We drove down to St. Augustine today, as much for lack of anything else to do as anything. Andie had to drop off some flyers at a couple of her neighborhoods, which put us about half way down there anyway, and it was simply too nice a day to just come back home.
I honestly thought St. Augustine would be less crowded this time of the year. We’re deep into January, schools have mostly started up again, and supposedly nobody has any discretionary money to spend. But you sure couldn’t tell it from St. George Street today. It was mobbed.
Now, we DON’T have a lot of discretionary money to spend, so we pretty much walked around a bit, and wound up wandering down by the waterfront.
The waterfront in St. Augustine is always picturesque, but the light today made it particularly so. Looking east across the Matanzas River, we were in the shade of the city, but the sun still lit the eastern riverbank. The sailboats that ride at the city moorings alternated between bright, golden sunlight and deepening shade as dusk stole in from the east. It gave my light meter fits, and I spent a lot of time adjusting white balance, and finally set my camera to complete manual mode in an effort to capture the light I was seeing. The good news is, I met with some success, and software did the rest.
As usual, I gravitated to the boats. If you’re a regular viewer of my Flickr Photostream, you know I like to shoot boats, and in many cases, the more dilapidated the better. There is no shortage of well-used boats on most waterfronts, and St. Augustine is no exception. Near the Santa Maria, which is built on a pier extending out into the river, there were half a dozen small tenders like this one tied to the shore. A couple looked like they were fresh from West Marine, but most have spend a long time on the water, perhaps being dragged behind larger boats on long passages on the Atlantic. While at home, the become the family car … often the only way people can get between their boat on a mooring in the river and shore, where you find restaurants,groceries, and booze.
As the evening deepened, a huge full moon crept up over the trees on the east bank of the Matanzas. At first, it looked almost translucent. The sun was still high enough on the horizon to wash out the moon. I tried to capture it with the Nikon, but had to wait until it was just a little more visible. As it climbed, the lunar valleys and seas became more apparent, and the boats at their moorings faded from the golden glow of the setting sun to the bluish hues of the gibbous moon. Photographers lined the bulkhead. If there is a man in the moon, he must have felt as if the paparazzi had mistaken him for Lindsey Lohan once again getting out of the Ferrari wearing a short skirt and no panties.
This is a big part of why I moved to Florida. To be near the water, to smell the low tide, and to wander around a picturesque tourist trap in 70 degree weather on the 10th of January. Even in these troubled times, it’s not a bad way to put it all aside for a bit.