I expected that red would be the color that would dominate my thoughts during the second week of February. Valentine hearts and huge firecrackers for the Chinese Lunar New Years were just two of the mid-month reds seen exploding everywhere. But, strangely enough, subtle oranges were filling my viewfinder.
Post-processing helped tease out barely visible oranges in the morning sky at Princeton by the Sea (just north of Half Moon Bay along Highway 1). Simple subjects such as a decaying dock and aged boathouse surrounded by tranquil bay water and looming rainless clouds felt extremely dramatic. Photography, like painting and other visual arts, is often about the artist projecting her vision onto a scene that is witnessed with the naked eye much differently from her final rendered image.
I am hoping that this image might invite you to a calm place where you are enwombed by the tranquil and nutritious spirit of orange. Imagine walking that long dock and then exploring the vintage timbers of the boathouse. Linger a while to be engulfed by the orange sky that is also reflected in the water below you.
Orange can also enter your view in little bursts like those colors belonging to the legs, feet and eyes of the Northern Shoveler as it dredges the marsh waters for food. Perhaps the most visible characteristic of the Shoveler is that large spoon-shaped bill, which widens towards the tip and creates a shape unique among North American waterfowl.
Seeds of sedges, pondweeds, algae, bulrushes, saw grass, smartweeds, and duckweeds, as well as aquatic insects, mollusks and crustaceans are consumed by filtering the water taken in at the bill tip and jetted out at the base. Many Shovelers winter in California, and a dozen can now be found at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park.
Orange also signals the beginning of the wildflower bloom as the California and Coastal Poppies begin their annual extravaganza everywhere! As orange awakens the seeds and seed nibblers around us, think of those things that are now awakening in you!