Oceano Dunes is a fantastic state park. You can get the feeling of infinity (until you notice the cars driving on the adjacent beach). It was here that part of the Ten Commandments were filmed and photographers, including Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, made some iconic black and white imagery. The best time to visit would be at sunrise when the shadows are long and the night winds have had a chance to erase the assault of daily footprints. I can’t wait to go back.
September 11, 2011 was primary day, so after I voted I took the subway to a Union Square studio where I was in the midst of a 5-day shoot. When I finally got to the studio, this was the scene that greeted me out the bay windows. While I had access to some very long lenses, 600mm and longer, after I put them on my Nikon D1, I found I couldn’t take pictures of the people jumping. It was just too horrifying and opportunistic and saddening. I did manage to take these photos before and after the towers fell. As you can see, there were a handful of workers repairing the side of a building in the foreground who didn’t seem to know what was going on, until the giant boom of the towers made them scramble onto to the roof. It was a surreal day, and unlike most of the world, I did not watch any of it on TV, just with my own eyes. Later in the afternoon, I walked back to Brooklyn over the Manhattan Bridge, through the dust, swirling papers, and stench of burning buildings. The chemical odor was so bad I had to wear a bandanna. The saddest part of the next few days was the city-wide sense of denial, the naive hope that somehow thousands of wounded survivors would emerge from the rubble and be rushed to St. Vincent’s and Beth Israel hospitals And then there were the thousands of missing person signs posted on telephone poles, at subway entrances, on car windshields, and handout fliers. All those enlarged, blurry snapshots of father and mothers and sons and daughters who’d never come home again.
Over the next couple of days, I took the following photos (excuse the bad scans) at various vigils and impromptu memorials to the missing.
I never knew that a sea lion would eat a birds. On this afternoon, I was witness to 3 bloody attacks. Usually 2-3 sea lions surround a pelican and maul it until it can’t fly, then they rip it to shreds and devour the bloody breast meat. A gruesome sight and one which I didn’t explain to Max. The fishermen on the pier were eager to point this out because they’d gotten some bad press recently (more here) about supposedly injuring the birds who were trying to steal their catch. The most likely cause of pelican injury mentioned in the articles may be collateral damage from the feeding frenzy that occurs naturally when large schools of small fish swim by and sea lions and pelicans and cormorants compete for meals. One pier watcher told me that the fisherman compounded the natural problem because they dumped lots of filleted fish, causing many of the pelicans to peck at their gullets in vain attempts to disgorge stuck bones--a self injury which in turn attracts the seal lions to an easy victim.