August 28, 2014, 09:43:54 AM

Author Topic: California Travel Advice  (Read 2090 times)

kelpdiver

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2014, 07:03:38 AM »
It stands for You Only Live Once.  The best thing about YOLOing throughout all of California is the fact that it lets you be open in your traveling plans, which is what is pretty much needed if you're purpose is landscape and wildlife photography.  The middle of the day is for both adventuring as well as for driving.  If your next stop is 8 hours away, you can rack up many, or all, of those miles during the harsh light of the day.  Obviously, your golden hours near sunrise and sunset are for taking pictures.  And then you can do more driving after sunset.  Just make sure to have caffeine on hand. 

For me, YOLO means not driving 10 hours a day for a week on my vacation.   Beating the hell out of my body is great when it's a fun activity; driving isn't.  It is very unusual to have nothing of interest for 600 miles here.  It's impossible to have that for multiple days.   If you only want to shoot at dawn and dusk - then there's non photographic fun to have instead.  Go hiking.  Or playing in the waves. 

I do want to give a big +1 on your suggestion that he buy a lens here and sell it on his return.  If you can avoid paying import taxes, this should translate to a much cheaper (or free) rental.  But obviously it does mean floating the cost until you can make a sale.  Just find any way to get wider than 24mm if you stay biases towards the outdoor sights. 

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2014, 07:03:38 AM »

dilbert

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2014, 07:38:19 AM »
I'm looking for some advice on California...I'm from the UK, and planning a road trip in California in September 2014.

Do a loop. North up the coast, go in and out a bit as you move north, the cross over up the top somewhere near Shasta and come back down the Sierra Nevada mountain range, return to San Francisco on your last day/night from Sequoia or there abouts.

Tip: the only time you should be on highway 5 is when you're heading back to San Francisco to fly home, unless you're doing a dog-leg thing up the top to get over to the eastern side of the state.

Warning: expect waterfalls to have not much water due to (a) the drought and (b) autumn. Some (e.g. Yosemite Falls) are normally dry at that time of year anyway.

Cali_PH

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2014, 10:42:04 AM »
Of course, the other problem is getting hotels last minute, which will be difficult in some locations.

Great point!  I forgot to mention this in my post, and could be a big factor.

When I travel throughout a state, seemingly at random, I either sleep in my truck, find a campground, or find a forest/area that allows dispersed camping.  I'm out all day adventuring, including many times hours after sunset for astrophotography, and up a couple hours before sunrise, so I would have very little time in the hotel, and it makes for what I deem a waste of money.

Granted, this is not for everyone, and I know some people who absolutely have to shower every day, or have to sleep in a bed every day.

If not though, you can fit in quite the adventure during your time for pretty much only the cost of gas :)

I kind of figured that you were doing that; I really wish I could too, but I'm definitely the type that needs a bed and shower!  ;D My friend and I just did Utah/Arizona a month ago, and a series of great storms rolled through.  It would have been great to just follow the systems where ever they went, but we only changed our plans for one day, because we could book a place in Moab.

@Tolusina, @SoullessPolack, @Cali_PH, thanks for your amazing advice (and to everyone else for your contributions)! We're going to book the flights this weekend (just under 3 weeks in CA), so then it gives us plenty of time to decide where we want to go and to plan a draft itinerary (without being too specific).

No problem, I travel a lot here for fun/photography and don't mind helping other people plan.  I usually end up doing most of the planning the trips for myself & photography friends, and I've gotten fairly familiar with a lot of the places I mentioned due to repeated visits. 

It's great you have almost 3 weeks; the itinerary I through out is doable with about 10 days, with some rushing & only hitting highlights; of course with more time it allows for more days at one spot and branching out, the possibility of including more spots etc. 

I almost hate to mention this, if I had that much time, I'd probably use a couple of days near Vegas to hit Zion, a little over 2 hours from Vegas.  And then if you're there, Bryce Canyon is less than 2 hours from there...  ;)  Never mind me, I think since I've spent most of my life in California, some of the things here seem almost 'everyday' things, while I've recently become obsessed with Utah & Arizona and I keep going on trips out there.  ;D

I'd recommend the Tripadvisor.com forums for general travel help & advise (hotels, restaurants, etc.).  Just be advised that the Destination Experts there are like 'experts' on any site; most are nice & friendly but a few are kind of obnoxious.  Still, I use it a lot while planning trips for locations I'm not that familiar with.

mickeykelly

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2014, 11:54:43 AM »
In mid-late September, the air is usually clear along the NorCal coast.
Drive across the Golden Gate bridge and go to the Marin Headlands. It's part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Should give you some great shots looking back at SF.  Continue along Highway 1 North past Stinson Beach up to Point Reyes National Seashore.  Continue on Hwy 1 to Bodega Bay and go out to Bodega Head.  Continue on Hwy 1 up the coast to the "New Englandy" town of Mendocino.  Going back, follow Hwy 128 through the Anderson Valley (Booneville) .  Good beer and great wines.  Redwoods are impressive at Hendy Woods State Park.  Continue on 128 to Hwy 101 and return towards San Francisco stopping in Healdsburg.  Great restaurants and nice town square.  From there,it's back across the Golden Gate.
Very little fog at the ocean in Sept-Oct.  The grape leaves begin to change color that time of year and can be pretty amazing.
Highway 1 is a very good road but not one I'd recommend if car sickness is an issue.  It's winds around quite a bit.  Views of the ocean can be spectacular with lots of roadside beaches between Bodega Bay and Jenner. 

Aswah

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2014, 12:47:39 PM »
Howdy... I have lived in both Northern and Southern Cali.  Go at whatever pace suits you at the time.  I prefer the lesser travelled sites than places like Yosemite, which is beautiful BUT severely overcrowded and way too overused.  I would travel the Eastern Sierras https://www.google.com/search?q=eastern+sierras&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=iew6U9rILc6CyAGvyYHgAg&ved=0CD4QsAQ&biw=1745&bih=867 and visit places like Mount Whitney, Mono Lake, Bodie Ghost Town.  Stop in Markleeville and eat before driving down highway 4.  Drive up to Ebbett's Pass and down highway 4.  Sonora Pass is also amazingly beautiful.  Get out and do some hiking.  Go north of San Fran and be sure to hit Sonoma wine country or Mendocino (Anderson Valley) as opposed to Napa wine country.  Napa is like Yosemite in that it is way overplayed.  For me there is more joy in discovery and exploration.  Drive up highway one, especially south of Monterey.  If you are adventurous drive up Nacimiento road (south of Big Sur) and take amazing morning fog shots over the Pacific Ocean.  Drive up to Mendocino and stop in Booneville.  Visit some cool wineries that offer amazing phot ops like Greenwood Ridge www.greenwoodridge.com (built from a single redwood log by Frank Lloyd Wright's partner)... say hello to winemaker Allan Green.  Go to Phillips Hill http://www.phillipshill.com/.  The tasting room is in an old apple drying building.  Great pinot noirs too!  Drive out highway 128 to the town of Mendocino.  Another amazingly beautiful coastal town.  Drive up to the Avenue of the Giants http://avenueofthegiants.net/.  The giant Redwoods are simply mindbogglingly beautiful.  I strongly suggest getting out and walking If great beer is your thing visit: Moylans, Russian River Brewing or Bear Republic or Anderson Valley Brewing.  If you need any restaurant recommendations let me know.  My favorite way to travel is in my vw bus: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aswah/9732599224/in/set-72157635497026108
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JustMeOregon

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2014, 10:38:25 PM »
In my humble opinion, Highway 395 may well be the greatest "photography road trip" in the country; I try to do at least a portion of it every year... It runs almost the entire length of the state on the eastern slope of the Sierras. You can hardly drive 50-miles without going by some famous photographic opportunity... And the tourist-crowds are barely a fraction of what is typical on the west-side of the state.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2014, 11:24:23 PM »
Having traveled in England, I quickly realized that I could easily spend years and not take all the interesting sites in.  California is a large state, so you will need to plan carefully, and pick a few things to see and photograph.  It might take you 2-3 days to see all of Disneyland, for example, so you have to set your priorities and decide what type of scenery you want to see and photograph.
 
I was born in Los Angeles and my parents were smart to get me out of there in 1946!  However, fool that I am, I've seen most of the state over the years, and every bit is interesting.  It depends on your likes.

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2014, 11:24:23 PM »

distant.star

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2014, 11:53:28 PM »
.
I'd pretty much agree. There's much that's image-worthy in CA, but 395 really is an embarrassment of riches. And in Sept., it's almost like CA before all the people got there.




In my humble opinion, Highway 395 may well be the greatest "photography road trip" in the country; I try to do at least a portion of it every year... It runs almost the entire length of the state on the eastern slope of the Sierras. You can hardly drive 50-miles without going by some famous photographic opportunity... And the tourist-crowds are barely a fraction of what is typical on the west-side of the state.
Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

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Re: California Travel Advice
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2014, 11:53:28 PM »