Back in Blighty

sf duskSan Francisco at dusk

I promised to write this within a week of my return but it’s been nearly two months, so I apologise for the delay but I’m sure you haven’t been hanging on with bated breath.  So why the delay? Work, mostly – as I work for Sony, the run up to Christmas is a very busy time. 6-day weeks, training away from home in Newcastle and Bristol, illness (just a very bad cold), preparing for Christmas with friends and family. You know, life.

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Ill Bill in Vegas

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While doing my laundry at Furnace Creek the day after taking the Dunes shots, I had a dodgy sandwich which knocked me out of action for the whole of the next day. My stomach was making some very disturbing noises, so I ate nothing for 24 hours, took medicine and lay low in my hotel room. It was sad to waste a day where I’d intended to photograph two sites but if you’re ill while travelling, the best thing to do is acknowledge the fact and set about getting well quickly. Hence my day lying on my hotel bed. Better one day out than three because I’d stupidly soldiered on.

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Dunes

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As a photographer and a bit of a lover of all things minimal, sand dunes have a special attraction for me. Never mind that walking across sand and up dunes is immensely hard work. I’m talking about the look of the thing.
It’s all reduced to a few simple elements; lines, light and shadow. That’s all you have to play with. No details, no features, no people, no exploding dinosaurs. Nothing of any significant interest except the form of the thing. ‘Make a great picture out of that,’ it challenges.

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I met a girl, her name is Tanya. She’s beautiful, if a bit hairy…

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Well, I was warned it might happen. Come to California, cross paths with a beautiful woman and never go back to England. And indeed, yesterday I met a special kind of lady, the type you can’t help but notice. She’s quiet, a little bigger than I like ’em and perhaps sprouting a little too much body hair for my tastes but when you’re bitten, there’s little you can do about it. Here’s a picture…

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The road to Hell… well, the hottest place on Earth

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I left Yosemite with great reluctance. It is a fantastic place, exceptionally beautiful and I was incredibly lucky to get snowfall on my brief visit. My next port of call and where I write this from is the hottest place on Earth, Death Valley. My journey here, though, proved difficult, to say the least. I was happily driving along when I saw a sign in the road – Road to Death Valley closed ahead due to flooding. What the sign omitted was two precious words – Follow Detour. So I asked my sat nav for an alternative route. it showed me one – 512 miles. I was only 50 miles away.
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Snow? Nobody said anything about snow!

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It’s been a funny couple of days. I went to Bridalveil Fall yesterday, so called because when the wind blows the thin strip of water that falls from the top, 620 feet from where yours truly took the photo above, it is said to resemble the veil of a bride. So quite a literal naming, then. Apart from that, I visited the Yosemite Village, not really a village but a collection of shops for tourists where you can park your car and jump on a free bus that drops you off at various highlights on the valley floor. So that was what I decided to do on my last full day in Yosemite, drive to the valley and then spend the day bus hopping and taking my final pictures. Fate, however, had other plans.

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I did not get eaten by a bear… today

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Yosemite has a land mass of 1,169 square miles. So it needs more than just a day to visit it. Most visitors, when they come here, only visit a 7 mile section that has all the famous bits – El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point. But there’s, literally, thousands of miles more so for my first day here I decided to go further afield than usual and see some of the other highlights of this truly amazing place.

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San Francisco

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I’m writing this safely tucked up in a rather fine hotel in Yosemite National Park. It’s Friday and I arrived in San Fran on Monday. So why no postings since then? Well, the truth is, San Francisco was meant to be one of the high points of this trip but for reasons I shall come on to explain, proved not to be. Nothing wrong with San Francisco if:
1) You could see it, or;
2) You could get to it.
Allow me to explain…

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Pacific Coast Highway Part 2 – Carmel to San Francisco

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I was quite weary by the time I’d arrived in Carmel. It was late but they had my room ready for me at the excellent Hofsas Hotel. The friendly guy at reception recommended a good restaurant, I had a lovely seafood paella and fell asleep in my comfy bed.
I sleep with earplugs in when I travel, so you can imagine my surprise when I was woken by the sound of shouting at 5.30am. In Chinese. From the room upstairs.
Maybe the hotel was on fire?

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Pacific Coast Highway Part 1 – Arroyo Grande to Carmel

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One of the greatest drives in the world is the one I’ve just completed, PCH 1, the coast road that snakes along the western edge of the USA and for many, is the visual embodiment of the state of California. Sun, surf, beaches, perilous cliffs and stunning rock formations, PCH1 has it all and does not disappoint.
Although I’ve started this section from Arroyo Grande, PCH1 really starts from LA and includes Pismo and Avilo beaches which I covered in my previous posting. These sections, though are just the warm up to the death-defying twists, turns and the sheer scale of beauty that awaits you.

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