Saturday, December 26, 2015

A 3-D Christmas!

We weren't sure we could pull it off - Melinda had some side effects from her last chemo a week earlier, and was feeling poorly. But after a swing past the Cancer Center for a liter of fluids, she perked up well enough for a short road trip to Mexico! The last couple Christmases it has worked out to get away for an exotic vacation less than 5 hour drive away. Our friend Margie takes good care of us, and having the Sea of Cortez and beach make it seem like a whole 'nother country (which it is)!

With out late start from Tucson on Christmas Eve (1pm), I figured we'd get into Rocky Point just about sunset, and that turned out pretty true. After brief bathroom and snack stops, we had an uneventful border crossing and arrived about 5:20. While we didn't get our luggage into the house in time for sunset, we did spot the moon rising over the desert to the northeast a few minutes later.

Margie was like the Jewish mother we'd never had - she had a stew ready for us when we arrived - the first of many meals she plied us with. After catching up our lives in the months since we had crossed paths, we watched a classic Christmas movie or two and actually headed to bed at an ungodly hour for me - 9:30!

I must have needed the sleep though, cause I didn't rise for 12 hours! With the full moon, Rocky Point has huge tidal swings - over 6 meters over this Christmas! I dressed and headed straight for the beach with camera to see low tide. The only company I had were a few fellow walkers, though ironically, I met another Tucsonan who grew up in Iowa and was a RAGBRAI regular!

When at the beach, one of my enjoyable activities is chasing down sea life, or the shells they leave. Since most of these are small, I usually pack the macro lens and tripod, and since I've perfected making anaglyph stereo images, I took a number of stereo pairs, where there is a couple-inch baseline to put the images back together to make 3D. So get out your red/blue anaglyph glasses to fully enjoy these!

On Christmas morning, the best views of the shells were near a lower level of the beach where gulleys in the sand evidently indicated where water was flowing to help expose these. These white augers are quite common - in fact, Margie points out you can get them by the 20kg bag for scattering near the entrance to her house, which she has done. At right is a small clam or scallop shell - rarely found fresh and still attached like shown here - and dramatic in 3D!

I'm not sure how it works out, but the water flow of the receding tide does a great job in concentrating different shells. It makes quite the colorful still-life in recording these, and I really like them in 3D, which helps differentiate the shells. Here at left is a wider shot of one concentration, and at right is a closeup of the upper part of the frame. There are obviously a wide diversity of shells, unfortunately, I haven't learned many types yet. Of course, tumbling around in the surf wears them down eventually into sand, yet, even the worn ones are quite interesting.

Case in point was this shell, well worn, and documented on the 3D shot as I found it. Picking it up afterwards, I found it makes a perfect natural pinkie ring! In the right image is how it is worn on my finger - the curved edge perfectly fits between pinkie and ring finger of my right hand...

We had a nice Christmas day - Margie made us scrambled eggs with shrimp, and just hung around telling stories all day, ending with more shrimp in garlic for dinner. There was a great sunset over the Sea, but taking it easy all day left me unprepared for sunset. I had to make-do with a shot with the kit lens set to 85mm to catch the "Omega Sunset", caused by warmer air near the water surface. Make sure you click on the image to see the broad base near the Sea's surface.

I had more plans to get out the morning of the 26th for more beachcombing at low tide, happening at a slightly later hour, but overnight a cold front had gone through, and a brisk wind made the beach really unpleasant! Plus the higher surf from the wind messed up the tide's shell distribution - really nothing to shoot at all... It was our departure morning, so packed up and left shortly after noon, arriving back to Tucson before 5pm. A nice break from reality, but it was good to see the cats, and they seemed glad to see us too! But it was a nice getaway, even if for 48 hours!


Anonymous said...

is it common to see so many shells on the beach down in rocky point?

Dean said...

Yes, but note these are small shells, imaged with a macro lens. Also note that the next day with higher wind and surf, the shells were mostly gone as they got scattered by high tides and surf. In the spring (warmer water), many of the shells have creatures in them - but again, small creatures. The biggest shells, the white augers, are at most about 8cm (3") long... -Dean