Tag Archives: Morro Bay

Always Keep Your Camera With You, Turned On, With the Lens Cap Off.

You can always switch to a fresh battery.

I received this advice from Neil Silverman at last year’s Morro Photo Expo. Have I followed it? Not closely enough.

But I have learned my lesson.

Why always keep your camera with you? Because if you don’t, you’ll have only cell phone snap shots to commemorate the day when a huge fishing boat crashes into your dock and you suddenly have no place to live.

Fishing Vessel Southeast crashes into Fowler's Docks in Morro Bay.
Fishing Vessel Southeast crashes into Fowler’s Docks in Morro Bay.

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Works in Progress: June 2012

We have been working on all sorts of things around here lately, including the ever popular towel rings:

The Landlocked Sailor's Nautical Towel Rings, in Progress
The Landlocked Sailor's Nautical Towel Rings, in Progress


New scrapbooks and journals:

Handmade scrapbook journals with nautical accents
Handmade scrapbook journals with nautical accents

Fabric Flowers:

Navy Blue and White Striped Nautical Fabric Flower with Red Sailboat Button
Navy Blue and White Striped Nautical Fabric Flower with Red Sailboat Button

And, of course, playing in the dirt:

Playing in the Dirt at the Avocado Farm near Morro Bay
Playing in the Dirt at the Avocado Farm near Morro Bay


What have you been up to lately?

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2012 Morro Photo Expo: More Than Just Birds and Sunsets

One of my best shots from the 2012 Morro Photo Expo- model Michael Marrero at the "It's All About the Light" Workshop. I was standing on a chair and couldn't get a wider angle to get his elbows in! But still, I like it. (Photo credit: Sarita Li Johnson)

Have you heard of the Morro Photo Expo?

I couple of years ago I was walking down along the Embarcadero just before sunset, and a man with a pretty cool DSLR (that’s a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, in case you’re wondering) asked for a restaurant recommendation. Conversation ensued, and he said he was here in Morro Bay for the Photo Expo. Interesting, I thought, and then never thought about it again…

…until the following year. I saw the posters, remembered the guy with the cool camera, got the impression that it was all about nature and bird photography, and never thought about it again (again)…

…until this year.

This year I joined the Morro Bay Art Association, and (somehow, I’m still not sure how) became half of the newsletter committee. (Well, there are only two of us, so in that sense I’m half, but workload-wise, I’m really only about 10%.) Anyway, in the process of researching the Photo Expo for a possible article, I discovered that there is a lot more to it than nature photography! So, I just spent three days running around Morro Bay photographing people. I learned SO MUCH in those three days.

See the participants’ best shots here, in the Morro Photo Expo “Give Us Your Best Shot” Flickr Contest.

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A Day in the Life: Marlinspike Seamanship

Brig Lady Washington (left) and Hawaiian Chief...
Image via Wikipedia

Imagine that you’re on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean. You feel the sun beating down, and the gentle sway of the vessel in the water. You turn your face to try to feel the direction of the wind, but there is no wind. Not even a breeze. You hear the creaking of the masts and the gentle lapping of the water on the hull, but you are dead in the water.

There’s no telling when the wind will pick up again; it could be several days. In the meantime, what will you do? The year is 1854, and you are a topman aboard a merchant vessel bound for some Pacific Island. You can’t pass the time by reading, because you don’t know how to read; you don’t feel like singing at the moment, and you can’t whistle because you are superstitiously worried about whistling up an ill wind.

What’s a sailor to do?


There’s always plenty to be done to keep the ship in top condition. There are sails to be mended, lines and rigging to be repaired, old rope to be turned into baggywrinkle, decks to scrub and tar… the list goes on and on. However, when that “Sailor-Do” list is completed, what’s next?


Have you ever seen a particularly handsome bell rope and wondered, “How on earth did they make that?” Or how about a boat’s ladder (stairsteps) all decked out with ornamental ropework? It’s not strictly ornamental, after all. On the ladder, for example, it serves as a nonskid surface for climbing around in your wet boat shoes. There’s a  name for this combination of form and function: it’s called Marlinspike Seamanship, and it’s not exactly a lost art. (The work below, coxcombing on tillers, was done by Frayed Knot Arts.)

Fancy Knotwork by Frayed Knot Arts: Cockscombing on Tillers
©Frayed Knot Arts (www.frayedknotarts.com)


The next time you have an opportunity to get up close and personal with a sailboat (or even see one in a movie), look for examples of Marlinspike fancy work. It’s all done by hand, and it’s a tradition worth carrying on.

If you’re in the Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo/Central Coast area of California and you’d like to participate in a Marlinspike workshop, leave a note in the comments below. We’ll let you know when we have one coming up!


Also, check out these books (click the covers to see them on Amazon):

Click to purchase the Sailmakers Apprentice on Amazon.Click to purchase the Arts of the Sailor on AmazonClick to purchase the Marlinspike Sailor on Amazon


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Photo Shoot Aboard Lady Washington in Morro Bay, CA

So today, in lieu of Wordless Wednesday, I am FINALLY posting a few photos from our awesome family photo shoot aboard the Tall Ship Lady Washington. Thanks to the lovely Ginger of Sandprints Photos in Morro Bay for her amazing photography and cheery personality. Also a big thanks to Captain Miah and the Lady crew!


Three Johnsons on the Tallship Lady Washington, Morro Bay, CA 2011

Tiller, Lady Washington's Canine Mascot

Tiller the Dog, Again

Sleeping Baby

Father and Son With Morro Rock in View

Happy Family

Smiling Boy

Three Johnsons On Lady Washington's Main Deck

Baby on the Pin Rail

Looking Out to Sea

Aft Cabin Hatch

Father, Son, Morro Rock

Three Johnsons plus Ginger!

Happy Times With Morro Rock in Background

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Small Town ♥

Urban areas are overrated.

OK, I admit it: if I had a free ticket to Anywhere, USA, I’d be in NYC quicker than you can say X-ray scanner, and if I had to pick a destination on the West Coast it would be Seattle. I do love the big city, but I know I’d soon be back home in my tiny town. All things considered, I can’t think of a better place to experience life with my son every day. Morro Bay, CA is a small town of a little more than 10,000 residents scattered over 5 square miles.

Reasons to love Morro Bay:

  • November, 10:00 a.m., 63° (17°C) and sunny
  • I can put the baby in his stroller and run all our errands on foot
  • When business people ask for a phone number, they look at me like I’m crazy when I include the area code
  • In 2 hours of running errands, we see approximately 6 people we know
  • At the Post Office, we see a letter carrier walk right out the front door with his satchel of mail and start delivering to the businesses across the street
  • On the way home, we see 2 more letter carriers, on foot, with their satchels
  • Plus, there’s this dog that hangs out at Legends Bar:

    Legends Dog
    Legends Dog

Small town ♥ !


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Portrait or Landscape?

Yesterday I joined Barbara Renshaw and about a dozen others for a Sketch Walk at Marina Point in Morro Bay.

Although it’s November, it was about 60 degrees in town, and I didn’t expect it to be SO COLD out at the point! The wind was bitter, but I would have loved it if I had dressed for the occasion. As it was, I was in jeans, a cotton tank top, and a light corduroy blazer. I was freezing!

We ventured out in a pack, but as people found scenes they wanted to sketch, the wandering group got smaller and smaller. We walked on the path, through mud puddles and brush, onto the salt marsh (which I was very excited about– I’ve always wondered how people got out there!), and I did find a magnificent view of Morro Rock but I had to keep going to find shelter from the wind. Finally there was a pretty good view of Hollister Peak, but it was just not inspiring me. I’m really not a landscape person. I needed a little more drama, so I found a huge conifer that was drooping down and almost forming a cave, a little secret spot with a view of the Peak peeking through the branches.

“This is cool,” I thought. So I sat down to sketch. I pulled out my 6B pencil and my drawing pad and I made some lines. Ugly lines. Lines that represented the tree branches and the peak, but ugly lines no less. That’s when I remembered why I don’t do landscapes: I don’t like them. Still, it was a pretty cool view, so I decided to take a photo of it. Unfortunately, I had left my camera in the car, but I hey, I had my cell phone camera! I took two photos and the memory card was full. Just not my day.

I decided to use the time to make a texture study, and drew some bark. I was not really excited about that either, so I drew a plant that was poking up through the pine needles. Then I blacked out the background, and the less realistic it looked, the more I liked it.

Sketch Walk November, originally uploaded by LandlockedSailr.

I started back toward the marina and a beautiful little ketch with dark green sail covers caught my eye, but the sun was so bright and the wind was so cold and my eyes kept stinging and burning, so I took some quick notes and headed back to the car.

Overall I was pretty disappointed in how the day turned out, mostly due to my own lack of preparation! Next time I will remember to bring:

    1. More layers
    2. My camera!
    3. A stool to sit on
    4. Scarf, handkerchief, hat
    5. Contact lenses and sun glasses

If you’re in the area, come join us!


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