Pacific Coast Highway

Story Behind the Photo: Pacific Sunset

Pacific Sunset, La Jolla Cove, La Jolla, CA

My family and I just returned from a fabulous vacation in the San Diego area and are still talking about what a great trip it was! My husband and I have been to California several times, but this was the first trip for our daughter and she finally saw what we’ve been raving about.

The weather was positively refreshing with highs around 70 degrees and far less humidity than we are used to at home in the Tampa Bay area. By far, our favorite spot was La Jolla Cove, just north of San Diego. The coastline is beautiful with miles of rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are a few sandy beaches tucked here and there, and plenty of tide pools to explore at low tide. In addition to all of the beautiful views, there are harbor seals and sea lions that seemed to be at every turn which totally delighted my daughter. It will come as no surprise to most of you that  I just loved seeing the stunning sunsets each night.

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Story Behind the Photo: Monterey Peninsula

Monterey Peninsula along the 17-mile Drive, Monterey, CA

The 17-Mile Drive along the Monterey Peninsula winds through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, California. Touted as one of the most scenic drives in the country, the views absolutely lived up to their reputation. The rocky coastline hints at the uneven rocky surface below that help make the sea look especially restless here. Every now and then between the crashing waves I was able to catch a glimpse of a few sea otters  bobbing up and down and marveled at how adept they were at navigating those rocks. In addition to the treacherous shoreline, it was an extremely windy day when this photo was taken, making the waves seem particularly spectacular.

Buy a Print | Coastal Photos |Monterey and Carmel Photos


Story Behind the Photo: Pigeon Point Light Station

Pigeon Point Light Station, Pescadero, CA

On a trip to explore the coast of California, my husband and I took our time driving south along the Pacific Coast Highway taking in the scenery. While I expected Big Sur to be beautiful, I was just as taken with the beautiful rocky shoreline between San Francisco and Monterey. Pescadero especially was beautiful, with Bean Hollow State Beach as a stand out thanks to its “pebble beach“. Another beautiful spot in Pescadero is at the Pigeon Point Light Station. When we turned towards the light station from the highway, the parking area was full, so we drove a little further along the coastal road looking for a place to turn around. While we meandered along the winding road, a huge mass of Ice Plants appeared that seemed to go right up to the Pacific Ocean itself. I decided to get out and snap a few photos, and then turned to see this beautiful view of the light station. As it turns out, this view from our remote stop in the road was much better than anything I could have had from the parking lot at the light station itself. Every now and then a detour is a good thing!

Buy a print | Pacific Coast Highway Photos | Lighthouse Photos


News: Another Photo Featured as ‘Photo of the Day’ Online ~ The Lone Cypress

The Lone CypressAs I mentioned recently, several of my photos have been selected as a Photo of the Day for Light and Composition Magazine. See the latest photo, “The Lone Cypress” featured on Saturday, May 17, 2011.

This photo was featured on May 4, 2011,  here in the PhotoBlog. “The Lone Cypress”  is also now entered as a contestant for Photo of the Month for May 2011. You may vote for it by visiting the link below and ‘liking’ through Facebook, ‘retweeting’ through Twitter, ‘liking’ on StumbleUpon or by making a comment.

Photo of the Day | May 17, 2011 | The Lone Cypress by Elizabeth Brown


Story Behind the Photo: The Lone Cypress

Lone Cypress on the Monterey Peninsula, Monterey, CA.

The 17-Mile Drive along the Monterey Peninsula winds through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, California. One of the most recognizable landmarks along this drive, and quite possibly the most photographed tree in the world is the Lone Cypress. Set atop its perch above the Pacific Ocean, the Lone Cypress is thought to be roughly 250 years old. The tree is special not just because of its location, but because it is a Monterey Cypress which is listed as Threatened by the IUCN. Once found in large forests along the California coast, the Monterey Cypress is now only found on the Monterey Peninsula. Now supported by a stone wall and cables to prevent it from falling into the ocean, the hope is that the tree will remain a local landmark for many years to come.

Buy a print | Monterey Photos


News: New Photo Featured as ‘Photo of the Day’ Online ~ Pigeon Point Light Station

Pigeon Point Light StationLast fall I was honored to have several of my photos selected as a Photo of the Day for Light and Composition Magazine. I am excited to announce that several additional photos have been selected to appear in the coming weeks. See the first of these new photos, “Pigeon Point Light Station” featured on Monday, May 2, 2011.

This photo was previously featured on March 11, 2011,  here in the PhotoBlog. “Pigeon Point Light Station”  is also now entered as a contestant for Photo of the Month for May 2011. You may vote for it by visiting the link below and ‘liking’ through Facebook, ‘retweeting’ through Twitter, ‘liking’ on StumbleUpon or by making a comment.

Photo of the Day | May 2, 2011 | Pigeon Point Light Station by Elizabeth Brown


Story Behind the Photo: Montara State Beach

Montara State Beach, Pacifica, CA

Finding Montara State Beach was a happy accident. My husband and I were heading to Half Moon Bay State Beach, about an hour south of  San Francisco along the California Coast when we discovered it. After driving for several miles along the Pacific Coast Highway and seeing breathtaking views, I was anxious to find a place to stop for a few photographs. Then came the small parking lot just to the south of the beach  with only a couple of empty spots. It was a very chilly and exceptionally windy day so I didn’t dare venture down to the beach, but did get this great shot from the parking lot. This was one of the first times that I really was able to experience what the California Coast is all about and I was hooked.

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Story Behind the Photo: Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay State Beach, Half Moon Bay, CA

It was nearly two years ago to the day that I first laid eyes on Half Moon Bay State Beach on the coast of California. My husband and I had decided to take a trip to San Francisco for a week and explore, not really knowing what we would find. A friend that lives in the area recommended that we drive south along the coast to check out Half Moon Bay, and  I am so thankful she did! It was on this short trip south of the Bay Area that we got our first taste of what the California coastline was like. That lone afternoon planted the idea to return again to California to drive the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where I fell head-over-heels for Big SurClick here to buy a print and view the entire collection


Story Behind the Photo: Pigeon Point Light Station

Pigeon Point Light Station, Pescadero, CA

On a trip to explore the coast of California last year, my husband and I took our time driving south along the Pacific Coast Highway taking in the scenery. While I expected Big Sur to be beautiful, I was just as taken with the beautiful rocky shoreline between San Francisco and Monterey. Pescadero especially was beautiful, with Bean Hollow State Beach as a stand out thanks to its “pebble beach“. Another beautiful spot in Pescadero is at the Pigeon Point Light Station. When we turned towards the light station from the highway, the parking area was full, so we drove a little further along the coastal road looking for a place to turn around. While we meandered along the winding road, a huge mass of Ice Plants appeared that seemed to go right up to the Pacific Ocean itself. I decided to get out and snap a few photos, and then turned to see this beautiful view of the light station. As it turns out, this view from our remote stop in the road was much better than anything I could have had from the parking lot at the light station itself. Every now and then a detour is a good thing!

Buy a print | Pacific Coast Highway Photos | Lighthouse Photos

Update: This photo was featured on May 2, 2011, as the Photo of the Day by the online photography magazine, Light and Composition Magazine. See the photo online and vote for it as a contestant for the Photo of the Month for May 2011.


Ten Favorite Photos of 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, I took a look back at some of my favorite photos from this year. The highlight of the year by far was the trip my husband and I took in the spring to California. In a week we drove from Napa to Los Angeles, and I would have loved to have had more time. The scenery along the Pacific Coast Highway was simply stunning, so it’s no surprise that several of my favorites are from that trip. It was hard to narrow it down to only ten, and there isn’t really any rhyme or reason for why these photos are my favorites. There is something about each one that I love, so I hope you enjoy them all and have a wonderful 2011!

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, Santa Barbara, CA.

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, Santa Barbara, California

Sea Nettle, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California

Sea Nettle, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California

Big Sur Coastline, California

Big Sur Coastline, California

Carmel Mission Museum, Carmel, California

Carmel Mission Museum, Carmel, California

Ice Plants near Pigeon Point Light Station, Pescadero, California

Ice Plants near Pigeon Point Light Station, Pescadero, California

Harlequin Macaw, Sarasota Jungle Garden, Sarasota, Florida

Harlequin Macaw, Sarasota Jungle Garden, Sarasota, Florida

Big Sur Coastline, California

Big Sur Coastline, California

Little Blue Heron, Palm Harbor, Florida

Little Blue Heron, Palm Harbor, Florida

American Falls, Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, New York

American Falls, Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, New York

Blue and Yellow Macaw, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida

Blue and Yellow Macaw, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida


Story Behind the Photo: Big Sur Coastline

Big Sur Coastline, Big Sur, CA

A new year means a fresh start and this lends itself to making resolutions. While many people will have resolutions this year involving eating better, exercising, or maybe saving more money, my resolutions all revolve around photography. My first resolution is to take more photos, more often. There are plenty of beautiful natural areas and parks near my home filled with great photo opportunities that I tend to take for granted. Living so close to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, I also have abundant opportunities to take photos of both sunrises and sunsets over the water, but don’t do it often enough.

My second resolution is to plan another photography trip this year. Last year my husband and I spent a week driving down the California coast from Napa to Los Angeles, and it was truly fantastic. The photo featured today was from one of my favorite spots along the Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur near the Bixby Creek Bridge.  We’ve tossed around a few ideas, but haven’t settled on anything yet. So far we’ve thought about the Pacific Northwest, the Desert Southwest, or we may end up staying along the east coast and visiting some old favorites along the Outer Banks. Regardless of where we end up, an entire week to beautiful scenery and photography is certainly on my list for 2011!

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Story Behind the Photo: Western Scrub Jay

Western Scrub Jay at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, CA.

My previous posts this week were from a trip last spring to California, so it seemed fitting to end the week with another of my favorites from that trip. This is a Western Scrub Jay at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. Usually referred to as a “Blue Jay” in the west, this is actually a different species of bird entirely. While the Western Scrub Jay is a very common bird in California, this was my first encounter with one as I currently reside in the Southeast. While several people were vying for the perfect location to photograph the beautiful McWay Falls, I enjoyed capturing a few photos of this very entertaining subject. After several minutes of animated hoping along the railing, the Jay held still for a moment to spy something below and I snapped this shot.

Click here to buy a print and view the entire collection


Story Behind the Photo: Monterey Peninsula

Monterey Peninsula along the 17-mile Drive, Monterey, CA

The 17-Mile Drive along the Monterey Peninsula winds through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, California. Touted as one of the most scenic drives in the country, the views absolutely lived up to their reputation. The rocky coastline hints at the uneven rocky surface below that help make the sea look especially restless here. Every now and then between the crashing waves I was able to catch a glimpse of a few sea otters  bobbing up and down and marveled at how adept they were at navigating those rocks. In addition to the treacherous shoreline, it was an extremely windy day when this photo was taken, making the waves seem particularly spectacular.

Click here to buy a print and view the entire collection


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