When a recently ordered item didn’t arrive I found it had been shipped to my summer address.  My fault, but grrrrr!  It became, however, an excuse to drive down there on a beautiful day.  The package was enjoying the sun at the front door and all was well inside the house so … off to the beach.  It was in the 30’s and the wind was sharp from the west at maybe 15 knots.  That was enough to blow spray backwards as the waves broke, creating dramatic scenes.


_MG_0987 Nik TC + Vign



The jetty below Nelson Avenue in Beach Haven looked to be a good spot from which to record the blowing-back spray  as well as the specular highlights.  I shared the jetty with a group of gulls looking for summer.  I looked around but I couldn’t see it coming anywhere.


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The jetty was, indeed, a good platform from which to capture the surf and the sun’s reflection.


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I then headed down to the Forsythe Refuge below Holgate.  I had seen a report of a Snowy Owl along the beach and I had my fingers crossed.  First, however,  I parked at the refuge entrance and put myself outside of a Wawa sandwich.  While sitting there eating I was amused by a couple of surfers wriggling into their wet suits in the parking lot while complying with the posted sign warning against disrobing.  Turns out they wrap a beach towel around their waist for the final step.

I was warm in my car; they were changing in the wind chill;  I prefer my hobby.

One of them looking up at me as he raced off with his board  said, “Well, it beats video games.”

Refortified and well covered up in my dry suit I headed down the beach.  It was a brilliant day and there was much to look at but no snowy owls.  In fairness, the report said the owl had been seen about three miles south, almost to the inlet.  I don’t do three miles, particularly in 15 knot, 30+ degree winds so it is left to others to photograph the animal.  Nevertheless, it was a magnificent day and there is usually something to see along the way.  About a mile down, I came upon this sand-polished and sun-bleached tree carcass.  It made me think of a deformed dolphin on a bad hair day.  It is the kind of thing I used to have nightmares about running into in my boating days, a real prop dinger.


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Elsewhere, the specular sea through wind-blown grasses caught my eye.  The fact that there’s a ridge here shows how dune grass can hold the sand.


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A word about the rigors of photography with which painting artists don’t have to deal.  Obviously, I had to get down low for this composition.  My friend, Barbara, loves to tell of traveling with me and, losing sight of me,  scanning the ground to find where I’m lying to photograph some turtle face-on.


Here’s an example.  Barbara caught me photographing the civil war gravestone of a friend’s forebear.

Bergie at work crop-600


That doesn’t happen as much anymore, and the getting back up is also a challenge.  And even when prone, the head-to-the-viewfinder must still be raised up and the neck arthritis is not enthused.


Nevertheless, it was a fun, beautiful and satisfying day.  The endorphins were flowing.

I plan to misaddress packages more often.


29 Responses to “WINTER ON THE BEACH”

  1. Dick Says:

    Ralph great pictures. Always liked the “Jersey Shore” during the off season….

  2. eajackson Says:

    This makes me think I should have a package sent to lets say, Montana. That means I must go pick it up, right? Beautiful beach photos. If you ever get down low and cannot get up, give me a call. I will come roll you over.

  3. Roz Williams Says:

    Definitely a deformed dolphin – but with a smile on it’s face! Great pictures. Roz

  4. denisebushphoto Says:

    Glad you were able to make lemonade out of your lemons… And a winter chapter for your ‘Old Man & The Sea’ coffee table book too. A fun read and lovely photos!

  5. Bonnie Says:

    Wonderful images. I have always loved the shore in the winter. So quiet you can actually hear the ocean.

  6. Ken Curtis Says:

    Glad to see you’re taking advantage of great days and sitting in a rocker.

  7. Jeanne Says:

    Some of us would have to stay till spring. This was a fun trip with sea grass and all those gulls. We love our seashore, don’t we?

  8. Claire Says:

    Ralph, I was right there with you! Spectacular photos on a cold winter day! Thanks for sharing your artistry with me. Hugs, Claire

  9. Janet Hutton Hadley Says:

    Ralph, I don’t know which I enjoy more about your posts: is it the wonderful photography, or your engaging and humorous dialogue? Either way, I just want more.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thank you very much, Janet. For me they take time; my last post was December 1st. Plus, I need inspiration and things have been quiet except for the holiday activities about which I’ve posted lots over the years. I’m headed to Sanibel in a few days, looking for warmth (and inspiration).

      Miss seeing you at an occasional SJCC meeting.

  10. Rich Lewis Says:

    Your posts never cease to delight. I like that is not just about the photographs but the story behind the photos. It makes for enlightenment on both the visual and intellectual levels. Thanks for sharing your day at the shore.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Rich. I love photography but I also love word-smithing. After years of dull, turgid technical writing and business agreements I feel as though I’ve been liberated. Free at last, free at last.

      To me, the images and the write-ups leverage each other. Images should probably stand alone but just as with beautiful women, a little makeup sometimes enhances the scene. (Please folks, no emails or comments about sexism; I mean well and I love the ladies.)

  11. fiebs Says:

    Great post, Ralph. Always enjoy the back story & feeling like I’m there too. My favorite image is the blowing grasses. Love! Chuckled at the part about Barbara knowing to look for you on the ground. 🙂

  12. Jay Says:

    Thanks Ralph……….your photography and editorial comments always bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart…being in BH right now would be almost as good as staying warm here in Florida

  13. Virginia Rice Says:

    As always Ralph your images tell stories, love them. By the way my snowy owl story is much the same long walk for selch.

  14. roselle Says:

    Enjoyed following you on your trip!!! Thank you!!!

  15. Mary Lou Webber Says:

    Great photographs. Reminds me of a drive from New Rochelle,NY in the early 1940,s to Atlantic City(can’t remember year of the big hurricane )because my MOM wanted to see the beach and the waves the day after the STORM. It was fun an exciting. Mary Lou

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