The adventurously awesome travel blog of a woman, her dog, and a punk cat.

nomadic travel, photography, insights along the way

Posts from the ‘photography’ category

Northern California

It’s a beautiful Morning here in San Francisco, California. My life is so unreal right now, that I have to remind myself sometimes that it’s actually really happening and not just a wonderful dream It’s been an amazing journey, scary at times, but mostly amazing. I  will look back on time with fond memories ,and a big smile on my face. Southern California is  nice,  but Northern California makes my heart sing. The ragged coast line and sweeping views of the pacific ocean are gorgeous. Big Sur is breathtaking. That said, I still prefer the Maine coast. Maine just has that salt of the earth quality that doesn’t exist here on the west coast, at least not that I have seen. San Francisco is a cool city, but it has nothing on Boston, and it is way more expensive!

Today is the first day of spring and with it’s arrival brings me closer to decision time. I  started this journey believing that I would be heading back to New England in the spring and most likely settling in the Portland, Maine area. I have been hearing how great Portland Oregon is, and in the back of my mind I wonder if maybe I should go there and see if it is a place I want to hang my hat for awhile. It’s a big decision and one I don’t want to make based on emotions. The old heart strings are pulling pretty hard to go home. I am also feeling the need to get out of my little camper and into normal housing for a bit. The camper is great, and has all the comforts of home, but man the smallness is driving me nuts the last week or so.  I think even just a temporary rental would do me some good. Just to have rooms to wander into out of would be wonderful!!

Anyway…. my plan is to travel a bit further up the California coast, and see where it leads. It maybe that I get to Portland,  and I love it so much that staying will be easy. This part of the journey is going to be interesting… I will leave you with photos of Big Sur. If you haven’t visited Big Sur, put  it on your bucket list it’s amazing

 

 

 

 

 

Nice Light

Light right light is everything in a photo, and I waited an hour for the light in this shot to be just right. I don’t do a whole lot in Lightroom or Photoshop with my photos, so what you see is what I saw. For me photography is about putting the viewer in that moment with you.  When I was out last night there was another photographer snapping away. We were talking afterwards and he asked me if I was into HDR. I told him my camera has built in HDR,  but I haven’t ever used it. His jaw hit the ground, and he went on a tangent about the virtues of HDR  The big thing with photography is HDR, High Dynamic Range. Maybe I have only seen bad examples of HDR,  but they just don’t look natural to me . Some go so far in post that it no longer looks like a photograph.  I guess I am just a minimalist 🙂  I might be missing something and I may try it one of these times , and then I will eat my words. Until then, this photo is a truly organic sunset from Pismo Beach, California. I hope you like itpismo sunset1

California Dreamin

Have you ever heard of Pismo Beach, California? Me either, but boy am I glad I found it. It’s a beautiful and quaint  small coastal community with cute little touristy shops. It’s about 45 minutes or so north of Santa Barbra. I was too tired yesterday to shoot much but I did get this one decent shot from the beach.pismo I had two pretty rough days of travel, to get here, and much of it was mind numbing and  boring. Driving through mostly desert land is about as exciting as you would imagine. Looking to your left you see nothingness, look to the right more of the same; look ahead straight bland road. I left Sedona on Sunday morning to find the route I planned to take was closed I think due to an accident. I was re-routed and later on ran into delays on that route due to an accident. The delay on the new route had no work around and cost me hours, and since I was in the middle of nowhere there was nowhere to stay. For the first time ever I considered pulling over in a rest stop and just crashing for the night. Thinking of this conjured up images of one eyed, uni-brow weirdos lurking in the bushes, so I inched my way along the dark road along with everyone else. Eventually I spotted a sign for Travel Lodge.  I pulled off the exit, and found the motel. I didn’t expect the Ritz, but this Travel Lodge  was the  prostitute mecca of central California. I considered just  sleeping  in the camper in the parking lot as I couldn’t settle in but but again images of one eyed weirdos popped in my head. Eventually I drifted off. The next day brought gusty winds for the first two hours of the ride to Pismo. Driving a camper in high wind is not fun, and  when you add in getting pushed over my trucks wind surge, well let’s just say there was a lot of swearing and stopping to take a break. Eventually I traveled into the area where wind was not as much of an issue. The rest of the ride was uneventful, thank God!!

My site in Pismo is just across the street from the beach, and a really beautiful beach at that. The park the  won’t allow me to take the camper off the truck. The reason is they are afraid a kid will play around it and it will fall over on them. Um….it would take a mighty big kid to knock over camper, but OK…I have my bike anyway and I can get to everything by bike pretty easily. I am kind of happy to just be relaxing and not driving for a few days anyway. I leave here Friday and will follow route 1 up the coast. I originally wanted to stay in Big Sur, but no sites to be found, so I plan on just getting up early and will hopefully be there for sunrise and spend a little time. I booked on night in an RV park 15 minutes outside of San Francisco. Some RV parks out this way are really pricey , this one $75.00  per night, but cheaper than a hotel.

The Southwest

What an amazing week  I have had. I left Austin last Wednesday and spent  a few days in southern New Mexico before hitting Sedona, AZ. I visited Ruidoso, New Mexico which reminded me a bit of North Conway New Hampshire as it is also a mountain ski village, yes part of New Mexico gets snow, and enough to ski. Once I hit Sedona the similarity to New England ended. New England has nothing like Sedona, but I wish it did.  Sedona scenery is as amazing as the energy that emanates for the gorgeous red rocks. I could probably  spend a month hiking and exploring, and never hit the same trail twice. It is a real outdoor lovers paradise. I originally planned on spending a few weeks here but the RV park is pretty booked, and I was luck that they could squeeze me in for  seven nights .  I hoped to head for Zion but everything is booked, so onto plan “B”…I am heading to the California coast and will see which way the wind blows. I think they have dried out from the recent rain…I am off on Sunday. I will update  the blog  from the west coast. Until then,  here are my favorite pics from New Mexico and Sedona.

 

 

Austin A Bit Like Boston

Austin, is a mini Boston. I am a city girl through and through, so I loved Austin. In fact, other than Asheville, NC,  Austin is the only southern city that I thought maybe I could relocate here. I would miss the seasons, and the ocean is far away; so there would have to be something pretty amazing to make me commit to life in Austin, but never say never…

Austin’s motto is keep it weird but honestly I didn’t see anything all that weird. It is a very laid back and open minded place with a lot of artists and music, but weird…unless I missed something not so much. The weirdest thing I ran into is a few of the highway routes have loop at the end of it, which made me think that they went in a loop around the city, but they just go straight away from the city, no loop… The only other truly weird thing I found was Bat Bridge. Thousands of migratory Mexican Bats make their home under the bridge, and every evening at dusk they fly out for a night of bug eating in the hill country. Going to watch the bats fly out at dusk is a tourist attraction, and I was among the hundreds of people who showed up to watch. It wasn’t as dramatic as I expected but it was pretty cool. I thought if Bat Bridge was in Boston they would probably try and find a way to get rid of them, but in Austin they have a bit of a cult following.

Austin is a rapidly growing city, and they don’t have a very good transit system so traffic can be bad. I’m used to Boston traffic , so I didn’t mind driving around too much. Austin has an excellent bike system, so that was my favorite way to see the city. I also took and excellent city tour for twenty five dollars, it was the best city tour I have ever taken. I learned a lot about the history of the different neighborhoods. Downtown has a totally different vibe at night, and the music scene is very good. I think there is 250 different venues. I attempted Texas 2 step which could not get the hang of, but it was fun. I am heading for New Mexico tomorrow, March 1st. I will update my blog from there is a few days. I have more shot of Austin that I need to go through but here are a few for now

Points Of Interest

I went to San Antonio yesterday, and it was just OK… The River Walk was nice with  a lot of different restaurants. It would be a cool take in at night with all the lights and the water. They let me sit outside and eat with Buddy , which is always a huge plus. It would have been cool to take the boat tour down the river, but I had Buddy, and that would have become a siren boat tour with Buddy howling  his way down the river.

I got to see the Alamo, but didn’t get to  inside because of Buddy. In hindsight I should have left him at the camper, but I was worried it would have been too long of a day in the camper for him. It was to hot to leave him in the truck, so I just made the best of it. I will say, that The River Walk, and The Alamo seem to be the biggest attractions. Otherwise the city just seems, OK…nothing really grabbed me and made me want to linger.

Closer to camp, I visited Hamilton pool which was a nice way to end the day. Buddy had to stay in the truck for this stop, but it was cooler and I parked in he shade . Hamilton pool is open for swimming during the summer. The waterfall is not he most impressive I have ever seen, but it is very pretty, and a really peaceful spot. I liked walking around in the cavern, the energy there was great.

So far my impression of the area is it’s nice, but not for me. Outside of Austin there really isn’t much going on. They do have state parks, and there are some cute little towns, but otherwise Texas is just kind of “there”…lots of wide open spaces, and more wide open spaces. If you like that kind of thing, you will love the hill country. I  am winding up my stay here so it’s off to Austin tonight , so hopefully I will be able to get some good shots of the city. For now I will leave you will a few pics of Hamilton pool, and some shots around The Alamo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hill Country

I arrived in the Austin , TX area last Thursday, and since then Texas has surprised me at every turn. I always assumed Texas was flat plains and wide open, but  that turn out not to be true. The Texas terrain differs depending on your location and Austin is part of hill country The roads are windy twisty and fun to drive, and they get more so the further into hill country you travel. Today Buddy and  I hiked up  Enchanted Rock, which is a massive , well rock that rises approximately 425 feet above the surrounding terrain . It is not a gradual incline so you do feel it a bit but the views are awesome. I took a cool panorama video which I can’t seem to upload to word press right now, but trust me the view from the summit is pretty cool. These shots are from the trail going up and on top of the rock.

As for Austin, it is a very cool city, almost as cool as Boston:) I have explored the city and scoped out some locations for shooting so I will be going out to shoot , and posting pics. I booked here until the 3rd so plenty of time to shoot and explore. Bye for now

New Orleans Part two…

I wanted to elaborate more on my last post and thoughts on New Orleans. I will say it is probably the kind of place you will either love or hate. My neighbors at the RV park were from a small town, and  were really turn off by the city. Personally, I loved it and really enjoyed the Chaos. This was post Mardi Gras, so I can imagine that would be total chaos. It is a city that has a lot of class and charm, much like Savannah, GA, but because alcohol use is so prevalent it cheapens the city a bit, in my opinion. I will be honest, Bourbon street smells like old pee, and beer. That said, there are many cool elements to the city which I thoroughly enjoyed. I got to witness my first Wedding Parade. In New Orleans you can have a parade for just about everything.  New Orleans is all about music, and it is everywhere. Walking along almost any street you will find someone playing, singing or some other performance going on. There is also and artist market in Jackson Square which was really cool. I loved walking around and chatting with the artist who are happy to talk about their work

As for the locals, well forget the stereotypical Hollywood idea of New Orleans. First of all, people who are from New Orleans don’t really have a southern accent. It is an accent that I can’t easily explain , but it’s not southern; that really surprised me. I found the locals a bit rough around the edges, and they actually reminded me a bit of Bostonian, again very different from what I had pictured, but it made me feel right at home. To be honest, I don’t know if I would visit New Orleans again. I’m glad I saw it, bu it wasn’t the type of place that kind of sucked me in. It was difficult to shoot because it was so busy but I did OK. Hope you enjoy the pics:) we are off to Austin tomorrow. I am really looking forward to that.

 

A Bit Of Southern History

South Carolina is rich in history with many interesting places to see, which I have only just begun to explore. The beauty of the low country is as captivating as it is mysterious, and a bit dark at times. Much this areas history is rooted in plantations and slave trade, and few places I visited I could only stay for a few minutes because the energy of the sites were so dark. One such place is the Chapel of Ease, Saint Helena Island, SC. The building of the chapel commenced in about 1740 using Tabby construction. Tabby is a form of concrete made from lime, sand and oyster shells. The area was once heavily populated by Native Americans, who ate oysters by the boatload it leaving their shells heaped in great piles around the island. Oyster shells don’t decompose rapidly making them an abundant it was resource for this type of building material.

The chapel served the plantation population well until they received news of a union soldiers invasion in 1861, the church never regained its stature. Some stories relate that union soldiers used it for services during the war, as well as northerners who came to the area after the war to educate and train the former slave population. The chapel was destroyed by a fire in 1886. The shell of the chapel still stands today, and walking around the property is a bit creepy . I had a huge knot in my stomach the whole time I was there. It is said to be one of the most haunted sites in South Carolina. Stories range from sightings, to hearing names beings called out in the woods. Another story surrounds the vault, built as the resting place for Edgar Fripp and his wife Eliza, prominent island residents.

Chappel Ease1-2

The vault, which is still in pretty good condition and standing on the property today . Apparently it was opened by union solders hoping to find treasures during The Civil War, and left open for many years. At some point it was decided to brick up the entrance. According to the story, workmen did a journeyman’s job of sealing the vault, only to return the following day to find the bricks removed and neatly stacked beside the vault . Convinced that the supernatural was afoot, in part aided by police assurances that no one had been in the area the previous night long enough to complete such a task, the job remained unfinished. Today the vault is empty, the door half-sealed by bricks, and one finds the experience of looking into its vacant is more than a bit unsettling to say the least.

Apparently, there is another spot just up the street which is quite haunted called the hanging tree. It is at this sight where where runaway slaves were hung, while other slaves were forced to watch as a warning. I didn’t feel the need to visit the sight. This is such a sad part of American History. According to the story if you find yourself here after dark, and park beneath its branches, turn off your headlamps and wait for the Land’s End light. It begins in the distance like a single headlight coming down the road towards you, but as it grows closer you realize it’s much larger and not nearly as bright. Some say as it speeds by it leaves you charged with static electricity. Proponents of the supernatural insist it is the spirits of the souls hung in the tree, others claim it is the spirit of a confederate solder. No one agrees on what the cause for the light might be, though it’s pretty much agreed upon that the light is real, and even somewhat reliable. Some even claim the light appears every night.

I want to leave you with a more positive piece of South Carolina’s history, and a sport which I really enjoyed spending some time. The Angel Oak Tree is a massive, and I mean massive Live Oak which stand 65 feet tall, and whose branches stretch out in all directions. According to my neighbor here when she was a kid you could climb on it, but sadly the tree became victim to graffiti and the bark of this beautiful tree was carved into. At some point the city took it over, gated the tree off and overtime the tree healed from the damage. To be in the presence of this tree is nothing short of amazing. You just want to run up and hug it because it gives off such an amazing energy. It is unclear exactly how old the tree is. Some sources claim it is over 1,500 years old, others say it dates back to Columbus. I read that attempts to “officially” age the tree have been unsuccessful. Regardless of the age it is really worth the visit. So …I will leave you on this note. I have more exploring to do in South Carolina, so there will likely be another post, before I head to my next destination, which it TBD

Love, Lois Buddy, and Phoenix