U.S. Election Day has its recurring motifs: red, white and blue vote signs, corrugated plastic voting booths, ballot boxes, stars and stripes. Voting photos quickly become repetitive, even before the sun rises on the West Coast.
Quirky polling stations such as laundromats, beauty salons and churches are hard to find, buried among hundreds of voting places listed only by address.
Hoping to portray something uniquely Californian, I woke before dawn and headed to the lifeguard headquarters on Venice Beach. During Obama fever in 2008, a long line of waiting voters cast shadows on the wall outside.
There were no voters as the polling place opened for these midterm elections. The room that had been full of voting booths two years ago now only had a few.
Often the California coast is swathed in early morning fog, but during cooler months, the air is crisp and clear. An open door gave a postcard view of surfers on the beach and when voters started trickling in, it became brighter.