Salt Air

I drove out to Malibu early Sunday evening, timed to miss the heat of the day and the snarl of traffic. My destination was Carbon Beach, aka Billionaire’s Beach – because you need that many zeroes in your checking account to live there. But there’s no such thing as a private beach in California. All 800+ miles of coastline, from Mexico to Oregon, are public access. So there I was. Shoes in one hand, camera in the other, on a meandering stroll along this one-and-a-half-mile stretch of uncrowded, unhurried paradise.

Shadow Selfie.CarbonBeachI’d be lying if I didn’t admit to coveting one or two of those beachfront pleasure domes. There are some truly spectacular modern structures, though my tastes run more to the older, traditional architecture… the white-washed, red-tiled Mediterraneans and the gray-shingled ramblers reminiscent of Cape Cod. But the happy truth is, none of the super shacks can compete with the extravagant beauty of the beach. The warm sun, the salt in the breeze, the glowing sky, the rolling surf, the infinite horizon. The tableau is so familiar, yet utterly unique from one moment to the next, ever changing. A dog romps happily in the surf. A squadron of pelicans swoops down low, skimming the waves. Two dolphins glide by just offshore, in no hurry. Every once in awhile a helicopter zooms by, low and fast. A lone surfer takes his board out to catch a few more waves before dark. And as the sun sinks its rays lengthen, shadows stretch out, colors deepen, the hills dissolve to silhouette and lights begin to twinkle.

On the way back, the tide was coming in a little faster than I was moving, and the beach disappears entirely here and there. I had to clamber over some boulders to avoid getting soaked by the unforgiving waves. I wasn’t entirely successful in that bid to stay dry, but that’s what shorts and old boat shoes are for. I left my sodden, sand-filled shoes at the car (having scored a parking space right where I wanted it on PCH), and continued barefoot to catch the last of the light from the end of Malibu Pier. I even waited until after 9 o’clock for the moonrise, as it was the night after the “super moon” – and I was rewarded with a beautiful sight as the big red moon came up over Santa Monica Bay. But no reward for you, unfortunately, as my trusty smartphone camera just can’t handle celestial events. Here, though, are a few snapshots from one of my favorite places. Enjoy!

breaking wave


Carbon Beach, Malibu 13 July 2014

Bleached Seawall

A bit of weather-beaten seawall

foamy gloamy

blue malibu

Malibu in the blue night, from the pier

Malibu Pier

Malibu Pier


Perfect end to the day.

The End (so far)



  1. Beach pictures with ocean waves are the best, and your photos are wonderful! The colour of the setting sun on the waves in the 2nd picture is gorgeous. I’m impressed you took these with a smartphone. I can’t get pictures that good with my camera.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All these photos are from your smartphone? That’s remarkable!, although of course even the best cameras are nothing without skill, and thought in composition. Beautiful pictures, Steve, and I also enjoyed reading about your outing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Halim. Here are my secrets: I only point my camera at beautiful things. I only post the best of the best shots. I am not averse to applying a filter or tinkering with a photo to enhance it. There are better cameras, of course – but I wouldn’t always carry a separate camera. I always have my phone with me. Et voila!


  3. I love to read about friends having wonderful days; and this was obviously a ripper.
    Lovely shots, Steve – maybe especially the weathered seawall ! No, but it IS beautiful, that aged wood …

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure that your beach wanderings always lift your spirits; and thank heavens for that. I’d hate to think of you reflecting on the madness of mankind for too long without some kind of spiritual refreshment !

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Did you ever see “Big Trouble” ? I did love Dennis Farina; he made me laugh like anything. But in that movie it was his offsider of whom your comment reminded me … 🙂


        2. Oh, it’s not your style, I’d think: it’s a fun pastiche and quite ridiculous. But we so loved “Get Shorty” and Farina in that that we got the DVD on a chance – and we loved it too ! We were easy to amuse … [grin]


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