The force of the ocean

Picture: Seagull sitting on coastal rock as waves break in the background at sunset, Jug Handle State Reserve, Mendocino County Coast, California

Photo: Seagull sitting on coastal rock as waves break in the background at sunset, Jug Handle State Reserve, Mendocino County Coast, California

Late last week I zipped up along the Mendocino Coast to get a few photos for an upcoming book project. I spent a wonderful morning in complete solitude on a beach watching the sunrise light over the ocean. When I got back to my truck, I was a little winded, and my throat felt a little sore. No big deal, except the sore throat failed to go away despite juice, coffee, and ice water. By lunch time I had a bad feeling, so I called home to inquire about the family health status. Everyone was fine when I left. My wife informed me my daughter had come down with a cold. As I was quickly able to deduce, she wasn’t gonna be the only one.

By that night, I was having some pretty severe coughing spasms, one of which (as I would find out later when I got home) was strong enough to break one of my own ribs. I spent the remainder of the trip wincing in pain and grabbing my side with every cough or sneeze. As I watched the waves at sunset, every so often an especially forceful wave would slam into the rocks, sending its energy spraying out in all directions. – Yeah, that’s pretty much what it felt like.

One thing I will prefer not to try again: Driving hundreds of feet above the Pacific Ocean on a narrow, twisting, 15-mph section of curves alongside a “one mistake and you’re dead” cliff; having a coughing spasm with a busted rib, holding the steering wheel in one hand, ribs in the other, and trying stay in my lane. Yeah, once was enough for that.

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4 Comments on “The force of the ocean”

  1. Tessa Says:

    Wow, what an incredible image! Everything’s so… golden and wild. Sorry to hear about your rib, though.

  2. Julie Rorden Says:

    I know that part Hwy 1 very well. Can’t imagine what it was like for you to drive it under the conditions you described…and living to tell us about it! Your image is very sensory: I feel the damp air, smell and taste the salt spray, hear the waves crashing against the cliffs, and see the filtered sunlight envelop the whole scene. Great image, Gary 🙂

  3. Richard Wong Says:

    Love this photo Gary. It’s powerful just like how I would expect the North Coast seascapes to be. I have a poster of Humboldt State University in my bedroom that has a similar type of look with the bird on a silhouette seastack that has a lot of scale. I’ve kept that poster for more than ten years because it always struck me as what a seascape photo should feel like when viewing it.

  4. Rosh - New media photographer Says:

    Wow, that is quite the story.

    Nice image:I like the monochromatic sunrise orange, composition, waves and the Seagull is a nice touch.


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