I love to wander at the beach and take pictures. This weekend we arrived for an afternoon stroll, not anticipating the strong winds. They sent dry sand skimming over the tidal flats, ruffled feathers on the seagulls and whipped up white caps. Clearly there had also been extensive storms since we’d last wandered here, as the driftwood was piled high along the shores, and sand crumbled from raw slices cut into the dunes. I hadn’t been walking outside or taking pictures much lately, and was delighted to be doing both.
The bleached wood and sea-worn shapes of driftwood fascinate me, and I took picture after picture. While I was framing the above picture, a woman walked around the point and into the scene. See her? That pink blob on the left? I was slightly irritated, as I definitely prefer my landscapes people-free. I reminded myself that her distant figure might provide scale or perspective and could actually add to the photo. Still, I was impatient for her to move along.
As she approached, we both called out, “Hello.” Then to my surprise, she moved up the beach toward me.
“If you like to take pictures, you should try this,” she said, her hand outstretched. In it was a smooth glass ball.
“A crystal ball?” I asked, laughing.
“Yeah,” she said, “Try taking a picture through it.”
She placed the heavy ball in my hand and we walked back toward the driftwood I’d been photographing. Once there, I held the ball awkwardly, unsure how to proceed.
“Just set it down somewhere and try,” she said. She took the ball from my hand and set it into various nooks, trying to find a stable perch.
“There!” she said. “Try that.”
I crouched down and looked through the ball. Within its smooth walls, was a miniature world, inverted. I took pictures from a few angles, delighted with the experience.
“Oh, you could play with this all day!” I exclaimed.
“That’s exactly what I’ve been doing,” she said wryly. “I’ve spent half the day down here taking pictures.”
“Thank you so much!” I said, handing her back the heavy globe. She slipped it into her pocket.
“No problem,” she replied. “Have fun.”
She continued her walk down the beach, a lone figure silhouetted against the surf and sand.
Yes, I thought, she definitely had added a different perspective to the scene.