Nathan Wirth Ponders His Decade-Long Visual Study of Drakes Beach

All photos by Nathan Wirth. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Whether by choice or circumstance, we don’t always get to go back to the beautiful places we photograph. Some just tick the destination off their bucket list and take home photos as keepsakes of the experience. Others wait for the next opportunity for another visit. However, there are also photographers who find themselves drawn to the same place over and over, compelled to document their return with more photographs as each visit can sometimes look or feel different. It seems this was the case for Nathan Wirth, who found himself photographing the particular rock formations at Drakes Beach in Northern California for over a decade.

“For over ten years I have been photographing these particular rocks — which sit as if pieces of an unattached and detached jigsaw puzzle at Drakes Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore of Marin County in Northern California,” Wirth beautifully wrote in the description for In Between Ten Years. Indeed, the two rock formations, sitting in the Point Reyes National Seashore of Marin County, appear like puzzle pieces perpetually kept apart by ebb and flow of the water. The idea must have struck him strong enough to keep coming back to see them and make a long-term visual study.

“For much of the year, these rocks rest under the sand — either entirely buried or just portions sticking the roof of their heads out as if peering out into the landscape to wait for winter storms to come and exhume them. In between those seasons of reveal and conceal, I have ventured out to visit the rocks to photograph the water that either rushes in-between the rocks at high tide or sits in a pool at low tide.”

As with his other landscape series like Runoff and Imaginations, Wirth was able to use both the drama of black and white and the minimalist landscape to put together this series. The textures and rugged shapes set against the cloudy skies and fuzzy waters make an eye-catching combination that opens our eyes to all the creative possibilities of landscape photography in monochrome.

Check out Nathan Wirth’s website and Behance portfolio to see the rest of his work.