sandrific a Kimak project
best viewed on the beach

How I Spent My Winter

04.08.09 | Posted in Project Updates

Finally launched a project blog. I know?*that* sure seemed to take a long time. I guess I just didn’t really have much of anything to say. But then I started thinking that might change. Probably could have done more with the theme, but hey, it is what it is.

So here’s some background.

I’ve always liked dirt. I was one of those kids who played with bugs, searched for fossils, buried things in the backyard, collected rocks, and panned for gold. I’m not a geologist, but I am a bit of a science geek who has an unhealthy relationship with sand. I suppose that?s what happens when a Florida baby is plucked from beach bliss and carried off to a geologically-fascinating, but landlocked state.

Like many people, I collect souvenir sand from my vacations. My first treasure came from Carmel during a business conference in 1997. It was my first visit back to the Pacific coast in about a decade and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the beach. It was irresistible, so I scooped up a little in a water bottle and brought it back home.

Soon thereafter, work began to take over and my vacations became fewer and farther between. I started hitting my friends and family up for sand.

I decanted their sand into pretty glass bottles and the collection began to grow. For years, I never really thought much about it. Until last fall. After a particularly busy year on a demanding project, I found myself needing some downtime. I’m crazy about geolocation and have worked with the Google Maps API for a couple of years, so I decided to combine that interest with my love of photography.

Bringing this project to life has been challenging. Early on, I ran into a technical hurdle trying to integrate the photos with the map (which I wrote about here), and fussed with a couple of scripts to get the GMap API key to work across multiple domains (that was fun, but never got around to sharing my solution.)

I was a bit unprepared for how long it would take to photograph sand, and the hours of research needed to determine where, exactly, some of my samples are actually from: it seems that my family and friends are usually more interested in having a good time on their vacations than writing down details (don’t be surprised if I send you off with baggies and a GPS unit on your next trip.)

Categorizing the sand colors was surprisingly agonizing. Should I go with tan, dark tan, taupe, wheat, brown-grey, fallow, ecru, bistre, light brown, grey, buff, beige, linen, eggshell, white, ivory, yellow, maize, saffron, peach, pink, seashell, clear, green, olive, orange-red, brick red, rust? I did my best?but if something gives you heartache, let me know. Just don’t ask me to use gray.

Over the past months, I had to sideline things a couple of times to accommodate client work — thanks for being so wonderful when timelines seemed to drift a little. I’m also grateful to my husband for encouraging me to indulge in a pet project in the first place. And of course, to everyone who has contributed sand.

Initially, I thought this would be just a little side project, but it’s become somewhat of an obsession. I plan to add new samples regularly as I obtain them.

The result is Sandrific. It’s for people who love sand.

I hope you enjoy it.