We left the car in a spacious downtown parking garage and emerged into the warm October afternoon. The street was bathed in nearly golden light, and the scent of fresh baking led the way around the corner to a small cupcake outlet. Bob couldn’t resist. The large cherry filled cupcake was devoured before I could get my camera in position. Crumbs were clinging to his lower lip, and as if he was looking into a mirror his tongue quickly caught the last evidence of his sweet indulgence.
The mural across the street from the tiny bakeshop quickly diverted my attention. For a brief moment the shadows cast by a nearby tree made it appear as if I had stepped back in time. I followed my hosts and we turned onto Pacific Avenue, the main shopping street lined with trees, boutiques, expensive gifts shops and one of the best independent bookstores I had set foot into in a very long time. Bookshop Santa Cruz was bustling with customers young and old. The energy in the store provided me with hope that the independent bookstore has not yet completely disappeared from North American business directories.
Pacific Avenue not only offered great shopping opportunities. Upscale and family style restaurants, coffee shops and fast food outlets were scattered between the stores. My main focus was on the public art. A variety of sculptures by local artists are strategically situated to provide visitors with rest stops along the side walk.
The next sculpture reached high into the sky. While it reminded me of a study of scale and proportion I was secretly wishing it would move. The combination of various circles called out for movement generated by a gentle breeze from the ocean.
During our downtown excursion I learned that the Santa Cruz area was the epicenter of the devastating earthquake in October 1989. In less than 15 seconds nearly the entire downtown area was devastated. The buildings I captured here have since been rebuilt, emulating the original style whenever possible.
A Blue Heron just below the road leading toward the light house caused us to pause and admire this majestic bird. At home I am never able to get close enough – what a treat to capture this image from only a few yards away!
A couple of American Pelicans resting on the makeshift raft in the middle of Walton Harbor offered another photo opportunity. At this time I began to regret that I didn’t have my “good” camera with me. I was able to zoom in with the telephoto lens and was hoping for a sharp picture despite hand holding the camera.
A young Brandt Cormorant warming himself in the afternoon sunshine.
The surf was strong and we had to raise our voices, however the swooshing sound of the Pelicans overhead quickly changed the energy in the air. Everyone was forced to look up and admire the graceful movements of these large birds defying the law of physics.
Young and adult American Pelicans in flight… a sight I never grow tired of. My California experience was about to get even better!
…to be continued…