Abandoned: Davenport Pier

I've lived in the Bay Area my entire life, and I never knew about Davenport Beach. Thanks to the internet making the world such a small place, hidden gems like Davenport are becoming increasingly accessible. The History of this little town is fascinating. A whaling captain named John Pope Davenport settled at El Jarro Point, about half a mile from today's town, in 1867. Most recently the town was home to Mexico's CEMEX Corporation until they leaked 100 pounds of mercury into the environment which led to strained relationships between CEMEX, the environmental protection agency, and the city of Santa Cruz. CEMEX ceased operations and decommissioned the plant in 2010. The town was also the former home to the Odwalla Juice Company. Not sure if this was before or after the Mercury spill?  Despite the environmental hazards my partner and I decided to do some Yoga on Davenport Beach and take some photographs. 

The town is about 9 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1. At an elevation of 259 feet, descending the cliff face to the beach can be extremely dangerous, and I don't recommend taking this route. If possible, wait until it's low tide and take the easy route down the trail through the bluff. Unfortunately for my partner and I, it was high tide, so we bravely descended the cliff. Maybe not the smartest thing to do in December but hey, you have to risk it for the biscuit. In this instance, the biscuits are amazing photographs!  

If you're a photographer, I recommend visiting during the Golden Hour, sunrise or sunset. We arrived about 2 hours before sunset, so we could properly warm up, scout locations, and do some Yoga. Aren't sure of what time the sun is setting, you can ask Siri or look it up on your smartphone, if you don't have a smartphone you can just use your intuition. The reason it's important to note the exact time the sun will set, is that fading light can be a real challenge when capturing a great sunset and you don't want to be fiddling with your gear during this small window of opportunity. We waited patiently and prepared for the final moments of sunlight so that we could capture the fleeting moments.    

I asked my partner to take some pictures of me doing Sirsasana II right before the sun went down and she was able to capture some amazing shots. 

Practicing Yoga on this beach made me feel so close to nature. It felt as though I was giving the beach a big hug. I guess the ocean got jealous because while I was in Sirsasana II, she decided to give me a warm embrace and a wave crashed into me while I was inverted. It was the most amazing feeling! I thanked the earth and the ocean for their hospitality and bid farewell to this magical place until we meet again. 



Disposable Art Stroll

Save yourself from the edge of artistic crisis. Move away from your gear, and force yourself to become a better photographer. Like most of us, I believed that better equipment would produce better images. Good philosophy right? Well, maybe not. After years of playing the level-up game with every kind of digital camera, I simply hit rock bottom and felt the need to go back to my roots, which happened to be a small plastic liberation device. (Get your mind out of the gutter!)

Exactly, liberation was what I was seeking when I rediscovered my old friend, the disposable camera. My gear at the time was so cumbersome that real street photography was almost impossible to capture without looking like a certified creep. Even with a Leica, I felt like an exposed hatchling unwilling to explore for fear of falling and damaging my beautiful leather wrapped rangefinder.  

I decided that if I couldn't produce quality photographs from a disposable camera, I would quit this love affair for good and follow my Dharma elsewhere! Maybe Yoga?

If you've ever felt this way before, you're going to love my meetup. I created a meetup called "Visual Snacks" we meet every second Sunday of the month to explore the Bay Area and learn to take photographs worthy of printing in a one day intensive workshop. 

During this workshop, we are going to do a crash course on fundamental philosophy and then we are going to break every rule we can to achieve the best results. You will learn how to push your creative limits and use a disposable camera's weaknesses to your advantage and create opportunities from those shortcomings.  At the end of this excursion, you will have a beautiful Art-zine that you can show off to your friends or leave on your coffee table as a conversation piece. 

If you're interested in attending a meetup, you can find more information hereIf you have any questions, please feel free to send me a message or give me a call directly.

Let's explore new possibilities together and create real art that will last. 

- Mitchell Pagan

* 10% of your tuition will go to support RISE Yoga for Youth. 

RISE empowers adolescents to be agents of change in the world.

Through the physical practice of yoga, wellness education, and community building, students develop inner resources to respond to life's challenges in constructive ways.