A lovely day-trip destination, San Juan Bautista delights with a blend of history, culture, small-town charm, and delicious culinary adventures. After thoroughly exploring the mission, being sure to peek around corners into less-explored rooms and taking the time to absorb the architectural and historical details, stroll down to the adjacent and very walkable main street where classic old-town Californian architecture and the mom-and-pop local businesses provide a low-key backdrop to an aimless afternoon. Wandering from shop to shop, be sure to pause for a signature apricot margarita in a beautiful garden patio setting. Or for a dining experience that the locals would probably rather keep secret, leave the main avenues and go a block further from the mission, for some unassumingly wholesome and satisfying family-style basque cuisine.
The avenues were quiet on this mid-winter day, and as the gardens of the mission come into bloom, the warmth of this inviting town will draw more spring and summer crowds, including motorcyclists enjoying a ride through the pastoral countryside, and families seeking a sunny and simple getaway. From Monterey, Santa Cruz, or the greater San Francisco bay area, San Juan Bautista can be an easy weekend adventure, and beyond the attractions in town, there are extensive hiking trails and geological sites of interest providing even more accessible and active experiences. I am looking forward to returning later in the year, to further explore the charms of this classic California town.
On the sheltered beaches of Monterey, Carmel, and Point Lobos, one can catch a lovely glimpse into the lives of harbor seals. This time of year, the cute harbor seal pups are beginning to explore their watery homes, and their mothers keep a watchful eye as they swim through the swaying kelp forests and quiet coves. Some of the pups are particularly plump and round, and as they get brave enough to swim away from their mothers, there are moments of playful freedom in the surf. Once a pup realizes that they can no longer see their mother however, they will cry, short sad little calls that bring their mothers quickly to their side. The pups only have 3 to 4 weeks before they will be weaned, and witnessing this precious time that they have with their mothers is quite a special sight.
In honor of the green hills and blooming spring wildflowers I’m seeing every day now, I’ve released a gallery of selected springtime Fine Art Flower Photography Prints, freshly picked to brighten any room. A perfect gift for mother’s day, these fine art prints are available in a range of print styles and sizes, offering a bit of enduring spring beauty suitable to any budget or occasion.
Find additional Flower & Floral Fine Art Photo Print selections in the APK Photography Archives or request a hand-picked bouquet of custom print options tailored to meet your design and decorating needs.
“February in Salinas is likely to be damp and cold and full of miseries. The heaviest rains fall then, and if the river is going to rise, it rises then.” – John Steinbeck, from ‘East of Eden’
This past February did not bring much rain, and the Salinas River has barely risen from it’s meandering, often subterranean channel. However, as the season settles into March and the inevitable fresh growth of spring emerges, the bare fields are taking on new life.
The transition from dark fields heavy with damp and fertile soil combed into meticulous rows to brightly-banded horizons of fresh green and early flowers is a welcome sign that despite the crippling California drought, for now, things will continue as we tend to think they should.
Recently I enjoyed a lovely walk through quaint Carmel, California. At the height of the summer tourist season, the streets are overflowing with visitors, and it can be difficult to find a peaceful moment between the busy shops and bustling restaurants. In the winter however, a sense of calm settles across our picturesque region, and Carmel-by-the-Sea is transformed into a serene, quiet village. After enjoying a taste of fine Monterey County wines, and discussing this winter’s strange, dry and sometimes hot weather with a long-time local vintner at his tasting room, I wandered past the window of a jewelery shop, where a man worked with tremendous focus and skill.
Further on, locals gathered in the warm light of the neighborhood deli, while fresh fruit and flowers brightened the sidewalk outside. Our winters here are frequently mild, and though there was a slight chill in the air this evening, a recent spell of warm weather had coaxed some of the flowering trees into bloom, adding a little extra magic to the charming mood of winter in Carmel. This little corner of the world is a pleasurable destination any time of year, and I intend to explore this quiet side of Carmel-by-the-Sea more often.
Both of these photos were shot in the same hour, in the indian summer heat of an October afternoon. Sunlight filtered through the dusty rows of a seemingly endless walnut orchard, and this decaying old pick-up truck was interesting from every angle.
The first image was an early attempt at creative lighting and a found object, with off-camera flash and gels. I can think of so many other ways to play with this concept alone…might have to explore more of this kind of work. The second shot is the view I enjoyed from my tent in the orchard.