The first time I saw the ocean was in 1994 on a family vacation in South Korea.  Having grown up in a small town surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, being witness to a seemingly endless body of water stretching out in the horizon was a truly eye-opening experience.  I still remember the bitterly cold winter wind that whipped around us as we stood near the shore, watching the water lap onto the sand in a crescendo of waves.  Dotted along the shoreline were clusters of rocks, slick from the waves that crashed upon them but nonetheless occupied by excited tourists making peace signs for photographic commemoration.

I don’t recall the town that we traveled to that day, but I can vividly recall the sense of awe and wonder I felt as an 11-year old experiencing the ocean for the first time.  In sharp contrast to the feeling of safety being surrounded by mountains, I was now standing on a beach with nothing around me but sand and a giant body of water.  There was a sense of vulnerability being out in the open but it was oddly comforting as my ears took in the roaring of the waves and my nose became accustomed to that unmistakable “ocean” smell. Before then I had only been to a few lakes which paled considerably in comparison to what was laid out in front of me.

It was that first taste of openness that resonated the most.  The wide open ocean symbolized limitless possibilities.  In my mind’s eye, there is no end point to the ocean and it holds with it a sense of the unknown, waiting to be explored.  On a superficial level, I simply loved feeling the ocean wind on my face and in my hair.  I fell in love with the beauty of the water as it went about its natural course.

Since then, I have chased the ocean.  My first foray into so-called adult independence (aka the “quarter-life” crisis I had when I was a naive 21-year old) took me across the globe to Australia and New Zealand (both surrounded by water), where I spent nearly two years on working holiday visas.  Some of my favourite vacation destinations are along the coast – Vancouver, San Francisco – and the Dreamer in me wishes nothing more than to live a simple existence in a small, cozy house on the beach with a couple of dogs, wall-to-wall shelves filled with books while sipping lattes made by my engineer husband every morning.

Funny how reality has so far played out quite differently.  Calgary is a lovely city but it’s nowhere near the ocean.  In fact, I’m closer to the Canadian Rockies than I am to the coast. But one can keep dreaming of the idyllic beachfront home, right?


This post contains – for very obvious reasons – some older shots.

The photo below was taken at San Juan Island in 2012:


Here is the same scene, but vertical:


I don’t prefer one photo over the other; they simply offer different perspectives.  The horizontal view evokes a feeling of sitting on a log in the sand and taking in the scenery while the vertical view is what I imagine the scene would look like if I were standing.  Certainly not the most creative way to describe how these perspectives look but it’s how I immediately interpreted the compositions.

Do you prefer one over the other?  If so, why?  I would love to read how others view these photos.

*Note: The first photo was also taken at San Juan Island.  It’s one of my favourite shots of the ocean because of the incredibly vibrancy of both the sky and the water.


This post is part of Blogging U’s Photo 101 Class, where I’ll be posting a photo each weekday with an interpretation of the given theme.

11 thoughts on “water

  1. I can’t decide if I like one better than the other…they are different, the horizontal shot leads into the width of the ocean, the long waves coming in to the beach. In the vertical the rocks and the gull take on more focus… nice pics. Nice sky…and beach. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 he takes a more central position in the photo when its vertical…maybe something about the drawing the eye upward rather than side to side along the crest of the waves. I always learn SO much from these photo classes…something about studying the photos to analyze them?


      1. Oh fun! Whereabouts will you be staying? Calgary should be nice in May – we have been so spoiled this winter with the mildest weather, hopefully that trend continues. Calgary isn’t the most walkable city and our public transit system leaves much to be desired, but if you’re sticking to the downtown core area, you will be able to get around both on foot and on the c-train (it’s free along the downtown core). One of our highlights is the Bow River pathway – you can literally walk for hours if you do the whole path. In the downtown area of the pathway, there’s Prince’s Island Park and our famous Peace Bridge, and further down is St. Patrick’s Island that recently got a facelift. Stop by the Riverfront/East Village area and check out the Simmons Building – gorgeous old brick building that was recently renovated into a foodie hotspot of sorts that has a coffee shop, bakery, and a casual eatery (we actually got our wedding photos done here before they did the big reno). Our zoo isn’t too bad; I heard the penguin walk is quite neat, and we have Telus Spark science centre with the Body Worlds exhibit on until the end of May. And this is cheating on my part, but this page – http://www.todocanada.ca/things-to-do-calgary-this-weekend/ – is an excellent resource. It’s updated weekly so you can check the page closer to your date of arrival and see what’s going on that particular week. I visit this page often even though I’ve lived here for almost 10 years – there’s always something new that I haven’t heard about! Anyways this is a long reply – wow – let me know if you guys are looking to do something specific or if you also need any restaurant recommendations 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is so helpful! Thanks! I’m going to copy and paste it so I can read it again closer to our trip! I’m so excited now!
        My husband will be presenting a paper at a conference, but I’ll have tons of free time. Is the downtown area far from campus?


  2. I think the line of the sea/sand and the horizon lend themselves to the horizontal view. I find that one more aesthetically pleasing by a smidge. In the top one I focus more on the ocean and on the bottom one the sand. Nice shots of one of my favorite places. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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