Ansel Adams – Photographer, Environmentalist

Nature Brought to Life in Black-and-White

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Winter – when tourist crowds are gone – is the perfect time to enjoy California’s natural beauty.

California’s raw coastlines and majestic forests are not only breathtaking to see, but through the lens of master photographer Ansel Adams, they are immortalized for all to enjoy.

Working primarily in black-and-white, Adams’ use of light and shadow and his fine eye for composition and detail turned nature’s landscapes into unsurpassed works of beauty.

Growing up, one of his favorite spots to wander was in San Francisco’s still-wild Golden Gate area and the nearby sand dunes along Lobos Creek. As a teenager, armed with a Kodak Brownie camera, he first discovered the wonders of Yosemite in 1916 and would spend a lifetime capturing all the facets of its beauty on photographic plates.

Starting in 1927, with his portfolio of photographs of the High Sierras, Adams launched a career that would encompass creating iconic images of Yosemite, San Francisco, Monterey, and other points throughout the Northwest, including Glacier National Park, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon.

Though he preferred black-and-white photography because it gave him more control over the finished picture than the limited options of the emerging color photography of his day, Adams did experiment with the new color medium – and got some amazing results.

A son of the West, who was born in San Francisco in 1902 and died in Monterey in 1984, Adams was an avid environmentalist and used his photographs to help build awareness and support for preserving natural landscapes. He also served as director of the Sierra Club from 1934 to 1971.

Once destroyed, nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.

– Ansel Adams.

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Seven Lucky Gods of Japan

Watching Over You in 2019

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the New Year beginning and so many unknowns ahead it’s reassuring to have the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan to guide us.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel recently discovered this little book published over 50 years ago by Japanese author Reiko Chiba that outlines who these seven gods are and the roles they play in influencing our lives.

Dating back more than 1000 years, Japanese lore has it that during the first three days of the new year, the gods take over a magic treasure ship and become sailors traveling from heaven to all the earthly ports bringing magical gifts ranging from invisibility to wisdom, wealth, good fortune and more.

For each of us there is also a special god in the group that watches out for us based on our profession – say an accountant, dancer, gardener, or teacher.

Ebisu, the god of wealth, good fortune and fair dealing, watches over merchants, sailors, fishermen…and the butcher, too.

Daikoku, the patron god of farmers and tradesmen, is also a demon-chaser. People in the countryside pay homage to him during the harvest.

Hotei, the god of fortune and guardian of children, is said to have been a real person who was both a Zen priest and a rogue. He keeps an eye out for everyone from cooks to fortunetellers and politicians

Benton, often called the goddess of love, is also the goddess of muse, influencing and inspiring those in the arts – actors, writers, musicians, dancers, painters and sculptors.

Bishamon is a guardian of Buddhist values and giver of fortune, treasure and happiness. He is a healer, too, and the patron god of doctors, soldiers and priests.

Jurojin, the god of wisdom, guards over teachers, accountants, engineers, journalists, judges, and even gamblers.

Fukurokuju is the god of happiness, riches and long life. A philosopher, who loves to play chess, he looks out for athletes, gardeners, magicians and scientists

So, whether you’re looking for love, luck, longevity – or laid-back surfing days – there’s sure to be a Japanese God watching over you in 2019!

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Surf Artist Dave Reynolds

Stoked on Surfing!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Surf artist Dave Reynolds turns blank canvas and pieces of wood into works of art that capture the beauty and force of the ocean world he loves.

A true Renaissance Man of the surfing community, Reynolds’ talents and interests run the gamut from creating bold paintings and sculptures to trophies awarded at major surfing events, including the US Open of Surfing and upcoming Mavericks Big Wave Challenge.

 

He’s also known for his handmade chess sets with surfboard pieces and customized, surf-themed pinball machines.

 

A minimalist style painter, Reynolds turns a few, deft brushstrokes into masterpieces. Whether it’s a champion surfer, fanciful water creature or giant wave, his goal is to “use the least brushstrokes or lines to bring it to life. Somehow, when your mind sees just the basic lines, it fills in the rest,” says Reynolds.

After seeing his works at various SoCal exhibits, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel were excited to finally visit Reynolds’ studio in Huntington Beach. Everywhere we looked there was something creative and colorful from tiny, miniature paintings to giant, wall-size paintings and his collection of surf memorabilia and surfboards.

Adding to his repertory, Reynolds and his friend Tom Gorey recently started a line of WaterClan clothing featuring his aquatic designs.

A believer in giving back to the community, his decorated surfboards have been auctioned at the annual Huntington Beach Surfboards on Parade event to raise money for Operation Surf, a charity that takes military veterans surfing. And this year, HB is honoring Reynolds as a Biennial Arts Awards recipient.

Interested in art since childhood, Reynolds says, “My dad was one of my biggest fans.” Managing the Thrifty Drugstore in Buena Park, CA, Lloyd Reynolds inspired his son’s strong work ethic.

“In the summer I used to help out in the store scooping ice cream cones. They only cost five cents then,” Reynolds told SurfWriter Girls, showing us a photo of his dad at work and a bottle of the Old Spice cologne he wore each day.

 

When Reynolds isn’t catching waves (his nickname is “Tuberider”), he enjoys spending time with his wife Kellie and their surfing dog Bandit – a rescue dog that Kellie found. Reynolds and Kellie met at the Wahini Kai and Longboard Surf Club’s Christmas party eleven years ago. Six weeks later they got married.

 

You might run into Reynolds at a Pearl Jam concert, too. A big fan of the rock band, he became friends with lead vocalist and guitarist Eddie Vedder when he made some trophies for him. Vedder signed and added his own art to this pineapple ukulele that Reynolds customized.

And, in his art studio, you can always count on Dave Reynolds to be turning out something new…helped by his canine buddy and collaborator Bandit!

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The Year of the Bird!

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Centennial

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

A-well-a ev’rybody’s heard about the bird… B-b-b-bird, b-birdd’s a word

Get ready to sing the 1963 hit song Surfin’ Bird! Exuberant and full of life, it will put you in the mood to celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of the world’s most important treaties – the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Enacted between the United States/Canada and Great Britain in 1918, the Act, which now includes Mexico, Japan and Russia, makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell migratory birds.

At a time when many bird species were threatened by the commercial trade in birds and bird feathers, The MBTA was a landmark act and one of the first federal laws to focus on the environment.

The importance of this act, that’s done so much to protect migratory birds, is so great that the National Audubon Society, National Geographic and over 150 organizations jointly declared 2018 The Year of Bird.

David Yarnold, Audubon’s President and CEO, says, “No other law on the books helps protect birds as much as the MBTA. The Snowy Egret, Wood Duck, Tricolored Heron, White-winged Crossbill, and Audubon’s Shearwater have all been saved by the MBTA.”

 

Yarnold notes that the Snowy Egret’s brilliant white feathers were in such demand by 19th and early 20th century hat makers to use in women’s hats that the bird was in danger of being hunted to extinction.

 

William Hornaday, Director of the New York Zoological Society, says, London at that time was “the Mecca of the feather killers of the world.” During a nine month period, London’s fashion market made use of the feathers from close to 130,000 egrets and tens of thousands of other birds.

Thanks to two women – Boston socialite Harriet Lawrence Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall – the deadly bird trade would eventually come to an end after they invited their friends in Boston’s social register to a series of tea parties in 1896 and implored them to stop wearing hats with feathers.

Along with this, they asked the women to join in an organization to protect egrets and other birds. Over 900 women agreed and this organization became the Massachusetts Audubon Society – one of the leading environmental groups that worked to bring about legislation to protect birds and ultimately the enactment of the Migratory Bird Trade Act.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are amazed by what Hemenway and Hall accomplished. During an era when women weren’t allowed to own property or vote they went against the fashion of the time and helped save millions of migratory birds from death and entire species from extinction.

For that, we say, “Hats off!” to the two women from Boston!

Come Join in the centennial celebration!

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California’s Coast – A Novel Experience

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

California’s iconic coast has been the setting for some of the most classic novels in American literature, inspiring literary greats Jack London, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, Richard Henry Dana, and others.

Oakland

Acclaimed adventure author London, who wrote The Call of the Wild and White Fang, grew up in Oakland and spent much of his childhood in the waterfront area now known as Jack London Square.

His book The Sea Wolf, written in 1904, is set here and will put you in the mood to explore the harbor, which was filled in mystery and intrigue in London’s day.

Located on the scenic Oakland/Alameda estuary, the square is a year-round gathering area for shopping and dining, bicycling and kayaking. Be sure to check out the farmers market when you’re here.

Monterey Bay

No one brings the magic of Monterey Bay to life better than Nobel Prize-winner Steinbeck, who has placed many of his stories there, including Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, and Sweet Thursday. Picaresque and energetic, these three novels capture the quirky feel of Monterey and the unconventional people who live there.

Marine biologist Doc, a central character in both Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, is based on Steinbeck’s friend Ed Ricketts, a key person in the life of Monterey. The influence of Ricketts, who wrote the pioneering ecology book Between Pacific Tides in 1939, is still felt in the community.

Steinbeck writes: “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” Monterey is still steeped in Steinbeck’s prose and you’ll feel it, too, exploring the streets, Fisherman’s Wharf and world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Big Sur

Kerouac, the post-WWII Beat Generation writer known for On the Road – the 1959 novel that inspired countless readers to hit the open road in search of adventure – also focused his attention on Big Sur. His novel Big Sur captures the idyllic feel of this stretch of undeveloped coastline South of Carmel that’s often been described as a national treasure.

Raw and majestic, the section of Highway 1 that runs through Big Sur is one of the most scenic driving routes in the world. And, thankfully, no billboards or advertising are allowed.

Dana Point

Dana, whose 1840 novel Two Years Before the Mast recounts his voyage on a merchant ship from Boston to California, paints a vivid picture of early California’s coastline from San Diego to San Francisco.

Dana Point, in Orange County – one of the stops on his journey – is named after him. It’s a local spot for SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel.

With a beautiful harbor and shops and restaurants to visit, it’s picturesque with a hometown feel. Visit the Ocean Institute when you’re here and you can explore the ocean’s underwater world and maritime history.

 

Traveling along California’s coast you’ll see how these timeless novels came to life. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn into the stories.

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End of an Era

VW Bug Says Good-Bye

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The world’s love affair with the VW Bug is coming to an end. Volkswagen recently announced that it is discontinuing the long-lived Beetle in 2019.

First introduced in Germany in 1938, the Volkswagen (“people’s car”) was quickly nicknamed the Kafer (German for “Beetle”) because of its small, round shape.

Developed by lead engineer Ferdinand Porsche to utilize Germany’s new road network, the Beetle soon proved that it could go anywhere and do anything, winning over the hearts of people around the globe.

Durable, intrepid and able to travel on practically a thimble of gas, the nimble Bug had an eight-decade-long run (including two-updated versions in 1997 and 2003). More than a car, it was a symbol of individuality, appealing to intellectuals and the free-spirited, alike.

The Bug’s creative “Think Small” ads helped to build it’s unconventional image and get people to buy a different kind of car than the large, flashy cars that other car companies were selling.

The Bug was even a film star in movies, starring as “Herbie” in The Love Bug movies, appearing in Footlose as Kevin Bacon’s ride, and holding its own alongside Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal in What’s Up Doc? In that movie it showed that it could even survive a plunge into San Francisco Bay. Unlike other cars, it floated.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are sorry to see this iconic car for the ages disappear from the world stage.

 

However, like super-spy James Bond, the VW Bug may still return one day.

Asked if Volkswagen would ever bring back the beloved Beetle, VW of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said, “I would ‘never say never.'”

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Low Tide Aliens

They Come in Peace

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Invaders From Mars. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It Came From Outer Space. The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Think of all the science fiction movie classics that kept us glued to our seats in darkened theaters watching aliens from other planets landing on Earth.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel wondered What if that really happened? Would the space aliens be like us? Would they be friend or foe?

At the beach one day we got a glimpse into that when we had a close encounter with the Low Tide Aliens.

Fortunately, they came in peace.

Like the gangster-style, sunglass-wearing Blues Brothers, who turn out to be musicians, these aliens are artists – Laura, Leslie, Darla, Kaitlyn and Mila –  and their goal is “to bring joy and beauty into the world.”

Twice a month, when the tides are lowest, the artistic team heads to Newport Beach to draw mandalas – Hindu and Buddhist spiritual patterns – on the sand.

It’s a way to express themselves and to connect with the earth and ocean. Creating the mandalas is also a way to meditate and heal. Toward this end, the Low Tide Aliens have launched a Sand Art for Causes charity to help others.

Even though the tides inevitably erase their creations, the artists aren’t sad. “It’s actually a very beautiful and humbling experience to do art for the sake of art alone,” they say.  “It’s a practice in letting go and allowing nature to take her course.”

You never know where the Low Tide Aliens are going to show up! At the Surfrider Foundation’s International Surfing Day in Huntington Beach this summer there they were.

“The event was abducted by our good friends from the Low Tide Aliens,” Tony Soriano, Surfrider’s HB chapter advisory board director, told SurfWriter Girls. “We love their artistic beach talent.”

 

While they were there, the beach artists even made a Surfrider surfboard to commemorate the day.

 

Wherever they land, beach-goers are invited to watch the sand art take shape or to sign up for a session and join in the experience.

So, don’t be afraid if you encounter the Low Tide Aliens.

Just say: “Take me to your easel.”

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SuperShe Island

Idyllic Getaway for Ladies Only

Written by SurfWritere Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Have you ever dreamed of going to Themyscira, the idyllic island where Wonder Woman was raised?

Visit SuperShe Island, the island paradise owned by entrepreneur Kristina Roth, and you’ll think that you’re there.

Roth took her dream of escaping to an exotic island to the next level – buying her own fantasy island. And now she’s opening it up to women worldwide. But men? Sorry guys, you’re not allowed.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel discovered SuperShe Island when Sunny got a personal invitation from Roth to visit and be a guest. Intrigued, we wanted to know more about this mysterious island.

Hidden away in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Finland, SuperShe Island is 8.4-acres of tree-dotted beauty with the kind of luxurious amenities you’d expect at five-star resorts. Beautifully decorated rooms, Finnish saunas and an array of daily wellness activities that include yoga, meditation, farm-to-table dining, cooking classes, fitness classes, nature activities and more.

Roth, who is from Germany, created her Amazonian island utopia with the profits she made from her business, Matisia Consultants. Bootstrapping the business with next to nothing, it had annual revenues of $65 million by the time she sold it, took the money and ran…to her island get-away.

Tired of the corporate life and working with men who constantly underestimated her, Roth was eager to take matters into her own hands. She also wanted to work with women and help them to achieve their goals, just as she had. She could see that her success story inspired them and, from her networking and professional speaking experience, knew that women wanted to be energized and have more positive feelings about themselves.

As they say in marketing, “Find a need and fill it.” And Roth did, creating a SuperShe Society and a special place where women could go to refresh, relax and renew. In short, a super networking group of super achievers.

Roth says about her SuperShe society and island, they are “meant to create a fun way for women to network — a way that men have been networking for years, whether it’s at the golf course or the cigar club.”

So now, thanks to Roth, women can channel their inner-Wonder Woman at their very own Ladies Only SuperShe Island retreat.

Just pack your Magic Lasso and go!

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Summertime Movietime!

An Endless Summer of Movies

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Summertime isn’t just beach time, it’s movietime!

 

When the temperature rises, what’s better than an air-conditioned escape to a world of adventure and romance and thrills and chills?

 

 

Movie-makers and theater operators have been coming up with new ways to draw us into the dark, cool confines of movie palaces like Grauman’s Chinese Theater since the early days of Hollywood.

Drive-in movies, parks and even lakes and resort swimming pools are in on the act. On hot, summer nights SurfWriter Girl Sunny’s family used to all pile into the station wagon and go to the drive-in. With five brothers and sisters it was a riot.

Kids growing up in the 1950s and 60s could make a whole day of it for 50-cents – with a double feature, cartoons, coming attractions, popcorn, and candy.

SurfWriter Girl Patti’s husband Greg’s favorite all-time movie getaways are Forbidden Planet and The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Patti’s parents knew Monty Schoedsack, the producer of King Kong, and she grew up hearing about the making of this blockbuster movie that set all attendance records for its day.

What’s summer without a scary movie monster to keep us glued to our theater seats…or inner tubes.

This summer look for 70-ft-long, sea monster Meg to ratchet up the excitement to a new level.

SurfWriter Girls can’t wait…for an endless summer of movies!

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Surf2Skate – from Liquid to Asphalt

International Surfing Museum Exhibit

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Skateboarding has come a long way from the 1950s when kids used to pull apart a roller skate and nail the front and back wheels to the bottom of a board. That’s when “sidewalk surfing” took off and a new sport was born.

Check it out for yourself at the Surf2Skate exhibit at the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach.

Filled with vintage and new skateboards, photos, posters, memorabilia, and more, S2S is a blast from the past and a salute to the future.

“The exhibit is community-driven,” museum director Diana Dehm told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel. “The people of Huntington Beach came up with the idea and they organized and put it together.” Surfers and skateboarders, volunteers and businesses all joined in to make it happen.

 

 

Early Zephyr skateboards, made in the 1960s by legendary surf and skateboard shaper Jeff Ho, are show-stoppers.

Known for their vibrant colors and graffiti-style designs, Ho’s Zephyr boards – named after the god of the west wind – helped turn Venice Beach into a Mecca for skateboarding.

 

 

And don’t miss the first mass-produced skateboard – a bright red Roller Derby board made in La Mirada, CA in 1959. Sold in Roller Derby rinks, Thrifty Drugstores and Sears stores across the country, it propelled the skateboard craze into a movement.

There’s so much to see. Huntington Beach definitely pulled off a burly with Surf2Skate.

It will have you ready to grab a board and break some moves of your own!

Painting by Ricky Blake

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