My production chart relating animal size to speed setting and f-stop and guidance for background color.
My printer on Central Avenue in Pacific Grove.
My primary equipment: camera, bellows, telephoto lens, and extension tubes.
The 2nd-floor Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) office in downtown Monterey.
My bank on Alvarado where I saved enough to finance my book and later earn a degree in landscape architecture.
The State Theater on Alvarado where I spent many Saturday nights.
Steinbeck's bronze bust on Cannery Row.
My 1st-floor apartment in Monterey at 140 Hawthorne Street.
The railroad crossing where Ed Ricketts was killed in 1948 at age 50.
The cracker box depot on Del Monte where I caught the bus to SF/Oakland to visit home.
The Safeway on Calle Principal where I did my Friday night shopping for the week.
At the city wharf at midnight to get a bucket of water for my saltwater aquarium.
Ed Ricketts lives on today as a present-day tourist attraction.
Ed Ricketts' lab for 20 years (from 1928 - 1948).
Divorced and Starting Over in 1961
With Mary gone and out of my life, I began to build a new life for myself in Monterey - a city that would become a very special place to me. The "Cannery Row world" of Ed Ricketts and John Steinbeck were just blocks away now, and more important was the fact that the magnificent tidepools of the Monterey Peninsula were just as close.
I began to realize what a golden opportunity it was for me to have been sent to Monterey (I was sent to Monterey by the State of California, my employer at the time). After all, it was a quote in Ricketts’ book Between Pacific Tides that provided the first ideas that would eventually become my “dream” for a book. It was on page 403 and said “ We hope that the student who approaches marine biology through this book will realize how much detailed work remains to be done”. This dream quickly became an obsession as I realized that I wanted to help do some of this remaining work. Eventually, I convinced myself that the best contribution I could make would be to compile pictorial material (photographs) of the many species of tidal animals that had not yet been "pictorially" presented to the interested observer.
In Between Pacific Tides, Ricketts had presented approximately 300 photos and drawings of tidal animals of the California coast. However, many of these were not top quality for identification and there were hundreds more that had not yet been photographed. My obsession was to find and photograph as many of these "missing critters" as I could. It would be a long and lonely job, but I was the ideal man for it. I've always done my best at jobs where I had the freedom to work on my own and the opportunity to create.
Historical sequence of creating a book on California’s Intertidal Invertebrates – This is how one of the major efforts of my life began.
In September 1961, I completed a 19-month educational leave of absence at Los Angeles State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology. I took the leave from my job as a delineator with the Department of Parks and Recreation’s district office in Stockton, California.
My most important interest in the college courses was tidal biology of the California coast. I can still remember my first exposure to the world of tide pools on my first field trip to Point Fermin with Dr. Lowery’s general zoology class. For me, the fascinating variety of plants and animals living between the limits of the high and low tide zones was truly a discovery in the fullest sense of the word. The impressions of this initial discovery were later reinforced by additional field trips to Gaviota and Corona del Mar in Dr. Welsh’s marine zoology class, and to Dana Point with Dr. Erickson’s invertebrate zoology class.
Dr. Ricketts’ book Between Pacific Tides soon became one of my most valuable possessions. It was primarily through this book that I first began to develop my “dream” of creating a larger and more inclusive volume to illustrate and identify the many additional species not covered by Ricketts.
I had to hurry back to my job with the State in Stockton without delay. Although I had already taken and passed the State examination for junior aquatic biologist, I had not yet received a job offer. My intent was to stay with the Stockton job until I had the opportunity to move into an aquatic biologist position. I had been living in Monterey Park at 327B North Sierra Vista since January of 1960. I had moved there from Stockton and was married just before my first semester at Los Angeles State. The 19-months of courses had been very tough for me. In addition to the three full semesters, it also included attendance at Pasadena and Los Angeles City Colleges in 1960 and at Los Angeles State in 1961.
I made it through (including the math, physics, and chemistry) with slightly better than a B average and a great deal of personal satisfaction from sticking with it. It was hard and challenging, but an interesting and happy 19 months of my life. I left Monterey Park (near Los Angeles - not the Monterey in Northern California) in September of 1961 with my wife to return to Stockton.
At times, life seems to take strange turns, and for me it took one in Stockton. I was there only 2 ½ months when suddenly, without any action on my part, I was transferred to Monterey. Although I had lived in California all of my life, I had never been to Monterey. When I moved there in December of 1961, I fell in love with it. For the first time, I discovered the magnificent tidal areas of the Monterey Peninsula, and my dream began to slowly crystallize into a more definite project and goal.
Transferred to Monterey
I moved into 140 Hawthorne Street, which would be my home for the next 33-months. At Christmas, my wife and I parted for good and I was firmly entrenched in Monterey with one of the golden opportunities of my life. This was the best possible location on the California coast for studying tidal biology and previous thoughts about becoming an aquatic biologist suddenly seemed less important now compared to my “dream” of making a book, which was becoming more real and exciting every day.
This was the first of the next four and a half years I would spend collecting and photographing tidal specimens along the California coast. Overall, I spent the period from January 1962 through June of 1966 living along the California coast in small apartments and motels. Most of the first year was spent learning the skills to professionally photograph the wide range of species that would be collected and filed into my photographic manuscript. I had to begin from scratch at this, because I had never before owned or used a camera. The most difficult part was developing the flexibility to handle a specimen size range from ¼” to 18” (the greatest dimension). This required the following combination of equipment: (1) 50 mm and 100 mm lenses; (2) three different sizes of close-up lenses; and (3) tube and bellows extensions.
In addition to developing the photographic skills required, I spent this year thoroughly covering the tidal areas of the Monterey Peninsula (especially Monterey, Pacific Grove, and the area just south of Malpaso Creek). All of this collecting and photographing work was done in the evening on weekdays (after my full-time job), on weekends, holidays, and on vacation time.
As is typical of the California coast, low tides in Spring and Summer were mostly in the early morning and in the Fall and Winter in the late evening. In my mind’s eye, I can still clearly recall the many early morning and late evening collecting trips to Monterey Harbor, Point Pinos, and the Gumboot Cave area below Malpaso Creek. It was during the summer of this year that I had the first of my near-death accidents in a small cove south of Gumboot Cave (see detail and map to the right). The situation was terrifying, expecially since I did not know how to swim.
Trying to Make a Dream a Reality - Assembling a Volume of Pictures that Would Contribute to the Study of Intertidal Invertebrates Found Along California's Coast
Near Death Experience South of Carmel, California
On This Page
How and why I decided to collect and photograph over 1,000 invertebrates found along the California coast.
Monterey, Stockton, and Los Angeles - also Malpaso Creek and Gumboot Cave
Ed Ricketts and John Steinbeck
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