One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2020 is to do more local photography. I had planned on making the trek down to Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur but the weather down there was poor. So I replanned and made the much shorter drive to Half Moon Bay.

One of the challenges with intended to do more photography is that it can be hard to plan in advance. The weather can render a planned excursion useless. I was able to find a suitable alternate location today so I’m keeping my resolution so far. However, February kills off most New Year’s resolutions so I’ll need to keep at it.

California, Landscape, Santa Cruz Coast

New Year’s Resolutions

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“Caught in the fading light of the longest night” — Howie Day, the Longest Night

This is the last light of 2019 which is also the last light of the decade of the 2010s. It’s very my last photograph that I created in 2019. As the light fades and day turns into night, sometimes the very last image works well.

Every year I think about how both Christmas and New Year’s are a slightly delayed marking of the winter solstice. More than any other event of the year, the shortest day and longest night connect my thoughts to many generations past. The earliest humans lived close to the equator so solstice probably wasn’t a big deal to our earliest ancestors since the length of the days near the equator doesn’t change very much. But once humans move to higher latitudes, the solstice must have very noticeable to our ancestors.

It will never cease to amaze me that Stone Age farmers built giant solstice aligned monuments such as New Grange. Every year I wonder what those monuments signified to them. But at a very visceral level, I understand why the solstice mattered to them. Modern humans know the days will get longer again because we have the science to understand the seasons. But ancient humans must have thought they were at the mercy of Gods for the days to get longer again.

Even with all the science, the glory of seemingly endless summer days is just 6 months away but feels infinitely far off to me. They will indeed return. But in the meantime, we have a couple of months of cold and long winter nights. At least, our modern technology provides light and heat and we are not huddled around a fire hoping the Gods see fit to bring longer days again.

California, Santa Cruz Coast

Last Light

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For the final sunset of 2019, I drove out to Capitola and was rewarded with a brilliant sunset.

Happy New Year!

California, Santa Cruz Coast

Goodbye 2019

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The prettiest season on the California coast is the winter. In the summer, the coast is often foggy and even on days when the skies are clear, there’s almost always a marine layer over the ocean which obscures the sunset. As such, prettiest sunsets are on clear winter days. For this reason, most of my visits to the coast are in winter and that experience is completely different than how non-Californians envision the coast. My California coast has cool crisp winter air where jackets and winter hats are a must and there’s not a soul sunbathing.

California, Santa Cruz Coast

California Midwinter

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After spending 10 days in Hawaii this November, I’ve started saying “Winter is optional” since one can move to the tropics and there’s no more winter. Seattle in the summer gives a different feeling. Summer with its incredibly long days feels endless. Of course, it’s not and summer inevitably fades aways and turns into a long grey winter. Sitting here at the tail end of December with the weather cold and rainy, I yearn for that feeling of never-ending summer.

Travel

Endless Summer

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Muir Woods is one of the Bay Area’s most famous and visited spots. It’s lovely. The visitor is experience is much improved now that the Park Service has instituted required reservations for parking.

California, Marin County

Muir Woods

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Sunset over San Gregorio State Beach

Due to the recent heavy rains, San Gregorio Creek is wider and deeper than usual. A few brave or perhaps foolhardy souls crossed it to get the main beach but the waters were almost waist deep. I elected to stay on the thin strip of beach on the parking lot side of the creek.

Santa Cruz Coast

San Gregorio State Beach Sunset

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Sunnvyale Sunset

The evenings have started to get that cool crispness that means fall is starting. Summer skies over Northern California tend to be bland and cloudless. With the start of fall, the skies have gotten more interesting, at least some of the time. On Friday, the skies turned brilliant at sunset.

California, Silicon Valley

Fire in the Sky over Sunnyvale

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The Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is my favorite building in New York City.  It’s a shining Art Deco masterpiece.  The Empire State Building is more famous but The Chrysler Building outshines it, at least in my book.

New York

The Chrysler Building

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