My wife Bridget had the good sense to have come up with her own plan for Spring Break this year. So I was “in charge” of plans for me and my daughter, Ella (better known as “Baby Genius”.)
Despite the perceived glitz and glamor of the life as a stock photographer, I’m pretty broke. So I opted for a road trip down California’s Central Coast for a budget trip in Monterey and Nipomo (near San Louis Obispo.) I’ve got some generous relatives that would have a nice place for us to stay.
Our first stop along the way was Monterey. Well, actually more precisely Pacific Grove. My step father is a docent at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and we get in for free if we want. I’ve been there so many times I often avoid the visit, but I was informed there’s a new Baja California exhibit. Baby Genius and I went and checked the new exhibit out along with a quick look at the Tentacles exhibit- she’s been fascinated by octopi since she was a little girl.
On our way down we stopped at San Miguel and I got a few good photos of the Mission. We made our way to Avila Beach– only to stop and use the restroom and call my sister Linda and let her know we were close. We stopped at the Avila Valley Barn and pet the animals and bought a berry pie to bring to Linda’s.
Aside from lots of sitting around and drinking up lots of her fancy coffee, the highlight of our trip was visiting the Dunes in nearby Oceano. We drove to a mobile home park and walked into the dunes nextdoor. Once over the first dune hill- it was amazing! All you could see is white sand. It reminded me of my rather limited experience with snow. Not only because of the sea of white, but because in the valleys of the dunes there’s almost no sound. It looked very much like a desert too, but the temperature was very mild.
But like all good things, our trip came to an end.
My plan for New Year’s Day was to drive down California’s Central Coast and meet a couple friends at Pfeiffer Beach. But after some strong weather hit, the beach was closed. The subject we were interested in was the “Keyhole Rock” – at this time of year the sun streams right through the center of the hole at sunset, a sort of au natural Stonehenge I suppose.
So, we drove the half hour of windy road to another part of California’s Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. I’m sure you’ve seen it. I remember it from zillions of photos modern back to the classics by f64 photographers. It’s a secluded cove and a desolate beach, so shallow that the water of the Pacific looks cyan.
Normally I’m in favor of all those European social welfare laws and such. But one aspect of those can be the frustration of being surrounded by zillions of krauts and frogs as happened this not-so-fateful New Year’s Day.
Fighting for a spot to place my tripod was hard enough. But I was also out gunned by my friends who own better gear than I do. I did my best to find a slightly different spot then theirs, but no doubt their photos will be better than mine none-the-less. And to add insult to injury, some schmuck had drawn a huge “I love XXX” in the sand near the waterfall. Oh well.
If nothing else, I stayed longer and got a few photos under the nearly full moon.
Above is a slightly different view of the iconic Bixby Bridge on California’s Central Coast. I went down shooting stock photos and ended up stopped on a dirt road behind the bridge marveling at how much the weather changed in the short couple hours I waited for the light to change.