What a trip.
Anna, the kids, and I spent the last week in California. Although this was not the first time by any stretch that we had visited Carmel-by-the-Sea and its surrounding coves and hamlets, it was the first time that we visited just the four of us. In point of fact, it was the first vacation that we’ve taken as a single small family unit without parents or siblings.
I cannot speak for the whole side of the country, but from the scenes I have encountered from Seattle to San Francisco (and a few points in between), the beauty of the West Coast dwarfs the Atlantic coast, just as the waves dwarf those small undulations of good humor that pass for waves in the eastern seas.
Traveling with the kids was not as thoroughly oppressive as I anticipated, which was one of the small victories of the trip. Kemper (six-and-a-half) is at an age now that he has formed strong, concrete memories, and will continue to form them. For him, California is no longer abstract as it was when we first brought him to Carmel when he was only a few months old. Nora (nearly two) will have to make her memories through the photographs I took of her, which is how I remember climbing on the rocks in Bar Harbor bay when I was three or four and could fit in the narrow crevasses with little foresight or consequence.
To his credit, Kemper, who likes walking about as much as I did as a kid, woke me up each morning to go explore the coastline. We would leave the house around 6:30 and get home before 9:00, checking out the fare of the Carmel Bakery on our way home. He earned every cinnamon roll he received, and by the end, he was eating more than just the icing and that choice middle piece that Anna is wont to steal if I look away for a moment.
Our favorite hike was in Garrapata State Preserve, about 20 minutes south of Carmel via scenic Highway 1. The views are comparable to those in Point Lobos State Reserve, which is closer to Carmel, but Garrapata had two distinct advantages: (1) it is free to hike, and (2) there are no gates, and so we could hike at any godforsaken hour of the morning that the minion chose to wake me.
This photograph was taken on one of the foggier days we had in California. The sun refused to creep through the marine layer, and it gave the scene a rather Gothic aesthetic. Just below where I set up the tripod for this photograph, there was a quaint little double waterfall that ran from the mountains to the sea. The crashing of the waves and the low rush of the waterfall drowned out most thoughts of the job I had left behind, in the midst of trial preparation (much to the horror of my boss). (In my defense, the federal judge took it upon herself to accelerate the trial by a month after we had bought the plane tickets.)
I took 1,800 photographs from Sunday to Friday, and I have just begun to cull through them to select the ones that might make the first cut. I imagine that I will end up with 50-100 fully edited photographs, maybe more, and so keep your eyes peeled on the blog and (gasp) on Instagram (@stamandphotography) for more frequent updates.