Jane visits California

We had so much fun while Jane was in town! I made sure she got to see all the important places, well, at least the ones you can fit into a 48-hour visit.

Meg and Jane at Bodega Headlands

We first walked around downtown Petaluma, went in all the antique shops and furniture stores. After lunch at Petaluma Pie Co., we drove out to my favorite spot at the Bodega Headlands.

Meg, Jane and Auntie in front of the mission at Cline Cellars

The next day we went to Della Fattoria for brunch to gear up for the day. We met Auntie and Tio at Cline, where Jane tasted a broad range of wines, and then we toured the grounds while walking her through our wedding day in 2010. After reenacting the big day, we all ventured over to Sonoma for a birthday BBQ, and then finished off the evening with truffle fries from EDK.

Meg and Jane, having a good time!

It was a pretty fabulous 2 days!

Happy Birthday Jane, I hope you’ll come back and visit us again soon:)

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Diorama

This is one of the features I’ve just discovered on my E-PL1. It’s a setting under the “Art” icon on my features wheel. I took this picture using the diorama setting, which is supposed to create the illusion of a model world. As best I can tell, it enhances the photograph in the middle, almost giving it a magnified bubble effect, while slightly blurring the outer edges. I have no idea why it took me so long to find it, but I’m totally in love.

Using the diorama setting on my camera, under the "arts" features.

Using the diorama setting on my camera, under the “arts” features.

Another visit to Bodega Bay…my favorite place to watch the sunset

Life is pretty amazing here in California. Sure, there are the same stressors and time-consumers here as there are anywhere else, but the beauty of living in California is in enjoying the outdoors and natural wonders of the region. I love exploring this place, finding all the nooks and crannies that don’t show up on the “Top 10 Things to Do” list, and discovering what it is that gives this area the pulse of life that it exudes. While I’ve discovered many a nook, I have also found that some of the most amazing places are those visited by both local and tourist alike. In this case, I point to Bodega Bay and the Bodega Headlands as a perfect example of both locally and “touristically” admired beauty, where I frequently go to find peace and revel at the unmatched awe of the ocean.

You all know I love to take pictures of the ocean, and especially of sunset. Here, I’m trying a few newly discovered features on my E-PL1, including “pop art” and “diorama.” Enjoy.

Looking north along the coast, from the north side of the trailhead.

Looking north along the coast, from the north side of the trailhead.

Looking south along the coast, toward the Bodega Head parking lot and whale watching area.

Looking south along the coast, toward the Bodega Head parking lot and whale watching area.

Flora

One of the beautiful things about California is the many varieties of flora you can find throughout the state. My two favorite areas are the wine country and the coast. Both beautiful. Both peaceful. But while the wine country continues to grow in both agricultural and economic development, the coast remains largely untouched. Thanks to the California Coastal Commission, established in 1972, and the Coastal Act of 1976, the use of land and water in the coastal zone is carefully planned and regulated. As a result, the coast north of San Francisco continues to be undeveloped, and flora continues to flourish.

Flora along California Coast at Bodega Headlands

This is a shot from my mini-hike at Bodega Headlands back in November. Since I am usually focused on pictures of the ocean and of sunset, I thought this would be a nice addition to my photographic repertoire. Given, the ocean is still in the background, but these red finger-like plants were simply too interesting to ignore.

The Power of Nature

I have just completed a major chapter in my life. Working on a campaign is both exhilarating and exhausting, but besides the amazing work experience, I learned a lot about myself through the process. One of my favorite pastimes remains the same… I still love sunsets overlooking the ocean.

Just before the last push of the campaign season, I posted a few photos of my “zen” places. Well, yesterday I went back to one of my favorite spots on the California coast: Bodega Headlands. My visit felt bittersweet. It wasn’t my first visit, and I’m sure won’t be my last, but it had a different feeling about it. Having just finished this incredible experience, my world suddenly feels like it has a huge hole in it. But as much as I am unable to see a clear picture of the immediate future, I felt a wonderful sense of peace. I had warm surroundings, a beautiful view, and of course, my camera in tow.

No matter what I have going on in my life, I will always be humbled by the beauty of nature, and the ocean in particular. It is so powerful, so artistic. Here is what I captured.

And as the sun begins to set…

After it sank below the horizon, the clouds were perfectly aligned to paint the sun’s fiery colors….