I remember going to the southwest U.S. for the first time back in 1995. We started out from SanDiego, drove through southern California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona before returning to San Diego. After we got out on the highway and away from the big cities – somewhere around Barstow, California – the lack of trees started to get to me. I went into a state that we later called “tree shock,” and had a hard time speaking for a couple of days as I comprehended desert environments for the first time.
This week we are on vacation at Cape Hatteras, and I’m in a similar state that I’m calling “rootball withdrawal.” They just don’t have much in the way of good rootballs here. The photo above is about the best I’ve been able to find, and I do enjoy the way the tourist icon of Hatteras – the lighthouse – makes an appearance in this picture.
Although the beach is obviously a rich photographic landscape, for me the features of a place like this are either too eroded or too over-photographed to be of much creative interest. But, just as I was thinking I would not find much photographic inspiration on this trip, I decided to try making my own rootballs as sand sculptures. The picture above is one I made very quickly, late this afternoon as the tide was coming in. This seems like a promising direction in which to go, and it brings me into the realm of object making, which is where I’ve always wanted to take this project. We’ll see what happens tomorrow morning at low tide.