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Image by Ed Yourdon
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By the second day of my 40th-anniversary visit to Sand Dollar Beach in Big Sur, it became evident that my photos, and this visit, were no longer about the beach and the scenery – but rather the people who now populate the place. It's not as bad as Stonehenge, or the hill towns of Italy, or the tourist mobs surrounding Ayers' Rock in Australia; and as I mentioned in the description of yesterday's album, Sand Dollar Beach hasn't (yet) been defaced by the presence of KFC or Pizza Hut, like the Sphinx in Cairo … but it's no longer the pristine, breathtaking expanse that it was when I first stumbled upon it in 1969. C'est la vie…

I got up at 5 AM this morning, intending to leave my hotel room (cabin) at 6 AM to witness another sunrise on the beach. But when I opened the door to my room, I was met by fog so dense and so thick that I could barely see my hand in front of my face. That happens a lot along the coast here, and there's nothing you can do about it. The fog remained heavy until noon, and was still visible at 4 PM; the last couple of photos in this album show the view down the coast, from the vantage point of my cabin at Lucia Lodge, some 300 feet above the ocean.

Because of the fog and mist on the beach all day, many of the photos in this album are shadowy and almost surreal; indeed, the effect is exaggerated by the fact that most of my shots were taken with a 300mm telephoto zoom lens, which compressed all the fog between me and my subject into a somewhat denser mass…

Aside from that, there was far less surfing than yesterday, and far less of a festive, summery, sunlit scene. But there was still enough of a crowd to make me realize that this is no longer an "off the beaten path" place. I can only wonder what it might be like 40 years from now …. among the signs of intruding civilzation were the park ranger, who strolled up and down the beach with a clipboard in hand; and a squadron of half a dozen fighter jets that roared overhead at a low altitude, presumably protecting us from attacking terrorists lurking in the mist offshore….

I didn't stay for sunset today; the mist was so heavy that I wasn't convinced that there would even be a pleasant sunset. But I enjoyed the time that I spent on the beach, and I appreciated the opporutnity to re-live the experience once again…

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