Surf & Sand

Two things came together for me over the past few months: my love of music and my love of photography. The outcome is a new series of photographs, two of which are currently online in a national juried art show called “On a High Note.”

Here’s how it happened. Back in December 2020, I was walking the beaches of Dauphin Island, off the coast of Alabama, when I began to pay attemtion–really pay attention–to the patterns created by the interaction of surf and sand. So I snapped some frames, being entirely unsure they would amount to anything.


Back home on my computer, I began to look at some of the captures to see if I could turn them into anything. The one that came to be called Tremelo was the first that grabbed me, so to speak. So I began to explore. I tried different crops, I worked on contrast, ultimately I ditched the color in favor of black & white, I did things to enhance texture. (Sorry, I don’t mean to be mysterious, but you probably aren’t interested in a discussion of Photoshop digital editing tools.)

Voilá! You see the result above. But what to call it? Maybe I was doing what I often do, namely move between a photo-editing challenge on the computer and the nearby piano–because that’s the only way I get any practicing done. (Yes, I’m one of those would-be pianists who hate practicing.) In any case, at some point, it struck me that the image looks and feels like a tremelo.

Can I describe a tremelo to you? Well, no, at least not in words. I’d like to think I did with the image above! Check me out on that. Go to YouTube, search for tremelo, and I’m sure you’ll quickly find multiple pieces of music that will give you an auditory experience of it. Musicians, I’d love to hear from you. Does it work?

Diminuendo in Blue

As I looked further at my “sand & surf” images I found more musical correspondences. Diminuendo in Blue comes from one of my favorite jazz performances of all time: the Duke Ellington Orchestra’s performance of “Crescendo in Blue, Diminuendo in Blue” from the Newport Jazz Festival of 1956. (I have the album, but I’m sure it’s on YouTube, folks, and well worth your time. A stupendous performance.)

So these two pieces are currently viewable at the Flagler County (Florida) Art League’s online show, “On a High Note,” viewable here. I have about five of these #SandAbstracts I consider worthy of submitting to shows and all have musical titles. Several more are currently under review, so stay tuned.


  1. These are marvelous Bette!


  2. Thank you, Cynthia.


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