California! Better late than never. - Eric Cirone Photography

California! Better late than never.

Golden Gate Bridge

Back in September 2011, my wife and I took a trip to California. I think overall I took about 3000 or so photos. It was right after I got my Nikon D7000 so I was eager to shoot, and shoot I did. One thing that was a bit of an issue was my Sigma 18-200 lens. I got this lens for my Nikon D40 and loved it. When I got the Nikon D7000 I thought I would transition over easily. That was not the case. The Sigma was just never that sharp, and my D7000 had the dreaded back focus issue. In the end, a lot of shots I took where with manual focus. At the end of my warranty period, I did send the camera in for service and Nikon did fix the focus issues. But that's neither here nor there. Let's get on with the story.

We started out in San Francisco. We stayed in Union Square at the Westin St. Francis. It was a great hotel in a very central location of San Francisco. Some of the things we did were

  • Ride the cable cars
  • Saw the painted ladies
  • Went to Golden Gate Park and the Japanese Tea Garden
  • Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Went to Fisherman's Wharf

Overall, San Francisco treated us well! We packed as much as we could into the short two full days we were there. My wife did a fine job of putting up with me taking a gazillion photos!

In Motion
Golden Gate Bridge
Painted Ladies

We then rented a pretty sweet ride and continued down the coast. Our first stop was in Santa Cruz. We went for the boardwalk but when we arrived we found out that most of the boardwalk closed just days before. It was ok because we got to take in the sun, the ocean, and have a nice lunch.

Next stop Monterey. We loved it here. Cannery Row, the aquarium, and starting the 17 mile drive! It was a little warmer than in San Francisco which was great! We had some good food, and of course some good wine!

Cannery Row
Jelly Fish
Cannery Row

Next stop Big Sur. The drive through Big Sur was just beautiful. I found myself stopping at almost every turn off on the road just to take it all in. Of course having the convertible was the only way to do the drive. Just having the top down and being able to get a 360 degree view was breathtaking. We of course saw the staples like Bixby Bridge and McWay Waterfall. We even stayed over one night in Big Sur at Ragged Point Inn. Being able to eat dinner outside on a cliff and seeing a sunset like the one below was just breathtaking!

Bixby Bridge
McWay Waterfall
Sunset
Sunset

Our last day of driving was jam packed. We started out early and made our way to Seal Beach. You basically get to be right next to about 40-50 elephant seals. It was so much fun to watch them flop around, fight, and go in and out of the ocean. It was definitely an experience to remember.

Sea Lions
Territorial
The Godfather Sea Lion

After Seal Beach we made our way to Hearst Castle. From there we stopped at Pismo Beach and got to drive the car on the beach. That was fun, but let's not talk about when I got the car stuck in the sand (spoiler: I got it out). We also stopped in Dutch country (Solvang CA). Then for the final leg of the drive we drove through Malibu and into LA. In LA we visited Paramount Studios, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Boulevard, drove around Beverly Hills, and of course to Disneyland (my wife is a huge Disney fan). I was thrilled to do some surfing in the Pacific. It was my second time surfing and I was able to get up a couple times. Boy is it a workout though. I was beat after an hour of surfing.

Hearst Castle
Santa Monica Pier
Surfs Up

Overall we had an amazing trip and I had a field day taking so many photos! I'm glad that after almost 2.5 years I finally finished editing all the photos. The number of photos to go through was always daunting and whenever I had a little time I just chipped away at them. Please check out the album and if you are a photographer and looking to do a trip, consider driving down the coast of California. You won't be sorry. I wasn't.

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