As I write this I am heading off for a weekend at Monterey, and maybe golfing with my son, if he will give me a lesson or two on how not to hook the ball. I’ll probably tour the shops downtown. But I never miss an opportunity to go to Pt. Lobos.
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Last time I was there the wildflowers made a spectacular foreground for photos of the bright blue sea on a sunny day. Usually it is foggy and overcast. Every change of weather means a change of photographic vision.
I particularly enjoyed photographing a painter and the scene she was rendering on acrylics.
Of course, the Weston family made Pt. Lobos famous with its black-and-white photos taken there. Brett Westin pioneered it and got his father hooked on Pt. Lobos. For me, photographing Pt. Lobos in color produces a different perspective. My first visit there was on our honeymoon. It was fogbound, but I still like the cypress tree trunk I had a color print made of. It has subtle shades of blue and yellow.
Pt. Lobos attracts 350,000 visitors annually. I enjoyed visiting the Whaler’s Cabin. I had never been there before. It used to be a ranger’s house, but is now a small museum with interesting photos and artifacts. The most interesting thing for me, was the docent had a spotting scope trained on a seagull and its baby seagulls. They were so well camouflaged against the rock that they were only visible when the mother seagull brought them food. Their hiding place kept them safe from predator birds.
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My wife picked out a bird feeder for my mother, which I reload every couple of weeks. She enjoys having the birds come around. She looks up some of them in her copy of Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Birds. Sometimes we debate what kind of bird she saw. There are two different kinds of birds. First are the small birds who land in the metal bars of the feeder. Second are the larger ground feeders that peck away at all the seeds that spill on the ground.
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I was talking to our columnist John Poimiroo, who achieved the rank of naval captain — the same rank as colonel in the army or marines. I was surprised to learn he started out as an enlisted man. I was kind of perplexed about a photo we had been sent of a petty officer assigned to a submarine. The photo showed a man in blue camouflage fatigues. I thought that looked rather Air Force-like.
John said the Navy shifted to camo outfits as a way to attract young people. When I was in the Navy we wore the Jay Leno look — blue dungarees and a blue chambrey shirt. I always had my dungarees tailored from stove pipes to bell bottoms. We had blue ball caps that were really gauche. John tells me that outfit was so 1940s that replacing it with camos was a good recruiting tool.
When I took my mom in for a new military dependent’s ID in Sacramento, all the people at the National Guard office wore camos. I see soldiers traveling on commercial planes in camos. It’s a different military fashion complex these days. We weren’t allowed off base in dungarees unless we were commuting from off-base housing. Otherwise we traveled in a dress uniform — blue in the winter and white in the summer.
John says the blue camos don’t show paint stains so much. The Navy’s famous saying was, “If it moves salute it; if it doesn’t, paint it.”
Michael Raffety is editor of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears biweekly.