Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 4 - finally made it to San Francisco

So the final day of our trip was planned for San Francisco. This was Jaime's bday, so of course we had to spend the entire day shopping :p. On the way up we stopped by Dynamo Donuts. I guess it was shown on the food channel. They have a unique selection, so we got a bunch to take home.

We visited the usual; Union Square, Westfield mall, etc. We wanted to go to the Ferry building Market but ended up not having time since then plan was to head out to take cityscapes around sunset.

Golden gate bridge view from Marshall Beach

We ended up missing the exit to Marshall beach, so we had to pay the freakin bridge toll for nothing just to turn around. They were also doing construction around the area, so the parking lot was blocked off. We had to park at Baker beach, which was further down, and walk to Marshall beach in the rain. Stood in the tide to get this shot which resulted in my feet getting soaked, but I was able to get the reflection of the bridge in the wet sand.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco from Battery Spencer in Marin Headlands

Golden Gate bridge and view of San Francisco from Marin Headlands

Both of these were taken from Marin, looking back to SF. The rain picked up a bit, and the sky was dark, so these pics were meant to capture that mood. Jaime was standing there, holding the umbrella up to cover the camera like a champ. Great way to spend her 30th bday!!!

View of the Bay bridge and downtown San Francisco from Treasure Island in San Francsico

Our final stop was over the Bay bridge to Treasure Island. This is a shot I have been wanting to take for a while now. This is a 3-image pano stitched with a view of the Bay bridge and downtown SF. It stopped raining at this point so we weren't as miserable.

By the time we finished, we were cold and starving. The Ito's gave us a bunch of good recommendations for dinner, however we spotted a little Japanese resturant by our hotel and decided to just stop there. After all the food we ate during the trip, we were both craving some good Japanese food. Ended up sharing some sukiyaki and a few rolls.

I have to say, there are countless photo opps to capture the SF skyline. I'm happy with what I got in 1 night, but if we ever went back I would need a whole lot more time to find some different spots to shoot.

We left back for LA early the next morning to beat the traffic in both SF and LA. Overall it was a great trip, but we both felt like we needed a vacation from that vacation since we packed so much in.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography

Norcal trip day 3 - Monterey and Carmel

Day 3 we planned to drive further north to Moterey and Carmel to do some shopping, get a relaxing massage, and of course take some pictures.

On the way up, we passed over the Brixby bridge and hopped out to snap a few pictures. There is a dirt road near the bridge that allows for different vantage points, however it was raining, and we didn't want to get stuck.

The cool thing about Hwy 1, is there are multiple turnouts, and you can get a good view from any one of them.

Big sur coastline, California

On the way up, we saw this speed limit sign. For those of you who know how many sharp curves this road has, going 80 would most likley result in skidding off the cliff. We thought it was pretty funny.

We spent the day in Carmel, shopping in the little boutiqe stores. We had lunch at Dametra cafe, a great little Mediterranean place with tasty dishes.

After shopping, and a 1.5 hour massage, we headed to Point Lobos State Reserve a bit before sunset. We visited here 3-years ago during a day trip to Carmel. Great reserve with countless photo opps and hiking trails. I already knew the location I wanted to be at for sunset, so we hiked around a bit until then.

Wave crashing off rock, Point Lobos, Carmel

Jaime took this one, she loved how the huge waves rolling in were crashing off the rocks. Luckily, birds were flying by just as she took it. Came out good!

Right before sunset, to the SW was a break in the clouds with the rays pouring through. This was taken at 200mm with my 18-200. I should have used my 300mm, but didn't have time to swap everything out.

Pinnacle Rock, Point Lobos, Carmel

This was shot from Pinnacle Rock. I wanted to smooth the water out, so I had to use my ND filter. The weather was pretty bad all day, so we were lucky to get some cloud breaks right at sunset.

Overall I am happy with how the pinnacle rock picture came out.

We spent the rest of the evening in Monterey, walking around and eating on Cannery Row. Great ending to another great day.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography

Norcal road trip - day 2 in Big Sur

We didn't have much planned for day 2, so we slept in and got a bit of rest for our day full of hiking. First stop was to Pfeiffer Big Falls State Park for a short hike to Pfeiffer falls.

Nothing spectacular, but we were not expecting much after viewing McWay Falls.
We then headed back to Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park for another short hike up to Canyon Falls.

This is probably the first time Jaime has EVER worn a pack hiking, because usually I carry everything. However I had all my camera gear stuffed into my backpack, including my 300mm F4 so I didn't have any room for the food. I guess she will have to get used to it!

Jaime had the great idea of packing PB&J sandwiches for lunch, so we brought up those little jelly packets that are in resturants, as well as a can of PB and bread. We had a nice quiet lunch by the stream, listening to the sounds of nature.

We stopped back by McWay Falls, but it was completely overcast and the light wasn't as good as the day before. So we headed back to Pfeiffer Big Falls State Park to get to Pfeiffer Big Falls State Beach. This little beach is hidden a few miles off Hwy 1, from an unmarked turnoff. However, it is known to photographers for the portal, where in Dec - Jan the sunset aligns with the hole in the rock formation allowing for a beam of light to pass through. If we ever head back up the 1, we will definitely make sure to plan it during this time.

This beach is also known for its purple sand, from the manganese garnet in the hills that wash down onto the beach. It would have been a lot more visible in the day, but still really cool to see as we have never seen anything like it.

Pfeiffer Big Falls State Beach, Big Sur

Sunset ended up being a bust, so I was hoping for it to clear up the next day when we planned to be at Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Norcal trip day 1 - up to Big Sur

Jaime and I took a 5-day trip up the Cali coast ending in SF during v-day weekend, which was also her birthday weekend. It was a nice chance to get away, do a bit of hiking, eating, and of course shopping for J. When we went to SB in December last year Cantina was closed, so of course we had to stop there on the way for a bfast burrito.

Still one of the best bfast burritos! Now served all day!

Our first stop was Montana De Oro State Park near Morro Bay. There were some unique rock formations, but most were unaccessable due to the high tide and huge waves.

Lime Kiln State Park seascape

Lime Kiln State Park seascape

After a bit of hiking, we stopped for lunch in Morro Bay at Giovanni's fish market for some fish n' chips and fish tacos. Nothing compared to the fish n' chips we had in New Zealand, but good for California.

Our next planned stop was Lime Kiln State Park not too far from Big Sur but it was closed, and we later found out that it was on the list of park closures for budget reasons, and was closed for good. We were running a little late anyway so we headed straight to McWay Falls at Pfeiffer state beach. This is the waterfall that falls directly onto the sand that is shown in travel brochures. The beach is unaccessable from the lookout, for preservation reasons.

All day the sky was clear, with fairly no clouds. Just as sunset rolled around, we were welcomed with a bit of drama in the sky making for a nice sunset.

Big sur sunset from Pfeiffer state beach

McWay Falls at sunset, Pfeiffer state beach

McWay Falls at sunset, Pfeiffer state beach

McWay Falls at sunset, Pfeiffer state beach

We were beat from the drive up and the hiking, so we checked into our lodge and had a quiet dinner. Had to get some rest for the next full-packed day of hiking around Big Sur.

Brandon Yoshizawa
B.A.Y | photography