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April 2022 Photo of the Month: WND59

My April 2022 Photo of the Month is WND59, taken during a beautiful morning on San Diego’s Windansea Beach.

WND59: Taken during a beautiful morning at San Diego's Windansea Beach
WND59: Taken during a beautiful morning at San Diego’s Windansea Beach

Thinking About Shorelines

Since I covered most of what I did shooting this scene in my previous blog post, I wanted to talk a little about what I was thinking at the time I was at Windansea, beyond the composition.

In fact, I was thinking a little bit about how this spot has changed over timescales far beyond our own lifetimes (my pessimistic climate change post was in my mind as well).

People understand that “sea level” changes over time but don’t always understand just how significant that is.  Most of our shorelines were populated and developed with some idea of permanence.  So when Miami is flooded and Pacific islands look like they may disappear, the truth is, they will.  And it has happened many, many, times.

The first inhabitants of the San Diego coastline may have been the Kumeyaay people.  They estimate they have been on these lands for 10,000 years, and if that number is inaccurate, it is likely because it has been longer.  One of the oldest archaeology sites of the Kumeyaay happens to be in a backyard of an undisclosed La Jolla Shores home.  But 10,000 years ago, that site wasn’t close to sea level.

This couples with the fact that Pre-Clovis cultures sites have been identified as far as Florida.  Pre-Clovis peoples likely came down the West Coast shoreline, and when arriving South beyond glacial areas, found ways to cross 2 continents.  We can’t identify those locations, or likely the original migration of the Kumeyaay people, because any shoreline site would be sitting under 350 feet of ocean water.  From the last glacial maximum today, that much water has dramatically changed the shoreline.  And the effects are even larger in places like Florida, which was likely twice its current size (and may not exist in a few hundred years).

So this image is ephemeral in every sense.  It may have been a rock outcropping thousands of years ago, overlooking a much lower beach, at an ancient shore that is now a sea canyon populated by sharks and scuba divers.

It is hard to know how our Pre-Clovis friends fared in a new land much different than their ancestors in Berengia thrived in (Berengia, itself, is now under the ocean).  While there are many obstacles and a lot of push-back from doing extensive DNA testing on indigenous remains (see Kennewick Man for a prime example), the evidence still points to nearly all indigenous persons in the Americas (outside of a small group in modern Colombia) being part of a founder migration of about 700 people.

And the North and South America they saw looked much different.  Glaciers would have just began their retreat from Yosemite Valley.  The San Joaquin Valley held a vast freshwater lake.  Death Valley wasn’t that bad a place to live in.  Examples abound.

The future will be much different.  Beyond the travails of human-driven climatic shifts, the planet will continue to evolve before Sol goes bust.  The scary San Andreas Fault won’t even be a big deal in 100 million years, by then, Walker Lane will have pushed the Gulf of California to Reno.  By your oceanfront property in Carson City while you can!

Everything you see, every moment you take in, every idea of permanence you know in your heart is just a dim flash in geologic time.  I picked this image for my Photo of the Month because I told myself to shoot something different than the “big skies” that I love.  The skies are often the subject of my images – this time, I pushed them to the background.  I liked the details of the outcroppings, and with my Neutral Density filter, I also stopped time quicker than the human eye can process.  And that, halo of ocean surf, I just liked how it hugged the coastline.  So WND59 is my Photo of the Month, and it is on to May in a 2022 that seems to be going by way too fast.

As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.

Further Viewing

Photos of the Month Portfolio Gallery

T.M. Schultze Fine Art America Print-On-Demand Store

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