Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Trip: Cambria In January - California's Wonderful Central Coast - Day 2

Moonstone Beach Glimpse - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/8, 1/800, 72mm.

The second day of our central coast getaway began with the hotel's free breakfast, which included pastries from a local french bakery. It was delicious! All of the hotels that we've ever slept at in Cambria have included a tasty breakfast with local baked goods.

After enjoying our yummy breakfast we took a walk along the boardwalk. It follows Moonstone Beach, with wooden stairs providing shoreline access along the way. It was a lovely, peaceful morning--perfect for our stroll.

We spent some time exploring the Pacific shore. We tried tide-pooling in some rocky areas, but didn't see much. The kids found some interesting rocks. I guess that's why they call it Moonstone Beach.
Daisy At The Wood Fence - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/4.5, 1/250, 28mm.
After we were done with our morning stroll we got in the car and drove up to San Simeon, the next town north on the Pacific Coast Highway. Along the way we saw some condors sitting up on a fence along the highway, just hanging out. Then we found some zebras on the Hearst ranch. It's fun to see what wildlife you'll discover in this area.

We proceeded to Hearst Castle. We wanted to take the kids to see this incredible site, but thought they might be too young to appreciate it. We took a chance anyway, and purchased tickets for the guesthouse tour, the first tour available. The timing was good, we were able to get on a bus to the top right away without any waiting.

Hearst Castle is nothing short of amazing. The interesting architecture, historic art and beautiful gardens all make this an exceptional place to visit. The boys liked the bus ride up, but we were apprehensive how they'd do on the tour, since they are are six and two years old.
A Purple Daisy - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/3.5, 1/200, 28mm.
The visit went well, for the most part--better than we expected. The two boys were handfuls at times, and the tour guide got after them more than once. But most of the time they did well, and we were able to complete the tour.

We stayed up the hill for a little while, exploring the castle grounds. The kids liked going up and down the steps and following different paths through the gardens. After some time we got back on the bus and went back down to the visitor's center, where we grabbed lunch.

Once back in the car we drove a little further north to Elephant Seal Beach to see, well, the elephant seals on the beach. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of them on the beach, and there's a boardwalk that allows you to see them somewhat up close. There were tons of baby seals with their mothers. This was a great stop that the kids loved.
Bee On A Daisy - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/10, 1/160, 28mm.
We spent the afternoon at the hotel, just relaxing. We watched the waves from our balcony. The youngest took a nap. After a couple of hours we headed back out to the beach for more exploring. By this time a storm had appeared in the distance and was approaching, although it was still a ways off and wouldn't actually hit until the middle of the night.

My brother-in-law just happened to be in Cambria at the same time, and so he met up with us. He helped the kids build a teepee on the beach out of driftwood. Once the sun went down we drove to downtown Cambria to eat dinner at Linn's. Then it was back to the hotel and to bed.

These photographs were captured using a Sony RX100 II. I post-processed them using Alien Skin Exposure X and about half the images received some treatment using Google's Nik software. This was the first time using the Nik bundle for any extensive editing, and it was a learning experience. It has lots of great tools, but it has some peculiar aspects, too, so I've been trying to figure it all out.  
Torch Lily - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/8, 1/1250, 100mm.
Crashing On The Rock - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/8, 1/640, 100mm.
Wave Crash - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/8, 1/640, 100mm.
Pacific Steps Monochrome - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/8, 1/500, 55mm.
Driftwood - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/8, 1/800, 100mm.
No Dogs, Birds Only - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/11, 1/500, 100mm.
Come On, Mom! - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/11, 1/160, 100mm.
Leffingwell Cove - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/8, 1/2000, 100mm.
Condors - San Simeon, California
ISO 400, f/10, 1/1000, 100mm.
Distant Surprises - San Simeon, California
ISO 400, f/10, 1/640, 100mm.
If you look carefully you'll see zebras and Hearst Castle.
Hearst Castle - San Simeon, California
ISO 400, f/4.9, 1/500, 100mm.
A Coastal View - San Simeon, California
ISO 400, f/8, 1/500, 100mm. 
Yucca By The Sea - San Simeon, California
ISO 160, f/6.3, 1/800, 100mm.
Castle Tower - San Simeon, California
ISO 400, f/11, 1/200, 100mm.
Hearst Entrance - San Simeon, California
ISO 160, f/6.3, 1/320, 76mm.
Sad Statue - San Simeon, California
ISO 400, f/1.8, 1/20 (handheld), 28mm.
Window Boy - San Simeon, California
ISO 1250, f/4, 1/200, 64mm.
Desk Lamp - San Simeon, California
ISO 640, f/4.9, 1/125, 100mm.
Steps - San Simeon, California
ISO 160, f/6.3, 1/500, 100mm.
Lamp & Reflection - San Simeon, California
ISO 1600, f/5, 1/40, 79mm.
Pool of Gold & Blue - San Simeon, California
ISO 1600, f/4.9, 1/50, 100mm.
Pup & Mother Seal - San Simeon, California
ISO 200, f/9, 1/125, 100mm.
Moonstone - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/8, 1/320, 100mm.
Surfer With Approaching Storm - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/4.9, 1/250, 100mm.
Pacific Shore - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/5, 1/320, 28mm.
Moonstone Beach - Cambria, California
ISO 320, f/4.9, 1/125, 100mm.
Santa Rosa Creek Meets The Pacific Ocean - Cambria, California
ISO 1000, f4.5, 1/50, 46mm.
Coastal Creek - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/4.5, 1/50, 39mm.
Santa Rosa Creek - Cambria, California
ISO 640, f/2.8, 1/40, 31mm.
Wood Teepee - Cambria, California
ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/30 (handheld), 28mm.
Building A Teepee - Cambria, California
ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/15 (handheld), 90mm.
Rocky Shore - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/5.6, 1/100, 36mm.
Pacific Steps - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/7.1, 1/250, 64mm.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Trip: Cambria In January - California's Wonderful Central Coast - Day 1

Creek Meets Ocean - Cambria, California
ISO 640, f/4.9, 1/640, 100mm.
Back on January 20-22 my family and I went on a two-night getaway to Cambria, California, a quaint town on California's central coast. It sits on the Pacific Coast Highway along the rocky beach and among the tall Monterey Pines.

There are two places in California that are truly beautiful to me, that in my opinion every person should visit at least once in their life: Yosemite National Park and Cambria. These are my two favorite spots anywhere. I could spend months at each of these sites and not grow tired of them. I would live in Cambria if it just wasn't so darn expensive.

In the early afternoon we left our house in Tehachapi, California. It's about three hours of driving to reach the coast. We arrived at our hotel about 45 minutes before sunset, so we quickly checked in and unloaded the car. Our room had an amazing view of the ocean.
Cholame Hills - Cholame, California
ISO 160, f/6.3, 1/320, 100mm.
The great part about visiting Cambria during the offseason is that hotel prices are a fraction of the cost of peak times. The beaches and attractions are also significantly less crowded. It's a more intimate way to experience the place.

We took a walk along the boardwalk and made our way down to Moonstone Beach to watch the sunset. The kids enjoyed throwing rocks into the water and looking for seashells. We watched the waves crash against the sea boulders.

After watching the sunset we returned to our hotel room, but only for a moment and then we were back in the car. We headed to historic downtown Cambria to grab a pizza, and the walked along the shops (which were by now closed). We grabbed some dessert at Linn's, which we took back to the hotel to enjoy.
The Coastal Range #1 - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/11, 1/160, 100mm.
Once back at the hotel I walked across to the boardwalk right in front of our room for some long-exposure night images. I didn't bring a tripod, so I used the boardwalk railing instead. I used the camera's self-timer to prevent camera shake. I used a flashlight to add some extra illumination to the dark scene.

After putting the kids to bed my wife and I slipped out to our hotel room's balcony that overlooked the ocean. We sat in the dark listening to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed a slice of olallieberry pie that we had picked up at Linn's. Then it was time for us to get some shuteye.

I captured these images using a Sony RX100 II pocket camera. I post processed them using Alien Skin Exposure X, with the exception of Cambria Sunset HDR which was edited with Nik's HDR Efex software.

Day 2
The Costal Range #2 - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/11, 1/160, 100mm.
Morro Bay In The Distance - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/9, 1/160, 100mm.
Ocean Rocks - Cambria, California
ISO 200, f/4.9, 1/500, 100mm.
Water, Fire, Rock - Cambria, California
ISO 200, f/4.9, 1/640, 100mm.
Moonstone Beach - Cambria, California
ISO 1250, f/4.9, 1/200, 100mm.
Ice Plant - Cambria, California
ISO 1600, f/4.9, 1/640, 100mm.
Cambria Sunset HDR - Cambria, California
ISO 160, f/5, 1/200, 100mm.
Seaside Jonathan - Cambria, California
ISO 1000, f/4, 1/200, 70mm.
Seaside Joy - Cambria, California
ISO 1600, f/4, 1/200, 70mm.
Seaside Joshua - Cambria, California
ISO 1600, f4, 1/200, 70mm.
Seaside Amanda - Cambria, California
ISO 1600, f4.9, 1/200, 100mm.
Linn's At Night - Cambria, California
ISO 1600, f/3.2, 1/20 (handheld), 49mm.
Downtown Cambria At Night - Cambria, California
ISO 1000, f/3.2, 1/13 (handheld), 43mm.
Pacific Night Abstract - Cambria, California
ISO 400, f/5, 30 seconds (I used the boardwalk rail as a makeshift tripod), 28mm.