famous man of Lillesand. In the 1800's a man by the name of Steener Steenersen stands out as an engaging entrepreneur that flourished in the timber and ship building industry here. In the years from 1875 to 1895, the ship builders of Lillesand alone were responsible for completing and setting sail to over 50 large wooden sailing ships from this harbor. During this period hundreds of people were drawn to the town and it flourished. But as the wooden ships became obsolete in favor of the steam ships and as the railway took away the shipments of timber, the town became depressed and unemployed. The economy was so bad that emigration, especially to the United States was a necessity to make a living. Others felt a need to free themselves from the state run church and what they felt was religious persecution. As a side note, emigration from Norway to the U.S. from 1825 to 1925 totaled over 800,000. But even more surprising is that from 1825 until 1950 Norway lost over half it's population to the United States, including my parents who emigrated to Seattle in 1950. No other country has contributed a larger percentage of its overall population to America over the years than Norway.

It wasn't until the end of World War II, that the local economy of Lillesand began to recover. At present, there are over 14,000 in the greater municipality of Lillesand, and over a 900 people reside in the old town center. Keep in mind the entire current population of Norway is just over 5.2 million. The photo above is the present day harbor of Lillesand that was once such a bustling ship building harbor. As you can see, it now caters to tourists with a Riviera-like atmosphere of shops, waterfront walkway, boating, docks, and marinas. The local church set on the distant hill in the background is entirely wooden and dates back to 1889. 


(Capo Beach Photos) america blindleia boating emigration exports harbor lillesand lofthus norway riviera sanden ships steamships steenersen timber tourists wulff Wed, 07 Sep 2016 04:57:59 GMT
Lindesnes -At the Edge of the World Lindesnes Light at the Edge of the WorldLindesnes Light - At the Edge of the World























Lindesnes Lighthouse -

On a small headland on Norway's most southern tip is the Lindesnes "Fyr" or lighthouse (in english). This location was first established as a lighthouse in 1655 and is considered by some to be Norway's first lighthouse location. The Norwegian coast has had over 212 lighthouse stations but no more than 156 have been operational at any one time. 

The word Lindesnes derives from old Nordic languages but in today's definition means "go to the end headlands". And when you're here you can see why it is named that. Standing at this headland you see nothing but out to the west over the Atlantic, no islands or other features to break the view. And it gets windy. It is fairly common to have sustained winds of 60mph. 

While under Danish rule this site was approved by the Danish King Frederik III to have a light built here to help sailors at sea. It was financed by having sailors pay a tax regardless of their port of entry from Bergen to what is now known as Sweden. The first light was a three story timber tower that used 30 candles behind lead glass windows. The inadequacy of the light so angered sailors dependent on the light that the following year a coal fire lantern was built. Despite this improvement the king closed the lighthouse in 1656. It was not until 1725 that drastic measures were taken to provide a better navigational aid. This was done by merely lighting two open grate coal fires set on the headland rocks and maintained by lightkeepers. In 1854, a brick base with chimney was built with a sheltered lightroom that housed the coal fires. This was used until 1915 when the current 50m tall cast iron tower was built with a first order Fresnel lantern. An adjacent house was built that housed the fog signal and machinery. Originally three families were housed year round at the lighthouse. In 2003 the lighthouse was automated.

During WORLD WAR II, the Germans occupied this site as an outpost to view possible Allied naval operations up and down the Norwegian coastline. The Germans suspected the Allies would invade Norway along the coast which never occurred with any great force after the German occupation. (It should be noted that both Allied efforts and Norwegian forces held off the eventual German invasion and occupation for about 62 days, the second longest next to the Soviet Union). After the Germans manned the lighthouse site at Lindesnes, the light was darkened except as needed to aid German shipping. The site had 4 gun posts, all interconnected with tunnels and trenches. 

Visiting this site at dusk when the tourists had left was ideal. Only a few scattered tourists and the site was open to photograph. It was windy and 11:30 at night. The sun was almost ready to set. Note that even though it was July 5, the sun still sets for a few hours because it is southern Norway not northern. Even with the vibration reduction feature on the 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens, it still required stabilizing myself against a nearby rock outcrop. The tripod I had was of no use due to it being of a lighter weight for traveling purposes. 

(Capo Beach Photos) Lindesnes cast iron coal fire germans headlands lantern lighthouse outpost tower white and red wind world war 2 Mon, 15 Aug 2016 04:45:39 GMT
Singing Sands SingingSandsCannonBeachSingingSandsCannonBeach Singing  Sands -

It is a rare and eerie phenomena indeed known only in a few sand areas of the world. And the dune areas along the Oregon Coast are one of those areas. The National Dunes Reserve near Florence Oregon has also experienced this weird sensation.  Other areas around the world include the Great Sand Desert of Australia, the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and the Empty-Quarter of the Sahara Desert. It is the unique audible sensation known as "singing sand". It is so rare that it is often not commonly discussed because so few have heard it.

It occurs under some pretty rare circumstances with different variables in play. The humidity has to be just right. The wind direction and speed also has to be perfect. There are multiple layers and densities of moist and dry sand involved, at least two and sometimes more, with one laying loosely on top of the other. There must also be movement of the sand by wind. The singing sounds are created when by the sand movement, the granules of different sizes and densities become airborne, even if ever so slightly and collide with each other. Again the humidity, wind speed and sand density all play an important and simultaneous interacting role. The choir-like singing sounds have also been likened to distant mythological sirens or violins. There is another type of sound also of a similar phenomena known to be caused by the stirring up of the sand by way of human feet or other body movement such as sliding down a sand dune. This sound can also be a little spooky and is more like a squeaking sound, more common in sandy dune areas.

To achieve the singing-type sound, the wind must start slowly. The stirring of the sand by a gentle wind will start this process and if the wind gathers speed and the moisture content of the different layers and types of sand are extreme enough, that choir sound can turn into a musical timbre crescendo that can sound like a ensemble of flutes or trombones playing in harmony. The sound can last for days in different frequencies and has been recorded to cause men to go mad. The Venetian explorer Marco Polo in his travels to China recorded this sound in written documentation some 800 years ago in the Mongolian Gobi Desert.

Over the years this sound has been heard in the sand dunes of Cannon Beach, shown here in the photo at sunset. In the earlier parts of this century, the singing sand sound of Cannon Beach was apparently more prevalent and lead several lodging establishments to name themselves "The Singing Sands" to stir business as an added tourist attraction. While most of these businesses have long since gone, a few still exist with that name.

(Capo Beach Photos) cannon beach collide density dunes eerie humidity moisture mystic phenomena rare sea singing sand sirens spooky timbre violins wind Tue, 31 May 2016 04:53:50 GMT
Two Rocks Do Not Make A Duckie Sunset CairnSunset Cairn


Two Rocks Don't Make A Duckie -

Iceland, Norway, Greenland, South Africa, Switzerland, Scotland, Australia, the United States are all places where you will find cairns. These are man made stacks of rocks used to mark an important place, a historic place or for way-finding purposes. Cairns have been used since before the time of Christ on earth. Originating from a Scottish gaelic term meaning a type of hill or natural stone pile, the word "cairn" has been used for intentional piles of rocks along sea cliffs, in upland areas, moorlands, mountaintops, burial grounds, and in barren deserts, both the frozen kind and the hot arid kind.

Throughout history cairns have been used for a variety of purposes depending on the culture and geographical circumstances. In barren regions such as in the Arctic where few natural outcrops exist, they can be used as structures of identity on an otherwise flat horizon. On mountain trails they have been used to mark the safe passage through an area. In ancient of times they were used as landmarks and as surveying tools. They often located caches of food or other stores in a underground well or pit. Many historic cultures used them for religious reasons where they signified a place where a person or meaningful animal was laid to rest, helping signify its rise up to the heavens and as a place of significant meaning due to that place of death. 

North American trail markers are sometimes called "duckies" because they often have beaks pointing in the correct direction of travel. The expression "two rocks do not make a duckie" reminds hikers that just having a couple of rocks stacked one on top of the other could be a result of an accident or natural occurrence rather than an intentional trail finding marker.

In today's culture these have become known as a way for tourists or visitors to make their mark where they stood or as just a fun thing to do with no other significance. Rocks are often teetered one upon another to show the ingenuity of stacking for perfect balance. It has become such a problem at tourist attractions in Norway that in 2015, the government made it illegal to build such frivolous stacks of rocks in natural settings. Their reasoning was that the stones gathered for these piles have been taken or disturbed from their natural habitat and therefore displacing the natural environment for no distinct purpose. They contend it robs the land of its indigenous setting and can lead to an overabundance of rock piles that cause confusion from genuine navigational aids in the wilderness. This 'Leave No Trace' ethic of outdoor practice advocates for leaving the outdoors undisturbed and in a natural condition with no human footprint.

At the Battle of Isandlwana South Africa, in 1879, the British used cairns to mark the mass graves of British soldier's who died in battle. In the Catskill mountains of upper New York State, due to the strong historic Scottish culture, they have been used to mark graves of livestock as well as trail markers. Coastal cairns or sea marks are common found in northern latitudes especially where there may be numerous navigational hazards such as the island strewn waters of Scandinavia and northern Canada.

In this photo the small cairn is simple enough and certainly not a danger to anyone. I took the photo just as the cairn was being completed by a woman as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Must have been a tourist. . . the exact location is a secret but it was taken along the southern coast of California with an iPhone 6 plus, no flash and at an exposure of 1/1320th @ f/2.2. 

(Capo Beach Photos) aids arctic duckies greenland hikers landmarks natural navigational norway piles rocks scottish seamarks stones surveying welch Tue, 19 Apr 2016 04:57:29 GMT
Cranberry Red Coquille River LighthouseCoquille River Lighthouse

I Have An Idea, Let's Paint it. . . RED !

The Coquille River Lighthouse, known as Bandon Light to the locales, was first lit in 1896 with a fourth order Fresnel lens. It is located at the mouth of the Coquille River as it enters the Pacific Ocean on the southern coast of Oregon. 

This is not my first blog on this lighthouse. Previously I described a little more about the history of the Light and the disastrous Bandon fire of 1936. See the link to the previous blog on May 5,2015:

The image above was taken in late afternoon in November 2015. When I first photographed the lighthouse in the summer of 2014, I thought it strange that the color scheme from the last restoration in 1976 had this cranberry red color over the concrete base. It just did not look historically identifiable with the lighthouse, its history nor the area in which it resided. After all, it did not look indigenous to a historical lighthouse that for over 120 years protected the shipping lanes in and out of the Coquille river. In the past the lighthouse had been painted light grey and white, not cranberry red ! In the late 1800's and early 1900's, the area was a hub for coastal shipping related with the timber industry, ship building, fur trading and crops. It is a local crop that may perhaps lend the best explanation to the idea of the cranberry red base color painted for the 100 year anniversary of the lighthouse.

Bandon is a local center of cranberry production. So much so that it competes with Middlesborough Massachusetts as a cranberry capital, albeit on the west coast and on a much smaller scale. More than 100 growers account for 95% of Oregon's cranberry production, and about 5% of the national crop, harvesting about 1600 acres of cranberry bogs just around Bandon proper. In the fall of 1994 a record crop of nearly 304,000 barrels or 30 million pounds were harvested. Different hybrid varieties are grown here now such as the Stevens variety but it was the hybrid vine variety from Massachusetts first introduced to nearby Hauser by Charles McFarlin in1855 that had been the mainstay in Oregon. It reigned supreme in Oregon for nearly 8 decades of constant production. McFarlin had initially come to Oregon to pan for gold. He not only did not make his fortune at panning for gold, he did not even make a living at it. So he turned to the only other thing he knew and that was the cranberry vine. He brought the vines from Cape Cod and then planted these in Oregon's first cranberry bog near the town of Hauser, just north of Coos Bay. This west coast variety was named in honor of him and his success in adapting it to the coastal climate. Brandon is also the location of the country's first wet harvested cranberry bog where dikes are built around the bushes and then flooded with water. 

The Cranberry Festival in Bandon is celebrated each fall and has been since 1946. 

(Capo Beach Photos) Light bandon berries bogs bullards coquille cranberries crops historical lighthouse massachusetts middleborough oregon painted red restoration shipwrecks Tue, 08 Mar 2016 05:19:43 GMT
Starting an American Dream  



  An American Dream . . . . 

Somesville BridgeSomesville Bridge

      The picturesque village of Somesville in the township of Mount Desert is located on Mount Desert Island in Maine. It is at the north end of a fjord named Somes Sound. The first white settlers with any permanency in this area were Abraham Somes and James Richardson in 1761. They traveled northward from Massachusetts Bay up the coast of Maine in an open and narrow sailing craft called a Chebacco and settled at the head of the interior waterway of the island. Their families joined them there a year or so later. They had been instructed by then British governor of Massachusetts Bay, Sir Francis Bernard, to go settle here and establish mills. What they did not realize at first about the island was the predominance of stone. It turned out to be the most productive location for a lucrative industry. The island had an over abundance of siltstone, sandstone and granite. Hundreds of people followed. Stone quarries soon sprung up along with other industry as well. They named their little village, Somesville, and the inlet it was on they called Somes Sound after Abraham Somes and his family.

     The settlement here was so successful that Somes and many associated with the hard work of the area soon became very wealthy. Logging mills, quarries, shoe factories and woolen mills flourished and began supplying materials to the lower colonies. The thriving stone business soon led to farming, fishing, logging and ship building industries. By 1840, the Somes family was the wealthiest on the island. Dams were built that provided power for the island's stone cutting industry and by 1886, the estimated export of cut stone from Mount Desert Island exceeded 3500 tons.

     In 1975, concern was raised by the locales that so many of the historic buildings and outbuildings on the island were being lost to neglect and development that a Historic District was created and many of those structures placed on the National Registry of Historic Places to preserve the remaining buildings and residences of the original settlers. It also included their churches, school, post office, cobbler shop, trades buildings, meeting hall and library.

     As you pass through on Main Street of Somesville, you cross over Somes Pond Outlet. The Sound is on the east side of the road while on the west side is the small mill creek that gently flows into the fjord. On this same west side of the road lies the historic Selectman's Building, seen in the photo above. It was built in 1780 by John Somes, son of Abraham. The building had been used as the town hall until 1911. "Selectmen" are voted by the town's citizens to conduct the official business between the annual town meetings. Over the creek lies this arched pedestrian bridge. The 1981 memorial bridge bears the name of Thaddeus Shepley Somes, a descendent of Abraham Somes. 

    This seems like one of the quintessential small New England rural scenes really. No hustle-bustle of a busy community, no shopping malls, no big semi-trucks roaring past at freeway speeds and no tall mega structures. It is serene and peaceful, very peaceful. 


(Capo Beach Photos) american dream arched bridge chebacco desert island families fishing fjord historic lucrative maine massachusetts peaceful rural sandstone serene siltstone some somerville sound stone wealthy woolen Tue, 09 Feb 2016 05:45:22 GMT
The Tower from Europe  



LaTour TowerLaTour Tower

La Tour Tower in Laguna Beach

In 1925, California State Senator William E. Brown, who represented the 37th District, was at the end of his rope. His wife was constantly complaining about the stifling 85 degree heat (!) of Beverly Hills and wanted a summer retreat where the temperatures were cooler. They built a French provincial revival style house on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in south Laguna Beach. Senator Brown had settled in Los Angeles from up state New York in 1886 and found his California fortune in manufacturing. He and his wife spent time in France after World War I helping in the war relief effort. It is perhaps there they got the inspiration for not only their house design, which in and of itself is unique and historic as one of Laguna Beach's landmark homes, but also for the medieval-looking tower to their beach below. The tower gave them direct access to the beach from their house some 50 feet on the bluff above.

The tower is 60 feet tall and is made of poured-in-place reinforced concrete, coated with cement plaster, with a rubble stone base and a conical shaped wood-shingled roof. Small iron latticed clad openings in the tower give light to the interior heavy wood spiral staircase.

Just to the south of the tower is a round, low-walled concrete structure thought to be a seawater pool also built by Brown for his family to enjoy the ocean water without them having to swim in the rough seas of the Pacific.

In 1940, Brown sold the house and tower to a retired Naval officer by the name of Harold Kendrick. He brought new life to the tower's existence by playing the role of a seafaring pirate and hiding gold treasure coins in the cracks and crevices of the tower structure for the neighborhood kids to discover. Some conjecture that this is why the tower is often referred to as the Pirate Tower. Another past owner of the house and tower is Hollywood diva Bette Midler and her artist husband Martin Von Haselberg.

In February of 2012 the tower was condemned by a Laguna Beach building inspector because it was no longer fit for human occupancy due to hydrostatic compression, a result of the endless pounding by the Pacific Ocean. Plaster was cracking and pieces of concrete falling to the beach below. However, the tower is still standing and enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. It is located at the north end of Victoria Beach and only accessible by a public access stairway about a 1/4 mile to the south. To view the tower up close does require climbing over rock outcroppings and dodging waves at mid to high tide. 

This photo was taken with an Apple iPhone 6 Plus at full resolution of 2448 X 3264, f/2.2 at an exposure of 1/2600, no flash.


(Capo Beach Photos) apple beverly hills brown diva french hollywood hot iphone Kendrick Laguna Beach landmark LaTour medieval Midler naval ocean pacific pirate provincial revival rubble saltwater sea senator spiral summer swim tidepool tourist treasuretower waves Sun, 03 Jan 2016 06:02:55 GMT
Needles in the Haystack Haystack Rock -

After following U.S. Route 101 south from Portland for 80 miles or so you come across Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach Oregon. This 235 foot tall basalt monolith sea stack is not the only Rock called Haystack on the Oregon coast but maybe arguably the most popular. There is one in Tillamook County near Pacific City and one in Coos County Oregon near Bandon. However this one in Cannon Beach is the only intertidal rock, meaning it is accessible by foot at low tide to view the marine tidal pools. There is also a bird refuge on the rock above the mean tide level where humans are not allowed to climb. Birds such as the tern and puffin find this home. The Rock has been federally protected by Fish and Wildlife regulations since 1990 when it was declared a Marine Garden and seabird nesting refuge. The smaller rocks around the monolith are known as The Needles. Over 225,000 people a year visit this location.

Traveling down the Oregon coast from Washington this last Thanksgiving we stayed several nights in Cannon Beach. A good time of year to visit since the tourist population is minimal. The weather was unseasonably pleasant, in the mid-50's. At sunset tourists and locals alike walk the beach. I was told that it is not uncommon to have several hundred people on the beach at sunset even during these pleasant winter nights. This photo was taken at around 5:15pm during the middle of the week and that may account for the lack of beach activity. With only the one couple on the beach in the distance, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity afforded me to snap this time exposure. The sky was clear, the sunset colors were right, the crowds nonexistent and with the tide retreated. With tripod set into the salty sand, I shot this photo on the Nikon D800, with the 24-70mm zoom lens set to 40mm, f/22 at 1.3 seconds, no flash and an ISO 100. I always enjoy bright, vibrant colors and therefore most often use the "Vivid" color setting on the camera.





(Capo Beach Photos) basalt birds cannon beach clear color couple haystack marine.pools monolith needles oregon puffins rock sunset terns tidal walking Mon, 21 Dec 2015 04:47:28 GMT
Landmark Lighthouse Bass Harbor SundayBass Harbor Sunday Bass Harbor Sunday

On a peaceful Sunday morning I the walked through the forested canopy from the parking lot down to the steep wooden stairs just above the jagged stone water's edge at the base of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. It was an inspiring view in the early morning at about 8:00 with no one else around. As a photographer, this was ideal for a serene landscape and lighthouse photo. The tide was just right and the skies were bright and blue. A little unusual even in the summertime for Maine. Anytime you're along the coast anywhere, especially in the morning, it is always a toss up as to what the weather conditions will be like. But this day was purposeful.

Located in Acadia National Park at the southwest corner of Maine's Mount Desert Island, this lighthouse stands proud and majestic some 56 feet above mean high tide on Maine's rugged coastline. This island is the second largest on the eastern seaboard, behind only Long Island in New York State. Like a quiet centurion placed at the top of an unforgiving coast, this lighthouse is perhaps one of, if not the most, photographed lights in the country. It is currently an operational aid to navigation maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. A light of some sort has existed at this location since 1855 but it wasn't until 1858 that Congress appropriated $5,000 to build this stone foundation and brick conical tower with a fifth order Fresnel lens. A fourth order Fresnel lens is now operating and the lighthouse is now automated. It has been on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1988. This Light aids ships as far out to sea as 13 nautical miles. It marks the turn point into the fishing village Bass Harbor in the municipality of Tremont around the southwest corner of Desert Island. This area of the island is what locals like to call the "quietside" of the island. 

No unusual stories to tell about this lighthouse, just a handsome landmark lighthouse on the coast of Maine and the only one on Desert Island.


(Capo Beach Photos) 1858 bass blue coastline conical harbor island jagged lighthouse morning mount desert island nautical photography quietside rough serene sunday tide tower tremont white Tue, 17 Nov 2015 06:09:06 GMT
Drummer Boy New Castle LightNew Castle Light The New Castle Light 

On the afternoon of December 14, 1774 a drummer boy marched alongside a local liberty-minded former sea captain named John Langdon through the streets of Portsmouth Hew Hampshire to stir the town folk to action against the British loyalists' held Fort William and Mary on New Castle Island in Portsmouth harbor. Within an hour, Langdon had aroused an angry crowd willing to risk their lives to overrun the outpost.

One year after the Boston Tea Party, this Sons of Liberty crowd of 400 local merchants, mariners and rag tag farmers in and around Portsmouth, were determined to descend on Fort William and Mary, and take the munitions stored there; cannons, gun powder and small arms. The band of patriots overwhelmed the Fort. Surprisingly, the Fort was only manned by five soldiers and an officer, no match for the angry crowd. Muskets were fired but no deaths occurred. This was the first major overt action of insurgency of the American Revolution against a British held military installation in the Colonies, though this is a relatively unknown historic fact. King George called it a treasonous act worthy of death. Paul Revere had ridden from Boston to Portsmouth the night before this raid to warn that British troops were headed north from Boston to secure the Fort and its munitions from any possible raid. Scuffles with the British had already been going on for some ten years before this raid. 

One of the main causes stimulating the locals into action against the Fort was King George's new law banning sales of guns and munitions to colonialists. The sentiment of upheavel in America had been growing. Now in the winter of 1774, the raid occurred on what was then called New Castle Island or the Great Island; the Fort occupied a part of the island. The munitions and supplies that were confiscated by the patriots were to eventually be used against the British. Some 100 kegs of gun powder were seized and hauled off on barges. Records show that as the armoury was being seized, the insurgents yelled "huzzah" in unison. This was an old colonial term similar to our "hoorah" today. It is believed by many historians that the Battle of Bunker Hill in June of 1775, 6 months later, was the first armed confrontation of the American Revolution directly between British soldiers and colonial patriots that was supplied by gun powder and munitions seized at Fort William and Mary.

Fort William and Mary had originally been called The Castle when first built as a stronghold in 1631. It was renamed Fort William and Mary by the British in 1692 and became Fort Constitution after being rebuilt and fortified in 1808. The Fort was used during the War of 1812 as well as during the Civil War. Since 1771 the Fort has always been home to some kind of a navigational light at the south entrance to Portsmouth harbor. At first, it was only a lantern hoisted on a pole but later that year became a wood framed lighthouse covered entirely in wood shingles. Perimeter stone walls, just out of view to the right in this photo, were heightened and refortified during the Civil War and are still in place today. In 1804 a replacement lighthouse was built about 100 yards further west and was about 80 feet tall. When the nearby Whaleback Lighthouse out in the bay (seen in the distance to the left hand side) was built in 1831, this replacement Light was shortened due to its reclassification as merely a harbor beacon for navigation. In 1877, the replacement light was demolished and a new lighthouse was built on the rock you see in this photo, some 48 feet tall, built of cast iron and lined on the interior with brick. From inside the Fort the existing stone walls block the full view of the lighthouse from this north side. So to take this photo I crawled out through the cannon portal in the battery wall with camera in hand. While hanging out over the harbor water below, my wife held my feet . . . just in case. Yes, it was worth it.

(Capo Beach Photos) armory battery boston british bunker camera castle colonialists constitution fort george gunpowder guns hill hoorah huzzah insurgents king light lighthouse loyalists mary militia munitions muskets new hampshire overt patriots revere revolt sympathizers william Mon, 26 Oct 2015 04:01:05 GMT
Campobello Island Lighthouse Campobello Island Lighthouse -

The lighthouse is only accessible at very low tide and located just a few miles from what was once Franklin D. Roosevelt's summer cottage on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada. Situated precariously on the very north end of a small islet at Head Harbour on the Bay of Fundy 9.2 miles from the U.S. / Canada border just north of Lubec, Maine, the island is only reached by crossing over the FDR Memorial Bridge leading from Lubec. The entire island is a dead-end, so the only way off the island is the way you came in. The 40 square mile island has 925 permanent residents whose main livelihood is fishing. Life here is quiet and serene. No one is in any hurry to go anywhere or do anything. This is rural life at its finest ! The historic Roosevelt family thought so too because they had owned property on this island since 1883, vacationed here every summer including President Roosevelt who had known this island since he was one year old. In August 1921 while staying in his 34 room "cottage" he had purchased on the island, Roosevelt was diagnosed with Polio; the disease that crippled him for the remainder of his life. 

The 1960 movie "Sunrise at Campobello" starring Ralph Bellamy and Hume Cronyn is filmed on the island and on the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park New York. It begins in 1921 when FDR was stricken and paralyzed with polio while vacationing on the island and shows his rise to power up to the 1924 Democratic National Convention. He would continue his rise to power to become the 32nd president of the United States, spanning from 1933 until his death in 1945. 

The Campobello Island Lighthouse was only Canada's second lighthouse at the time and is also known as East Quoddy Lighthouse and Head Harbor Light Station. The main tower exterior is shingled wood and still stands since built in 1829. It has a third-order fresnel lens that displays as a steady red light which can be seen 13 nautical miles out to sea. The symbolic red cross of "warrior saint" St. George is painted on it's 51 foot high tapered tower wall as a channel daymarker for passing ships trying to navigate the Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay.

When my wife and I first arrived at the Canadian border on Campobello Island, we told the border patrol we would only stay a few hours, but they thought that suspicious and odd. To the point that we were asked to park the car and go inside for what amounted to a one hour question/answer session, most of which amounted to just waiting. Odd you might say ? Seemed odd to us anyway since the lighthouse, we thought, was a tourist attraction after all ! Nonetheless, the visit to this remote rural Canadian island and the resulting photographs were worth the interrogation process. We looked and acted like a typical American couple from southern Orange County California. But seems strange enough I guess when you think about it. . . here we were, all the way from California to a remote New Brunswick Canada island just to look at a lighthouse that has been there since 1829.

(Capo Beach Photos) Saint george campobello canada east quoddy fishing fresnel fundy high island lighthouse passamaquoddy polio president red cross remote roosevelt rural shingled tide white wood Tue, 06 Oct 2015 06:07:03 GMT
Dangers Ahead After The StormAfter The Storm Dangers of Denial -

As many of you already know, my wife is a talented and published author. She has written and published several Christian fiction novels which are the beginning of a five book mega series saga. Many of you have read her first two novels that are part of this saga and I'm sure you are looking forward to the remaining books to be published in the very near future. She works steadily on her story lines. Like every worth while author, she painstakingly nurtures them to the point of perfection, which of course is never attainable, but she persists nonetheless. She loves to tell stories, always has, and so authoring books from her imagination, loosely based on her own life experiences comes natural. What has not come natural of late is the difficult task of telling our own real life events with the dreadful disease so many in our current generation are facing. That is, the insidious diseases of dementia and Alzheimer's.

Her completion of the five book saga has been slowed recently by her desire to share the tale of what it is like to care for family members with dementia. Both my own parents and hers were inflicted with memory disease in some form. Her latest book titled "The Dangers of Denial" will be released on October 14. It's a booklet really, because the idea of writing a long book discourages even the reading of it. She wants her booklet to help people who are in desperate need of answers. The booklet deals with the denial of memory disease that so many Americans and people around the world are experiencing. The booklet sheds light on dangers that come from family members and even the patients themselves who deny having the disease, laugh it off or who shrug it off as just one of life's afflictions such as senility, that will just run its course or will go away. The problem is that it will never go away and the disease only gets worse not better. There is no making the patient better. While the disease will progress at its own pace, fast or slow, there are significant ways families can deal with this in an appropriate and humaritarian fashion that makes the reality of it less burdensome.

The photo above is the cover to my wife's latest booklet, again, titled "The Dangers of Denial" that will be released on October 14. We both felt this photo depicts the symbolic affects of not only what happens to the victim of the disease but also what begins to happen to the family who struggles with the disease's consequences.

The photo was taken at Strand Beach in Dana Point, facing south toward the Strand Headlands beyond. It was shot on a January day last winter after a very stormy night with high surf and extreme high tide. The beach had eroded and collapsed in several places and showed signs of complete erosion. What was a typically pleasant calm beach landscape in southern California one day became totally unrecognizable the next day.

Please visit my wife's website to read more about her books at:

(Capo Beach Photos) alzheimers disease elderly family forgetfulness loving memory senility Mon, 07 Sep 2015 22:25:09 GMT
The Nubble in Deep Space Cape NeddickCape Neddick Nubble Light

As an icon and classic American lighthouse simply known as "Nubble", this stalwart lighthouse is. . . Famous. So much so that the Voyager I spacecraft, launched in 1977, on its initial voyage to photograph our solar system, carried a photograph of this, The Cape Neddick Lighthouse onboard to show it as one of man's prominent structures. Other photos included The Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. All in hopes that, if discovered by intelligent extraterrestrials, it would show signs of what man has built on planet Earth.

Before its inception, The Nubble Lighthouse was talked about and planned since 1837. It wasn't until 1874, after numerous tragic shipwrecks, that Congress finally appropriated $15,000 for its construction. The U.S. Lighthouse Service dedicated the Light in 1879 and it has been in service on this islet ever since. Of the 60 lighthouses remaining in Maine, it is one of only eight that still operates with its original Fresnel lens.

Sheathed with a cast iron shell lined on the interior with brick, the lighthouse stands 44 feet tall but hovers 88 feet over the rocky cliff and sea below. The lighthouse is closed to the public but can be reached on foot at low tide. It sits just 100 yards off shore at Cape Neddick Point in the Village of York Beach, Maine. 

This photograph was taken in the early evening hours as the sun was beginning to set. My wife and I rushed north along Highway 95 from Logan Airport in Boston, like Bonnie and Clyde escaping a bank heist, to catch the lighthouse before dark. In all fairness to my wife and her always calm demeanor, I should say I rushed, she was just along for the ride. We found only two other couples at the Cape when we arrived so that made for uncluttered photography. 

On board the exterior of Voyager 1 in 1977 was attached a "Golden Phonograph Record" with several iconic hieroglyphs on the face. The Record had 116 images of earth and what life is like here. It included a photograph of The Nubble Lighthouse, sights and sounds of earth, images of symbolic gestures, people, animals and plant life but also had 55 modern and ancient languages. On Valentine's Day 1990,  with its original mission completed and on its way out to deep space beyond Pluto, Voyager 1 turned to take a "family portrait" of our solar system. In that photo was a tiny blue dot which was Earth. American astronomer Carl Sagan chaired the committee for NASA that decided what was to be placed on that Golden Record. Of that tiny blue dot, Carl Sagan said this:

"Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam".

(Capo Beach Photos) 95 boston brick cape cast iron deep space fresnel golden record great wall highway home interstellar island lighthouse logan Maine morals nasa neddick Nubble Sagan saint sinner stalwart sunbeams taj mahal voyager water york Fri, 21 Aug 2015 05:21:55 GMT
Go East Old Man, Go East West Quoddy HeadWest Quoddy Head

West Quoddy Light -

Known as the candy striped lighthouse, this USCG operated aid to navigation stands guard over the Quoddy Narrows several miles south of the Canadian border near Lubec Maine and is the easternmost lighthouse in the continental United States. From these lighthouse grounds one can see a small rock formation several hundred yards off shore named Seal Rock, that is literally the eastern most terra firma still called the United States. Standing on this rock formation, you can not get any closer to Europe and still be standing in the U.S.

Originally built at this location in 1808, it was replaced with the present day 47 foot painted brick conical tower in 1858. A keeper's house was also built in 1858 along with a fog signal house in 1887 and oil shed in 1892. The lighthouse was automated in 1988 and has the only remaining third order Fresnel lens of any Maine lighthouse. In 1990 the United States Postal Service commemorated the lighthouse on a 25 cent stamp. Seeing the high altitude jet plane just to the left of the lighthouse, one can only imagine it en route from some part of Europe. 

(Capo Beach Photos) Europe US USCG canada candy-striped continental easternmost fresnel lighthouse miles narrows nautical operated seal rock west quoddy Mon, 03 Aug 2015 04:29:25 GMT
Run Forrest Run ! Marshall Point PorchMarshall Point Porch

Run Forrest Run !

At a young age the fictional Forrest had to walk with leg braces. When he encountered those bully kids that were throwing rocks at him because of his infirmities, he began to runaway from them to avoid not only the stoning, but the humiliation he was suffering in front of a female childhood school friend. Grasping her school books tightly, she cried "Run Forrest Run". His leg braces were cast-off as he began to run faster and faster away from the bullies, leaving them in a cloud of dust despite the fact they were on their bikes. Eventually he would run everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Never mind he was a naive, simpleton sort of fellow, he loved to run and oh could he run. Sitting on the porch one day when he was older, he just decided to run again, just a little ways at first. But it wasn't to be just a little ways, he decided to keep on going, all over the country, non-stop for two years, two months, 14 days and some 16 hours when finally in Monument Valley of Utah he decided he was tired now and was going home. 

So it is that during his journey to just run, Forrest Gump ran from the 107 year-old Santa Monica Pier on the Pacific Ocean, cross country to the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde Maine on the Atlantic Ocean. While the movie was filmed here in 1993 and was released in 1994, the original lighthouse dates back to 1832.

The 20 foot tall, 1832 version of the lighthouse here was set too far back from the water's edge and shoddily made of rubble stone and did not last. So in 1858, it was rebuilt out to the ocean's edge as far as possible on the St. George Peninsula overlooking Penobscot Bay. It was established to light the entrance to Port Clyde Harbor, a thriving port at the time, exporting lumber, granite and fish. The rebuilt tower is the present day lighthouse and is 31 feet tall and built of a granite foundation and white-washed brick with a 5 sided cast iron lantern having a fifth-order Fresnel lens that showed a fixed white light. The elevated wooden walkway extending out to the lighthouse was also covered with a wooden structure but was later removed. In 1895 the keeper's house was destroyed by lightning and a new house built which is the one that stands today. Automated in 1971, the house and lighthouse stood neglected for many years until restoration began in 1986.

For a total of 45 years, from 1874 until 1919, a Civil War veteran by the name of Charles Clement Skinner served as the keeper. In the records of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, this is the longest tenure of service at the same lighthouse in U.S. history. He and his wife lived here with their 6 children, one son and five daughters. In their latter years, the two youngest daughters lived in a house in nearby Warren that their father had originally built. They both attended the restoration ceremony of the keepers house in 1990. The youngest lived to 102 years of age.

The sunny day was beautiful when this photo was taken, no one else around and with perfect scenery. The camera is a Nikon D800 with a 24-70mm lens, set at 24mm to get the full breadth of the scene from the porch of the keeper's house looking southeast out toward the lighthouse and Muscongus Bay , handheld, f/16 at 1/50s, no filters, ISO 200 in full matrix focus.

(Capo Beach Photos) brick clements forrest gump granite light lighthouse lightkeeper lightning longest marshall point movie restoration steady tower Fri, 10 Jul 2015 05:24:06 GMT
Faithfully Unfaltering Portland HeadPortland HeadFaithfully Unfaltering The  First  Lighthouse 


Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same,

Year after year, through all the silent night 

Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,

Shines on that inextinguishable light !   

- -   from "The Lighthouse" (1850) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 


Born in Portland Maine, American poet Longfellow was a frequent visitor to the Portland Head Light. His poem "The Lighthouse" was written as a tribute to his fondness of it. He would often spend hours sitting on the rocks, watching heavy seas roll in or chat here with his friend Captain Joshua Freeman, the fourth lightkeeper at Portland Head. 

George Washington, as one of his duties of being the first U.S. President of a fledgling young country in 1787, commissioned the Portland Head Light to be built at the jetty of land projecting out into the Atlantic, southwest of Portland Harbor at Casco Bay. It was not only the first lighthouse of a new country but also Maine's first lighthouse once it broke off from Massachusetts in 1820. Construction was started with only $750 allocated by the State of Massachusetts but then supplemented with $1500 from the U.S. government in 1789. First lit in 1791, the first lightkeeper was Captain Joseph Greenleaf, a patriot war veteran of the War for Independence  who served under General Washington. For the privilege of tending the Light and living in the keepers quarters, he was given no salary. Wow, what a privilege ! After just six months he threatened to quit. He was then offered a salary of $160 and decided to stay. However, it still meant he needed to fish, farm and grow vegetables to sustain his lonely life as a lightkeeper. Those days of light keeping were no easy task and often took its toll on human life. Winters were so harsh here that the keeper would have to melt ice off the inside of the lantern room in order for the light to be seen out to sea. Greenleaf died of a heart attack in 1795 while rowing his rowboat back to shore.

Portland Head has been documented as the most visited, photographed, and historic lighthouse in the continental United States. Originally built by two Portland masons from local rubblestone materials, it was originally built to only 58 feet in height. But when the masons realized the tower light could not even be seen over a nearby headland, it was raised 20 more feet. That second beginning height can be seen today in the ring that encircles the top of the tower. However, when the lighthouse at a nearby barren rock ledge known as Halfway Rock was completed in 1871 at the entry to Casco Bay, the government decided the Portland Head Light was not as important as they had first thought and it was then lowered 20 feet. Within a few years there were so many complaints from mariners about the lower elevation of the tower light that the 20 feet were added back. Raise it up, no, lower it down, no, raise it up, say what ?

With the exception of being darkened during WW II for fear of German invasion it has stayed lit since it's original completion in 1791. While 16 whale oil lamps were used for the original illumination, these were replaced with a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1855 followed by a second-order Fresnel lens in 1864 following the ship wreck just off shore of the steamship Bohemian in which 40 passengers perished. Following this wreck, the tower was enhanced with interior brick lining, a spiral staircase and a cast-iron lantern room added. 

Very fortunate photographing this Light, very few visitors this day in the middle of May. It was a warm day, around 70 degrees, blue sky, with clouds, in mid-afternoon. Very accessible views all up and down the coastline at this Head with great views from almost every angle. I will post other views of this lighthouse in the days to come. Camera was a Nikon D800, shooting east with a 24mm lens, at 1/80s at f/16, ISO 100, no flash. 

(Capo Beach Photos) Casco George Washington Greenleaf Longfellow Maine Massachusetts The Lighhouse brick fresnel halfway headlight lantern ledge lighthouse portland rock rubblestone Wed, 17 Jun 2015 05:27:51 GMT
Pemaquid Reflections Pemaquid ReflectionsPemaquid Reflections Pemaquid Lighthouse, Maine

What do the native American Abanakis, the Vikings, shipwrecks, the War of 1812, ghostly images of a bride-to-be and the Maine quarter all have in common ? The Pemaquid Neck and the Pemaquid Lighthouse that's what.

Maine's most famous lighthouse marks the west entrance to Muscongus Bay in from the Atlantic, near the town of Bristol. This lighthouse is considered the flagship of the 60 currently active in the State. In 2003, Maine citizens voted to have Pemaquid Lighthouse represent the State on the backside of their quarter. The cliffs in front of the lighthouse from the ocean side are geologically unique and are well weathered from centuries of storm exposure. High tidepools offer plenty of opportunity for lighthouse reflections as you can see !

The word Pemaquid means "situated far out" in the Abanaki native language. While some excavation records show evidence (in the form of coins and jewelry) of settlements as early as 1000 A.D. by the Vikings, most authenicated historical accounts show Pemaquid to have had flourishing trade and fishing industries in the New World long before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620. 

Many shipwrecks have occurred at Pemaquid Point over the years, before and after the lighthouse was built. The first recorded shipwreck off Pemaquid Point was that of the 240-ton English galleon "Angel Gabriel" in 1635. Having sailed from Bristol England with passengers, crew, supplies and livestock for the New World settlements, it took two months for the ship to reach the Maine coast. While most of the crew were ashore during the first night for much deserved shore leave, the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 hit the area and the ship was dashed against the rocks. All cattle and horses were lost. Only two of the remaining crew aboard made it safely to land. There was one crew member whose journey on the ship was to be his last before returning to Maine and his bride-to-be. It is said her ghost haunts the lighthouse even today, while she awaits her finance'e to reach shore after the sinking. Visitors have reported seeing a momentary glimpse of a shadowy female form dressed in a white gown. Lights have turned on and off mysteriously in the tower at all hours of the night with no one present.

Even after the lighthouse was built there were devastating shipwrecks including the Edmunds (1903), Annie Collins (1891), Alice Higgins (1893), the Sadie / Lillie (1903) and the Willis Guy (1917). In 1813, during the War of 1812, the U.S. sailing warship Brig. "Enterprise" fought it out with the English warship "Boxer". Neither ship sank but both were heavily damaged with casualties on both vessels including both captains, all witnessed by Bristol inhabitants from shore.

Originally commissioned by our sixth U.S. President John Quincy Adams for $4,000 the Pemaquid Light started off atop the keeper's dwelling in 1827, at the SE point of the Pemaquid Neck (Maine term meaning a long finger of land). It had to be reconstructed as a new 30 foot whitewashed conical rubblestone tower in 1835 where it presently sits, overall some 79 feet above the water below. The original stone masons in 1827 used salt water as a mix with the lime mortar which caused the demise of the original structure. Extensively repaired again in 1857 from storms and exposure to the elements, its ten-sided iron lantern room was fitted with a 4th order Fresnel Lens and a new one and a half story keeper's dwelling. The original Fresnel lens still operates today and allows the beam of light to be seen some 14 miles out to sea. A fog-bell brick structure was added a few years later (seen in red brick in the photo above) and the bell had to be hand operated until an adjacent weight tower was added years later so the bell could activate mechanically.

In 1934, Pemaquid became Maine's first automated sentinel of the night along the Maine's rugged coastline. The fog-bell brick structure and weight tower had to be reconstructed after they were destroyed by hurricane Bob in 1991.

The most dangerous part of taking this photo was keeping an eye on the crashing waves behind me. It was a fairly calm day on the water as I was standing about ten feet from the water line but swell after swell threatened from behind. Photo was taken late in the afternoon with a Nikon D800, 24-70mm zoom lens set to 32mm, f/14 at 1/60s, matrix focusing at ISO 100. This photo is perhaps one of my most favorite of the recent trip to Maine.



(Capo Beach Photos) Atlantic bristol coastline construction faulty mortar fogbell lighthouse lime maine neck ocean pemaquid quarter reflection rocks storms tidepool tower vikings war of 1812 Thu, 04 Jun 2015 05:23:44 GMT
Abandoned and Abused It Stands Coquille River LighthouseCoquille River Lighthouse

The Abandoned Bandon Lighthouse -

Abuse is the first word that comes to mind looking at the Coquille River Lighthouse. Originally known as the Bandon Light and completed in 1896 with $50,000 in congressional appropriated funds, it has taken abuse from the weather - rain, snow, wind and the damaging sea salt air of the Pacific Ocean. It has withstood the abuse by vandals and just plain neglect by human hands. Abandoned as unsalvageable in 1939 because on a new automated beacon on the south jetty to the river, it still persists and refuses to go away, standing valiantly as guard over the entry to the Coquille River in Bandon Oregon. Though renovated in 1976 you would hardly know it looking at it today. When built it was desperately needed to help guide large ships past the treacherous sand bars at the mouth of the Coquille River. Ships were there to load prime timber from Oregon's forestlands. Built in the High Victorian Italiante style of architecture, octagonal in shape with a conical 40 foot high tower, it was originally equipped with a fourth-order Fresnel lens and a huge trumpet in the tower facing west, toward the Pacific, that blared out warning signals to approaching ships. The schooners Moro in 1896 and the Advance in 1897 both ran aground on the north jetty despite the lighthouse. It was reported by each captain that the trumpet sound confused them in navigating the river entrance. The trumpet was later replaced by a fog horn signal because the trumpet sound even irritated the town folk.

The town of Bandon was founded in 1873 by an Irish immigrant Lord George Bennett, who named the town after his hometown in Ireland. While establishing his newly founded town he introduced a plant indigenous to Ireland known as Gorse, also commonly referred to as Scotch Broom. This plant is especially oily and  easily fuels the spread of fire. In the late summer of 1936, a small patch of gorse caught fire several miles east of town and was spreading eastward away from town when the wind suddenly shifted. Within six short hours the entire town was engulfed in flames shooting 100 feet into the air. Scotch Broom had been planted everywhere in town, in between buildings and in front yards as well as backyards. Virtually the entire town burned to the ground that day including the log piled piers where ships were loading logs. Burning through acres of Scotch Broom, the fire was unstoppable said one town firefighter. "Dousing the flames with water was like pouring gasoline on the fire", he said. Ten town residents perished during the fire that day. Hundreds of people had gathered on the south jetty during the fire so as to be ferried over to the north side of the river where the lighthouse stood. The Bandon Lighthouse constructed of concrete, stone and stucco was a safe haven from the fire. It provided the town folk shelter in time of need. As you can see in this photo, Scotch Broom is still a common plant in and around Bandon.

(Capo Beach Photos) abandoned abused advance bandon broom conical coquille river fire fresnel gorse jetty lens lord george bennett moro neglected schooner scotch survival trumpet victorian Fri, 08 May 2015 20:03:00 GMT
Little Redfish Creek Bridge Redfish Creek BridgeRedfish Creek Bridge Little Redfish Creek Bridge


Located just off Redfish Lake Main Road near Stanley Idaho and constructed in early 2012 as a reroute of an existing trail head, this glu-lam wooden beam structure spans over Little Redfish Creek just below Little Redfish Lake. Being in the Sawtooth National Forest, construction was overseen by the USDA Forest Service, yet constructed by a private firm. Depending on the time of year, one can see Sockeye Salmon from this bridge returning upstream to spawn. Sockeye, also known as red salmon and blueback, have a vibrantly red color especially in spawning season. Redfish Lake gets its name from these red-colored sockeye salmon. Some sockeye have traveled 900 miles to return to spawn at this location, the farthest inland destination for red salmon in the U.S.. The sockeye Salmon population was terrible in the 1980's and into the early 1990's due to overfishing and environmental impacts, so much so that only one lone fish was counted in 1996 and that one fish became a legend known as Lonesome Larry. A local salmon hatchery along with other efforts have been instrumental in returning the salmon population.  Efforts to regain the salmon population have resulted in thousands returning to Redfish Lake in 2010.

The Sawtooth Mountains have been home to large glaciers in the past, some as recent as 1850. There are 57 mountain peaks over 10,000 foot elevation in this wilderness area, the highest of which are Thompson Peak at 10,751 feet and Mount Cramer at 10,716 feet. There are over 350 miles of wilderness trails throughout the Sawtooth National Wilderness Area. This bridge is the trailhead to about 12 high-elevation trails.

In 1983 there was an earthquake in the Sawtooth Mountain range that registered 6.9 on the Richter scale. Known as the Borah Earthquake, it sent huge house-size boulders into southern Redfish Lake that can still be seen at the lake bottom. In 2010, a 40 mile long easterly lying fault line was discovered running through Stanley Idaho and Redfish Lake. Scientists say this fault line is capable of producing a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

This photo is one of my most favorite. There is a rich natural magic here: the serenity of the total scenery showing the luscious greens, healthy pine trees standing tall with red-brown bark, a new seedling merging from the marshy creek bed, a fallen tree trunk lying in the creek with the weathered wood colors of the glu-lam beam bridge structure crossing over a deep-blue, slow moving creek full of salmon. 

Photo was taken in May 2013 with a full-frame Nikon D800 using a tripod, with 28-300mm telephoto at 28mm, f/13 at 1/50s exposure, matrix focusing, ISO 250. 




(Capo Beach Photos) boulders colors creek earthquakes fish little redfish creek magic mountains national forest service natural nature peaks red red salmon redfish salmon sawtooth sockeye spawning trails Thu, 23 Apr 2015 04:05:26 GMT
Surfin' USA Surfin Buddies SunsetSurfin Buddies Sunset Surfin' in the USA -

In March of 1963 the Beach Boys summertime hit "Surfin' USA" debuted and became # 2 on the Billboard Charts for that year. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys had composed the lyrics set to the Chuck Berry song "Sweet Little Sixteen". This may have been a result of his brother Dennis Wilson, founding drummer of The Beach Boys, suggesting to Brian and Mike Love in 1961 that surfing is becoming 'really big' and that they should write a song about it. Despite all of the surfing songs and mystique about those California girls, golden sand, beaches and ocean waves, Dennis was the only member of the original Beach Boys to regularly surf as part of his lifestyle. 

While at the beach in 1963 with his girlfriend's brother, Brian Wilson started humming to Berry's melody of Sweet Little 16 and thought what a kick it would be to compose lyrics that included some of the major southern California top surfing spots as his brother Dennis had suggested a couple of years earlier. He asked his girlfriend's brother Jimmy, to give him a list of some of those hot spots which turned out to be Del Mar, La Jolla and Trestles in San Diego County along with Doheny and Sunset beaches in Orange County. Some other spots also got included like Waimea in Hawaii and Narrabeen in Australia.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lists "Surfin' USA" by The Beach Boys as one of the 500 most influential songs in rock and roll history.

Whether you acknowledge the origin of surfing from the Samoan Islands, Peru or Hawaii, there is little doubt the sport has exploded into the modern day American sport scene. Whether you are a fan of "The Ambassador of Aloha" Duke Kahanamoku, Kelly Slater or Coco Ho, there is no doubt surfing has become and will remain for some time to come an integral part of the American lifestyle.

While walking The Strand Beach at sunset one evening in 2013 near where I live in Orange County, the most amazing sunset was developing. The sunset in this photo is untouched. This was the sunset. The photo was taken with a Nikon S8200 with auto flash from about 20 feet back of the surfer.  The surfer is unknown. The make of surfboard is unknown. What is known: God never fails to amaze with His Creation.

(Capo Beach Photos) God SoCal USA beach beach boys billboard brian wilson charts chuck berry clouds coco creation dennis wilson doheny drummer duke golden ho love narrabeen nikon rock n roll s8200 sand slater strand sunset surfing trestles waimea waves wilson Tue, 07 Apr 2015 04:57:13 GMT
The Lookout Cape Blanco SouthCape Blanco South

Cape Blanco Lookout

This is the view from the point at Cape Blanco Oregon looking south. It was named so by spanish explorer Martin de Aguilar in 1603 for the somewhat white cliffs. In the near distance is Needle Rock and in the far distance is Humbug Mountain. To the right (and out of this photo) are the Blanco reefs. This day was a mild blustery day. However, this headland is extremely windy during the winter months with speeds consistently registering 100+ mph. Behind me in this photo is the Cape Blanco Lighthouse currently maintained and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Coast Guard Station Port Orford is less than 6 miles away to the north, as the crow flies.

Geologically, the area consists of marine sediment and the flat ground where I stood for this photo is about 250 feet above sea level. It is estimated by the US Geological Survey (USGS) that this headland is rising about 1" per year due to the ocean plates pressing under the coastline of Oregon.

During WW II this headland point played a pivotal role in the only Japanese bombing of the U.S. mainland during the war. Seaman Second-Class Ezra Ross, from the Port Orford Coast Guard Station, happened to be here manning the lighthouse station when in the early morning daylight hours of September 9, 1942 he spotted a small two-seat reconnaissance float plane, known to the Allies as "Glen", launched from a surfaced Japanese Imperial Navy B1-Type class submarine. The submarine was the I-25, commissioned from Japan on 21 November 1941 and had participated in the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Here off the coast of Oregon, the float plane flew from the submarine with two incendiary bombs, and using the Cape Blanco Lightouse as a reference point, dropped these bombs on the forestlands of southern Oregon near Brookings in an attempt to start uncontrollable wild fires. Fortunately, it had been a very wet season with low winds and the fires were quickly brought under control. The attack was known as "The Lookout Air Raid". A U.S. Army A-29 Hudson had been dispatched from McChord near Tacoma, Washington with 300 pound general demolition bombs but was unsuccessful in destroying the submarine that day. The I-25 was sunk off the New Hebrides Islands on 25 August 1943 by the destroyer USS Patterson with its entire crew lost at sea.

This photo was taken with a Nikon D800 with tripod, 26mm lens set at f/20 aperture and shutter speed 1/40s with +0.3EV exposure compensation, vivid color exposure setting, and ISO 125.




(Capo Beach Photos) A-29 Hudson Martin De Aguilar attack brookings cape blanco cliffs coast guard explorer forest fires by bombing glen headlands japanese lighthouse lookout air raid mcchord ocean oregon pearl harbor port orford submarine submarines usgs white Mon, 23 Mar 2015 04:54:41 GMT
Montage Sunset Montage SunsetMontage Sunset Montage Sunset

Located on 30 acres just south of downtown Laguna Beach, The Montage Beach Resort lies between the Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean. With 250 luxury rooms and an exterior built in the Craftsman architectural style, the views of the ocean, especially at sunset, are suberb. Exotically landscaped walkways, make strolling the views over the Pacific inviting all year round. Light marine layers advancing in from the ocean can make sunsets colorful and unique. This sunset photo was taken over the resort's north lawn area looking west toward Catalina Island.

The photo was taken about 15 minutes after sunset with a Nikon D7000, 10-24mm lens set at 14mm, f/9, 2 second exposure, no tripod (but resting the camera on a bench), no flash.

(Capo Beach Photos) Laguna Beach color marine layer montage resort pacific coast highway pacific ocean palms sky sunset walkways Mon, 09 Mar 2015 03:56:42 GMT
Mountain Barn Mountain BarnMountain Barn

Alpine Mountain Barn -

This mountain sheepherder's barn sits just off Highway 63 in central Norway. This highway is very popular with tourists in the summertime due to its access route to Trollstigen, and the "Trolls Ladder", a scenic mountain pass viewpoint overlooking the Isterdalen Valley. This is the location where CBS News 60 Minutes did a documentary several years ago featuring Birdmen who "flew" down mountain side cliffs while wearing flying squirrel suits. See the blog link from April 2014 for a video of these flying Birdmen. It should be pointed out that several of the Birdmen shown in that video have since perished in tragic "flying" accidents.

These barns and other sheds are used by sheepherders during the summer months to store supplies and tools necessary for herding of their mountain flocks of sheep and goats. Flocks are led to the mountains to graze freely for the summer months. In the older traditional days of sheep herding there were many varying breeds of sheep. These breeds had learned to naturally protect themselves from predators by forming rings of protection, similar to what wagon trains used to do in the American west. Today, dogs are also used to herd the sheep to and from grazing pastures. These barns look very humbling when dwarfed by the Norwegian granite cliffs and mountains towering some 5000 feet above sea level. The rust stains of the metal roofs are a stark contrast to the lavishly green meadows, birch and aspens of these mountain pastures. Traditionally, foundations of these sheds were merely stacked stones gathered from where they could be found. Wood siding was usually rough sawn timber from local tree stands at lower elevations and left to weather. In the winter months, these sheds and barns are nearly covered in snow and ice. In this area of Highway 63, average snowfall amounts to about 5 meters or roughly 16 feet.

(Capo Beach Photos) flocks goats granite mountains norway sheep siding stone tourists trollstigen Mon, 23 Feb 2015 04:35:43 GMT
Horseshoe Bend

The  Horseshoe

On the Colorado River near Page Arizona lies Horseshoe Bend. A natural meander in the Colorado River located about 5 miles downstream from Lake Powell, it is accessible by way of a 3/4 mile trip by foot from the parking lot just off U.S. Highway 89 south of Page. This spot is one of the most popular photographic destinations in Arizona.

The time of year was late fall, the river level lower than normal, exposing more shoreline than normal. We arrived late in the day as the sun was about to set. Camera gear and tripod in hand, and at a gallop, this photographer ran from the parking lot to a spot at cliff's edge, some 300 meters or roughly 1000 feet above the Colorado River in order to shoot the final light of the day. There were no railings and very few warning signs to speak of. It amazed both my wife and I how seemingly casual parents were about their kids playing along the cliff edge. Kids appeared unconcerned about the steep drop to the river below. One false step would have been tragic, but sure-footedness simply meant more fun and frolic in toying with danger. There is literally a mile or so of cliff edge circling the horseshoe shape available for sightseers and photographers, so no one is struggling for viewing space. I chose a straight-on view aligned with the plateau across on the west side of the river. If you look very closely at the center of the river bed below, you can see campers with their pontoon boat anchored and tents pitched on the shoreline.

With my tripod setup just inches from the edge and shooting into the setting sun, shot after shot revealed the need for multiple exposures to ensure proper lighting of the River, river bed, surrounding cliffs as well as the sky. The colors were rich, temperatures mild and the view absolutely outstanding. This was shot with a Nikon D800, using a 16mm lens in order to capture the entire panorama, composite of multiple exposures at f/18 from 6 seconds to 1/8 second, ISO 100 and matrix metering. We returned again the following morning to shoot more images but the photos at dusk are my favorite.


(Capo Beach Photos) arizona bend cliffs colorado dangerous horseshoe lake powell page river thousand feet viewpoint Sun, 08 Feb 2015 05:03:25 GMT


Americana in its rawest form. That is what I thought when I first saw this 1920's style Filling Station/Cafe located in Kent Oregon, along US Highway 97 some 100 miles north of Bend and about 40 miles south of the Columbia River which divides Washington and Oregon. While the building has long since been abandoned, what intrigued me most were the gas pumps. The pumps have been hand painted over several times in an assortment of colors, hiding the once colorful corporate pride of the Phillips 66 gasoline brand. There are only three digits for displaying the price, one of which was for the antiquated 9/10th of a cent. These pumps still had the price of 66 9/10 cents. The gasoline brand logos have almost all faded or been scratched off. Remnants of any affiliation with corporate America have all but disappeared. One small sticker on the bottom left hand reverse side of these pumps still says Phillips 66. Octane ratings read 100. That was equivalent to the aviation fuel used in the crop duster planes back in the day.

This part of Oregon is heavily agricultural and this area in particular was dedicated to raising hops. Hops are primarily used as a stability and flavoring agent in beer. Hops have been a vital crop in this central Oregon prairie town since the 1940's. The down-home country style design of the building is reminescent of the gasoline station/cafes of the 1920's and 30's, but I suspect this building was built in the 1940's. The cafe even advertised to the crop dusting pilots overhead with a sign that has long since weathered away. Painted in white on the shingled gable roof read the words: EAT. High atop the front roof of this commercial venture is a plastic Orange Crush soda pop sign. The only sign of any meaning that still remains. Owned and worked by a husband and wife for many years, when the business started to fail the husband hired on to work in the hops field to make ends meet while the wife remained at the cafe. This rest stop oasis along this lonely stretch of the Sherman Highway finally closed when the wife fell ill and found herself unable to keep up the cafe or pump the gas. The husband found himself tending to his wife's health and lost interest in keeping the business open. Closed.

The photo was taken with a Nikon D800 in the late afternoon on Christmas Day. A photograph taken with both low setting sun and deep dark shadows is a challenge. A dozen or so shots were taken in order to comprise this one image; Nikkor 24mm-70mm zoom lens with focal length set to 24mm lens, aperture at f/13, 1/60 second shutter speed, ISO 100 with matrix metering.

(Capo Beach Photos) 66 cafe cents closed.abandoned columbia dust cropper eat gasoline highway 97 hops kent orange crush oregon phillips prairie pump washington Tue, 27 Jan 2015 06:29:52 GMT
Closer to Hawaii Point ArenaPoint Arena

Point Arena Lighthouse

Located about 130 miles north of San Francisco in Mendocino County is Point Arena, California. The 115-foot tall lighthouse tower currently standing here dates from 1908. The original lighthouse built of brick and mortar at this location was destroyed in 1906 along with the earthquake that devastated San Francisco. The tower that exists today was built by a smoke stack construction company that constructed it of concrete and reinforcing steel to withstand earthquakes, the first constructed like this on the west coast. Due to the high cost of construction at the time, much of the work had to be done by the lightkeepers and their families. The sandbar on which the lighthouse is built extends about 1/2 mile out into the Pacific Ocean from the mainland and is the closet point on the west coast to Hawaii. A fog horn signal originally accompanied the lighthouse to aid in navigation.

The original first order Fresnel lens produced a light that could be seen 19 miles out to sea, was made in France and consisted of 666 hand ground glass prisms weighing 12,000 lbs. This optic lens was supported by a solid brass framework which as a total assembly was valued at $3.5 million in 1908. The lens turned by way of a clockwork mechanism suspended in the center height of the tower that had to be hand cranked to the top of the tower every 75 minutes by the "wickies", or keepers. The light was produced by a "Funks" hydraulic oil lamp and required refueling every four hours.

It is recorded that in the waning days of WWII, the Japanese had plans to invade the US mainland and one of the key locations for this invasion was Point Arena. The Owens family that were the keepers at the lighthouse from 1932 to 1952 found rice bowls, plasma bags and Japanaese sandals strewn on the beach for several hundred yards shortly after the end of the war.

Three movies have been filmed at the lighthouse - the movie Treasure in 1982, the Mel Gibson 1992 movie Forever Young and the 2014 movie Need For Speed.




(Capo Beach Photos) Japanese arena clockwork mechanism concrete earthquake fresnel invasion lens lighthouse lightkeepers point wickies Mon, 19 Jan 2015 04:51:20 GMT
The Fastest Route Boats, Boats, Boats

Simple Norwegian BoatSimple Norwegian Boat Today, Norway has the largest government pension fund in the world. Period. This the result of oil revenue from the discoveries off shore in the 1960's. Norwegians have wisely voted to put away this money for the future in the form of a pension fund.

But it was not always so for typical Norwegians. In fact, at one time Norway was considered among the poorest "developed" nations in the world. Their economy of the past was largely agrarian for their own survival. At the turn of the century, Norway had not much else for transportation than livestock, bicycles, a few motorized cycles and boats. And if you had a sea-worthy vessel, even a simple one, you were considered pretty well off. That was obviously since the majority of the population made their living working on or near the sea. Access to the north and to offshore islands was only by boat. Boats of all sizes made up Norway's past traditions. From rowboats, speedboats, sailboats, ferry boats to larger fishing vessels. Transportation from one side of the fjord to the other was by way of the boat. As a child traveling Norway with my parents I recall ferry boat after ferry boat ride in order to travel along the coastline north from Oslo to my parents home town of Molde. On some trips we would travel inland by way of train instead. These days, the government has invested significantly in transportation infrastructure investing rather in roads and tunnels, not only through granite mountaintops but also under the fjords. Some of the world's longest tunnels are found in Norway. But I digress. . .

This photo of a rowboat in Kristiansund Harbor appealed to me because it not only reflected similar colors to the Norwegian national flag of red, white and blue but also had a hint of a contemporary lime green. It was dusk when I shot this but there was still enough light to capture it without artificial light. The boat is reminiscent of the toil of a typical maritime Norwegian who perhaps relied solely on the fortunes of his boat and the sea for his livelihood.

Photo taken with a Nikon D800, 28-70mm lens at 35mm, set at f/10 (in order to get enough depth of field) and at 1/15th shutter speed with no flash, ISO 250.


(Capo Beach Photos) D800 Norway agrarian blue boats colors country developed ferryboats fishing flag funds livelihood maritime money mountains nikon offshore oil pension red rowboats sailboats sea tradition tunnels water white Mon, 08 Dec 2014 04:26:09 GMT
Norwegian Riviera South CoastSouth Coast

The South Land

While Risør is not Marseilles, France nor La Spezia, Italy it is in fact a vacation mecca for Norwegians and tourists alike in summer time. The south coast of Norway (referred to as Sørlandet, meaning the regional south land) in the months of June through August is as pleasantly warm and active as any summer vacation destination could be. The seaside southern coast town of Risør is a dry and subtropical climate during summer in Norway. Rain is virtually non-existant during those months and temperatures invite water based activities such as powerboating, sailing, jet skiing, wooden boat festivals along with art and music festivals. In mid-July the only bluegrass music festival in Norway is hosted here. During these summer months the population swells to 20,000 from the year round population of 6,800. The main harbor at Risør is so busy with tourists that boats are forced to anchor offshore or find alternate mooring locations. The town is the fourth largest shipbuilding harbor in Norway including wooden boats, sailboats and commercial vessels of all tonnage. This photo looks down (from a viewpoint above the harbor) on a row of non-powered sailboats moored to the east of the main harbor.

(Capo Beach Photos) Risor blue boats harbor mecca norway riviera sailboats shipbuilding southland summertime tourists viewpoint water Mon, 01 Dec 2014 05:32:07 GMT
Hey Look at Me ! Pride Of Madeira SunsetPride Of Madeira Sunset Grandstanding

Every spring thousands of Pride of Madeira flowery plumes rise from the ashes of winter along the southern coast of California, especially at The Montage Resort in south Laguna Beach.

Native to Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean about 250 miles north of the Canary Islands, this plant is considered an invasive species in the State of California and is actively removed from native plant gardens in California State coastal parks. It is popular however as an ornamental plant in private gardens and coastal plantings all along the coast. It is drought tolerant and is much visited by bees and butterflies for its nectar.

This sunset, as spectacular as it is, takes second place in backdrop to the grandstanding of these Pride of Madeira plantings. To the left of the setting sun in the distant background is Catalina Island.

(Capo Beach Photos) archipelago blue california laguna madeira montage native plantings plumes portugal resort state sunset Mon, 17 Nov 2014 05:35:13 GMT
Under the Boardwalk Under Pier SunsetUnder Pier Sunset Sunset under the San Clemente Pier 

Whenever I visit San Clemente State Beach and pier, I always hangout for a while under the pier. The pier is constantly bustling with tourists and sightseers watching surfers and sunsets while the locals just fish.

Under the pier I am right down at sea level, watching the waves crash to shore yet covered overhead by the boardwalk. It's peaceful under the pier. Surfers ride the waves along both sides of the pier coming dangerously close to the pilings that are encrusted with kelp, barnacles, shells and even an occasional crab. Under the pier at low tide is where the wet sand shimmers from the sunsets that cast long dark silhouettes of the pilings over the rippling sand. It is where the seagulls come to rest. During sunsets, like this one, the sunlit waves crash to shore while holding on to every last second of glimmering color from the setting sun. On the boardwalk above, tourists crowd together pointing their cameras at the amazing sunset. While under the pier I hear people talking, walking and running above me, catching only a shadow of their movements through the cracks in the planks above.  

I love sunsets. . . especially from under the pier.

(Capo Beach Photos) blue california sunset fishing glimmering orange pier pilings red san clemente shells sunset surfers tourists Mon, 10 Nov 2014 04:38:49 GMT
Goff Island Sunset Sunset BeachSunset Beach Goff Island Sunset

Goff Island defines the edge of Goff Cove below the south Laguna Beach Montage Resort and has more commonly been called Treasure Island. Named after an early Laguna Beach settler, this small but very identifiable land projection into the Pacific Ocean is best known for the location filming of the 1934 movie "Treasure Island" with Jackie Cooper, Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore.

This sunset photo was taken standing on the west beach looking south along the beach bulkhead.

The deep rich sunset cast a reddish orange glow on the island, sand beach and rocks.

Taken on a July evening with a Nikon D8200 Coolpix camera, 35 mm, set at shutter speed 1/200, f/3.3, +1/3EV with compulsory flash and an ISO of 100.


(Capo Beach Photos) beach goff island ocean pacific sand sunset Mon, 03 Nov 2014 05:12:58 GMT
Ol' Man In The Cliff Ol Man In CliffOl Man In Cliff Ol' Man Sunset

With sunsets being one of my favorite genres, how fitting that I start with this one, an image I call The Ol' Man in the Cliff. Over the next few weeks I will feature some of my favorite sunsets. Some beg a story be told, while others simply the beauty of the setting sun will be enough.

This image was taken on the beach at The Montage Resort in south Laguna Beach, California. 

What first captured my attention when I took the photo were simply two young people standing on the rocks in the distance enjoying the sunset setting out over the Pacific Ocean. It wasn't until I downloaded the image and took a closer look at the silhouette of the sand cliff to the right that I saw the old man in the cliff. Like a prehistoric troglodyte was this old man in the cliff standing guard over his portion of beach assigned to him. Or perhaps as a sagacious watchman was he with the awesome responsibility of making sure all is as it should be over this stretch of the southern California coastline. Regardless of how your imagination may work with this image, it is quite an enchanting silhouette.

Taken in the early summer of 2013 with a Nikon D7000, 28mm lens with a shutter speed of 1/800,aperture set at f/11, ISO 200, no flash and adjusted -1/3EV for exposure compensation due to the bright sun.


(Capo Beach Photos) beach blue california montage old man rocks sagacious silhouette sun sunset troglodyte yellow Mon, 27 Oct 2014 04:51:02 GMT
Moonlight Harbor Stavern Beach At DuskStavern Beach At Dusk

Stavern Harbor -

Nestled securely in from the storms of the North Sea, Stavern Harbor is a national maritime attraction that invites Norwegians and tourists alike to participate in rest and relaxation, especially during the summer months. Situated along the southern coast of Norway, the town lies nearby to Fredriksvern, Norway's first and foremost naval base built in 1620 with a shipyard, a military academy and The Citadel, an outlook fort structure on a small strategic island at the mouth of the harbor. The majority of this historic site is now home to a plethora of artist's studios, cultural museums, a grass concert venue and a harbor for fishing and pleasure boaters. The town has several lagoons that invite boaters and just maritime enthusiasts to rest and relax. The photo above is one such lagoon. The buildings to the right, behind the the trees and highlighted in the setting sunset were once the naval base's shipyard dry docks but now are home to artist studios.

With the moon rising and glimmering across the glassy water of the lagoon, everything about this town calls for relaxing and enjoying the setting. Despite the hot bed of summertime activity, this serene, little southland town in Norway is one of my favorite destinations.

Photo was taken on a July evening in 2013 with a Nikon D800, 21mm lens, 1/20th shutter speed at f/11 ( handheld but steadied on a nearby lamp post ), ISO 1600, with no flash.


(Capo Beach Photos) artists fredriksvern maritime nationals norway south coast stavern studios summertime sørlandet tourists Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:21:03 GMT
Alnes AlnesAlnes


On the island of Godøya, in the muncipality of Giske in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway, lies the romantically quiet township of Alnes. Established sometime around the 13th century, the town had a population of a mere 203 in 2013 but was once a fishing village thriving on the fish rich sea banks of western Norway on the Atlantic Ocean. A stone church located on an nearby island in Giske has been dated to the year 1207 A.D.

Alnes is reached through a  1.5 kilometer long tunnel located under a 1500 ft. high granite mountain that is in essence the island of Godøya. The town lies on a flat land mass projecting westward toward the Atlantic from the base of the mountain. At the western most point of this flat land portion sits the Alnes Lighthouse, built in 1852. 

This photo was taken standing on the rock breakwater of Alnes harbor which protects fishing boats and private vessels from the winter storms raging in from the Atlantic. Looking east from this breakwater toward the base of the granite mountain, these boat houses lie along the shoreline adjacent to the county road and also serve as vacation rentals. The remainder of the township is to my back in this photo. As is often the case along western Norway, even in the summer, a drizzly fog loomed all around me. Despite the gray overcast, the colorful new boathouses of red, yellow and white stood out as a reminder that Norwegians still find this quiet, almost inaccessible, little town a desirable place to live and vacation.


(Capo Beach Photos) Alnes Norway atlantic fishing granite green harbor mountain ocean rentals romance tunnel vacation Mon, 13 Oct 2014 04:59:42 GMT
Quakies Bryce Aspen GroveBryce Aspen Grove Trembling  Aspens

Scattered throughout Bryce Canyon National Park are groves of quaking aspens also known as Trembling Aspens. While they look very similar to birch trees they are an entirely different species of tree. While their bark does resemble the birch it does not peel and has black scars. Their lower branches are self-pruning. Their heart shaped, flat saw-toothed leaves with long stems flutter with the slightest of breezes giving the appearance of quaking or trembling. With the spring comes a glossy green leave while in the fall leaves turn yellow, gold and even red. This is a hardy species that can grow in temperatures as low as minus 78 degrees and as high as 115. They have been known to grow near intermittent springs in desert environments with as little as 7 inches of rainfall per year and at snowy elevations exceeding 10,000 feet. 

Aspens are not individual stand alone trees but rather spring up from an underground root system referred to as clones. When you see a grove of quaking aspen trees they are merely an above ground symbol of the massive clone root system growing underground. Trees from the same clone are remarkably the same in that the leaves turn colors at the same time and with the same coloring. Like a family, what affects one tree affects the entire clone grove. Their root system can spread as large as 20 plus acres. Underground, the root system is protected from fire, temperature, most diseases, and from humans. Construction excavations have tried to kill groves of quaking aspens with little or no success. The trees eventually reoccur somewhere else along the root system.

North of Bryce Canyon National Park at Fishlake National Forest is one of the oldest known aspen clone groves in the world, called Pando. This aspen clone grove is estimated to be nearly 80,000 years old. Quaking aspen groves are abundant in Canada as well.

This photo was taken in October 2012 at an elevation of 8800 feet at Bryce Canyon National Park looking east at Agua Canyon viewpoint with a Nikon D800, 16mm lens, 1/20th shutter at f/8 with an ISO of 800 and a flash.

(Capo Beach Photos) agua canyon aspens birch bryce clone colors desert fall grove moonrise national park quaking snow trees white tree Mon, 06 Oct 2014 04:38:43 GMT
Surfer's Line Up Surfers SunsetSurfers Sunset

Surfer's Delight

A common occurrence in southern California especially in the summer months is to see surfer's in the water in a line-up at sunset waiting for that last big wave to make themselves feel golden about the day spent surfing. Or just catchin' that last one before calling it quits for the night. This was taken around 9:00pm on a late July evening at Salt Creek State Beach and looking west toward Catalina Island. Patience is certainly key when surfing, waiting for the next set of swells to make the day worth while. Even if you've just caught a choka (awesome) wave, the next one will always be better ! Sometimes there may be periods of dead calm before a new set of waves. In this photo, these six surfer's in particular are waiting for that next perfect wave at the end of the day. It's out there somewhere. . . . 

This photo is unusual for my website in that it is the only photo taken with my Apple iPhone 4S, 35mm equivalent focal length, shutter speed of 1/420 with f/2.4 aperture, ISO 64 and no flash.

(Capo Beach Photos) Catalina golden line up salt creek state beach sea sunset surfing Mon, 29 Sep 2014 04:17:06 GMT
Little Stack of Bricks Old Loma LanternOld Loma Lantern Little Stack of Bricks

The Old Point Loma lighthouse known as light number 355 of the 12th U. S. Lighthouse District, failed to be initially completed with construction funds appropriated by Congress in the year 1854. Funds totaling $90,000 were used to build eight lighthouses up and down the west coast of the United States due to expanding trade and shipping along the west coast. The California Gold Rush of 1849 had a major impact on west coast shipping. Point Loma was the last of the first eight to be constructed on the west coast but funds ran short in the final months of construction. It sat unfinished and without a lantern, lens or lightkeeper for over a year, high atop the west hill across from San Diego Bay, today known as Cabrillo National Monument. An editorial in the San Diego Herald in 1855 called the unfinished lighthouse a "little stack of bricks" on the hill. After having additional funds granted by Congress, it was first lit and became operational at sunset on November 15, 1855. The lantern and lens had been shipped to the site from Paris.

The lantern room shown in this photo originally had a third order Fresnel lens showing as a fixed constant yellow light. Whale oil produced a yellow light compared to the later electric lights that were a pure white light. The lens was later changed out for a revolving one with alternate red and white lights. At the time it was built, the lantern room was the highest placed navigational light source serving as a lighthouse in the continental U.S. at a record 462 feet above sea level. This fact however also became its downfall in that the lighthouse was placed so high on top of the hill that eventually in March of 1891 it was closed in favor of the new lighthouse built at sea level below the high hill. The old lighthouse was so shrouded in fog and thick marine layer clouds most of the time that it was of little use as a consistent, reliable aid to navigation. During its 36 years in operational existence however it shown some 31 miles out to sea due to its height on the hill while standard lighthouses were limited to 19 miles out due to the curvature of the earth.

Photo of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse lantern room taken with a Nikon S8200, shutter released at 1/400, aperture f/3.2 with a 24mm lens, ISO 100, with scattered pattern flash.

(Capo Beach Photos) cabrillo california gold rush fog fresnel lantern lens light lighthouse lightkeeper marine oil old point loma san diego shipping whale yellow Mon, 22 Sep 2014 05:02:24 GMT
Heavy Rocks Pismo Beach PierPismo Beach Pier Pismo Beach Pier

In 1881, the original Pismo Beach Pier opened for business. But not tourist business, commercial business. The Meherin Brothers and the nearby Arroyo Grande merchants were credited for starting this venture of a commercial pier intended to save the county residents and merchants thousands of dollars each year from the fees the large steamer line charged. Built for a cost of $14,613 as a result of selling $20 per share stock to local farmers and merchants, the pier quickly gained favor. By the end of 1882, with over 38 ships loaded and unloaded on the pier,  county residents had saved over $35,000 in fees the first year alone. In 1892 however, a heavy load of bituminous rock waiting on the pier to be shipped to San Francisco for use in paving projects caused the wharf to collapse during an ocean storm. Finally in 1924 a new pier was built that extended 1,700 feet out to sea, enabling deep hulled Navy ships to unload personnel and load cargo. Another storm in the early 1930's destroyed about 500 feet off the west end of the pier and that portion was never repaired. The year 1983 brought another storm that would destruct so much of the pier that it needed major restoration in 1985-1986 at a cost of over $1,000,000. This is the pier that exists today, some 1,370 feet long and constructed using a combination of steel and wood pilings. It is built over one of the finest sand beaches in California. Digging for the Pismo clam is popular here though the clams have drastically decreased over the years due to over use.

Today, the pier is used by many local recreational fisherman. In this sunset photo taken June  2012, several cantilevered fishing decks are shown. Popular fish species caught here include the snapper, bocaccio, croaker, calico surfperch, rubberlip seaperch, blackperch, sandsole, mackerel and halibut. 

Photo taken with a Nikon D7000, 24-75mm lens set at 24mm, 1/100th at f11 with ISO 200.



(Capo Beach Photos) D7000 california clams fishing navy nikon paving pismo pier rocks san san francisco ships steel pilings storms sunset wharf wood pilings Mon, 15 Sep 2014 04:46:46 GMT
Run For Your Lives ! Alesund Canal BridgeAlesund Canal Bridge Red Hot Flames

The fire started when everyone was sleeping. And of course they would be at 2:15AM. It was a blustery cold winter's night on 23 January 1904, and what started as a small fire from an overturned kerosene lantern at a margarine factory west of town would become a life changing fire for the inhabitants of the western Norwegian town of Ålesund. The town had only minutes to escape with their lives.

The small town fire department was grossly unprepared for what was to come. The first alarm came from a manual fire pull station west of town and confirmed by the fire station's fire watch tower. Two horse drawn fire trucks were first dispatched but they were quickly overwhelmed. The glow from the fire was so bright and the smoke so thick, the horses had to be blind-folded in order to lead them toward the fire. The fire chief had to make split second decisions as to where to fight the blaze with his limited resources as the fire grew and the 50 mph winds fanned the flames and spread embers like a game of leap frog. In just 30 minutes the fire spread over 1 mile eastward skimming across the roofs of the wood framed structures in the town center, jumped over the town's Brosund or open water canal, about 1600 feet wide, and burned the town center to the ground. The town's only fire boat, a steam-driven vessel, tried desperately to suppress the flames that had engulfed the harbor structures. It was a losing battle. The town's water supply was unable to maintain the demand put on it by the multiple fire trucks. Before long, the water pressure was so low the stream from the fire nozzles could only reach to the bottom of the second floor of most houses. By the end of it all, 16 hours later, only 250 buildings of any type remained while 850 buildings were totally burned to the ground. Over 10,000 people were left homeless that night in the cold of winter. A 76 year-old woman died in the fire when she re-entered her house to retrieve her handbag.

Rebuilding began in earnest in the fall of 1904 and by autumn of 1907, the rebuilding was virtually complete. Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II was instrumental in this effort. The Kaiser had a very fond connection with western Norway and especially the town of Ålesund since he vacationed here often on his imperial yacht. It is recorded that before the last embers extinguished he had sent four warships loaded with materials, supplies, and personnel, enough to build temporary barracks housing for the homeless and providing food and medical help. His monetary assistance at the time helped rebuild this devastated township. The burned out wooden structures were replaced with stone ones. Along with this came architects, engineers, carpenters, stone masons and other craftsmen. Some 30 young Norwegian architects trained in Trondheim and some educated in Berlin, were eager to build structures in the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) style architecture of the day. This style included gargoyle decorations, turrets, spirals, high pitched facades with arched windows and colonnades with metal and tiled roofs. Foreign aid came also from Sweden, Denmark, France and England. The Jugendstil style remains prevalent throughout the town center today, so much so that the town center appears like a classroom for the Art Nouveau style of architecture. In a national newspaper poll in 2012, Norwegians themselves voted Ålesund the most picturesque town in Norway. 

(Capo Beach Photos) 1904 architects art nouveau cold engineers fire germany horses jugendstil kaiser masons norway spirals steam fireboat stone tile turrets wilhelm wind winter ålesund Sun, 07 Sep 2014 23:37:41 GMT
Wheel of Fortune Wheel Of FortuneWheel Of Fortune Night  Sky  Ferris  Wheel


Ferris wheels as Americans have come to know them were made popular by an American bridge builder by the name of George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.  when he built a 264 foot tall rotating wheel as a landmark for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. After the Fair, despite having found favor among Chicago residents who quickly dubbed it the Chicago Wheel, it was dismantled and later re-erected at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

The world's tallest Ferris wheel at present is the 550 feet tall High Roller located in Las Vegas Nevada. Several others are in the planning stages or soon to be completed including the Dubai Eye at 689 feet tall scheduled for spring 2015.

Early versions of the giant wheel can be traced to several areas around the world including Italy, Romania, Turkey and Siberia. Early versions were made of only wood timbers and wood pegs but later combined wood and metal. Some were nothing more than experiments in disaster when either the support rings or chains securing the "cages" broke due to poor craftsmanship or being overloaded with occupants. 

The first recorded giant wheel in the U.S. was built by Antonio Manguino in 1848 at his start-up fair in Walton, Georgia.

In 1892 three giant Roundabout wheels were erected by William Somers, one in Asbury Park, N.J, one in Atlantic city, N.J. and the third at Coney Island, NY. In 1893, Somers was granted a patent for his "Roundabout Wheel". After George Washington Gale Ferris rode Somer's Roundabout at Coney Island, he was so enthralled by it and being a bridge builder himself, he built the one for the Chicago World's Fair which was the tallest at the time. Somers filed lawsuit against Ferris but was unsuccessful since the parts and pieces for the "Ferris" wheel were different than for Somer's "Roundabout" wheel.

Built at the Irvine Spectrum Center in southern California, this 28-car 108-foot tall Giant Wheel shown here in the night sky, was crafted and fabricated in Italy. It is just one of several attractions at this shopping center which also includes a carousel fabricated in San Francisco. The Spectrum Center itself was modeled after the famous Alhambra fortress and palace in Granda Spain. The photo was taken with a Nikon D800, 16mm lens set to F/20 and exposed for 2.5 seconds at ISO 800.


(Capo Beach Photos) George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. dubai ferris wheel giant wheel historic irvine italy night somers spectrum steel tallest Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:59:53 GMT
Medieval Trade Bryggen Street ViewBryggen Street View Bryggen

You might think these buildings along the wharfside of Bergen Norway look like just a bunch of old wooden buildings. You are actually correct. But how old ? Try almost 1,000 years old. These wooden structures date back to 1020 A.D., just 50 years before Bergen was incorporated as a city. Norway's capital was located in Bergen from the late 1100's until 1299. These old wharfside buildings are the remnants of what early merchants built in Bergen to do their business with oversea traders. It was an ice free harbor in from the harsh North Sea and was a free port for northern Norwegian traders to bring their goods. The majority of foreign traders were Germanic and by the early 1300's these buildings were taken over by the northern Germanic Hanseatic League. Trading included fish, both dried and fresh, textiles, foodstuffs, silver and leather goods. In Norwegian, the word "Bryggen" means the landing stage or wharf. It is also known as "Tyskebryggen" or the German wharf. The Norwegian dialect in this area has a very distinct hard sounding Germanic vernacular. Most of these structures and foundations remain from those early trading days though many have needed new roofs, siding and other replacement from weather and fires over the years. Recent excavations of one buildings foundations have revealed tools and utensils from the early trading days. Though the buildings lean, tilt, are twisted and look very rickety, they continue to be used by retail trading merchants. It is recorded that in the year 1349 AD the Black Death, that wiped out more than half the population of Norway, was inadvertantly brought to Bergen by an English trading ship. German influence can also be seen by the shape of the copper steeples on the buildings to the right hand side of the photo.

Despite having visited Bergen many times over the years, I have always found it difficult to photograph Bryggen without people  present, due to the fact it is one of Norway's most visited tourist attractions. Bryggen is on the UNESCO list as a World Cultural Heritage site. Not far down the road from this photo is the city's fish market that serves thousands of shoppers each day of the week.

(Capo Beach Photos) UNESCO bergen black death bryggen capital city germanic hanseatic league medieval norway tourists trading wharf Mon, 25 Aug 2014 03:51:24 GMT
Mystery Caldera Crater Lake DuskCrater Lake Dusk

The Mysteries of Crater Lake

At a depth of 1,943 feet and covering 12 square miles, Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest freshwater lake in the U. S. The Lake is the result of a collapsed volcano known as Mount Mazama. After the central spine of magma of the mountain was exhausted, the peak fell in on itself leaving a giant bowl of ash and stone called a caldera which now holds the deep blue colored majestic Crater Lake. The peak of the previous mountain is now exposed in the lake and is called Wizard Island, shown to the left hand side of this photo. Located in the Cascade mountain range of southern Oregon, local Indian tribes, including the Modoc tribe, have long thought of the lake as bottomless and where dark spirits dwell. Their strict taboos have permanently labelled this lake as the "Lake of the Lost". According to the Klamath Indians, looking into the depths of the deep blue colored lake will bring death and lasting sorrow. Local Indians would never face directly toward the lake but placed their backs to the Lake while hunting.

Crater Lake holds many mysteries and strange occurrences. Over the years many planes have disappeared into the Lake including military training aircraft from what was once a nearby Army air base. No human remains have ever been recovered from any of those crashes. Since 1926 alone, thirteen deaths have been directly attributed to the geography of the Crater Lake area. Three were photographers who got too close to the steep cliffs and fell all the way down to the Lake surface, nearly 2000 feet in many places.

Another tale is of a young photographer who was to take a week photographing the Lake and the heavily wooded surrounding slopes. After two weeks an extensive search was undertaken to find him without success. After a year, two hikers found his shirt and pants, undisturbed by any animals,  sitting stiff and upright on a log with no coat, boots nor body to be found. The pants were unbuttoned but his belt was missing. One sock was found with toe bones inside. Twelve miles away from that scene park rangers located the belt and the top of his skull. No boots were ever found.

This photo was taken around 8:30PM on June 29th as the sun was setting at my back. Mosquitoes were so thick and hungry that a long exposure photograph would have been near impossible. A handheld Nikon D800 was used with a 16mm lens, 1/30th shutter speed at f/16 and an ISO of 800. The brilliant colors of the setting sun at my back can be seen on the caldera rim beyond.

(Capo Beach Photos) caldera cascades crater deepest freshwater lake lake mazama missing planes mountains mystery oregon peak sunset volcano Mon, 18 Aug 2014 04:55:16 GMT
Fishing Fishing Stanley LakeFishing Stanley Lake Stanley Lake

This week's blog is not a photograph of a sunset nor a lighthouse with a mysterious history, but rather as something a little different, just a soothing pastoral image of Stanley Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho with both 9,860 foot high McGown Peak and the smaller Elk Peak in the background. These fishermen were enjoying a calm Saturday morning in early spring out on the Lake. While campgrounds are located all around the north and west sides of the lake, campers were sparse that morning due to the chilly early spring conditions. Stanley Lake is stocked by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game with cutthroat, rainbow and lake trout. Steelhead is seasonal but abundant depending on the year. Snake River sockeye salmon were once present as well but downstream dams on the river now prevent any return of the salmon to the Lake. 

Located in Custer County Idaho, about 7 miles from the town of Stanley, the Lake is nestled at the fringe of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains. The lake is about 1 mile long, 1/2 mile across and is at a surface elevation of 6,513 feet above sea level.

Photo image was taken with a Nikon D800, 35mm lens at 1/100, f/16 to help intensify the clouds, used with flash to highlight the tree bark to the left and with an ISO of 250.

(Capo Beach Photos) alpine fishing idaho mcgown mountains peaks sawtooth stanley stanley lake trout Mon, 11 Aug 2014 04:34:56 GMT
Oh That Ole Hanson San Clemente Pier OrangeSan Clemente Pier Orange The San Clemente Pier

"I have a clean canvas and I am determined to paint a clean picture. . . think of it - a canvas 5 miles long and one and one-half miles wide." That is what Ole Hanson, former mayor of Seattle, said about developing the City of San Clemente with the help of some wealthy investors. In 1925, after leaving his tenure in Seattle, Hanson founded and developed the "Spanish Village By The Sea" as it is known, from scratch. Developed as one of America's first planned communities, the city was to be the playground for the well-to-do people of Los Angeles as their getaway to surfing, golf, fishing and horseback riding. The Seattle Indians baseball team even called San Clemente home during their winter training camps. Early building requirements, enforced by Hanson included red only tile roofs and white plaster walls ensuring a common theme of Spanish colonial style architecture.

One of the more popular icons in San Clemente is the San Clemente pier. Once a prohibition-era smuggling hub, the 1296 foot long pier has survived two major damage-causing storms since it was built in 1928. One storm in 1939 and another in 1983 that tore 400 feet off the end of the pier and washed out 80 feet in the mid-section of the span. In two short years and with $1.4 million, the end of the pier was rebuilt with steel pilings. A restaurant on the pier called Fisherman's Restaurant, owned by a Seattle based group, is a popular staple with locals and tourists. San Clemente's lifeguard Tower Zero is located on the pier as seen in this photo.

Surfing is a mainstay in this California surf city and is actually a world surfing destination. It is home to surfing magazines such as The Surfer's Journal, Longboard Magazine and Surfing Magazine to name just a few. Such renown hangouts as the Trestles (Lowers, Middles and Uppers), Riviera, Lost Winds, The Hole, The Pier, T-Street and North Beach are popular year-round due to the mediterranean-like climate. Average annual temperatures are around 70 degrees with about 342 days of sunshine.

The "Spanish Village By The Sea" has been home to such notables as Lon Chaney, Jr., Carl Karcher (founder of Carl's Jr.), Olympic volleyball gold medalist Karch Kiraly, Richard and Pat Nixon, Chicago Bears football player Brian de la Puente and such surfing greats as Shane Beschen, Mike Parsons, and Kolohe Andino.


(Capo Beach Photos) golden kiraly nixon pier prohibition puentes san clemente pier spanish storms sunset sunshine village by the sea Mon, 04 Aug 2014 04:52:00 GMT
Fantastic Island Garden On OnaGarden On Ona Fantastic Island of Ona

While it is true I am very partial to Norway, the island of Ona would captivate most travelers seeking a quiet, remote and exotic location to visit. I say "exotic" because it is unique as a travel destination. My parents were both born in Molde Norway and immigrated to the U.S. in 1950. I was born in Seattle but have journeyed back to Norway four times with my parents and four times with my family or with just my wife. My wife is always thrilled to visit Norway,my second homeland, especially since all my remaining relatives treat us like honored guests every time we see them. We have travelled much of Norway but there are always a few special places we will remember the rest of our lives. Ona Island is one such place.

On our most recent trip to Norway in August of 2013, we ventured to the Island of Ona with two of my closest Norwegian cousins and one of their husbands. It took a long ferry cruise since this remote island is located a considerable distance to the west into the Atlantic Ocean. Actually two smaller islands are combined together to be called Ona and inhabited by only about 40 people. Livelihoods had been based on the fishing industry which has been gradually diminishing over the last 50 years. The island population still fishes but is now mostly a tourist destination though the island can only accommodate a few hundred people at any one time. There is a famous cast iron lighthouse, seen in this photo, built in 1867 which is located at the top of the island's 130 foot high cliff known as Onakalven. Automated in 1971 the lighthouse still uses the original Fresnel lens. A thousand years ago the island was occupied by Vikings and a cemetery on the southeast side of the island has many unmarked Viking grave stones.

While the two islands can be entirely walked in just a couple of hours, I have included a link to a YouTube drone video fly-over from 2013 of beautiful Ona Island that takes just a few minutes to watch. Sit back, relax and follow the link at:

The drone used for this video is quad-prop equipped with an ImmersionRC/Fatshark transmitter and uses a "GoPro Hero 2" HD camera. The drone is controlled from the speed boat you'll see in the video. All credit is given to the makers of this video for a fine job. The background song is performed by a Norwegian artist named Kari Bremnes. Beautiful.

My photo? Oh yeah, taken with a hand-held Nikon D800, 16mm lens, shot at 1/25, f/14 with the ISO at 250, no flash was used.

(Capo Beach Photos) Atlantic GoPro TBS video drone fly over island lighthouse norway ocean ona video west coast Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:55:56 GMT
Shrimp Feast at Mono Lake Mono Lake SunsetMono Lake Sunset Mono Lake

Nestled in the high desert plateau of the eastern Sierra Nevada in California is Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve covering over 65 square miles. A shallow lake of only 157 feet at its deepest, the Lake average is at around 52 feet and has no natural outlet to the ocean. The high alkaline content does not create a natural habitat for fish and even despite efforts by the California Department of Fish and Game, no fish exist in the Lake. The reason: the lake has a pH level of 10, three times saltier than the Pacific Ocean. The Lake is considered to be a "triple-water" lake due to its content of chlorides, carbonates and sulfides, a deadly combination to most water life with the exception of algae, alkali flies and brine shrimp. Birds feast on the flies and brine shrimp. The shrimp population has made a comeback but at one time the shrimp were so abundant the Lake was considered one of the most unique reproductive ecosystems in the world. Even now migratory birds by the millions, literally three million a year, stop, rest and nest during their long journeys. The Lake harbors over 80 species of birds in any given year. 

In 1941, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began a systematic lowering of the lake level by diverting the four major tributary streams that feed Mono Lake. In just 15 short years the Lake's water level fell by 25 feet. By 1975 it was down 40 feet. The Lake changed from a prime example of a highly effective ecosystem to a dying, lifeless chemical sump. But by 1978, the outrage over the fate of the Lake drew much attention and after years of legal battles, drainage had been drastically reduced and water levels stabiized. Water levels are slowly returning to pre-1960 levels, but still a long road to full levels.

The lowering of the Lake exposed hundreds of tufas which are shown in this photo looking across the Lake at sunset. These calcium-carbonate spires of limestone are the result of bottom freshwater springs interacting with the alkaline content of the Lake. Some are as high as 30 feet. The overall effect of these tufas creates an eerie landscape of limestone towers across a lake of still water.

Mono Lake was the backdrop for the inside cover jacket to Pink Floyd's 1975 released album "Wishing You Were Here".

Clint Eastwood's 1973 movie "High Plains Drifter" used Mono Lake as the shoreline for the fictitious town of Lago.


(Capo Beach Photos) California alkali flies brine chemicals lake limestone los angeles migratory birds mono lake shrimp sierra nevada spires state reserve sump sunset triple water tufa Mon, 21 Jul 2014 05:01:50 GMT
No Corner Utopia Red Roundhouse BarnRed Roundhouse Barn The Red Roundhouse Barn of Fountain Grove

The Fountain Grove township north of Santa Rosa California was settled in 1875 by Thomas Lake Harris, a spiritual mystisist that relocated from his commune in New York. Having had at one time a following of over 2000 in the U.S. and England, Harris in his later years relocated to Santa Rosa. He was the spiritual leader of a commune called the Brotherhood of New Life, a utopian spiritual community whose productive center was one of wine making. Several buildings were built for the winery but it had no center piece of attention. Harris passed on but the manager of the Fountain Grove Winery, Kanaya Nagasawa, hired and directed an carpenter contractor named John Clark Lindsey from Napa to build a barn of some renown in 1899. The plans for the barn were drawn by the commune's resident architect whose name is not recorded. Nagasawa, on the other hand, was the first Japanese immigrant to the area and still remains somewhat of a historic figure in Japan. The 16-sided roundhouse barn housed the horses used for the winery. It is about 70 feet in diameter and almost 60 feet tall. In the day when labor was extensive and machinery minimal, round barns, or at least ones with no corners, were thought to be a more efficient floor plan because farmers could use the floor in a circular motion saving time and money.  

By the late1890's this utopian communities winery was producing over 70,000 gallons of wine which was about 90% of all wine made in Sonoma County at the time. The production continued until the last members of the commune disbanded in the late 1930's. Nagasawa remained until the end of his life in 1934. This Red Round Barn still stands today though in major disrepair. There have been many grand schemes  for the restoration of the barn but none have taken root, including a free offer of the barn to the City of Santa Rosa which was refused. A historic plague on the site and a nearby park is dedicated to Nagasawa and the commune's wine producing activity.

(Capo Beach Photos) commune fountain grove barn harris historic horses japanese immigrant mystisist nagasawa re barn santa rosa utopia winery Mon, 14 Jul 2014 04:50:21 GMT
Blue Sapphire Blue Sapphire PoolBlue Sapphire Pool Blue Sapphire Pool

Reaching temperatures in excess of 202 degrees F, the Oriental Blue Sapphire Pool is part of the isolated thermal group known as Biscuit Basin, located in the larger Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Biscuit-like sinter deposits prominently lined its crater edges in the 1880's. However, an earthquake in 1959 dislodged many of the knobby formations. After the earthquake many large eruptions occurred at two hour intervals and some reached as high as 150 feet. The eruptive forces caused the crater of the oriental blue sapphire pool to double in size but by 1968 the pool ceased to function as a true geyser.

Today, the pool is about 18 ft. by 30 ft. and with an estimated depth of 125 feet. Occasional surges and violent boiling still occur but it remains quietly dormant the majority of time. These pool waters in Yellowstone will boil at around 198 degrees F. The crystal clear water and vividly blue color is true to life in this photo. The blue color is due to the sterile water purity from extreme temperature and the depth of the pool. Surrounding bacteria fields which often create rainbow-like colors are virtually non-existent here due to the temperature.

(Capo Beach Photos) biscuit basin eruption extreme temperature geyser pool sapphire sterile upper geyser basin vivid blue wyoming yellowstone Mon, 07 Jul 2014 04:39:47 GMT
Red Hot Red Hot 

The Grand Prismatic Springs is the largest hot spring in the continental United States at 300 feet in diameter and 160 feet deep. It lies within the Midway Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and with only an average temperature of 160 degrees it is not the hottest in Yellowstone National Park.

Beings At Grand Prismatic SpringBeings At Grand Prismatic Spring That honor is reserved for the geysers in the Norris Geyser Basin of Yellowstone where temperatures can be as high as 250 degrees. Though documented by white fur traders exploring as early as 1839, the Grand Prismatic Spring was not officially surveyed until the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871. Early fur traders called the Yellowstone area "where Hell bubbled-up through". Named for its rainbow like dispersion of colors similar to an optical prism with colors of red, orange, yellow, green and blue, the vivid colors are for the most part due to pigmented bacteria that grows around the edges of the mineral-rich water. The center of the pool is sterile and consistently deep rich blue. Colors on the edges change by season depending on which bacteria will thrive in certain temperature ranges. This photo was taken at sunset around the extreme edges of the springs at least 300 feet from the pool center located on the other side of the walkway beyond in this photo. The silhouettes of the onlookers on the floating wooden walkway was too good to pass up in this photo shot with a 35mm lens, shutter at 1/125th at f/13, with an ISO 500 due to the low light conditions and with flash to highlight the earthen crust microbial mats in the foreground. These mats are very thin in places and puncture easily by mere footsteps.

There have been an estimated 26 deaths since 1890 in Yellowstone directly related to geo-thermal areas, many more for other reasons. One of the saddest is the story of a 24 year-old California man who in 1981 dove head-first into the Celestine Pool's 202 degree water to rescue a friend's dog who became trapped in the pool of boiling water after falling off the adjacent wooden walkway. The man managed to swim back to the pool edge with the dog and when helped out by bystanders he was blind with third degree burns over his entire body as was the dog. The dog did not survive. He said to onlookers when he was helped out: "That was a very stupid thing I did but I had to try to help the dog." He died the next day in a Salt Lake City hospital. 

(Capo Beach Photos) bacteria burns color explorers hell hot national park prism colors prismatic springs yellowstone Mon, 30 Jun 2014 04:14:59 GMT

Dory Boat No. 56

For over 10 years the San Clemente city lifeguards had not competed in any surf boat rowing races. With grand hopes of competing again, they acquired one of their previous dory boats back from one of the veteran rowers who had been caring for it. Then just weeks before the competition in June 2011, the dory boat was vandalized and left in the shorebreak surf only to be beaten in half and covered in sand by the waves. It was history.

Coastal lifeguards are a close-knit community of veterans and active lifeguards who take great pride in their competitive skills with these dory boats as rowers in heavy surf. San Clemente city lifeguards are no exception. With no money for a replacement dory boat, one was found and donations were sought for buying it. A second, 1980's era, surf boat was donated to them by the National Doryman's Association. The lifeguards spent hours of their own time restoring the boat for competition at the San Clemente Ocean Festival held annually in July. This is that boat. While even today still needing a complete restoration, it is competition worthy. Originally built by the Schock Boat Company in Newport Beach, it is shown here secured to the Marine Safety Headquarters building at the San Clemente State beach at sunset. The boat still shows reminders of its past life even through the new coat of epoxy paint with its new number - 56. In its past life, this dory boat was used for many years by the Bolsa Chica State Beach lifeguards until it outlived its usefulness for their competition. The new 'old' dory boat No. 56 has earned its second life in San Clemente. 

Old dory boats never really die, they just fade into the sunset . . . especially in San Clemente, California.

Walking along the North Beach trail in San Clemente on a summer Sunday evening in 2013 provided the chance to take this photo with a Nikon S8200, set at 1/1600, f/3.3, auto flash, ISO 100.

(Capo Beach Photos) Ocean festival boat bolsa chica state beach dory fifty six lifeguards marine safety building red repainted san clemente sand sunset surf surf boat Mon, 23 Jun 2014 04:43:16 GMT
Cultural Monument No. 187 Korean Friendship Bell & PavillionKorean Friendship Bell & Pavillion Korean Bell of Friendship

The "Bell of Friendship" became the Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument No. 187 in 1978 and was presented as a bronze bell of friendship from the Republic of South Korea to the United States during our bicentennial celebration in 1976 and represented the close relationship of the two nations.

It is the second largest bell ever cast in Korea, the first being from the year 771. That bell and this bell are among the largest in the world. This photo shows the colorful stone pavilion which houses this suspended cast alloy friendship bell located in the Korean-American Peace Park occupying the upper part of the former Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California.

Actor Philip Ahn was instrumental in making the bell a reality at San Pedro. He starred in many movies and television shows including Hawaiian Eye, Perry Mason and Kung Fu. He is the first Asian American to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The bell has a height of 12 feet and a diameter of 7 1/2 feet, the walls of the bell are 8 inches thick. Over 17 tons of copper and tin were used in this alloy casting with gold, nickel, lead, phosphorus added for tonal quality. Since 2010, the bell is struck 6 times a year: New Years Day, Korean American Day, Fourth of July, Korean Liberation Day, Constitution Day in early September and on September 11 to commemorate 9/11. The bell does not have a clapper but is rather hand struck with a suspended swinging wooden mallet.

The day I arrived at the monument was one of those picture perfect days in California. No people, yet the sky was bright and blue. I was able to take photos from any angle. The day was so bright that the underside of the pavilion glowed as if portrait lighting had been used. The colors were bright and spectacular, very engaging.  


  The Pavilion     KoreanBellKoreanBell       The Bell     _KoreanBellClose_KoreanBellClose


(Capo Beach Photos) alloy bell bell tone cast clapper fort macarthur friendship korean mallet philip ahn san pedro Tue, 17 Jun 2014 04:05:00 GMT
Trailer Park for Lucy and Desi Treasure IslandTreasure Island

Treasure Island

In the 1934 movie "Treasure Island" with Jackie Cooper and Lionel Barrymore, Jim Hawkins (Jackie Cooper) goes on an adventure he will not soon forget. Part of that movie was filmed on the island beyond once known as Treasure Island. Today it is called Goff Island, named after Hubbard Goff who first homesteaded this little bit of paradise in the late 1800's. There was also once a concrete based pier at this beach and a trailer park on the cliffs above. You can still see some remnants of the pier on the beach if you look hard. But you would hardly know that by seeing it now. Since 2003 this gorgeous location has been home for The Montage Resort, a combined beach cottage rental and luxury hotel resort focused on the affluent traveler.

However, in 1953 this location was nothing more than an ordinary trailer park, albeit with the best view of southern California beach life. The beach below the trailer park was known as Treasure Island Beach and the island retained its notoriety from the filming of the movie with Jackie Cooper playing Jim Hawkins. The trailer park was also home to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the filming of MGM Studio's movie "The Long, Long, Trailer". Anyone growing up in the 1950's and 1960's knows Lucy and her real life husband Desi (Ricky in the TV show), the Cuba born band leader. The movie in its own right was a success for the studio and still has a cult following. Though not connected to the actual TV show, the movie was really a full feature version of Lucy and Ricky in Technicolor. Parts of the movie were filmed in Yosemite National Park and here on the cliffs above Treasure Island. During the filming of the movie, two existing palm trees at the real life trailer park Shore Acres were named for Lucy and Desi. These two palm trees still exist today, overlooking the beautiful southern California coastline resort. Of course they have grown a little, towering about 100 feet or so and are located in the front yard of The Studio Restaurant at cliff side over the Treasure Island Beach below.

Memories of times past in southern California. . .  

(Capo Beach Photos) Jackie Cooper Lionel Barrymore Montage arnaz beach best beach desi filming gorgeous laguna long long trailer lucille lucy movie' palm resort southern California beaches trailer park trees Fri, 13 Jun 2014 19:40:48 GMT
Red Painted Faces Bryce Amphitheater Red Painted FacesBryce Amphitheater Red Painted Faces

Red  Painted  Faces

The Paiute Indians were very early inhabitants of the Paunsaugunt Plateau area known as Bryce Canyon, some say as early as the 12th century. The Paiutes called the hoodoos formed at Bryce Canyon the anka-ku-was-a-wits, or "red painted faces". They believed these pinnacles were once  The Legend People  and their fates became sealed when the mythological character and trickster  Coyote  turned them to stone for their bad deeds. The hoodoos consist of over 60 known shades of white, yellow, red, purplish and vermilion colored sandstone and limestone eroded over centuries from water and frost. The whimsical arrangement of these hoodoos reminds us perhaps of Gothic spires, steeples, castle walls, fortresses, sentinels or a forest of figurines.

First discovered by European Americans in the early 1850's, it wasn't until Mormon pioneer Ebenezer Bryce and a few other families moved to the valley just east of the canyon in 1875 that there was truly any year round settlement of this area. Make-shift bridges and irrigation trenches had to be devised to water crops and feed livestock. Ebenezer Bryce was known for saying that the canyon area was a 'helluva place to lose a cow'. Settlers who came to the area after Bryce called it Bryce's canyon. Road access to Bryce had always been difficult and it wasn't until the Union Pacific Railroad got involved in providing accessible transportation and real roads built that it became more popular for vacationers. The park deserves much of its public notoriety and emergence from obscurity to a national forest supervisor named J.W. Humphrey, who in 1915 after exploring the area, promoted it whole-heartedly to Utah State as well as the National Park Service in Washington, D.C.  He developed a series of trails down into the canyon and even led guided tours himself along the system of trails he built.  In 1923, President Warren Harding officially established it as a national monument and in 1928 it became Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon is a series of amphitheaters, 8 all total,the largest of which is shown in this photo, known as The Bryce Amphitheater. These colors are very realistic. This photo looks northeast from atop the Rim Trail which skirts the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau where millennia ago the earth shifted to create these cliffs. This photo was taken from an elevation of 8700 feet in early afternoon with a Nikon D800, 16mm lens set to f/22 at 1/80th shutter speed, ISO250, and polarizing filter.

(Capo Beach Photos) Harding Humphrey Union Pacific bryce canyons hoodoos limestone mormon national forest service paiute indians paunsaugunt plateau railroad red painted faces sandstone Mon, 09 Jun 2014 04:12:51 GMT
Older Than Methuselah . . . and Then some Bristlecone Pine BryceBristlecone Pine Bryce


While visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in September of 2012, I walked along the Rim Trail edge of the amphitheater canyon some 800 feet above the canyon floor. It is said about the air quality in Utah and especially at Bryce Canyon that on a good day it is very easy to see as far as 120 miles in all directions, some days even further. On the day I walked the Rim, the view was very clear. While looking toward the southeast from Yovimpa Point, the south rim of the Grand Canyon was clearly visible though quite off in the distance. It is located 150 miles from Bryce Canyon. However, keep in mind the elevation where I was standing was some 9100 feet above sea level. The long distance views from the Rim of the amphitheater are like looking afar off over the curvature of the earth. The air was brisk on that September day yet pleasant.

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine trees such as the one in this photo have stood here a very very long time. The park estimates this tree to be over 250 years old. Trees at this elevation do not grow fast, but they grow strong and hardy. Also known as foxtail pines, these hardy specimens definitely have seniority on our planet and have been known to out live every living thing on earth. Clonal colony trees such as quaking aspens have been known to live longer but for a single tree, the Bristlecone pine is the longest living single tree species. The oldest known Bristlecone Pine tree, affectionately known as Methuselah is estimated to have germinated in 2832 BC, some 100 years before the first Egyptian pyramid was ever built.

See a link to the Methuselah tree (and this may be the tree):

Located in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest high in the White Mountains of eastern California at an elevation of about 9500 feet Methuselah is estimated to be some 4800 years old. This Forest of Ancients area is covered in snow eight months out of the year with sub freezing temperatures. The soil is terrible yet they survive. This had been the oldest living tree until another foxtail pine was discovered in 2013 that may possibly date to over 5100 years old. There are many of these trees in that forest and the exact location of the oldest trees are kept a secret by the U.S. Forest service in order to protect the trees from vandals. Biblical Methuselah was the son of Enoch and the grandfather to Noah. He lived to the age of 969. Methuselah, the man, died shortly before the Great Flood.

(Capo Beach Photos) US Forest Service amphitheater bristlecone bryce canyon clear air elevation enoch foxtail grand methuselah noah oldest living thing pine point rim southern utah trail yovimpa Fri, 06 Jun 2014 04:14:43 GMT
Terrible Tilly - A Story of Death and the Macabre Tillamook Rock LighthouseTillamook Rock Lighthouse

Terrible Tilly 

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, some 134 feet tall, also referred to as Terrible Tilly, is arguably the most weather beaten lighthouse in the continental U.S.  Completed in 1881 after some 575 days of construction by the Army Corps of Engineers, it was at the time, the most expensive lighthouse ever built on the west coast of the U.S.  It got its nickname from the erratic weather conditions and the dangerously cumbersome commute for lightkeepers and suppliers alike. Decommissioned in 1957 due to its deteriorating conditions and the high cost of maintenance, the lighthouse was originally to be built at Tillamook Head but when the initial survey team realized the light would be shrouded in fog most of the year due to its position high on the cliff, the lighthouse was relocated to Tillamook Rock, a basalt rock island some 1.2 miles off shore. Seen in this photo from the beach head on the mainland, the rock and the lighthouse have seen many tragic events during their lifetime.

While two earlier surveys recommended against the construction on this rock island, a third survey of the Rock took place during which the lead surveyor was swept out to sea while attempting to land by vessel on the rock. While there had already been public opposition to the construction of the lighthouse, this incident outraged the public even further. Work crews had to be sequestered on the island and on an offshore ship during construction for fear that public opposition and the stories of the accident would spook the workers. During the first few days on the island, the construction crew of five had to fight off angry sea lions who also opposed their presence. The mental and physical challenges of working and living on the island took their toll. Dismissals and turn-over assignments were frequent. One worker tried to poison another worker by grinding up glass in his food. Access to the island had become by way of a "breeches buoy" from ship to shore due to landings being far too precarious to be successful on a regular basis. This was done by cable from ship to the top of the rock. Mail and supplies were irregular due to storms and high seas. In another incident in early January of 1881 just twelve days before the opening, the ship Lupatia heading from Japan to the mouth of the Columbia River, some 20 miles to the north, with a crew of 16 and a dog aboard were violently shipwrecked during a howling gale.  The ship had been so close to the island that the workers could hear the crew calling for help but could do nothing. The only survivor was the crew's shetland collie dog. The dog lived another nine years.

Throughout its history, the tower itself was damaged by severe storms that broke out the lantern room glass and damaged the first-order fresnel lens. During one such 110-mph storm, surging waves had broken out the glass of the tower and lightkeepers were bailing water from the lantern room in order to keep the light from extinguishing. There had also been tales of voices heard coming from a mythical underwater tunnel from the mainland to the island as told by Native Americans in the area. Records tell tales of voices heard deep underground however no tunnel has ever been discovered.

In 1980, there came a fittingly macabre twist to this lighthouse story. Two women bought the lighthouse and turned it into a columbarium. They planned a storage house full of urns of cremated human remains. Advertised as "Eternity at Sea", there was to be storage for 100,000 ash urns. The required urn niches were never built and by 1996, only 30 urns were housed there. The license for the columbarium was revoked in 1999 by the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board due to improper storage and poor record keeping. Some urns were only placed on concrete block pedestals. Despite reapplication for the license, none has been reissued and the urns still remain on the island in an empty lighthouse surrounded only by birds and sea lions. 

(Capo Beach Photos) columbarium haunting island lighthouse mysterious deaths ocean pacific rock secret tunnel shipwrecks storms terrible tilly tillamook urns Mon, 02 Jun 2014 04:48:58 GMT
The Sand Man Sandman Budd InletSandman Budd Inlet The  Sand Man  Cometh

Nestled safely at Percival Landing harbor in Olympia, this venerable wooden tugboat hardly shows her age of 104 years. Originally built by Crawford & Reid shipbuilders in Tacoma Washington during the years from 1908 to 1910, for Arthur Weston, owner of Olympia Sand & Gravel Company, the Sand Man is the last of its kind. Back in 1910 she was one of many privately owned freight vessels swarming Puget Sound doing "hard time" pulling sand barges up and down the waterway.  But now all from that era are gone, forever. She earned her name from towing those cumbersome sand barges. From 1925 to 1987 she had a succession of three commercial owners, yet doing the same kind of hard labor. Then in 1987 she was rescue purchased by a private individual who began restoring the old tugboat. However, ten years later the task proved too much for one individual to undertake and she was sold to the non-profit  Sand Man Foundation  which owns it to this day.

During its restoration process, the vessel has survived two sinkings. At one point the hull was so decayed it leaked over a gallon of water per minute and when the bilge pump ceased working in 1998, it sank. It has had three engines in its lifetime, the last of which had been on board since 1944. It cruises at a speed of up to 9 1/2 knots, is just under 60 feet in length, holds 1280 gallons of diesel, and when fully fuelled weighs in at 37 tons.

In this photo, the Sand Man is safely moored in Budd Inlet, Olympia Washington during a July squall that ripped through Olympia in 2012. This photo was taken with a Nikon Coolpix S8200 point and shoot pocket camera because it was all I had at the time. Despite having only a point and shoot camera for this moment in time, I could not let this image escape me.

(Capo Beach Photos) 2012 barge olympia percival landing restoration sand sandman sank sound squall summer tugboat washington water Fri, 30 May 2014 04:06:59 GMT
Ålesund Burns Oluf HolmbuaOluf Holmbua FIRE !

In the aftermath of the devastating fire in Ålesund Norway in the early morning hours of 23 January 1904, help came from an unlikely ally, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. He dispatched four large ships to the town loaded with laborers, medicine, equipment and materials for rebuilding the town. For many years he was a fervent tourist to the coast of Norway, visiting little townships and cruising the long fjords of Norway. One of his favorite townships was Ålesund. Help also came from fellow Norwegians but being a fairly poor nation at the time, foreign assistance was greatly needed.

By early fall of that same year, the town's center was rebuilt of stone, tile, concrete and plaster in the German version of the Art Nouveau style, also known as Jugendstil. Young architects of Norway were greatly influenced at the time by this new contemporary style of the day as well as by the National Romanticism style that had captured their fancy showing off spires, turrets and ornamented facades. The entire town center of Ålesund consisting of 850 houses and other wooden buildings burned to the ground that night. Ten thousand left homeless that night. Only 24 houses scattered throughout town remained untouched.

One of those houses belonged to a Norwegian by the name of Anders Nord. This is the tale, part of the town's records, combined with a German translation account of the fire from that night in 1904.

Anders was a devote Christian who studied his Bible every day. His wife, on the other hand, was of weak faith. Ander's faith was strong in God's protection of his household and his faith would prove inspirational. He told his wife that despite the raging fire all around them that night, they should stay put and God would  protect them. He was confident and insistent God would watch out over them despite the raging flames. His wife on the other hand did not believe her husband in this matter and moved most all of their belongings out of the house in a panic to a local park with help from family and friends. She did however leave for him his chair, a small table and his Bible in the house. Sixteen hours after the fire had started, the town center was totally gone, except for Anders and his house. Their furniture and other possessions, which the wife had taken to the local park, was nothing more than a heap of smoldering ashes. His wife brought the children back to the house very apologetic to Anders for her unbelief in what he had told her. The only casualty that night was a 76 year-old widow who lived next to the fire station of all places.

The Oluf Holm building, also known as Holmbua ( Holm shed ) shown in this photo was located along the waterfront of Ålesund, but to the west from the town's harbor entrance. All the warehouse buildings in the harbor waterfront had been destroyed. Built in 1861 this warehouse had been owned and occupied from 1924 to 1986 by the Oluf Holm A/S Company, a prominent fishing wholesaler business processing cod liver oil, dried cod and the making of barrels to contain oil and salt-preserved fish. Today it is a fishing museum with exhibits that depict Norwegian deep sea fishing and the equipment used in that bygone era. 


(Capo Beach Photos) 1904 Anders Nord Oluf Holm bible boats fire fishing fishing museum harbor holmbua norway white wooden town center Ålesund Mon, 26 May 2014 19:15:00 GMT
Custer's Last Stand House at CusterHouse at Custer Custer's Last Stand

Nestled in the remote central Idaho county of Custer, the ghost towns of Bonanza and Custer were established in 1877 and 1878 when gold was discovered in a nearby mine by three miners. Bonanza sprung up first but nearby Custer followed a year later. One of the big mines and the town were named in honor of General George Armstrong Custer who had been defeated in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in eastern Montana a year earlier in 1876. Custer's Last Stand, as it is commonly referred to, resulted in the death of 268 infantry soldiers and scouts that were part of the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry Regiment. Five of the 7th Cavalry's twelve companies including Custers, along with his two brothers and a nephew were annihilated in the battle.

The town of Custer was a one street town that stretched for about half a mile. The town had an assayer's office (where they weighed the gold), livery stable, blacksmith shop, a school, post office, general mercantile store, a barber shop, jail, union hall, several saloons, houses and  a Chinatown at the south end of town. Custer even sported a baseball team! By the year 1896, a total of 600 people called Custer home. Custer grew rapidly after a fire in 1897 destroyed much of nearby Bonanza. Between the years of 1880 to 1888, the General Custer mine produced over $8 million in gold. But such towns as these, founded on newly discovered riches do not last long and Custer and Bonanza were no exceptions. By the year 1903, the population of Custer decreased rapidly as the glory days were slipping away. The bigger mines such as the General Custer, Lucky Boy and Sunbeam began to dry up. By 1910, Custer was a ghost town.

Custer, Idaho is within the Challis National Forest and lies along the Yankee Fork at an elevation of 6,470 feet. Currently the ghost town of Custer is listed on the National Register of Historic Places though only seven buildings actually remain and qualify for the status due to the town's deteriorating condition. Restoration efforts are under way to restore the town to its glory days.

(Capo Beach Photos) Bonanza Custer challis chinatown fork general custer ghost town gold little bighorn lucky boy miners mining montana sunbeam yankee Mon, 19 May 2014 04:17:30 GMT
International Orange ? Really ? Golden Gate At DuskGolden Gate At Dusk International Orange

Construction on the "most photographed bridge in the world", the Golden Gate Bridge, began in earnest in January of 1933 but the wrangling over issues such as funding, engineering design along with the political opposition lasted for almost 18 years prior to the bridge being completed on May 27, 1937. A bridge across this stretch of the Golden Gate Strait was essential to connect Highway 101 to Marin County and to connect the coastline between southern and northern California. The civil and structural engineering design required to build a span across this portion of the Strait was considered by many to be "a bridge that could not be built". Though never really getting full credit for the design until 2007, the principal engineer for the bridge was Charles A. Ellis in collaboration with Leon Moisseiff, a New York suspension bridge designer. So after many years of haggling over funding and despite the Great Depression of 1929, the citizens of six northern counties of California voted to finance the bridge. In 1971 the last of the original $35 million construction bonds was retired.

A few fun facts: the twin towers reach to a height of 746 feet above the sea level with the pavement at 220 feet above the water. There are over 1.2 million rivets and over 80,000 miles of wire in the two main strand cables. Until 1964, the main span was the world's longest suspension bridge at 4,200 feet.

While this blog could go on and on for pages about the bridges finer details, it will instead concentrate on the paint color of the San Francisco bridge:

The paint color for the Art Deco style bridge was studied, analyzed and finally decided through a lengthy process between city officials, sculptors, artists, the military, engineers and architects. The color was not decided until 1935, just 18 months before the bridge's completion. The primary consulting architect of the bridge, Irving F. Morrow, made the push for the final color in his 29-page document called "Report on Color and Lighting" presented to the bridge's Board of Directors. But the permitting agency, The Department of War, also had to be convinced to paint this wild and crazy color. The U.S. Navy wanted to originally paint the bridge black with yellow strips to ensure visibility ! Morrow felt the vermillion orange that was used initially for the steel corrosion sealer, a shade variation of international orange, complemented the natural surroundings and enhanced visibility in the fog as well. While the wild color is a form of international orange it has enough of a shade variation to actually be unique onto itself. In 1937, over 10 million square feet of steel on the bridge was painted. Painting Golden Gate is done daily, but not from one end to another as most people think, rather it is touch-up paint maintenance issue, ongoing year after year, to stop the corrosion inherent with salt air. In 1968, the painting program changed from touch-up painting to removing the original lead-based paint and replacing it with an inorganic zinc silicate primer with a vinyl topcoat. However, in 1995 the vinyl was replaced with acrylic emulsions due to the concerns of high VOC's (volatile organic compounds). International orange is a color widely used in the aerospace industry and by the U.S. military, though shades can vary. 

See this link for details about international orange:

This photo was taken at the lookout point called Battery Spencer, a former military overlook in Marin County expressly installed to protect the bridge and the strait during WWII. The photograph: Nikon D800, with 28-70mm lens focused to 44mm on a tripod, 1/50th at f/14, pushed to ISO 400.



(Capo Beach Photos) architect art deco bridge cables california color ellis engineer funding construction golden gate bridge international orange lead marin moisseiff morrow orange primer salt san francisco bridge sea towers vermillion Wed, 14 May 2014 16:00:00 GMT
The Sensitive Carpenter Skjak ChurchSkjak Church The Sensitive Carpenter

Located in Oppland County along the Otta River, this beautifully crafted Christian church in Skjåk Norway was completed in 1752. As a log timber constructed church it is a fine example of the wood craftsmanship found in many inland rural areas of Norway at the time. The area has a rich cultural heritage and is known to have been heavily settled during the Viking era. The area is known for its historical trade route as a low lying valley. The rainfall has to be supplemented by irrigation for farming due to its extremely low annual precipitation, ranked as one of the lowest in Europe. Keep in mind, however, lack of rainfall or snow does not equate to temperature. It is still cold during the winter months.

What makes this church particularly intriguing is that it was built by a 25 year-old architect / carpenter by the name of Ole Rasmussen Holø. In addition to his skills, nine of the best carpenters in the entire rural valley were entrusted with the construction. He was so picky and meticulous about his carpentry style and craftmanship he removed and rebuilt several of the details the other carpenters had completed. The steeple was erected at night to avoid onlooker criticism. It is recorded that he would not put up with any criticism nor ridicule of his work.

The interior furnishings are some of the finest woodworking carvings and paintings in all of Norway. The church was constructed during the Baroque period in Norway when decorative folk art painting known as Rosemåling was originating in Norway's rural valleys.

Follow this link to see more:

Norway is particularly boastful of the artwork's origin though that has often been disputed by their Swedish counterparts. The decorative painting was almost always done on wood as is the case in this church interior. What makes it also unique is that no two pieces of work are ever exactly the same. It is an individual art form. Rosemaling uses stylized flower ornamentation, scrollwork, geometric lines and elements in flowing patterns and is said to contain in its very existence the magic and culture of Norwegian history dating back to the Viking era. A total of 23 well defined painted areas in this church interior still exist. Exhibits of these same craftsman's hand-painting work are on display at the Oslo Historical Museum.

(Capo Beach Photos) baroque carpenters christian church decorative farmland log timbers norway norwegian oppland rainfall rosemaling rural steeple wood Sun, 11 May 2014 20:00:00 GMT
The Red Fishing Village of Bud Goose & Buildings in BudGoose & Buildings in Bud The Red Fishing Village of Bud

This tranquil scene is very typical for the small fishing village of Bud (pronounced Boo'd) on the west coast of Norway. It is located in Møre og Romsdal County on the Atlantic coastline. With a current population of only around 765, it has been a village since the early Middle Ages. In 1533, it was the largest fishing village between Trondheim and Bergen.  Due to a good natural harbor and rich fishing grounds in the Atlantic, the village has always thrived yet has remained small and charming, attractive and endearing to tourists and Norwegians alike.

Walking around this village was delightfully peaceful and picturesque. No traffic, no hoards of tourists, no rushing around of any kind by anybody. Just peaceful, very peaceful. This photo was taken looking westward out towards the Atlantic. The harbor remains quite sheltered from Atlantic storms. This goose was heading in towards shore to take advantage of a feeding opportunity where a local woman had come out of her nearby house to offer several slices of bread for the taking. It was obvious to me while standing there, this was a frequent ritual where the woman and the goose knew each other quite well.

Traditionally, it is said that the color red is used in so many Norwegian buildings, especially barns, farm houses and boat sheds because it is left over from the old days when color represented one's status in life, their financial situation, geographic location and their profession. It also resulted from one's access to local resources. For fishermen, for example, the color red stemmed from fish blood and whale oil or cod liver oil. Red was definitely the most common color, the least expensive to produce and it spoke of a working class Norwegian. White on the other hand showed more wealth and class. The white color required expensive zinc to produce and showed off their wealthy status, like driving an expensive car.


(Capo Beach Photos) atlantic blue bud buildings fishing goose norway ocean red village water Thu, 08 May 2014 05:18:08 GMT
The Love of His Life Avalon From On HighAvalon From On High The Love of His Life

On the Island of Santa Catalina off the southern coast of California in Los Angeles County lies the Queen Anne styled Holly Hill House. The house is visible in this photo at the bottom right hand corner during a restoration project in 2013.

Originally built by Peter Gano, a transplanted Ohioan and civil engineer, the house sits up the hill on the south side of Avalon overlooking the harbor. Gano built the entire house by himself as the story goes, with the help of a trustworthy friend, an old retired circus horse named Mercury. Mercury was tireless in his daily task of hauling supplies and building materials from the bottom of the hill up to the house via a rope and pulley system devised by Gano. Only the finest materials were used for construction. The house had alternating light and dark pine floors, redwood kitchen counters, burled redwood fireplaces, a 22 foot diameter, 40 foot high cone-shaped cupola and a sun porch surrounding the main floor. The average annual precipitation on Catalina is only 11.88 inches and being an engineer he had also built a groundwater and rainwater collection system that included a cistern under the house.

Once construction was completed in 1890, he asked the love of his life to marry him and move to the island to live out their lives together. She was reluctant to move to the island and be isolated from the mainland. As months went by, Gano still held out hope she would change her mind and make a commitment to him and the house he had built for her on Catalina. During this time of waiting for her, he named the house "Lookout Cottage" and he waited, and waited. As the years went by, she finally married someone else and he realized he was destined to live in this beautiful house alone. The story is that in his later years, never having married, he posted signs all around his property proclaiming "No Women Allowed". Visible beyond, on the north side of the harbor on what was formerly known as Sugarloaf Point is the Catalina Casino. No longer a casino at all, it is now a theatre, ballroom, and museum.



(Capo Beach Photos) avalon bay beautiful catalina cistern cupola fiancee harbor holly hill house life lookout cottage love mercury precipitation pulleys view Sun, 04 May 2014 21:26:49 GMT
Footsteps in the Dark Yaquina Head Lighthouse At DuskYaquina Head Lighthouse At Dusk Yaquina Head Lighthouse - Footsteps in the Dark

Standing 93 feet tall ( 28.5 meters ) atop a 162 foot seaside cliff, Yaquina Head is Oregon's tallest lighthouse whose illumination can be seen 19 miles out to sea. Since its completion in 1873, it was operated by the U.S. Lighthouse Board until 1939 when the U.S. Coast Guard took over the operations. Located near Newport, Oregon and constructed with over 370,000 bricks in double wall construction, its original first order Fresnel lens still remains today though no longer with oil burning wicks but with a 1000 watt theatrical globe. 

Every lighthouse has its stories, some good, some bad, and this one is no exception with its own particularly haunting tales.

One story involves a workman who apparently accidently fell off scaffolding during construction and was buried in between the double brick wall cavity of the tower, and whose body was never retrieved due to it being inaccessible. Cries for help from within the walls were said to continue for several years after. 

The second tale, as it goes, involves two lightkeepers working on a cold and stormy January night in 1930 when the oil burning wick in the lantern room at the top of the tower had extinguished itself. The older lightkeeper was so inebriated he could not do the fairly simple task of climbing the stairs and relighting the wick. Though ill at the time, the younger lightkeeper had to get out of bed and walk the 114 stairs to the top of the tower to re-light the oil wick in the middle of the night. However, once he reached the top of the tower he collapsed and died. The older lightkeeper fearing vengence from that day forward always walked to the top with his bulldog for protection due to ghostly footsteps he would hear on the cast iron stairway at unpredictable hours both day and night until 1945. On the day WW II ended, the footsteps stopped. The deceased younger lightkeeper had been a war veteran from WW I.

This photo was taken at dusk in April 2012 with a Nikon D7000, 28-300mm lens set to 28mm,1/60th at f/3.5 with an exposure compensation of +0.7.


(Capo Beach Photos) Coast Guard Oregon cast iron stairway cliff electrical ghosts haunting lighthouse lightkeeper oil burning wick seaside Mon, 28 Apr 2014 05:45:30 GMT
Atlantic Road Highway Atlantic HighwayAtlantic Highway Atlantic Road Highway

Traveling along the Atlantic Ocean Highway one realizes its scenic beauty and why it is a Norwegian national cultural heritage route. The Atlantic Road is a 8.3 kilometer long section of County Road 64 that runs through an archipelago in western Norway's Møre og Romsdal County. Due to the severe weather it endures unsheltered during the winter and the technological challenge that was required during construction, it has been awarded the title of "Norwegian Construction of the Century". See this link for photos of The Atlantic Road:

Driving north to Kristiansund last summer along The Atlantic Road I caught a glimpse of a secluded little boat house off in the near distance. Of course being a photographer, I MUST stop whenever and wherever the opportunity arises to photograph. Pulling off the highway, I realized it was a private driveway, so I parked the car and walked in to the residence I saw nearby. The homeowner was working on the roof of his house and quickly came down to greet me as I approached. I did not want to appear brazen about walking onto his property to photograph his boat house without his permission. While I do know some Norwegian I am by no means fluent with the correct "chit-chat". Since almost everyone in Norway under the age of 55 years old speaks and understands english pretty well, I decided to ask politely in english, explaining that I was from California and I wanted to take a photo on his property. "You do not have to ask, go take your photo, you are welcome to do so", he replied. Hmmm, very nice of him I thought. Well, the fact is that since 1957 in Norway there is code law that is termed 'all men's rights' ( women's rights too of course ) regarding walking on private property. This has stemmed from hundreds of years of practiced tradition. This practice comes with obligations and responsibilities to not harm, disturb, litter nor damage wildlife nor crops. Access rights are most often for travel on foot and not by vehicle. If you hurt yourself while walking, the problem is yours and yours only not the landowner's. You always enter at your own risk. You can not sue. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained by me while taking this photo !

(Capo Beach Photos) atlantic atlantic road blue boathouse bud code county kristiansund molde norwegian ocean ocean highway photographing private property in norway road construction sea surf Fri, 25 Apr 2014 00:28:26 GMT
Mendocino Sunset Valley SunsetValley Sunset Mendocino Sunset

This sunset photo was taken on the evening of July 10, 2012 while traveling north to Seattle. It is three days after lightning started the fire in the 913,000 acre Mendocino National Forest. It was known as the Mill Fire and burned some 30,000 acres before it was contained.  The fire was so intense in some campground areas that county roads were closed forcing campers to find alternate escape routes.

Having seen the smoke from Interstate 5 near Willows, California I drove west from the freeway about four miles on a small county road only to find myself in the middle of rice-paddie fields. The air was thick with the smell of the forest fire. The lack of wind caused the lingering smoke from the fire to produce some distinctly rich and vibrant colors with the setting sun.  

(Capo Beach Photos) colors fire forest fire mendocino mill fire rice-paddie fields sunset Sun, 20 Apr 2014 17:00:00 GMT
La Tour - Victoria Beach Tower Victoria Beach WavesVictoria Beach Waves

Victoria Beach Tower

The La Tour Tower in Laguna Beach is the most public thing on an otherwise fairly- private public beach. The beach is accessible by a long narrow meandering staircase squeezed tightly between affluent cliff-perched homes. It was originally built in 1926 by California State Senator William E. Brown. The tower was a way for the Senator and his wife to access the beach from high atop the embankment of their summer house. This was their summer place because Mrs. Brown despised the "blistering" heat of their Beverly Hills home during the summer months. Despite the house having changed hands several times over the years including once having been owned by Bette Midler and her husband, the tower remains pretty much the way it was built despite the battering from the Pacific Ocean surf and salt air. It is made of poured-in-place reinforced concrete, coated with cement plaster, a rubble ocean-stone concrete base, a conical shaped shingled roof with an internal metal frame and wood spiral staircase. In February 2012, the City of Laguna Beach condemned the tower from further human use due to its faltering condition. It still remains for photographers such as myself and for the late evening romantics who enjoy the beach at sunset.

(Capo Beach Photos) beach la tour tower laguna beach tower pacific ocean photographers romantics sunset surf tower Sat, 19 Apr 2014 19:01:00 GMT
Elida V Stavern Boats StarlightStavern Boats Starlight

Elida V 

This 131 foot, 95 ton sailing vessel is a performance yacht and a passenger boat built in composite and completed in 2007 after five years of construction. It is sponsored by a Swedish Christian organization whose crew is made up almost entirely of Christian youth. Over 1,000 teenagers rotate during the sailing season to crew on the boat. The yacht sails along the southern coasts of Sweden, Norway in the spring and summer months for the sole purpose of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through music and personal testimonies of its crew. During the winter months the boat sails the southern European coastlines. The yacht's motto, painted in large letters on the sails is "Sailing for Jesus" and proclaims no afffiliation to any one denomination nor organization. It is also affectionately known as the "sailing singing church". 

This photo was taken in Stavern, Norway along the sunny southern coast in July of 2013. My wife Elizabeth and I stood on the pier where the boat was docked one balmy summer's evening and listened to the singing by the teenage crew.

(Capo Beach Photos) coastline sailing composite gospel boat performance yacht sailboat sailing sailing for Jesus Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:58:00 GMT
Birdmen of Trollstigen TrollstigenTrollstigen

Flying Birdmen of Trollstigen

On October 11, 2009 CBS News 60 Minutes aired a TV segment about extreme sport athletes who put on "squirrel suits" only to jump off ultra high mountain tops with only one parachute. A portion of that segment was filmed in the Isterdalen valley with these very same rock cliffs. See this link for the flight:

These "Birdmen" fly at speeds up to 150 MPH coming dangerously close to the shear rock on their way to the bottom. Trollstigen pass (meaning Troll's Path) rises to an elevation of 2780 feet (850m). The cantilevered outlook viewpoint shown here is only at 2300 feet. The surrounding mountain tops (out of view) have such names as The King, The Queen, and The Bishop. The King, or Kongen in Norwegian, rises to an elevation of  5295 feet (1614m). The road up to Trollstigen has a 10% incline and has 11 hairpin turns. The road began construction in 1928 and opened in 1936. For many years the road was only wide enough for one car and turnouts were far and few between. Such was the road when I first traveled it with my Norwegian grandparents in 1958. The turns were so tight that even small tour buses needed to make several back and forth maneuvers at each hairpin. In 2005, the road was improved so two lanes were the norm and tour buses could negotiate the turns in one attempt. During the summer season, about 2500 vehicles per day use Trollstigen pass with a total of 162,000 vehicles in 2012. This photo was taken on a rainy day in August of 2013.

(Capo Beach Photos) birdmen bishop hairpin isterdalen king parachute queen rock cliffs switchback roads trollstigen valley Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:01:00 GMT
Pulpit Rock PreikestolenPreikestolenCareful. . . ! Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen)

About 20 miles east of Stavanger lies one of Norway's most popular tourist attractions, 'The Pulpit Rock' or Preikestolen in Norwegian. Perched some 1982 feet above Lysefjorden below, this 82 feet x 82 feet semi-flat hunk of granite tabletop rock sits precariously out over the water. In 2012, some 200,000 tourists visited this attraction. In the summer of 2013, my wife and I ventured up to "peek" out over the edge. I can tell you it is straight down to the water, no safety ledges, flat meadows or tree branches protruding out to cushion someone's fall. 

It took us about 2 hours to hike up to this spot seen in the photo. No switchbacks. In some places along the trail there were wood planked bridges suspended out over deep crevasses with nothing below but rock and water. The climb is so steep at several locations, they have huge stones placed like a staircase to ascend the height. Stones with heights of two feet and higher. I am 6'4" tall and have fairly long legs but in places it was all I could do to negotiate from one step to the next with no railings or cables to grab onto or hold. This attraction defies every health and safety code known to man but draws thousands of tourists every year nonetheless.

The trail towards the top can be as narrow as 3 feet (with people passing in both directions) and once to the top, you must be extremely mindful of the edge since it has no railings (not even cables), no warnings signs, no fences. Just a rock edge that ends and plummets 1900 feet. Both my wife and I ventured out to the edge to get a glimpse downward. . .on our stomachs. Quite impressive view, well worth the climb. Though I do not have a fear of heights (in most cases), I definitely feel that heights like this warrant utmost respect. Tourists at the top were sunbathing, conversing, taking photos, drinking water, eating snacks and dangling their feet over the edge. Even saw one woman sketching the scenery on a notepad while dangling her feet over the edge. One older gentleman told us he owned a farm on the plateau off in the distance, and in all his years on that farm had never climbed here to the top. "Had to do it at least once", he said. The view and size of this landscape would make any human being truly feel insignificant scale-wise. God's creation is simply astonishing.

There had not been any deaths from The Pulpit Rock for over 50 years. But in October 2013, just 2 months after we visited, a young Spanish tourist went to the edge to take one last photo, lost his footing, and fell to his death. It was reported his friends said one minute he was there, the next he was gone.

Follow-up: the folklore story to tell is of Odin, a folk god of the old Viking era in Norway. Odin is said to have overseen his kingdom in Norway and all the countryside from this pulpit rock. If you have seen the last episode of The Vikings for season 2, you would have noticed the last scene of the season with Ragnar in the distance on the Pulpit Rock, crouched down, and clutching King Horik's Sword of the Kings.

(Capo Beach Photos) attraction granite lysefjord norway norwegian preikestolen pulpit rock tourists views Wed, 09 Apr 2014 04:22:14 GMT
Living by the Sea Living By The SeaLiving By The Sea


Living By The Sea

An ideal setting for reading a long-winded novel or just escaping with your thoughts don't you think ? These were my first impressions of this quintessential get away by the sea, the Norwegian Sea to be exact. This summer cabin by the sea was spotted while en route back by ferry to the mainland of Norway from Ona Island (previous post Ona Island Lighthouse and Ona Cannery). What struck me about this structure was how stout it appeared, built of a stone foundation with concrete, cement block and a tile roof. It would have to be sturdy to withstand the horrific storms coming in from the Atlantic Ocean during the winter months. Yet here in August of 2013, it looks overly obtrusive in the peaceful seacape. Secondly, it is built on what barely amounts to a slight rise above water level, granite rock with some shrubs and sea kelp. You can not see the entire "island" in this photo but it only extends for another few hundred meters to the right of the photo. The portion to the right is the highest point of the island. It is estimated that over 83 % of Norway either owns or has direct access to a summer or winter cabin. . .that's a lot of cabins. The word for cabin in nynorsk Norwegian is "hytte".

The typical Norwegian is of hardy stock and independent as all get out and you would have to be to remain here all winter. However, during the summer months, they take to water like ducks to a pond, with boats of all types such as kayaks, dories and rafts as seen in this photo. I counted at least 4 kayaks, one dory and a rubber raft next to this cabin by the sea. The flying pennant is called a "vimpel" and almost always indicates someone is home. A vimpel always has the national colors and can be flown all hours of the day unlike the national flag itself. Norwegians are very patriotic and it has been surveyed in Norway that less than 6% of the population do not own a flag of some type, even vimpels.

(Capo Beach Photos) boats cabin dory ferry hytte island kayaks norwegian sea ona pennant raft sea sea kelp vimpel Sun, 06 Apr 2014 22:13:31 GMT
Eigerøy Fyr Eigerøy Light at DuskEigerøy Light at Dusk

Eigerøy Fyr ( Lighthouse ) -

The word for lighthouse in Norwegian is "fyr". So in keeping with my norwegian heritage, I am using that word in this post.

This particular fyr located on the island of Midtbrød is also cast iron as was the Ona Island Lighthouse in the previous post. Some 12 km southwest out towards the Atlantic coast from the town of Egersund, it is about a 30 minute walk along a pedestrian path called Fyrvegen ( the lighthouse road ), and is cordoned off with wood railed gates at several points to keep local farm animals such as sheep, goats and cows from escaping. 

The conical cast iron fyr was first built in 1854 and was Norway's first made of cast iron. Many others followed, up and down the coast of Norway. There have been 212 lighthouses in Norway with only about 154 ever being operational at the same time. The first lighthouse was at Lindesnes in 1655. Current navigational aids along the coast of Norway number around 5,052 spanning from Sweden on the south coast to the border with Russia in the northeast. These are unmanned but automated and many are only light beacons. The first order Fresnel lens used here at Eigerøy is Europe's strongest lit, burning some 3.95 million candelas strong and shining out into the Atlantic 18.8 nautical miles. Automated in 1989, it stands 108 feet tall (33 meters). During WWII there was a German outpost just out of camera view to the right in this photo. Its concrete shell remnant still remains. 

We arrived here very late in the afternoon. So late in fact that the dragonfly- sized mosquitoes were out in full force. If not for wearing long sleeve shirts and hats, they would have eaten us alive. As it was, we did not stay long and kept moving only stopping long enough to set up the photo shoot and drink some water.

(Capo Beach Photos) Atlantic Egersund cast iron conical eigeroey fyr lighthouse magna remote strongest light Tue, 01 Apr 2014 23:22:15 GMT
Ona Island Lighthouse Ona Red LighthouseOna Red Lighthouse Ona Island Lighthouse -

On a remote island off the west coast of Norway lies the once thriving fishing village community of Ona. Still operational though only a shadow of its former self, the village here has existed for centuries due to its proximity to the fertile fishing grounds of the Atlantic. It is only approachable by ferry from the mainland and takes about 1 1/2 hours travel time. I would best describe the atmosphere as placid and restful. Life appears easy and relaxed. Tranquil.

My wife Elizabeth and I visited this island in August of 2013, accompanied by two of my first cousins from Molde and one of their husbands. We walked aboard the ferry from the mainland. We did not need a car. The whole island is easily traversed in about twenty minutes. Once ferry riders arrive, the first thing most want to do is scale the walkway upward to the lighthouse to get the overall view of the entire island.

The lighthouse sits majestically atop the highest hill known as Onakalven. The red painted cast iron lighthouse was built in 1867 and was automated in 1971. It towers some 48 feet on the cliffs edge. Operating only for 10 months out of the year due to the midnight sun, the original Fresnel lens is still in use and produces about 79,000 candelas. The red flash shines every 30 seconds at a strength of 295,000 candelas. The strength of this light can be seen for up to 20.5 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The brilliant red paint has a wrinkled and fragmented look due to the expansion and contraction of the cast iron metal in the extreme weather. Average winter wind speeds across Ona Island are about 35 miles per hour.

(Capo Beach Photos) Ona Island ferry fishing village lighthouse norway red paint wrinkled paint Sat, 29 Mar 2014 05:07:41 GMT
Victoria Beach Ledge Victoria Beach LedgeVictoria Beach Ledge Victoria Beach - Salt Water Ledge

This photo is not insanely outrageous but has a lesson for all of us.

Towards the late afternoon last summer, I wanted to take photos of the LaTour Tower at Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach ( a photo blog will come soon of that ). So with camera in hand and loaded with the will to get a great shot no matter how long I had to wait for it, I trodded off to the location. It is a fairly popular spot for wedding photographers wanting a picturesque locale for their shoots. That afternoon, there were not many there, in fact only one photographer and newlywed couple had come and gone, leaving the beach to myself. Now, while this stretch of sand can be fairly popular at times, not too many people really know about it, especially tourists. That's a good thing, at least for locals, which I now consider myself. What nerve, huh !

Anyway, I took my photos and was rather disappointed in the color rendition produced that particular evening by the setting sun. I packed up my gear and started to head back up the beach. Just a slight way back up the beach, I saw this scene which, at least to me, made my trip worthwhile. Keep in mind at the beach especially in southern California, the beach is never the same from day to day. With the tide coming and going and swells rising and receding, the sand is constantly shifting, never the same.

The sand, it just so happened on this afternoon, had receded significantly enough that it exposed this rock ledge with dripping salt water draining from the tidepools above. This scene had been behind my back all along but I never noticed it. I had not even seen this ledge on my way down to the beach to shoot the Tower, totally blew right past it. But there it was. Nothing spectacular, but for me, just subtle and soothing enough to warrant my effort to take its portrait.

Lesson learned: look around you. . . all around you. When you expect the obvious, the unexpected may appear.

(Capo Beach Photos) beach california dripping salt water la tour tower rock ledge salt water ledge sunsets victoria beach Fri, 28 Mar 2014 22:38:39 GMT
Boathouse BoathouseBoathousePrivate boathouse at the east end of Lustrafjord, Norway Boathouse on Lustrafjord

In September 2006, after traveling south for over 4 hours from Geiranger in west central Norway, my wife and I came to where County Road 55 turns and heads further south toward Bergen. This is easternmost point on the fjord called Lustrafjorden. This highway, beginning in Lom and ending in Bergen, was once a national roadway and designated as a National Tourist Route. The fjord was very peaceful that day, almost mirror-like and we needed this view, if nothing else but to relieve the stress of driving. It had been a long day and we craved the serenity of this scene. What struck me especially about this scene besides its natural beauty were two small boys playing soccer, out of camera view, along the mostly quiet rural county roadway meandering alongside the fjord. Norway, like most other european countries is full of soccer fields where kids can play, even in small towns. It is their national sport. But here, the kids were playing in the roadway with such a beautiful view behind them. Oblivious to the view for the moment and concentrating on practicing kicking their ball was of the utmost importance to them. To my wife and I it was the serene view laid out before us. No speed boats, no factory buildings, no ferries, just peaceful, flat blue water.

This older boathouse, like so many in Norway, had a stone foundation, and wood frame construction with slate roof above. Repainted maybe every ten plus years or so, the wood clapboard siding showed the effects of the harsh Norwegian winters. The entrance to the boathouse from the fjord side was on the other side, out of view. The approach to the building from the roadway was merely a couple of logs used as beams, propped up on posts and stone, spanning over the water with planking between the logs for walking on. No railings, no gates, no signs not to trespass, no "caution for hazards" signs. Just a boathouse along the road.

(Capo Beach Photos) boathouse county road 55 fjord fotball mirror like blue water norwegian old country boathouse peaceful fjord serene soccer Thu, 27 Mar 2014 23:25:39 GMT
Ona Cannery Ona CanneryOna Cannery Ona  Cannery

What started out as a gloomy morning in early August last summer, ended up being a day of some awesome photo opportunities on the Island of Ona off the western coast of Norway. Traveling throughout southern and western Norway last summer was an encouragement to me since my wife and I had not visited my first-cousins and other relatives in Norway for over 6 years. While traveling by car, spectacular scenery just appears all around you. As a photographer, having an affinity for lighthouses especially, has inspired me to travel to out of the way places to see and photograph them. None more remote for me than the Island of Ona. While the image in this post is not of a lighthouse, it is an old cannery building on this island where a lighthouse exists. (You will see photos of the Ona lighthouse in another blog post coming soon.) This small remote island of about 40 people now was once a thriving fishing community. There is still a fishing industry on this island but very much reduced.

After traveling west for about 1 1/2 hours by ferry from Aukra on the mainland, and stopping at several other islands, we came to the Island of Ona. I had seen this little building on the south side of the island from a distance while approaching the ferry landing. Determined to hike to this spot from the lighthouse, I saw nothing but vast seaweed beds and this little building. It was once part of this thriving fishing community but long since abandoned. Just beyond the distant land jetty is the Atlantic Ocean.

(Capo Beach Photos) abandoned atlantic cannery fishing industry norway norwegian fishing industry norwegian islands ona island remote island seaweed seaweed beds Tue, 25 Mar 2014 18:21:32 GMT
Pelican Pete Pelican Pete  Pelican PetePelican Pete

Of all the photos I have taken in the last ten years this is my favorite. Why ? This handsome prehistoric-looking bird of southern California seemed to be at peace with me and I with him in the summer of 2010. Call me crazy, but it was almost like we made a 'connection' with each other. Several other people had tried to take his picture while he was resting peacefully on the railing of the San Clemente pier, but he would fly off only to return shortly thereafter a little further down the pier, away from those pesky tourists trying to take his picture. Every time he flew off, he would let out a little gull-like screech as if to say "all I want is to be left alone to rest and let the fresh fish I just caught, settle in my stomach before I have to fly off and join the others. So leave me alone people !" And yes, there were other California brown pelicans flying around the pier that day, most of them trying to still catch whatever they could find swimming in the water. But Pelican Pete, as I affectionately have called him since the day we 'connected', had already made his catch of the day and was trying to enjoy his contentment on the pier railing.

As I approached him to shoot this photo, I gradually started talking with him. Very softly at first because I did not want to scare him off. Finally, I felt I had the position I needed to snap the shot, and I said to him, firmly, not loudly but firmly, "OK, stay right there until I get the shot, OK?" To my amazement, he stood right there, despite his 'evil eye' look at me. It seemed like he trusted me but only for a couple of seconds. . . he was trusting me to behave myself. And I did, only approaching him to within about four feet. That is as close as either one of us preferred. . . I think. After the photo was taken, he remained perched on the railing content to let his food settle. Thank you Pete, you are my favorite pelican of all time !


(Capo Beach Photos) big bills birds brown pelicans california divers prehistoric san clemente pier water Tue, 25 Mar 2014 04:51:03 GMT
Brisco Point Sunset Taken on a warm July evening, this photo was taken with in 1974 on a warm July evening from a small 20 foot runabout motor boat sitting quietly in Dana Passage, south Puget Sound just north of Olympia Washington.Brisco PointA summer's sunset in south Puget Sound Washington

Brisco Point Sunset

Located in south Puget Sound, Washington just north of Olympia, this image was taken  in 1974 looking west toward the Olympic mountain range and captured on Kodachrome 25 film, with a silver-bodied Nikon F2 camera and 50mm lens, my prize possession at the time. The original 35mm slide image cast a slightly orange glow with rich dark blues for the late evening sky. This late July evening photograph was captured from my in-laws' 16 foot runabout sitting quietly in Dana Passage, south Puget Sound. My younger brother-in-law skippered the boat and was also a casual photographer. We both sat eagerly awaiting some kind of dramatic sunset. His photograph of the same sunset was taken with a different film camera, an Olympus, and with Ektachrome 100 film. If you know anything about the bygone era of film you would know that Ektachrome film captures a different color rendition 'feel' of an image than Kodachrome 25 film. I always preferred Kodachrome due to its softer orange, richer blues images, almost an elegance of subtle color which worked especially well with sunsets and dark skies. My father and uncle were also Kodachrome 25 photographers so it only followed that I would be also. Ektachrome 100 was a faster film, had less expensive processing costs and was quicker to get back from the lab but always had a slightly bluish-green tint that I just did not care for. I guess it was a matter of personal taste. I know that it was a favorite of National Geographic photographers in the day.

The following week, my brother-in-law submitted his photo of his sunset to the Daily Olympian newspaper. His photo was published, much to my amazement. My photo never has been published until it appeared as the cover of my wife's first novel in 2007. See her website here:  So you can say its kind of ironic and exclusive at the same time, even though some 33 years late. Lesson learned: patience. Brisco Point is still there today but will never look like this again. The flat area above the Point is now developed with housing, and the large trees sitting so majestically above the cliff are long gone. . . 

(Capo Beach Photos) BriscoPoint ektachrome F2nikon film kodachrome olympia olympus sunset washington Sun, 16 Mar 2014 03:56:42 GMT