A Driftwood Study

(Click on any image to enlarge)

I’m often pleasantly surprised by what the ocean deposits on the beach.  A few days ago I visited Tide Pool Beach here at Sea Ranch and came across a single large piece of driftwood.  The colorful swirls of grain lines highlighted by fungus (the black areas) and other decay reflected the tortured history of this twisted log.

Doonesbury Driftwood

In the first image, though, I was surprised after I processed it to see a shadow that looked like it came out of a Doonesbury cartoon.  I totally missed it while I was shooting as I was more focused on the broader composition of the image.  I guess it shows that you just can’t take it all in while you’re looking through the eyepiece.

Driftwood Swirls

Black Mold on Driftwood

Tortured Driftwood

The other three images were also taken from the same log and show very different aspects of this log.  I would have loved to have had this log in our garden, but it was too big to haul off the beach (which is frowned upon here anyway).

This was a fun find and is one of the things that keeps me regularly returning to the beaches here.  It’s an ever-changing landscape and an old Long Island beach comber like me can always find something to capture my interest.  I hope I captured yours.

Equipment:  Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; monopod


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6 Responses to A Driftwood Study

  1. Chris says:

    It would have been interesting to see what you might have made with such a cool piece of wood. Was this something the typhoon brought to shore? Personally, I always loved finding the beach glass on the South Shore.

    • Yea, this was a pretty big log. But I suspect it might have been redwood, judging by the color of the wood exposed in some of the broken areas. It would have been fun to play with such a piece, but it’s just too big to deal with. I was just happy to photograph it. And I too loved the beach glass on the south shore, and there was quite a bit on some of the north shore beaches as well. We have a beach here on the north coast in Fort Bragg (1.5 hrs. north of here) called “Glass Beach.” Very cool place to beach comb.

      Always good to hear from you. I hope all is well in your part of the world.

      Take care, my friend,


  2. Chris Wendt says:

    Wow, these are very interesting. You answered what was my first question. what kind of wood. If you put your eyes slightly out of focus, they all look like photos of earth from space. Another great job, Phil!

    • Thanks Chris. Yes, these abstracts are always compelling to me as well. I was going to throw in a pic of the entire log butt just wasn’t all that interesting…it’s a log. Close up is where it really gets interesting. The subtle color differences were a little more interesting than the B&W version. But maybe later on I’ll repost as B&W.

  3. Nancy Carroll says:

    Hi Phil! I love these! This is right up Jim’s photography alley too. He often takes photos of these types of ‘beach art’. Abstract yet beautiful. Great job!

    • Thanks so much Nancy. I’d love to see some of Jim’s images. “Beach Art” is a great name for this kind of abstract imagery.

      Take care, and say Hi to Jim.

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