The WIND creates patterns in sand and water that only last a few instants or at most a few hours. These images can never be reproduced with a "better shot." Some people think finding these pictures is just a matter of luck. In fact, for every trip that results in a worthwhile addition to a portfolio, there are ten or twenty that come up with nothing. Success is a product of patience and imagination.
On a night in June 2003, there was a particularly high tide. At sunrise, the low tide that followed was negative six feet. On a section of the beach at Torrey Pines, the actions of the waves, combined with the mineral rich dust from the cliffs, created a multitude of fantastic patterns and shapes. Tom O Scott discovered these almost by accident, and started the Sand Vision series. Since that day he has taken hundreds of trips to the two beaches in North County San Diego that produce these images. On most days, it simply ends with a five mile walk. But about 10% of the time, Scott comes away with some unique pictures that will never be created again.
As a child, Scott was surrounded by German Expressionism. These works undoubtedly influenced him in the creation of this portfolio. Most of these images are created in the winter, when storms wash away the colorful minerals in the sand and replace them with shades of gray and black.
For years, Scott returned to the beaches of North County San Diego looking for additions to the Sand Vision series. One month in 2009, there were almost no patterns in the sand, so he looked amongst the boulders on the beach, which had fallen from the cliffs. The wealth of minerals, combined with the sand left by the high tidal waves, opened up a new series of images.
These are the most fleeting images of all, lasting less than 30 seconds. They are created when a wave comes into shore, leaving foam in a tide pool or attached to bits of seaweed. The second the next wave comes in, they are gone.
Many of these images are from Salt Point on the California Coast, and Shore Acres State Park in Oregon. The salt in the ocean water crystallizes and forms intricate shapes in the rocks.
Torrey Pines is an amazing place. Scott has been there over 200 times in the past 10 years, and he is still discovering new things. Usually, his eyes have been glued to the sand, looking for worthwhile patterns. In 2014, searching for new abstract mediums, he started examining the multi-colored cliff faces. Because of its geologic history over millions of years, the rocks have just about every color of the rainbow. Some colors are in layers; others "bleed" through the layers. Since there is no access to the cliff face, most of these were taken with a telephoto lens from about 100 to 300 feet away.