In late September through early October, I went on a three week trip down the west coast starting with a cruise with my family in Vancouver, BC, and ending with non-stop photo shoots in Southern California. Part of this trip would be the first real "vacation" I'd taken in over 5 years and the last half was focused on working with clients, meeting long time friends in person for the first time, and small adventures.
At the time of the trip, it felt like I'd been traveling for months by the end of it, but looking back now it feels like it was barely a week. I didn't take as many photos as one would think I would, due to trying to force myself to not worry about work or photography in general since I do it every day of my life. I forced myself to take in as much as possible, without the distraction of the camera, not to be worried about getting a good shot to share on Instagram or something along those lines. It's more important to experience it for yourself than to worry about sharing it all on social media in my opinion. That being said, there were times where I couldn't help but grab snapshots of the scenery and things that were going on around me.
We started the trip with an early morning train ride from Seattle to Vancouver, where we stayed the night before we got on the cruise ship the next afternoon. The last real vacation my family had been on was on a cruise in 2007 with Norwegian Cruise Line. We travelled with them again, and it was almost surreal because they have their ships almost built identically. So it brought back a lot of great memories as it was the last time my family had been on a trip with my Grandparents before shortly after losing my Grandmother to cancer. I would say there were plenty of flashbacks to the good times we had on the last cruise. But instead of Alaska, the final destination was Los Angeles.
After leaving Vancouver we landed in Astoria, Oregon for a short afternoon. My family and I ended up finding a small in town bar so we could watch our favorite football team, the Seattle Seahawks. ( We aren't band wagon fans because they won the Superbowl either. I've likely been a fan longer than most of you have been alive. ;] )
We had a full day at sea after Astoria and then landed in San Francisco at around 4:45 AM. I made myself get out of bed so I could watch the Golden Gate Bridge pass over us as we made it into the bay. It was far too dark to grab photos, but it was something I'll absolutely never forget experiencing. I was the only person on the section of the boat that I decided to camp out on, and felt like I was the only one viewing what I was seeing. It was so peaceful.
I watched the sunrise over the bay and then embarked out on the town with my family, later grabbing lunch with my aunt, uncle and cousin who we travelled with on our previous cruise with my grandparents. It is always great seeing family.
After lunch, I met up with a new friend and photographer, Hailey Magoon, after I had made a post on Instagram earlier that morning asking if anyone would like to go hang out in the city for the afternoon. It's so cool what social media can do and how connected we all are. She took me around town and showed me some cool spots I'd never been to. I loved spending the afternoon with her, and glad I made a new friendship with her as well!
Every time I visit San Francisco, I fall in love with it more and more. It's definitely near the top of my list of favorite cities. I really need to spend more time there.
After another day of being at sea we eventually would land in Los Angeles. For one reason... DISNEYLAND!
The last time my family and I had been to Disneyland was on September 11th, 2001. Yes, you read that date right. So you can imagine it wasn't the happiest place on earth at that time in history. But times have changed, my younger brother and I are older now and I honestly could only remember small bits and pieces of the parks from when I was younger. I'd been two times before, but my memory isn't the best when it comes to those places for some reason! But now I've gone again, and wish I never had to leave.
My friend Danielle, who you definitely recognize if you follow my work, had joined me and my family for our first day there. And minus getting drenched to the point where I couldn't dry off from Splash Mountain at all for the entire day, it was a blast. ( I was pummeled by a wave that came out of nowhere! )
Our hotel was right next to the park, so we were able to see the firework shows from our rooms. Disney really doesn't hold back. And I love it.
On our next day we went to California Adventure, which was brand new the last time we'd been. It was completely different from anything I'd remembered from when I was younger, and I'm not complaining.
We stayed to watch The World Of Color that evening. I really have to say that there is no way to explain or describe it besides as the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. No photos or videos will do that show justice, you really need to see and experience it with your own eyes. It's just beautiful.
On another day we stopped by Universal Studios, which I also love. Jurassic Park and Jaws are two of my most favorite movies of all time, so naturally I had to grab some photos of them.
After the theme parks were over and done with, my family flew back home to Seattle and I rented a car and met up with my friend Alicia for the first time, who I've known for almost 3 years via Facebook. After a quick, and mandatory lunch at In N Out we headed down the coast down to Laguna Beach and I did a mini photo shoot with her. I really can't stress how much I absolutely love the California golden hour. The light is always so perfect. It's also great when you meet someone officially for the first time, and click. Alicia is an absolutely fantastic person.
After my day with Alicia I met up with my good friend, Johnny Yacoub, and we hit the road to pick up my new friends from Florida, Chelsea and Victoria, to head to Joshua Tree National Park to shoot a look book for Arnhem Clothing. Chelsea and I had been planning this shoot for months, by scheduling our trips to land at the same time. I am beyond happy it worked out and very proud of the images we pulled off from this shoot. It was a long, two-day shoot, but so very worth it.
In between the shooting days we stayed the night at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, which had to be the coolest hotel I've stayed at in recent memory. I highly recommend checking the place out if you can.
After we got back to LA, I shot with the incredible Zoe in Santa Monica with nearly 100 degree weather. I can't wait to share the rest of the photos I've taken of her. It's probably one of my favorite shoots to date. Here is just a small sample of what we did.
After the Victoria, Chelsea and I had finished up in Santa Monica we made a last minute trip to stay the night with our friend Emily, who is also my long lost sister via the internet. I probably couldn't say enough good things about Emily, besides the fact that she's probably one of my favorite people that I've had the pleasure of meeting. The next morning we had a quick 10 minute photo shoot in her apartment and I can't wait to hang out and work with her again.
After our time with Emily, Chelsea, Victoria and I went our separate ways to make our trips home.
It was a very long and busy three weeks, but I really wouldn't have it any other way when I look back at the overall trip. I did so much. I met so many new friends. Experienced way too many sights to remember. I love southern California so much, and it's always so hard to leave when I do.
I will be making it my new home.