Updated: Apr 4, 2020

Upon returning to Portland in the first week of January, I found myself in a funk, yearning for sunshine and a return to the outdoors. In a swift sequence of events, I found myself a beach bungalow home in Encinitas within a matter of 24 hours of revealing my desires to the universe. I knew nothing about Encinitas, only that it was close to the beach and near San Diego. I spent a full month - end of January to end of February - in this enchanting beach town. Living was easy. I was able to return to healthy habits - writing, yoga, photography, spending time outside, farm to table cooking for myself. Sobriety. It was a profound month for me, and I feel a deep spiritual connection to Encinitas. I'm so grateful that I "randomly" ended up there, but I know it was not random in the least.

One enjoyable activity for me to do most every day was visit the beach around sunset. Sunset was about 5:30 pm, and there were various outlets to visit. Grandview, Beacon, Moonlight, and Swami's were where I spent most of my time; but throughout my month, I became acquainted with much of the coast from Carlsbad to Torrey Pines to La Jolla. The sunset was new and different every single night. I learned the weather was not necessarily a good predictor of the sunset. Sunny, clear days were sometimes the most boring. Partly cloudy days present a multitude of colors if the clouds are positioned correctly. Stormy days were a wildcard, but often incredibly magical.

My techniques improved over time, just by getting out there every day and reviewing my photos over time. A few things I learned:

1. Tide - Allow the tide to flow away from me at a slower shutter and draw the viewer into the picture. High tide allows for more shutter time.

2. Foreground interest -- rocks, trees, humans, reflections -- creates a much more interesting photo.

3. Photographing surfers is fun!

4. Practice every day, and improvement does come!