Somewhere Along the Way: Northern California, 2016

On top of being a wedding photographer, I'm also a traveler; around 30% of my weddings are outside Virginia and I love seeing the world as I go. I’ve been meaning to share my adventures in one place instead of scattered throughout Instagram, but haven't had a chance until now. Somewhere Along the Way will be my (and Elli’s!!) travel blog - photos will always be a mixture of digital + whatever film formats I could cram in my carry-on.

Elli and I have always traveled, but we used to stick pretty close to the east coast. Aside from D.C., I hadn’t been to a major city in quite some time. The spark to go further came last August in Chicago. I distinctly remember that night, driving up I90 - seeing the glimmering skyline on the horizon and thinking, “dang, we’ve got so much to see.”

So we began. San Francisco, New Years Eve - we arrived about 2 hours before festivities began and headed downtown with friends, fireworks, and a mixologist that would make Tom Haverford proud. It was a crazy whirlwind, but a whole lot of fun.

If we’re being honest though, SF wasn’t really our thing. However, the look on Elli’s face when we rode a trolley through the San Franciscan streets - her favorite part of the entire trip - was pretty wonderful.

(Admittedly, it was pretty fun.)

We spent two days in San Francisco and then we set off across the Golden Gate Bridge for the Pacific Coast on our first adventure that wasn’t just miles and miles of flat-ass Florida.

That time Elli jumped into the middle of a stack of giant ornaments. 

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Elli: "when ur such a good photographer even the reindeer smize for u"

Yep, even the fallen-down ones are gigantic.

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I also grabbed an old Polaroid Spectra off eBay ($20) for this trip along with some Impossible Project v.2 black and white film (...$23. Yep, the film is more expensive than the actual camera.). Verdict: Love it so much more than my 600. A Spectra probably isn't the mental image you get when you think of "Polaroids", but I really dig the slightly wide-screen format and how compact it folds up. Black and white is pretty fun, too. Once I burn through all my 600 film, I'll definitely be using my Spectra way more.

But honestly, it’s impossible for the Redwoods to not be the real perspective shift for someone who’s hardly ever left the other coast. First Avenue of the Giants (my jaw, on the ground), then Jedediah Smith State Park (not even sure where my jaw was at this point). Just miles and miles of gargantuan nature.

It’s one of those moments where you absolutely have to stop and embrace the silence. You crane your neck, you touch, you try and hug these trees, just looking for a way to come to terms with how nature is this crazy. Standing in these forests feels like another world.

We recollected our sense of wonder and set off north - realized that California sometimes looks like Maine? - and headed into the most beautiful gorge I’ve ever seen, bound for Oregon.

We also took this absurd panoramic self-portrait inside a tree. So… if you’re ever looking for someone to photograph you inside a Redwood… I’m your guy?

Things we really loved: Point Arena, Crescent City (sea lions!!), & Muir Beach Overlook. Looking at Goat Rock for half an hour trying to figure out how the rock was shaped like a goat (hint: it’s not).