Over the River and Thru the Redwoods….to Thanksgiving we go. It happens every year for about ten days. Having two daughters (Algonquin grads), two grandchildren, and extended family in the Bay Area, we take a comfy Virgin America flight to San Francisco, hit favorite spots in Northern California and entertain the family for Thanksgiving and several other days at a rented house on the Russian River just a couple of miles from the Pacific.
These pics are for those of you with wanderlust who enjoy seeing other places through they eyes of a local or getting ideas about photography itself. Or may be thinking of where to take a good vacation.
The trip is virtually the same every year, and we enjoy running down and exchanging tips from friends here in Nboro who love the area. We spend a few days at a Doubletree, which is right on San Francisco Bay in Berkeley (where one daughter and family lives – and where I did my graduate work), head up to the Napa valley, where we stay in Calistoga for a night, make our way to favorite wineries in the Alexander Valley (swearing at Hanna and Field Stone we should have left our credit cards at home), stop by our favorite restaurants in Healdsburg (Willy’s Seafood….Casteaux’s for a fabulous breakfast…thanks M) and then go to the house we rent in Duncans Mills, which is between Gurneville and Jenner on the Sonoma coast.
We end the trip by staying on Tomales Bay near the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, have lunch at Sam’s in Tiburon and then check in at a Couryard near the San Francisco airport before letting Richard Branson bring us home on one of his friendly Virgin planes. (Note that as a rail devotee who rides Sir Richard’s Virgin trains in the UK a lot and respects his attitudes on customer service and environmental issues, I admire the guy and give him my hard earned dollars).
While at Duncans Mills we explore the nearby coast and Armstrong redwood park, and take 1/1 time with each of our kids, their husbands and our grand kids. Given we are a family of foodies, cooks are at work for days after weeks of compiling a spreadsheet of ingredients and responsibilities. Fireplaces are lit, the hot tub fired up, cell phones put away (no service), books and Kindles broken out and games for the kids unpacked. It is all a long way from Northborough but not a long way from friends here who keep in touch via email (thar’s wi fi in the woods)….and who get to see some of these pics before you will.
Not too, too long ago I shared photos taken on one of our trips to the area around Monterey, Big Sur, and the Bay area (http://northborough.patch.com/blog_posts/lens-on-the-road-california-roaming and http://northborough.patch.com/blog_posts/lens-on-the-road-california-roaming-2) and so this set will give you an even more comprehensive look at Northern California.
For the photographers among readers, I carry both an Olympus single lens reflex camera kit and a very small Panasonic-Lumix-Leica point and shoot (oh, sorry folks, the phone camera I recently wrote about went bye bye when the phoned died two days before the trip; I’ll have a new one soon).
By the time I get done with post processing it is difficult to tell the difference in quality between these cameras, but I take heart in having two of them, one of which is really very unobtrusive and takes videos. It is not all easy going. Redwood forests are dark, doing seascapes requires careful exposing, and those foggy days are a fun challenge. This all said, virtually any digital (and good film) camera can produce stunning results in the right hands and, I would be less than honest if I said I didn’t sometimes fiddle with cropping, sharpness, color contrast and saturation when I get pics into a computer. Nothing new there. Ansel Adams was something else in the darkroom.
This all said, at the end of the day photography is truly enjoyable when it can be shared. Soon I will publish here a set of photos taken in our area over the past year. Hopefully, it will not only give us insight on how beautiful it is here, but maybe help you persuade some Californians or other friends and family to hop on a plane to come and spread around some clicks, fun and dollars. But for now do some California dreaming (isn’t the Westborough HS ---sorry ARHS--- fight song ‘California here we come?’) and get out your calendars. I’m happy to help anyone who is in touch. To protect my images I have watermarked them. If you would like a print or want to use any of my photos please drop me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chill out for a few minutes and enjoy. And Happy Holidays.