I got an email from Eduardo Agilera, the creator of the labyrinth on Lands End, telling me that he was going to use candles to light the paths of his labyrinth just after sunset on the spring equinox.
So on March 20 I dutifully toddled over to Lands End. Actually, I drove over the Richmond Bridge, south on 101, and then over the Golden Gate Bridge, leaving Phyllis to pick up the kids.
Parking below the Palace of the Legion of Honor, it was clear but very windy and bitter cold. I bundled into my cold weather gear: wool undies top and bottom, down coat, pink balaclava, gloves, and hiking boots. I fancy I look a little like an Easter Egg, but the outfit does keep me warm.
As I neared the top of the steps down to Lands End, I could hear the roar of the surf in the wind.
Eduardo was waiting at the top of the stairs with a bag full of candles. “It’s too windy to even try to light them,” he said.
I wondered what to do next. My theory of life is that if you are given lemons, you make lemonade. For me, photography is a quest, in the knight errant sense. If you take on a photographic quest, you are going on an adventure. By definition, you never know what an adventure will bring. Quite likely it is not the photographic goal you started out with. The best photographs happen along the way, and are the product of prepared serendipity. In other words, it is the journey and not the destination that counts.
It was a little hard to figure out how to make lemonade in the cold wind and with the noise of the breakers crashing against Lands End.
I asked Eduardo if he would come back down to the Lands End platform and his labyrinth, so I could take a picture of him with his creation. I think he was a little reluctant, which I could understand as the full force of the gale struck me out on the point. Even in my rather portly person, with massive hiking boots, I felt in danger of being swept over the cliff to the churning waters of the Golden Gate at any moment. Eduardo squinted into the wind, his photo done, and returned up to the top of the stairs to warn off any others come to celebrate the equinox with his maze and candles.
I looked down at the little rocky beach to the north and west of Lands End. It seemed like it might be a little sheltered, and the action of the waves might be of interest.
As I explored the beach, I kept my camera gear and tripod on my back (for a quick getaway), and a careful eye towards the ocean. The sheer force behind these wind-driven breakers was enough to make anyone nervous.
From one angle, looking around the corner of the rocks below Lands End, I was surprised to see part of the Golden Gate Bridge. As a big wave crashed on the shore, I snapped this photo of the wave crashing around, under, and apparently above the bridge, with Lands End on the right of the image. I used a long lens to isolate the waves and bridge (at 200mm, which given Nikon’s 1.5 factor is 300mm in 35mm terms).
Since I am working on a publication project involving 100 Views of the Golden Gate, after the Japanese artist Hokusai, I am pleased to have captured an image that echoes Mt Fuji seen through a giant wave: