Photography opportunities at the Marin Headlands (California, Sausalito), part II- natural textures and patterns

I am always on the outlook for images that are not easily repeatable, and which the regular Instagramer, tourist or amateur photographer is unlikely to take.

Textures and patterns are hard to repeat, and are available nearly anywhere you go, even in the most boring places, if you know how to look for them.

On a previous post I mentioned that one of my favorite places for photography is the Marin Headlands area in Sausalito, California. On that post, I called attention to the industrial textures and patterns of that place. Today, I want to talk about the natural abstracts one can find there.

If you are far away from the Headlands, any beach on the West Coast will have similar elements to photograph: rockssandtide pool creatures, and water.

Location and parking

Refer to my previous post for details about the location and parking.  

Natural Textures- Geological

The Headlands are composed of quite compelling heterogeneous rocks known as the Franciscan Complex or Franciscan Assemblage. This type of rock is present throughout the California Coast Ranges, particularly on the San Francisco Peninsula. There is a lot of detail in these rocks, and they often have colors that add interesting patterns to their already complicated texture.

Natural Textures and Patterns- the beach

An unpretentious walk on the beach might reveal a plethora of natural textures. The sand, for example, when photographed with a macro lens, is far more interesting than when looked at with the naked eye.

Sand at the Headlands

Mussels on a rock also yield a complex texture.

Pacific Ocean mussels growing on a rock at the Northern California coastline

The ocean itself, particularly when long exposure is used, or Intentional Camera Movement, will also yield interesting patterns and textures.

Pacific Ocean, long exposure
Pacific Ocean, I.C.M.

Why photograph textures and patterns?

As mentioned on my previous post, finding and properly photographing an appealing, stand-alone texture or pattern that will look good when printed and hung on the wall of a gallery is difficult, but the more you look, the more you will find. Some patterns and textures are very abstract. This gender of photograph is relatively unexplored, and each photo is difficult to repeat. This means that those who become good at it might have a reasonable chance to stand out in the crowd.

Although I do not consider myself an expert in texture photography as stand-alone piece of art, I sometimes use those photographs to add texture to other images. For example, in my series Monterey Trees, I have added the same texture to all my photos, to make them look older. Also, the images on my my Digital Images have a stone texture applied to them.

If you are not familiar with adding texture to your photos, and would like to learn more about it, watch How to Apply Textures In Photoshop 2020, by fellow photographer Howard Grill.


Wall Art Botanical Images

Wall Art Photography projects

Wall Art landscapes and miscellaneous


19 thoughts on “Photography opportunities at the Marin Headlands (California, Sausalito), part II- natural textures and patterns

  1. Steve Schwartzman says:

    Yes, let’s hear it for natural designs, which as you pointed out don’t register with many tourists.
    I like the colors in your opening photo.
    Your sand at the Headlands looks like candy sprinkles.
    At first I thought the mussels were a swarm of bees.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres says:

    The blues in the first two photos brought to mind the blue ice of Glacier Bay. It’s interesting how the colors of the headlands’ rocks show up in the sand. It would be fun to put together macro images of sand from different areas, then ask people to guess where they were taken.

    My favorite image is the long exposure of the Pacific. That’s beautiful: especially the patterns created by the water swirling around the rocks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alessandra Chaves says:

      Thank you. I guess one could at least tell the region the sand came from. In Northern California the sand is heavy and the grains are large, sometimes colorful. In northern Oregon sand is so thin it got inside the camera after a wind storm.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. howg2211 says:

    Like you, I love finding textures and abstracts to shoot. It is hard to find ones that are compelling as stand alones but it’s a good feeling when you do. I really enjoy these. Thanks for the shout out too! I appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Steve Heap says:

    Intriguing – shows that there are images to be seen almost everywhere. A great variety of textures and shapes here although I am not sure how many of them I would want on my wall, but that is a very narrow perspective on why to take photographs! Just enjoy them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bridgette says:

    I adore the Marin Headlands but haven’t been since starting photography. You are inspiring me to take a trip there in the near future. I remember being quite taken by the old military buildings. I might just have to do my son’s senior portraits there…I think they could offer up some unique backdrops. Beautiful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

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