Taken in the Redwood National and State Parks in Humboldt County, California, this shot is one of my favorite travel shots to date. I’m just lucky the camera I had was decent enough to do it justice; back then in 2010, I used a Sony Bloggie Touch that I still keep charged and infrequently dig out.
I actually demanded that the entire vehicle to stop in order for me to get this mystical shot, but everyone else in the car was so entranced with the scene that I didn’t have to push hard.
When I lived in the San Gabriel Mountains, there came a point when I avoided the valley (and thus city) as much as possible. As such, I spent many days pondering the patterns in the shadows of the wrought iron gates. I eventually discovered a compass laid into the brickwork of the driveway.
These shots are old (and thus lower resolution), but they still speak worlds to me. Maybe it was a sign from this universe that my first trip to California was engulfed in grey, a harbinger of the trials to come. I swear that bird represents me: composed but wary, alone even with the flock, observing.
These photos show Venice Beach in California, yet another spot along the west coast prone to fog, icy wind and chilly temperatures year round.
Last year, I had the pleasure (and exasperation) of driving almost all the way down California; the only places we missed were the beautiful areas north of Shasta Lake and the stuff south of Los Angeles County. The trip wasn’t a planned one. Rather, my partner and I were experiencing some transitionary parts of life and had no direction, so we wandered for about a month before ultimately deciding to leave Cali.
On our way, we hit Santa Monica, Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Santa Cruz, Redding, Shasta Lake and everywhere between. Carmel was one of the most beautiful seaside vacation spots I’d ever seen and a stark contrast to the hot, flat beaches of sugar sand that I’m used to. The entire Pacific Coast has weather patterns I find quite cold and dreary in comparison to the Gulf. Much of northern California makes up for that with beautiful geography, Carmel especially. Mountains already capture my heart, but mountains that dip into the ocean are magical. It is nestled on the southern end of Monterey Bay, beyond the inland Carmel Valley and between mountains that fall off into the Pacific. Too bad I discovered it right before I left, and no middle-class person could ever afford to live within 60 miles of the place.
It’s funny how some pieces of art take time to really sink in, to grow on you and finally win your favor and understanding. When I took this photo on the Disneyland monorail, I thought that the sun and my crappy camera had conspired to render the opportunity useless. Seeing the blur of palm leaves against the sky, I instantly counted it as a fail but for some reason didn’t delete it. These days, I love this photo because it is so representative of that portion of my life and the concept of life passing one by in general. It seems to mimic how things end up a blur of color and texture. Some details are lost in the haze, and others are pliable, almost clear.
Since being back in Louisiana, I’ve had time to work on my photo editing and reflect on the differences in weather and geography between my home state Louisiana and California. Of all the things I don’t miss in California, mountains are one thing I miss terribly. Louisiana is arguably the flattest state in the US with a max elevation change of less than 600 feet across its entirety. That being said, I love mountains, and I pour over old photos of the San Fernando Valley because I miss them so. My favorite mountain is Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, though. Above, you can see onshore flow and the marine layer make cloud soup out of the valley.
Travel memorabilia: a key card from the Rio in Las Vegas; Dutch Bros coffee cards from Redding, CA; a hotel slip from Port Hueneme, CA; a stick from Shasta Lake in CA; a piece of broken taillight from my 1st gen Scion tC, totaled on the 405 in Los Angeles; hemp rope from Palmdale, CA; a feather found in Arizona; a sand dollar from Navarre Beach, FL; petrified wood from Burlington, KY; a stone and wave-tumbled glass from Lake Erie; a ticket from the aquarium in Newport, KY.