I was in California last week, catching up with the husband and sneaking in some friend time on the side. Some of our friends were cycling down the Californian coast on their honeymoon, and invited us to come crash it…so, of course, we did. I missed their wedding in NY last year, so was super-excited to be able to see them now.
We copied them and travelled down the coast on wheels…but four of them in car form, because really, I couldn't move far enough in a week on a bike to get anything done. We both flew into San Francisco, then spent a couple of nights in San Jose, a couple in Carmel, one in Big Sur, one in Santa Barbara and one in Santa Monica to wrap things up.
This stretch of the California coast is one of the most spectacular places I've ever been. It was epic – and epically frustrating for me, trying to capture its entire essence in photos and failing miserably. I know I'm not naturally an awesome photographer, and usually that doesn't worry me – it's good enough for purpose. When faced with scenery like this, though, the gap between the photos I take and the photos that actually get it becomes wildly evident.
I took a bunch nonetheless, on my phone and on our camera. Here's a few good old phone snaps for your viewing pleasure:
We spent some time in a small gallery in Carmel (more on the galleries of Carmel to come later!) gazing longingly at the photography of Ansel Adams and Brett Weston. They knew how to photograph California. I studied them both in school; driving the same roads that they did was an incredible experience. Their California was the California we were in, even now. It felt familiar.
There is so, so much more to say about our trip…but it'll have to wait, while I try to work out how to express it properly. Another gap, another frustration – and writing's what I do, for pete's sake. I may have to start calling it the California effect.