bioluminescent surf. We parked at the top of Fletcher Cove, and walked down to the beach. It was dark. Really dark, even with the almost full moon behind us. But when I started to take pictures, with the long, slow exposures that my phone takes, the results looked like strange lighting on a movie set, like I collaged palm trees against a dusky sky. Invisble details, like the railing, the squares on the quilt Maria had wrapped around her, are as clear as day (almost.) Movement creates a soft focus, like oil paints gently brushed on canvas; detailed, yet blurred. That amazing little pocket technology gathers every last photon and makes visible a world we cannot see. I can't decide if it's a feature or if it's a little too good. Do you know what I mean? It's more like I used effects or filters, and these are not true depictions of what we saw. I didn't touch up or modify any of these.
The brightest figure in the sky is Jupiter. Far south of the bluff are the lights of La Jolla. We watched the waves for a long while, and maybe our eyes needed time to adjust, before we began to see really good bursts of luminescence. Green or slightly blushish light would peel from the black, cresting waves, and as the waves broke, bursts of colored light would appear.
up to Swami's and Noonan's Point.
When I showed her some of the shots I was getting, Maria was astonished, and said "They're in color!" We were looking at a black and white world. White stars, and moon, bright Jupiter in the dark sky, black waves breaking into white foam, with flashes of green, sparkles of blue... magical, fleeting bursts of color, and everything else obscure, mysterious. The iPhone was picking up all of the particles of light, and it was hard not to be surprised at seeing the golden bluffs, green plants, the blue in the sky, even our faces, and details of our clothes.
As amazing as the effect is, a camera that can illuminate dark places, Maria and I were even more impressed and awestruck by the black and white world, by the calm quiet of darkness. We studied the horizon, learning to distinguish the subtly distinct small waves, from the more distant and larger blackest waves. Those blackest waves were the most likely to peel out in flashes of luminescene. Light came rolling out of a void, like something tearing open, expelling bursts of energy, clouds of churning water propelled in streams across the horizon. I wish I could take you there. I wish there were a way for us to be this happy in darkness, and to gather all of the particles of unseen light, to bring us calm, quiet awe, and wonder.