Carmel By The Sea

There are few more scenic regions of the United States than Northern California.  Meg and I spent 3 glorious days driving through and photographing the California Coastline, visiting Carmel and driving along Big Sur.  As a mother, life doesn’t get much sweeter. As an amateur photographer, even my limited skills are bound to capture some of the beauty of the area.

This photograph of the bluffs, the water and the sky , is my favorite photograph from the trip.

Carmel

Carmel

Evening in Carmel has its own beauty.  The softer colors of the sun and sky at dusk are worth experiencing.

Sunset in Carmel

The Green Lantern was a bed and breakfast located an easy walking distance from the ocean and the downtown restaurants. Definitely a great place for mother-daughter bonding.

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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:)

California Vistas: SLO County Coastline

California Vistas: SLO County Coastline

There are an endless number of beautiful views in Sonoma County. I tend to gravitate toward the ocean and the coastline, which I’m sure comes as no surprise. This shot was taken from the beach along the Central Coast. We were on our way down to Avila, one of our favorite spots in California, and we came across a beach full of elephant seals. It was sunset, my favorite time to be out on the coast, and the weather was fantastic.

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.

Watching The Sun Go Down

I have a fascination with sunsets. That much is clear. But finding the perfect sunset? I’ve found a few, and this one comes close. But I’ve never worked as hard to find a gorgeous sunset as I did on Thanksgiving this year. To make room for our big turkey dinner, we hiked up the ridge above Shell Beach. Pismo Beach was to the South and Avila Beach was to the North. It only took 2 miles and about 600 vertical feet, but we finally found the perfect spot. Our reward? A 2010 Roche Syrah, and a beautiful sunset.

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

Sunset 3

Happy sunsetting.

Sailboats in Morro Bay

Continuing our journey south along Hwy 1, we stopped in Morro Bay for a wine tasting overlooking the water. We were so excited when we discovered the magnificent formations between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo called the “Nine Sisters.” This chain of volcanic peaks/hills ranges from 576 ft. (Morro Rock) to 1,559 ft. (Bishop Peak) in height. Morro Rock, the smallest of the nine, is the rock you see in the picture below. It sits out in the bay, overlooking the ocean, and is a beautiful place to sit and watch the sunset. Since you all know I love a good sunset, I thought I would share this beautiful scene with you. The sailboats are for Pud:)

Happy sunsetting.

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….