Big Sur, California | Ocean Side

by Lu
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Big Sur

Photos taken September, 2014 on a foggy day. Can you find the sea lions in these pictures?

Kat asked me if she should get a professional camera. Yes… if you’ll use it, I equivocated, thinking how rarely my camera leaves my little food photography station by the window. I still rely on my phone when I go to the beach or hiking in the woods. I don’t want to be encumbered by a camera pack or worry about a seagull pooping on my lens. But when I travel, like for real travel, some place far or somewhere I might not return to for years, or ever – that’s when a decent camera plus lens is absolutely, unequivocally, worth it. I wish I had bought my camera before India, though I would have had to shield it from all the cows.

That was not Kat’s concern though. She rightly pointed out that you always see groups of tourists with their cameras and phones aimed in the same direction. Do they even see what they’re taking a picture of? As someone who is nearsighted but doesn’t wear glasses except at the movies, I can tell you that looking through my camera lens is, wow, so clear. I see more! And that hump I thought was a whale? Damn, I can see it’s just a rock now…

That’s my oddly specific take though. I do see Kat’s point, and it’s a sad one if people really are just snapping photos and not truly looking. I thought about it hard. I hyper-analyzed myself, tracing my steps backwards. Here’s what I realized: most of Big Sur was one long dry dirt path. If I didn’t have my camera, I would just be plodding along looking at… the ground. It was the camera bumping my hip that made me look up, that made Adam climb trees for a photo, that showed me the beauty of an otherwise very gray and dusty day. I saw more with my camera, like the hundreds of sea lions on a huge rock in the distance (check out the 5th photo from the bottom up).

I’ve since forgotten many details of our Big Sur trip. I have broad sweeping memories of rocks, a coastline, more rocks, really big rocks, a rock I thought was a whale. A path that wound higher and higher above the ocean. It was no doubt memorable, but more in a feeling way than a visual way. When I finally got around to posting these photos, Adam, my Big Sur hiking partner, commented, Wow that was such a beautiful trip! The way he said that tells me he had forgotten a little too. Which is okay, because we have these photos, and even though I was a terribly amateur photographer at the time and still am, they still make my eyes bulge, like I’m standing right there again and drinking it alllll in.

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