After nearly six weeks at the internship in lovely Santa Cruz, I finally made it to the beach, which if you know me is flabbergasting.

I’m the guy my friends know as the one who takes off for the beach when he’s bored or wants to clear his head or needs a destination to drive to at 3 a.m. Heck I’ve surprised myself at how long it’s taken me to finally take a trip to the sandy shores. It’s almost like I’m a local, just without the six-figure salary or pants with an inordinate amount of zippers running up and down the side.

On Monday I was given an assignment that called for a little trek to a residential coastline in Aptos. There had been a report of tar like balls washing ashore and Wildlife, Fish and Game had been investigating over the previous weekend.

I was sent out to find some art to go with the story. I walked up and down the secluded beach in search of the black gooey orbs, but to no avail. After asking every jogger, dog walker, pebble skipper and one life guard, nearly 20 people in all, I concluded that I better think of another angle.

Of course there were no tar balls on the beach that anyone had seen, but regardless I still had a story to file.

So I went back to the basics and tried to compose a visually appealing image, and got to stalk a few birds and watch the sunset in the process.

Often times the equation in daily work becomes a balancing act of technique and subject. If the subject is lacking then you better spice it up with technique. If your subject is excellent, don’t overdo it in style.