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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Florence, Oregon
Day one of our trip took us to Florence.  I saw the sun setting on the other side of this bridge and headed towards it to get a silhouetted bridge with sunset sky.  Those shots turned out so-so.  Actually I decided that I needed to get past the bridge and get the sun setting on the dunes.  I found a deserted restaurant with a balcony, no signs to keep out or keep off, so up I climbed.  From there I shot the sunset and was happy with the results...but then...I turned around and looked back at the!  this is what I saw!  I have seen so many bridge shots that make the full circle like this and have hoped that someday I would find one.  And now it found me!  I think it is my all time favorite photo from my trip. I have heard that sometimes the shot behind you at sunset and sunrise is better than the actual sunrise/set. In this case it proved so.

Here is another shot of the bridge.  It was on the side looking towards the sunset.
 and this was the sunset from the deck of that restaurant.  It was pretty.  If it was all I had seen, without the bridge behind me, I would have been happy.  I was so thrilled with my bonus tho.

Florence is a little fishing port.  I took advantage of the photo opps down at the docks.

Earlier in the day, I was on a sand dune hunt.  I have seen some awesome dune shots and had this image in my head of what I would find.  I wanted mounds and mounds of sand.  After making John drive all over, and me getting out and walking up and down mounds to find them, Nada!  All I could find was mounds topped with sea grass.  I know they are out there,those endless deserted mounds that look like you are in the Sahara, I have seen the shots, in fact somebody I know posted one the day after I got home, but I didn't find them.   I even asked around and didn't find anyone who knew how to direct me to those elusive mounds...oh well, lucky for me, Florence is not that far away.  I will find them another time.
But I did find this...such still water to reflect those trees.

 Day 2 we went just a little north of Florence to see a place that was on my hit list of places to shoot. 
Cape Perpetua.  The sights there were Cooks Chasm, Spouting Horn and Thor's Well.  
obviously, this is the Spouting Horn.

Cook's Chasm 
Can you believe the water color?
Thor's Well.  Now Thor's Well was pretty cool in all the photos I have seen.  It is usually portrayed at sunset, with a slow shutter speed that makes the water soft and milky. I had read up on it and was ready!  Except we were not there at sunset.  Strike one.  Strike is way down there!  To get that great shot I wanted, I would have had to climb down, then walk way out there in the water, risk falling on that lava, and worse, I needed to set up my tripod low to get the point of view I wanted, and risk being hit by a wave or two.  John refused to let me go down there.  I thought about it tho.  Thought only.  *sigh* 
This is NOT my shot!
 This is what I wanted to get...I copied it off of Flickr to show you what I had imagined I would get.  See how far down he had to go to get it?  See that wave coming in? Well, maybe some other time, right? I was able to get a closer up view with my zoom, and for now that is good enough.
We stopped and took a lot of light house shots too.  more of these are posted later on
Port Orford brought us to John's sister Martha's place.  We always have a blast with Mick and Martha!  We would have stayed longer, but it poured down buckets of rain the next day so we made a decision to head south in search of sun.  
Day 3...The Redwoods
Nothing like a tree to make you feel so small and insignificant.

  Day 4 took us to Hwy 1 from the 101.  It is a gorgeous drive.  You for sure can't be in a hurry, it has only two lanes and winds and turns, up hills and down...and it is right next to the cliff that drops into the ocean.  There were a few tense moments for me as I looked down...and very few guard rails.  I could not help but wonder how many people have gone over the edge.  

more light houses, the one below is a military base

We ended the day at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Now I thought the Spouting Horn in Oregon was so cool...but this one is not even one I had heard wasn't marked, but as we passed I saw it shoot and had John was way better and bigger than the first one we saw...pretty cool heart, huh?  
All of a sudden, as we drove along, I saw a Huge seal laying by the road, I got out and started shooting.  We  were headed south, and cars headed north were slowing down to see what I was shooting.  I motioned them towards the seal, expecting them to be excited and stop too....but no...the kept on driving.  I was amazed!  "How could they go on by?" A tiny bit past that spot, there were a bunch of seals, once again I got out and took more photos.  Still amazed and wondering why none of the cars headed north were stopping to see such a sight.  And just a little further down the road...I got my answer.  A whole beach full of them!  I mean F.U.L.L.  they were laying everywhere!  No wonder the cars had just continued on their way.  I am sure they were laughing at me, and here I had been wondering about them.
 A walk way has been built to keep the seals safe from humans.  But it was perfect to walk along and see them so close up.  It was so noisy from them barking.  They were tossing sand around, most sleeping, some fighting, a few walking to the water. The went on and on forever in both directions, this is just a tiny part of them.
I loved the content happy look of this mommy with her baby...see that smile?

It was full of these Elephant seals. I have never even heard of them.  My first thought was that they were walrus.  oh well.

Isn't that so adorable how he is just hugging on to her?
 a nice comfy place to sleep
Solvang, California
Solvang is a little town that is all done in dutch design.  It was a cute place to visit.  It has a mission there that is part of El Camino Real.  El Camino Real is a stretch of road between missions on the California coast.  Each mission is built about 30 miles apart, which was about a days travel for the missionaries. 

We arrived in Oxnard to stay a while with Jimmy.  He is John's uncle.  A bachelor who loves to have company.  It is always a nice visit with him.  He has a friend named Fran who has been friends with him since before her husband died, years ago.  No romance, they are just great friends.  Every day, he drives to her place and they go out to lunch.  Of course with a coupon and using their senior citizen discount! 
The old main street in Oxnard is lined with old palm trees...always such a sight for this Oregonian!
It is located right on the ocean. 

This is the Ventura pier. We took Jim and Fran with us for a little drive and had lunch at an old 50's style place.  complete with a juke box and selection boxes a each table.  

And then it was time to leave him.  It is always so sad to drive away as he stands there so alone waving to us.  He has lived in this home since he was a little boy. 
And then it was time to see Gabe and Dennis and Abby!!!
We even got to babysit one night so they could go out to a work dinner.
Gabe turned 3!!!!  
To celebrate his birthday we all went to Disneyland.  We had 8 adults, Dennis, Abby, John and Me and My Mom and Dad and Abby's Mom and Dad, all there to watch 3 year old Gabe on his first time there.
This photo says it all!  My favorite of the day.  The wonder on Gabe's face as we watched the Disney parade.  You can see the float that was going by reflected in his little eyes.
 Abby's parents and mine finding out from Gabe how he liked his first ride.

Seriously, how many adults can you squeeze into one lion train cage?  What adults will do for a kid!

 On the way out, my camera was out of space, so I asked John to take a photo of the balloons for me on his camera.  This is what he took...he does not even remember seeing the guy there in front of him...but it sure turned out funny!
Mike and Rachel Whisner.  Mike was John's friend all through high school.  They ran cross country and track together and also were on the wrestling team.  Mike walked me down the aisle at graduation and baccalaureate.  He was best man at our wedding.  They live in Big Bear.  He is pastor of a church there.  It was so nice to spend an afternoon with them catching up on everything.
 John and Dennis put down a new brick floor on his patio.

From Dennis' place, we headed north to Reno.  My parents had left the day before us and we met up with them there.  I am not much of a gambler, so after after a while, I took a walk and discovered a lake right by our hotel.  That is our hotel in the photo.  
Now, something that I have had on my list for as long as I can remember is to shoot a swan.  Guess what I found at the lake?  You got it!  I hit the jackpot!  not in the casino, but at the lake!  There was only one, but I made the most of it and shot and shot.  These are my favorites, but I have tons as you can imagine!
This is the look I get from the kids when I have taken my allotment of shots.

The lake was partly frozen over.  It was hilarious watching the geese come in for a landing and skid and run, instead of the usual splash and swim.
There were tons of other birds there too.  Canadian Geese, other geese, ducks, sea gulls, coots, and tons of birds that I can not name.

We headed north through Mt. Shasta for home.

An old school house/church along the road.

 We made it up to Grants Pass and stopped in for a visit with his brother JD and his wife Linda.
Before we left Oregon, I bought a Groupon to visit the Wildlife Safari.  I was a little disappointed in it.  The animals I really wanted to take photos of were behind cables.  Somehow, I had expected them to all be roaming free.  Some were, and it was fine to see them, but it was not really what I had expected.  I guess it had something to do with it being the last on the list of  all the great things we had seen already.  Like who can beat a whole beach of seals?  or finally finding my swan?
3 weeks and 3 days later...the final stretch towards home...