Seaside Fence


This fence is between the bedrock end of the Chinese Cemetery and the first private property towards Pebble Beach. If you look at my Pebble Beach post, you can see the fence in those photos – it is just beyond and above the roof of the green shed near the end of Harling Point. The fence serves to keep pedestrians off the front rocks that are on private property, and since just after the fence there is a small steep area, all slippery with seaweed, that spans the full intertidal zone it is not possible to walk around to Pebble Beach from the cemetery without trespassing.

The fence is redcedar for the upper portions, but then the bit closest to the ocean, which must be subject to wave action in winter storms, consists of a wire rope attached to wooden post, which is anchored with another cable into the rock. There are remnants of a fastener of some kind on the wire – I expect it held a no trespassing sign at one time. The top cedar rail of the fence is so heavily weathered that it has lost nearly half of its original thickness, and the galvanised wire rope is quite rusted. I think it has stood for a long time.

I have tried to take pictures of this fence several times, but various elements have been missing from earlier shots. One of them was a decent sky, another was low raking but soft sunlight. Saturday provided both. The fence has a lot of colour in it, orange and greenish lichens, golden reflected light, and so on, but I found that black and white worked better. Had I the chance to do these over again (and I probably will), I would use a polarizing filter.

I wondered about the lettering on the end post below for a while, then it came to me with certainty. It to must have said “PRIVATE”. I get the impression that the owners have either grown more relaxed or too old to maintain these barriers, or else they are newer than the fence.


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The last image is through the gap beyond the fence at the lower end. The distant house on the hill is 200 King George Terrace which has been the subject of an earlier post. You can get an idea of how great the views must be from that house; a better idea than being up on the road below the house.

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17 thoughts on “Seaside Fence

  1. Pingback: Seaside Fence II « burnt embers

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  4. I agree with Ken that the fence looks out of place and I’d add, in many ways, ruins the panoramic view of the scene, but there is something nice going on between that manmade object that is forced upon the rugged rock. I like how some effort was made to conform the bottom edge of the boards to the rocks profiles and how it relates to the top edge of the entire fence. I also like how the natural environment is taking a toll on that fence. It’s as if the elements are doing everything in their power to rid themselves of it. I’m with them. 🙂

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    • Hi Douglas – I’m with the elements on this one as well – I have some details of the weathering that I should post some time, a beautiful red rust at the base of a post and deeply eroded cedar wood grain covered in lichens. It is a slow but inexorable process. And, I also appreciate how, in its angular way the parallelograms do follow the contours of the bedrock – that is one of the things that drew me to taking these pictures in the first place.

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  5. Great tonal scale in these shots- did you shoot them in B&W or change it in PSD? My first love was B&W; like many photographers, I became fascinated with the work of Ansel Adams and explored the zone technique back in the days of chemical darkrooms. Don’t do so much in B&W now but it really trains the eye to pay attention to texture and form. You proved that in these shots, great work!

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    • Hi Composer – I shot these in colour and applied a filtered black and white effect to them using the simple tools available in the software I currently use. I used to shoot b&w, and had a darkroom in the house too. But I was always too poor and too busy (which says something about how well I was paid) to have time or inclination to use enough film to really learn. I sometimes will look at a shot in monochrome on the camera screen if I am thinking black and white, but I usually will shoot it in colour (only, or as well) so that I can use digital filters to bring out something that interests me in black and white. I was not really thinking black and white when I took these shots, they are quite nice in colour too, but in the end they seemed better off this way. The texture and form, as you say, are accentuated.

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  6. It must have been a struggle to erect a fence like this on what looks like a pile of rocks. I like the texture you brought out in the wood, it’s really nice. The fence itself seems out of place and I can’t say that it beautifies the scenery, but it probably serves it’s purpose. Great shot, though.

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    • It looks like it was difficult to erect – they are held in with iron that was drilled and cemented into the bedrock, and then it looks as if it has been reinforced more recently with aluminum rods as the iron is very rusty. The base of one post is so red with rust that mingles with the yellow brown rocks that it really catches the eye. I took a photo of it too, but it does not tolerate a b&w conversion. Maybe it will show up in a future post. I agree with you that the fence does not add to the scenery. But, nature has done its best to blend the fence in – the wood is grey and covered with growths of one kind and another and so is not that different in colour now from the rocks, its the straight lines and sharp angles that nature needs to work on next. I hope when it is replaced that the new fence is not coloured, or chainlink or ultra contemporary – this is an exceptionally valuable property so when it changes hands the perfectly good house that is on it will certainly be torn down and replaced by a trophy house of some kind.

      There was a tall Victorian house here until 1959 which was said to be haunted and quite notorious as a consequence. A former tenant of that house has compiled an interesting collection of images and some great information here. He indicates that the current owners of the property tore down the old house and built the current one. I doubt that this fence dates to the early 1960’s, but I bet that the old iron supports embedded in the bedrock are from then as they are so heavily flaking and crusted with rust.

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