the big trip, chapter 3: san francisco

The first week at the Denver Post is over, and it was a blast. The people at the paper are amazing, and so is the city I live in. So far, I haven’t found anything that I don’t like – except for Denver’s failed traffic management, where you spend more time waiting in front of red lights than moving. I will soon put up a selection of my work so far, but first I need to find out about the Post’s policy on blogging pictures that were not selected for publication. In the meantime, here’s the third chapter of our Big Trip: San Francisco.


After our stay in Big Sur, we went to stay in San Francisco for two nights with my dear friend John Bowman. The plan was to leave for Yosemite early morning on Saturday, so that left us with only one day to explore the city. I have been there twice before, but for Beth it was the first time. As usual, John knew just the places to go and see (and have lunch at…) and once again we had an unforgettable time. Thanks again, John, for having us! Hopefully we will see you soon…

Visitors enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Calif., from Hendrik Point on the north end of the bridge, Friday, May 20, 2011.

Visitors enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Hendrik Point on the north end of the bridge, Friday, May 20, 2011.

Vendors sell food out of their truck during a fair at Fort Mason in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, May 20, 2011.

Vendors sell food out of their truck during a fair at Fort Mason.

A pink bottlebrush (Calistemon) grows on 7th Avenue and Clement St. in San Francisco, Calif., Friday, May 20, 2011.

A pink bottlebrush (Calistemon) grows on 7th Avenue and Clement St.

Robbie Sweeny, right, talks to John Bowman in the car while driving through San Francisco, Calif., Friday, May 20, 2011.

Robbie Sweeny is a friend of John's who we got to meet at the Fine Arts Fair at Fort Mason Center.

June 12, 2011

the big trip, chapter 2: big sur

We finally reached Denver after an adventurous last leg of our roadtrip. Once we got our brakes fixed in Fresno, we continued to the Grand Canyon – only to realize that the car was now permanently overheating. On the first day after we got back on the road, we managed to drive a whopping 300 miles in ten hours – with cooling stops every 50 miles or so. The following days were better, but only after we began stockpiling large water canisters in the car, driving uphill at a dizzying 15 mph and crossing the Arizona and New Mexico desert with the heat on full to help cool down the engine.

Yesterday, 2,711 miles after we left San Clemente, we arrived at our new place in Arvada, a suburb of Denver. A few hours later, we ran into a wonderful gentleman named Eric Wilper whose bike broke down right where we made a cooling stop during a test drive to see if a new radiator cap would fix the overheating problem (it didn’t). He happened to be an avid hobby mechanic, and after we gave him a ride home, he helped us out in turn by exchanging the thermostat of the Aerostar during a 2-hour operation. What a warm welcome to beautiful Colorado!

But to cut a long story short, we now have internet access again, and I can finally post the second chapter of our Big Trip: Big Sur.


After we woke up Thursday morning in the shade of giant old redwoods at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, we started exploring the beautifully rugged coastline between McWay Cove and Point Sur. We happened to be there at the perfect time. Spring had just arrived and the wildflowers were in full bloom. Add to that the spectacular scenery of the Santa Lucia mountain range rapidly falling of into the roaring Pacific, and you have the recipe for possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth…

Please note: I tried my best to identify the wildflowers in the following pictures correctly. However, I am not an expert. If you notice any inaccuracies, please leave a comment at the end of this post!

Mountains and ocean meet to create the unique scenery of McWay Cove at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Calif., May 19, 2011.

Mountains and ocean meet to create the unique scenery of McWay Cove at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, Calif., May 19, 2011.

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica) lines the entrance road of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Calif., May 19, 2011.

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica ssp. californica) lines the entrance road of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

A park visitor walks through the Overlook Trail pedestrian tunnel at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Calif., May 19, 2011.

A park visitor walks through the Overlook Trail pedestrian tunnel at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Island False Bindweed (Calystegia Macrostegia) grows on the cliffs of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Calif., May 19, 2011.

Island False Bindweed (Calystegia Macrostegia) grows on the cliffs of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Sea and sky meet at the Pacific Coast of Big Sur, Calif., May 19, 2011.

Sea and sky meet at the Pacific Coast of Big Sur.

Waves crash through an opening in the rocks at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, Calif., May 19, 2011.

Waves crash through an opening in the rocks at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur.

An unidentified wildflower blooms at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Calif., May 19, 2011.

An unidentified wildflower blooms at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

The sun breaks through the clouds at Point Sur, Calif., May 19, 2011.

The sun breaks through the clouds at Point Sur.

3 Comments June 5, 2011

the big trip, chapter 1: san clemente – big sur

After four months as editing interns with ZUMAPRESS, the time has come for Beth and I to move on to new horizons. My summer internship with the Denver Post will start on June 6, which left us enough time to embark on a roadtrip and visit some of the most beautiful parts of the West Coast.

I was hoping to blog about this trip more regularly and more often, but internet access and the time to edit pictures and prepare blog posts are hard to come by when the road is your home. Currently, we are stranded in a cheap motel in a not-so-good area of Fresno, Calif., after the mountains in Yosemite and Los Padres National Forest ate up the breaks of my car. Since no mechanic is open on Memorial Day, we had no choice but to wait until tomorrow – which finally gives me a chance to post the first chapter of the Big Trip: San Clemente to Big Sur.

Over the next couple of days, I will post several more chapters of the trip, so please check back soon!


Originally, we planned to drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way to Big Sur. A couple of weeks before we left, however, a rock slide rendered parts of the road impassable and forced us to take a little detour through the Santa Lucia Mountains. We didn’t know it at the time, but this turned out to be a beautiful stroke of luck.

The detour took us along the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road through the Ventana Wilderness of Los Padres National Forest. The pass winds up to a total elevation of 2780 ft., where the low-hanging clouds coming in from the Pacific engulf the mountains in an almost magical fog penetrated by soft sunlight. This unique topography and climate have given birth to a stunning and unique ecosystem: Literally out of the blue you turn around a corner and drive from an arid, montane chaparral into a rain forest-like woodland where huge, ancient redwood trees grow out of sight into the soft, grey silence of the clouds.

Driving on the US-101 N near San Miguel, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Driving on the US-101 N near San Miguel, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Clouds move into a valley in the Santa Lucia Mountains at Los Padres National Forest, Calif., Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

Clouds move into a valley in the Santa Lucia Mountains at Los Padres National Forest.

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road winds up into the clouds engulfing the Santa Lucia Mountains at Los Padres National Forest, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road winds up into the clouds engulfing the Santa Lucia Mountains.

The low-hanging clouds that move in from the Pacific coast create a magical atmosphere in the higher elevations of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

We got a little carried away by the fairy-tale mood of the scenery...

The low-hanging clouds that move in from the Pacific Coast create an incredible atmosphere in the higher elevations of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

A trail head leads from Nacimiente-Fergusson Road into the fog.

Redwoods grow along Nacimiento-Fergusson Road as it winds down the Santa Lucia Mountains toward the Pacific coast at Los Padres National Forest, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Redwoods grow along Nacimiento-Fergusson Road as it winds down toward the Pacific Coast.

Wildflowers grow along the cliffs at the Pacific Coast near Lucia, Calif., May 18, 2011.

The Pacific Coast near Lucia, Calif.

Fueling up the car at probably one of the most beautiful gas stations in the world near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Calif., May 18, 2011.

Fueling up the car at probably one of the most beautiful gas stations in the world near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Dress rehearsal for the backpacking trip: Our first dinner of the camping stove, consisting of couscous, dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Calif., May 18, 2011.

After setting up camp in a grove of huge Redwood trees at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, we got a chance for a dress rehearsal for the backpacking trip to Yosemite: Our first dinner of the camping stove, consisting of couscous, dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. Delicious...

4 Comments May 30, 2011

testing the waters

After the memorial on Wednesday, I went up on the pier to try and get some pictures of the surfers. I had this idea of a top-down shot with a longer shutter speed that I hope to do when I photograph Terry surfing, and I wanted to try it out. I really like what’s happening with the water and the motion in these images, and I hope that I will get a chance to photograph Terry like this. There are two shots that I’m torn between – in the first one, I like the second person in the upper right corner and the tension of the surfer, but it’s also a lot more blurry. In the second one, I like the light on the wave and the reflection on the wet suit. Hopefully, it’ll all come together when it counts…

Matteson Morey, of San Clemente, Calif., surfs near the San Clemente Pier, May 11, 2011.

Matteson Morey, of San Clemente, Calif., surfs near the San Clemente Pier, May 11, 2011.

Matteson Morey, of San Clemente, Calif., surfs near the San Clemente Pier, May 11, 2011.

May 13, 2011

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