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Travel Photography: Southern California

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Eli and I went to San Diego in August for his sister’s wedding. It was purely a family trip. I didn’t sneak in any extra shoots. I didn’t bring much gear. I didn’t make a list of restaurants to try.

We arrived. We smiled. We did what we could to be easy going. The wedding was wonderful. I left my camera at home. I took 3 videos and 2 photos on my phone. It was nice to celebrate and enjoy the moment without thinking about how to document everything, something I should probably do more often.

Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California

The trip did not end with the wedding. Some of Eli’s relatives came from Japan so we added on an additional adventure to Santa Barbara. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a character in a Nancy Meyers movie, then go to Santa Barbara for a long weekend.

Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California

Before I get to more photos, I have to tell you one story. On our first morning in Santa Barbara, Eli and I went on a coffee run. The airbnb we were all staying in had a coffee maker but no beans so off we went in search of coffee. We picked the closest spot with decent reviews on Yelp and bumbled in. Eli and I ordered coffee to go and grabbed a bag of beans.

To go was an option. The barista asked us the usual “here or to go’' but when we replied “to go” he gave us the longest and blankest look ever. I was unclear which one of us more direly needed the morning coffee. Anyway, he then proceeded to explain to us that they sort of, kind of didn’t actually have a “to go” option. They did but they had no to go cups. Confusing. Anyway, he then explained that if we wanted our coffee to go, they sold a ceramic container that we could then use from then on for our to go coffee. It was silly expensive. I always thought Larry David was exaggerating a bit but I think Southern California is just a little extra ridiculous in some places. Anyway, we got the beans and skipped the coffee.

Photographing Southern California

Exploring Santa Barbara takes all of 5 minutes, so we spent most of the time in nearby wineries and visiting the Channel Islands.

Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California

When I was a kid, I spent a bunch of summers as a junior life guard. In Chicago that mostly meant running on sand, swimming in Lake Michigan, eating weird ham and cheese sandwiches that were hot and melty from the sun and negotiating with one another to trade chips and soda. On the way back from the Channel Islands, we ended up on the ferry home with all the Ventura Junior Life Guards.

Part way through the ferry ride home, a large pod of dolphins decided to surf the boat wake and put on a show. About 4 or 5 of the Junior Guards headed out to watch, the rest were busy trying to buy soda and chips from the galley. Junior Life Guards, apparently we’re all the same regardless of location, focused on snacks. You have to fuel back up after all the sand running somehow.

Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California
Photographing Southern California

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