An Ocean Full of Bowling Balls

J.D Salinger’s prequel to Catcher in the Rye tells the story of the death of Holden Caulfield’s brother Kenneth (later Allie) after going for a swim in the ocean during a brewing storm.  Kenneth and Holden’s older brother, Vincent narrates the story and describes that once Kenneth entered the water the sky grew dark and the ocean grew violent, looking like it was full of bowling balls.  Despite his attempts, Vincent was unable to revive the listless body of Kenneth after it washed ashore.

I read Ocean Full of Bowling Balls recently, just before taking a trip to the Oregon Coast.  Bandon Beach and Cannon beach are both places I have wanted to visit for some time.  Although I had seen many photographs of these beautiful places, separated by a 6 hour drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, I had no idea what I was in for.  My first glimpse was after arriving at Bandon Beach following sunset but I was still totally unprepared for what I was about to experience the following morning.  An hour before sunrise the sound of the ocean announced their presence but it was only when sunlight streaked the sky and their silhouettes took form on the beach that the true magnificence of the ancient sea stacks that litter this part of the Oregon coastline was revealed.  It was awe inspiring.  The ocean rushed around their bases and waves crashed into their structures, like it has done each morning for time immemorial.  A dangerously beautiful sight summoning you to venture closer and closure until you are finally trapped and enthralled beyond escape.  An ocean full of bowling balls.

The images that accompany this post are a selection of those I took at Bandon Beach and Cannon Beach as well as the views along the Pacific Coast Highway.


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  1. Dang you Mr. Ransom!! What an extraordinary body of images you’ve created from a wonderful location. WOW! I’ve been there twice with not the best conditions. You had great conditions. GOOD ON YOU!! Wow, wow, wow.

  2. Really great work Arthur!

  3. Great set of images. Your photography continues to grow and amaze me!

  4. I must agree with Lewis. Terrific article and terrific images.

  5. Arthur, This work is amazing – and I don’t throw that word out lightly. Well done! Outstanding imagery!! Tom

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