I am Shelley Smart, an artist and amateur photographer. I recently moved to “The Beach.” I wondered how a whole year of beach living would measure up. What wonders might I find or see? How would the days change or remain much the same? Is there a rhythm to the days? Did the wind always blow? And just how bad for you was eating and breathing sand? In an attempt to answer all these questions (and more) I’ve been compiling a daily record in photographs and words of A Year at the Beach since February 21, 2010. I hope you enjoy my blog.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 29, 2011







Tried to get out to the beach for low tide in mid-afternoon, but it was one of those tides that is suppose to be low, but, in actuality, really isn’t. Still, I liked it.

I am more surprised on these low-key and overcast days that there are as many people as there are on the beach than are not. There wasn’t much happening but the waves were beautiful. I offer my day’s selection of waves in the order I took their photos. First photo: I was fascinated by these green waves that rose out of the blue-tinged water like they were made of a different ocean. The sky was overcast today but the waves reflected the palest and prettiest blues (second photo). Yummy. The third little wave is definitely going to be a painting. And (fourth photo) it crashed in a most lyrical fashion. A little later in the afternoon, the waves (last photo) developed “shivers” as I call them but still held that silvery light.

I know I could caption the photos but when I began this blog, I didn’t know how to, or maybe it wasn’t available so I began just writing my descriptions as a story. I hate to change my ways now. LOL

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 28, 2011






Family matters and a move by my daughter from Texas to California took up much of my time in July. I don’t recommend a drive across Arizona and New Mexico in the summer! This photographer isn’t used to 112°F, as if many people truly are. As an aside, the mountains in AZ as seen across the desert are spectacular. I’d love to go back sometime with my camera in hand (not in an impossible-to-get-to suitcase).

But for now, I am back at the beach where the breezes are cool, the beach rather empty, and the waves intriguing as always. I made my way out just before sunset, hoping for magical light.

Immediately the lovely light illuminating the green of the first wave shown above caught my eye. In the second photo of waves, I just loved the pattern of these separate but equally charming waves. The evening light worked its magic as it brightened the foam that swept into shore.

And last but not least in the third wave photo is this lovely curl. How can it be so smooth?

As I walked back to the beach access, a friend called to me from her balcony to point out a friend’s child and dog running towards us. You know I’m a sucker for dogs.

It’s good to be back. Tomorrow I have more photos to post from my next-day’s trip out the beach. The weather had changed and drew me out.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4, 2011

Fourth of July crowds!

"How to Learn to Boogie Board"

The Seal Slide -- if there was water...

Ooooh noooo, a wave...

July 5 beach


What glorious weather for a Fourth of July holiday! You’ve seen my photos of the mostly empty beach on typical days throughout the year, and today (like last July 4) was definitely an exception to the empty beach rule with crowds of happy people playing on the beach and in the waves all day long.

Family joined us to enjoy an afternoon at the beach, too. It’s the only time I can get my husband to sit under an umbrella for, well, any length of time. The grandkids had a blast. Grandson Austin was learning to boogie-board and found great fun with his sister by digging in a big sand hole and sliding down the sand! Oh, and, lastly, I post a photo of another almost brave young woman who faced the incoming wave from her hole in the sand, but soon skedaddled.

For contrast, I end with a photo of the beach on July 5. (Still a wonderful day!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 21, 2011







At last, a wonderful sunny day at the beach! And it was so fitting that it was the first official day of summer. Because I moved from the very humid and very hot southern US (even though that was a few years ago), I am still so surprised (in a nice way) by the cool weather that dominates the CA coast in June. And that includes the ubiquitous fog, aka June gloom.

Some of my favorite scenes from this walk on the beach included a very kind and seemingly gentle man and his dog taking a break from throwing and chasing balls. A brilliant yellow plane made its way through a brilliant blue sky. Love that contrast! The waves were beautiful colors, too. And when I took a last look back at the ocean as I walked home, I was captivated by the view of the lifeguard stand against the sunlit sea.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 12, 2011





Sunset often calls me to the beach. It's June and we call the fog that shows up most days "June Gloom." It lifts about an hour before sunset -- if we're lucky. The fog bank lingering offshore can create some interesting sunsets, IMHO.

Last evening it was breezy and quite cool but that didn't stop these kids from playing in the waves, albeit not very far INTO the waves!

I'm amazed how the waves vary each day, and tonight were quite glassy and smooth. I loved the way the setting sun polished them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 7 & 9, 2011






I needed a walk on the beach so out I went at sunset on June 7 -- I liked it so much I went out again last night, June 9. According to fishermen and my husband, this week mucho bait fish are trapped (?) in the harbor. And this week, there have been many pelicans diving off shore. I won't bore you with more photos of pelicans caught in mid-dive but instead offer up sunset views.

The top two photos are from June 7. The bottom three from June 9. I thought the light on the waves was beautiful.

Monday, June 6, 2011

May 31, 2011





It was a gorgeous day last Tuesday and there were many pelicans fishing and gliding by. (I just found these forgotten photos on my camera -- oops.) This one group made a pass directly overhead. Aren't their precision flying formations spectacular? I was able to get great shots of one guy/girl who was most directly above me. The reflected light from the sand was pretty great, too.

Then there was this gull who had grabbed a bit of lunch from somebody's picnic! I hope there was something in that paper for him to enjoy!