Shoreside Textures

Sparse gravel dots the sand between the cobbles above and the bare sand below. In this middle ground, the pebbles are smaller than their cobble-mates and have rounded edges that allow them to roll easily in the swash. Here, they’ve settled just in time for the tail end of the backwash to erode the sand above and below them faintly. Darker, heavier minerals fall out in patterns that enhance the effect.

Yellowish-olive Fucus peeks through a mat of brown cylinders to texture the top of a high intertidal rock.

I love this near-monochrome closeup from a high sandstone outcrop. The scene features a couple of barnacles, some ribbed limpets (mostly up along the top), and a mysterious convoluted tarspot. Is it one of those seaside lichens?

Ever-lovely Pelvetiopsis lends texture to the tops of high intertidal rocks in surf-swept habitats. Fucus photobombs in the upper and lower left-hand portions of the scene.

I’m attracted to the contrast between the smooth, clean sand and the coarse seaweed-bearing boulders, especially at the break, which is uneven and incomplete. Amid the sand and boulders, there is a smattering of pebbles (the size suitable for throwing) and cobbles (potato to grapefruit size). As long as we’re talking sizes, boulders have to be bigger than a basketball to qualify. Those are the rules.

There is a range of textures here across the spatial scales. Taking the short path, I wonder what erosive forces created the unique exterior surface of the boulder in the foreground—then going a long way around, in the distance, maritime forest textures an iconic headland.

This closeup shows pores called oscula that connect the water inside a sponge to the world outside. Oscula are widely known as excurrent openings, so if that’s true here, they’re the openings through which water moves out of the sponge.

A textured sunset.

The red blades in the left-hand panel have the texture of grain leather. On the right, olive-brown blades lay like satin brush strokes.

Beneath each show in the left-hand panel rests a purple olive, a sand-dwelling snail. Then, on the right, coming to you from the rocky intertidal, the bryozoan, Flustrellidra corniculata. How about those branched spines texturing its blades?

The texture on this claw earned its crab the common name, granular claw crab.

The intertidal creatures framed on either side by bare rock draw me into this scene, and the textures keep me there. Gooseneck barnacles, limpets, and a cute little periwinkle dot the foreground, where a looming thatched barnacle dominates. Its eroded shell’s texture is a sensual force and a site of attachment for tiny barnacles. The tube-like structures that give thatched barnacles their thatched look are hollow, at least in places, and you can see that here. In the background, Anthopleura and some more goosenecks.

Beachcast sea gooseberries! The one in the middle shows proper gooseberry form (beached version).

An excellent lichen joins the textures-themed party with a compatibly textured beachscape for the background.

I leave you with love on the foredune.



    1. Right! Looking through other posts, there were plenty of shots from the shore. But it looks like you found great textures in other places. Awesome post! And thank you so much for having a look at mine.

    1. Bioerosion! Thank you so much, Sharon. And thanks for backing it up with the link. It’s a fascinating article, and it has a link to the original work too! I appreciate you taking the trouble to help me solve the mystery. It would have been all to easy to skip it. Much gratitude to you.- Steve

  1. So that’s what they are; Beachcast sea gooseberries! I see them all the time at Long Beach, and thought maybe they were baby moon jellies! Silly me. Thanks again for the knowledge and lovely views of texture on the Oregon coast.

    1. Yep, sea gooseberries. Coincidentally, I just learned a new jellyfish this week, a little one called Halimedusa, so we’re in this together, Lindy, learning as we go. Thanks!

  2. Each time you join us Steve, I’m reminded of how different your shore and creatures are vs ours. Then I’m reminded of how incredibly vast your knowledge of the science is, and finally of what a wonderful photographer you are. Terrific post as always, and your closing is very sweet!

    1. Tina, It’s so cool you like my closing (that kelp heart on the foredune). It’s my favorite too. And, I noticed right off that you worked a couple textures from your shore into your post. I loved seeing that.

  3. Your knowledge of the seashore environment is obviously vast and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. You have so many things that are different from my shores, I have never seen nor heard of a sea gooseberry! And the Flustrellidra corniculata looks quite furry, but I suspect not. Incredible photos and textures. Thank you for joining me this week.
    Jude xx

    1. Your challenge is right up my alley! At least that’s what Patti over at says. She’s right. Thanks for an inspiring challenge, all the moreso with the wonderful textures from your shore. I love your seaweeds.- Steve
      ps- Flustrellidra corniculata feels just about how it looks.

    1. Thanks for giving my post a look, Amy, and for sending along your thoughts. I enjoyed the challenge and all the ways people shared their “textures” ideas. I was just looking through your post and the top photo, a not too close up shot of a moss-covered slope is really nice. I love that one.

  4. Utterly beautiful. Mother Nature at her most artistic with your eye and lens to catch it for the rest of us. Thank you and hoping you had a day with much to be thankful for!

    1. Wow! I just looked through a few of your most recent posts and you’ve been putting up some gorgeous photos. Some of those beachscapes and scenery shots are superb. And I loved that red-legged frog (I love amphibians). I don’t know how I missed all this. Anyhow, thanks for having a look at my textures and mentioning it. And I did have a good day yesterday (thanks fro the wishes), over at my cousin’s and gratitude all around.

  5. Thank you Steve for helping maintain our connection to the west coast. Great photos and narration. Have a great holiday season.

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