When I made plans to travel to San Francisco for the first time, Baker Beach was at the top of my list for places to visit. As a huge fan of Ansel Adams, I had long admired his photos from Baker Beach of the Golden Gate Bridge. After a long day of traveling cross country with layovers in every time zone in between, my husband and I landed in San Francisco about two hours before sunset and made to Baker Beach just in time for this shot. As one of the most internationally recognizable symbols of San Francisco, this photo of the Golden Gate Bridge is one of my favorites from that trip. We are planning to head back to the area this fall, and I might just have to visit Baker Beach again!
The 17-Mile Drive along the Monterey Peninsula winds through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, California. Touted as one of the most scenic drives in the country, the views absolutely lived up to their reputation. The rocky coastline hints at the uneven rocky surface below that help make the sea look especially restless here. Every now and then between the crashing waves I was able to catch a glimpse of a few sea otters bobbing up and down and marveled at how adept they were at navigating those rocks. In addition to the treacherous shoreline, it was an extremely windy day when this photo was taken, making the waves seem particularly spectacular.
Now that 2012 is underway, it’s time to take a look back at a few favorite photos from 2011. The highlights of my year included two trips with my husband, one to the Southwestern US and one to Puerto Rico. Both were new experiences for us, and both left us wanting more. My favorite photos from the Southwest are by far those from Antelope Canyon. While not the most serene to actually visit thanks to the many tourists and photographers, the photos from that visit amaze me every time I look at them. The expanse of the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, and I was really surprised by all of the trees and the surrounding forest. I’d always imagined the surrounding area to be desolate.
While the Grand Canyon was on my bucket list, I must say that I fell in love with Bryce Canyon. The intense colors of the hoodoos against the blue sky was simply beautiful, but the most memorable was the quiet serenity of our day there. We’ll be back for sure with much more time to explore. On a completely different note, Puerto Rico was a fantastic getaway, and surprisingly easy to get to. The ability to be in 2500 feet of crystal clear water in only a 20-minute boat ride was amazing! My favorite spots were the rain forest at El Yunque and streets of Old San Juan with the beautiful architecture and brilliant colors.
As usual, it was hard to narrow my favorite photos down to only ten this year. There isn’t really any rhyme or reason for why these photos are my favorites, but there is something about each one that I love. Enjoy the photos and have a wonderful 2012!
If you are avid reader of the PhotoBlog, you’ve likely been wondering if what rock I’ve been hiding under for the last few months. I wish that I’d been on some exotic assignment taking photos at the ends of the earth but I’ve just been busy juggling too many things at once and something had to give. While photography is my passion, it is unfortunately not how I pay the bills and my ‘real job’ was exceptionally demanding in the last few months. Add to that ensuring that I spent quality time with my family and it left little time for shooting new photos or blogging.
Fall hasn’t been completely devoid of new photos, though. There was a trip to Puerto Rico in mid-October, and a long weekend in Raleigh, NC to see some fall colors a couple of weeks ago. All of the photos from Puerto Rico are up on my website, and I’m hoping to have the fall foliage photos up soon. In the last few months I have also been sneaking in some time here and there to get through a backlog of photos that need to be edited, and feel good that I’m getting caught up.
Now that things aren’t so hectic, it’s time to start blogging again, and that brings me to this photo from San Juan, Puerto Rico. While strolling through Old San Juan and trying to take in all of the beautiful historic architecture, it seems like there was something new to see around every corner. The bright Caribbean colors with bright white trim and were absolutely beautiful and gave each building its own character. While admiring the intense school-bus-yellow on this building, a black and white cat wondered by and added a little of his own character to the photo.
Like many other national parks in the Southwest, Kolob Canyon was formed over thousands of years thanks to several types of erosion. A combination of uplift along several fault lines and downcutting from nearby streams and creeks helped form the main finger canyons in Kolob Canyon and shaped the landscape. This photo shows what is known as a hanging valley, formed when uplifting of the rocks along the canyon wall created a gap that water naturally runs through after it rains. After heavy rains waterfalls can appear, but they are usually gone within a few minutes. The dark streaks along the rocks are iron and manganese deposits and are an easy way to identify these sometimes waterfalls and hanging valleys.
Kolob Canyon is one of the little known sections of Zion National Park. While the park enjoys roughly 3 million visitors per year, only ten percent of those visitors ever see Kolob Canyon. The one hour drive from the main Zion National Park visitors center is likely the reason for fewer visitors, but those that do visit are in for a treat.
After absolutely falling in love with Bryce Canyon, my husband and I were headed south on Interstate 15 back towards Las Vegas, where we were flying out the next day to head home. I had seen on several maps that Kolob Canyon was on our way, so we decided to stop and were so glad we did. From the highway, there is no way to know the beauty that is waiting just around the bend known as Kolob Canyon. With steep red-rock cliffs and stunning views that go on for miles, I was delighted for the surprise views and it was an unexpected highlight. This view is one of many from the Timber Creek Overlook.
The big adventure to see the Colorado Plateau officially starts tomorrow! After a very warm few days in Las Vegas with my husband, we are setting out for the Grand Canyon tomorrow morning. Sunday we’ll drive to Page, AZ, to visit Antelope Canyon and will then head to Utah to end our day at Bryce Canyon National Park. Monday we’ll start our day at Bryce Canyon and then visit the Kolob Canyon portion of Zion National Park before heading back to Las Vegas for our flight home on Tuesday. It will be a fun-filled few days!
The route from Tampa to Las Vegas includes flying over the Grand Canyon, and after that glimpse I’m more excited than ever to see all it all up close. This photo is with my cell phone and from 38,000 feet, so it’s not my best, but is a preview of some of the landscape to come. We had already passed the Grand Canyon, so all I know is that this is somewhere in Arizona!