May week 5: On the Rocks – our future!

On the rocks may be the way to order your Long Island ice tea or scotch, but for me that is my low tide mantra. Ochre Sea Stars, Blue Mussels, Keyhole Limpets, Giant Green Anemone, Nuttall’s Chiton, Goose and Leaf Barnacles, Kelps, Rockweed and Tar Spots are just a few of my favorite clinging, dangling and hanging subjects revealed when the tide goes out.

May 5 - Star Anemone WEBEach beach and cove is uniquely carved by the tides.  Two times a day the tides rise and fall revealing the enormous ocean diversity just a few feet beyond our usual vista.  How powerful the ocean proves to be as it moves around all that water tugged by the moon and sun.

The lowest tides locally are anywhere between a negative foot or two.   The most dramatic sea level change on the West Coast is Puget Sound, Washington with up to 20 feet difference between the highest and lowest tides.

Finding and framing your subject is perhaps the most important aspect of “on the rocks” photography.  With smaller subjects it is easy to control your light with diffusers and reflectors.  Fortunately, many mornings on the coast are cast in fog providing a wonderful even light which teases out the vibrancy of intertidal zone colors.

Every time I walk on the mussel or seaweed covered rock-shelves and accidentally step on a closed or hidden anemone it squirts up a stream of water reminding me I have wounded it.  I try to ask of it forgiveness and promise to be more careful.

These days I think we need to ask the earth at many levels for forgiveness as we promise to do better at not wounding, destroying and poisoning it. For me every dramatic landscape image or small detail shot moves me not just to awe at its beauty but heightens my consciousness for its preservation.   I hope some of the images I share with you in these blog pages and portfolios will bring the same challenge to your thoughtfulness.

May 5 - StarOnRockWEBRebecca Clarren, in the Spring MS Magazine, wrote a provocative, articulate and well researched article: “Fracking is a Feminist Issue.”  We need to be aware and educated about the affects of natural-gas drilling, with the injection of thousands of chemicals into the ground, on the health of the earth and each of us.  There are no environmental safeguards set in place.

“Congress has exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act and aspects of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.”  The committee set up to study the issue doesn’t include a single medical expert.  The results of the first epidemiological study to determine water quality and the health of people near fracking operations are still 18 months out.  Thank you Vermont, for being the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing outright!

We need energy and we need jobs but we also need our Mother Earth as whole and well as possible!  Our health depends on hers.  We can’t keep stepping on her and asking for her forgiveness without amending our practices and polices.

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