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Photography Question 
Brenda M. Wolfensberger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/29/2004

Places to visit in California

This may not be the best place to ask this but I'm giving it a shot. :)

I am planning a trip to California in January. We have never been there before and are interested in someone's input as a nice place to visit? Obviously I would like it to be a great place to take some photos (haha) but my husband and I really just want a nice break from the harsh winters of Maryland! :)

We are thinking of spending a few days in California, flying to Hawaii for a few days and then coming back for a couple more days in California?

Not sure what parts we should consider visiting so I thought I'd ask the Better Photo family for input.

Jim & crew - if this is not appropriate, I apolgize and you can delete it. :)

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8/27/2006 12:19:01 PM

Tamera S. Phillips
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/28/2005
  Without knowing where you will be in California makes it hard but I'm in the Bay area. I would suggest Highway 1 which is right along the coast. Beautiful ocean/beach shots there. San Francisco itself is also full of opportunities. Another choice would be the Napa Valley which is full of beautiful wineries and history. Hope this might be helpful - enjoy your trip.

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8/27/2006 12:43:29 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Brenda. Tamera's got some good suggestions although you'll be here at the mid-point in our rainy season. Highway 1 between San Francisco and say San Luis Obisbo to the south gets kind of "iffy" with occasional mud and rock slides that close the road in portions and present some pretty far out detours, especially between Monterey/Carmel and Big Sur. So my advice is not to be flexible in your California travel plans to allow for the detours or take highway 101, a more inland route but still scenic.

Monterey/Carmel is pretty nice that time of year, should be plenty green. SFO gets rain, clears, rains, clears, clear clear....fog. Depending on what part of the city you're in at a given moment. LOL !!! There are lookouts on to the Golden Gate on either side of the bridge with beautiful views. The Michelin Guide to San Francisco is a good one I keep in my glove box even though I live here too. Good suggestions on restaurants. Grab a couple of the local freebie newspapers like the "Gate" for things happening. Get to Berkeley if you can (cross the Bay Bridge or take Bart.

For Monterey/Big Sur/Carmel, drop me an e-mail and I'll give you a short list of places that locals hang out and a couple of bed and breakfast recommendations. :>) Hawaii??? Nah. Boring.

Take it light.

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8/27/2006 1:01:07 PM

Brenda M. Wolfensberger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/29/2004
  Thanks Tamera! Right now we have no clue where we are going. That's why I thought I'd ask for input. We just know we want to go. :) I'll check out those areas and see what I can find to do there. Thanks again! I've never been to the West Coast, so I'm anxious!

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8/27/2006 1:02:10 PM

Brenda M. Wolfensberger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/29/2004
  That is some great info Mark! We're very open to explore and do anything while we're there. I'll have to check out our local Borders to see if they have that guide you mentioned. And I'll be sure to keep in touch for food ideas & B&B's.

You think Hawaii is boring? I've never been there so I have no idea. Just know I don't want to leave this existence and not have at least checked it out. Any part of any of the islands you would recommend?

I do think I want to see the Golden Gate, that would be sort of silly not to see it while there. It would be like you coming to NYC and not seeing The Statue of Liberty. (haha oddly enough, I've not been to that either!)

Man, I have alot of traveling to do. :)

Thanks again Mark!

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8/27/2006 1:06:40 PM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Up front: I do not live in CA - and do not have the intimate and great info that Mark and Tamera have shared; however, I have done a couple of mag articles on places in CA, so here are a few of my suggestions: Redwood National Park; Sequoia National Park and the General Sherman Tree (one of the oldest trees on earth!); Avenue of the Giants; Yosemite; Big Sur; Shasta –Cascade parkway; Volcanic Legacy Byway; Crater Lake; Tufa Lake; Napa; Tahoe; Mammoth Lake; ah..what else am I leaving out? The bottom line, at least from my pov is that there is so much to see, to photograph and to experience that it would take more than one lifetime to see and do it all! I suppose it really depends upon just what it is that you are interested in doing and photographing.

On a side note (yes, I am temporarily hijacking this thread, but I promise to give it right back!) I think it would be terrific to have an area on BP where people can share their knowledge of great places to photograph. Many people here seem more than willing and extremely knowledgeable about wonderful places that may or may not be in any official guide. Anyway, that’s my two cents for today.

Brenda, I hope you and your family have great fun planning and then enjoying your adventure!


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8/27/2006 1:47:31 PM

Brenda M. Wolfensberger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/29/2004
  Thanks for highjacking Irene! You gave me alot of great things that I didn't even know existed. I'm glad I have several months to plan this little adventure out.

And I agree with you. With having photographers/members from all over the world, a forum of sorts on places to check out would be a great idea. That was two cents well spent!

Thanks again everyone! And of course come January after we get back from our trip, I'll be sure to post some pics.


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8/27/2006 5:44:34 PM

Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
  If you have a blank slate, I once stayed at the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA. A very cool place to stay, and the building itself has many photographic opportunities, including a fantastic chapel, and an amazing huge spiral stairwell. The "Poet's Row" rooms along the roof are terrific to stay in.
There's also (ie, out in CA) San Simeon, to visit the Hurst estate/castle. Not far from there is a great little town, Cambria, full of artists and their shops and galleries (a terrific glass gallery, Seekers, as well.) Then, of course, San Francisco and Napa make a great long weekend trip...
Alas, most of my trips out there were years ago (San Fran & Napa the most recent, about 3 years back) and I didn't own a camera then, so I wasn't thinking along photography lines all that much!

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8/27/2006 5:58:27 PM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2005
  Big Bear (very beautiful and nice place to stay - but maybe cold), Mount Laguna (kind of same story as Big Bear), and La Jolla cove (mild weather, also nice place to stay) are all nice places.

ScrattyPhotography Blog

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8/27/2006 6:40:13 PM

Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
Contact Carolyn
Carolyn 's Gallery
  Yosemite, Yosemite and Yosemite!!

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8/28/2006 3:46:59 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Good day, Brenda,
Well I do hope you'll give me a call when you get here!
I would love to hear from you and maybe a photo Safari at the World Famous San Diego Zoo or Wild Animal Park would be something you may enjoy.
We are all members so that is a regular outing for us.
The Wild Animal Park does have Photo Safaris on the range as if you were on safari in Africa.
See both at San
Plus there are so many other exciting and historical things in this area.
45 mins from the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA , Christopher is right a beautiful and historical mission that has been restored over the years, to bring back it's original beauty and golden ceilings. 15 mins from there in Moreno valley among the homes is a hill side where the Oldest heard of wild donkey still live on the Santa Fe trail.
Riverside is 45 mins. from Palm Springs , CA with it's fantastic Hotels you could spend days going to see how they compete with they beauty and quite different motifs
from the Ritz, with its desert habitat friendly hotel : it's stunning beauty and renoun golf course all, maintained around a big Horn Sheep reserve.
To the Magnifisent Marriot Desert Springs WOW! where you are greeted by Pink flamingos in front drive lake and inside the lobby white marble floors and walls, beautiful squalpturs and plant life , then the back glass walls slide open to reveal a golf course boat ride with swans following you about.
BUt just make sure you drive the 10-15 mins out of town to watch the sun set in the Desert- the colors are beautiful!
and of course if you are coming this far west, try, try ,try to go see the Grand Canyon, AZ as a Photographer it is a Must at some point.
talk about color!!
Well there are so many more here, but when in your own back yard you tend to forget what you have !!lol.
Wiahing you the very best,

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8/28/2006 6:16:01 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  In January, Yosemite, Yosemite, Yosemite, Big Bear, Lake Tahoe, Mammouth... usually means snow and tire chains, tire chains, tire chains.
Personally, I'd stick with the coast (well, I do actually. LOL !!) BTW, Hearst Castle usually requires reservations to visit. So if you're getting to San Simeon (Just North of San Luis Obisbo) give them a call in advance or you might not get in.

I like Irene's idea about a travelogue section of sorts by state in the U.S. and country elsewhere. Whaddya think?

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8/28/2006 11:53:58 AM

Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   Take a day and volunteer at one of the shelters or soup kitchens in LA or Oakland. You can help, plus, a lending hand and an ear to listen will usually be exchanged for an exquisitely beautiful portrait.

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8/28/2006 11:59:21 AM

Brenda M. Wolfensberger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/29/2004
  WOW! Talk about alot of great ideas. :) Thank you all so much. Jim and I are going to sit down this weekend and get our trip planned out. We'll be using all these suggestions to do some map searches and figure out where we are heading.

If any of you are heading east, let me know, I'll try to return the favor with ideas. :)


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9/1/2006 11:34:20 AM

Raymond D. Marlow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/26/2008
  I'd stick with the Coast area near Sanfrancisco, Bodega head, sonoma coast, seal beach, Big Sur, Julia Pfeifer State beach and the whole area not to mention Yosemite. Have fun

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10/31/2008 2:30:59 PM

Kerry Drager
BetterPhoto Member
Kerry's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: Creative Close-ups
  Hi Everyone,
Interesting "resurrected" discussion here! :-) Due to member suggestions, we've since come up with this fine BetterPhoto free feature: the Trip Planner. It covers the U.S., as well as many other destinations throughout the world:


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10/31/2008 2:39:15 PM

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