2022 06 15
Three Stacks and a Rock




With photography you’re by yourself a lot of the time, which gets lonely, so I like to travel with someone else even if it’s just to help with driving and to share a meal after a day of shooting.


Last month my niece was winding down her winter season as an outback wilderness guide in Colorado. She wanted to get close to the ocean again so we made a plan to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway with a loose goal of making it to the Oregon border. One of the first stops on our road trip was Morro Bay, a fishing town half way between LA and San Francisco.


The town is famous for Morro Rock, a remenant of a long extinct volcano that towers above the entrance to Morro Bay, and the three skyscraper-tall power plant smokestacks that stand vigil nearby. The close proximity of the two landmarks, which locals call Three Stacks and a Rock, is as striking as their opposites: man-made power versus nature’s power to shape the earth. As we walked through town, one or both of the landmarks would jut into view, shape shifting in the fractured afternoon light. It was a warm day. My neice trailed lazily behind me as I stopped to take pictures. We had walked for awhile. A thick, white haze moved slowly inland from the bay's outer reaches.