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New Photograph: Posted  May 24, 2014

Beached Young Humpback Whale. Half Moon Bay. 2014.
Canon 5D Mark III

10 x14 Pigment Inkjet Print on Cotton paper

A sad, and wondrous sight mixed together...

I had heard there was a a small whale beached in Half Moon Bay. I had to go see, feeling both empathetic and possibly voyeuristic. The body was not hard to find. People lined Highway One. Most were respectful and sad. Some were lining up to get pictures of their kids posing with big smiles with the dead baby beyond.

I photographed, but with an uncomfortable sense of seeing design in death, beauty in sadness. I wanted to celebrate this young mammal's form and wonder, but here it was, sadly pushing against the rocks with every wave, somewhat torn and starting to decay.

A local TV reporter asked me if I would talk for a moment on camera about what I was seeing and thinking. I continued to linger, staying as long as I could, but I had to go off to a meeting about a park cutting down tress. I knew I would come back afterward, at night.

The nighttime scene was eerie, no one gawking, cold, much silence and sadness. The fishing boats coming in for the night streaked across my photographs. The long exposures smoothed the rolling water. The body rolled.


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Last updated on May 29, 2014 . Mail comments to: info@sjphoto.com
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2014 by Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.