west coast

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Home from California and it honestly feels a little different being back.

Why? Because I was so used to the beautiful California weather and as soon as I stepped off the plane, all I saw was snow. So sad to have missed the first real snow we got in the Washington DC area but not sad because I had a blast on our trip.

Even though a majority of our time was spent in San Diego and we had a trip similar to this around the same time last year, it was still like our first time there. It was a different experience because this time we went with our cousins and we stayed directly on the beach. Living that beach life was so great. Sometimes instead of driving the rental car, we would just take scooters to get around. We took Frankie on walks on the beach which he loved because he had so much open space to run around and overall just looking outside the windows of our airbnb at sunset was a view that stopped you in your tracks. I loved it.

It also allowed me to spend more time practicing and capturing the city from above with my drone. By the end of the trip, I tended to reach for my drone more times than my actual camera. I love just standing on the beach and seeing different points of view with just a slight movement of my finger. It made taking pictures a little more relaxing.

This image was taken just a few steps away from our airbnb in Mission Beach one morning just after sunrise. It was cool because our view was of the ocean but right behind us was Mission Bay. It was so nice to be surrounded by water.

My camera settings for this image is F2.2 at 1/280th sec at ISO 100 with my DJI Mavic Pro

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THE FINAL COUNTDOWN 

It’s the last day of 2018 and I thought it would be fun to look back on the past year and relive some of my favorite travel moments from the year. It’s interesting because I do something similar to this every year and every year my favorite images are almost always different from others. I try not to let emotions play into the selection but it can be difficult. You’ll see what I mean 🙂

I had a fantastic year of travel and so blessed to be able to experience everything that I did. I’m lucky enough to have visited the Europe, Caribbean and of course different parts of America. So let me know what you think. Click on each image to read the original blog post:

drone, mavic pro, california, san diego, fiesta island, birds, selfie, fly, dji, bird, seagulls, practice, socal, water, beach, island, dog island

One of my very first drone images from San Diego. Taken around this time last year, I loved being in Southern California in the winter time. I got my drone at the end of 2017 so I was just practicing flying when I took this image. I really didn’t think much of it until I saw that bird fly below close to the water. With the placement of where I’m sitting and that bird, I love how everything lines up. Definitely expect more drone images from me in 2019. I’m hooked!

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About 20 minutes before I took this image, I was fortunate enough to capture this image. They were pretty much right across the Romsdalsfjorden from each other. But I say that I was fortunate because I felt like I was in the right place at the right time with the right lens. One of the great things about Norway was that I didn’t see very many birds. LOL not even kidding. If you know me, then you know I have a slight fear of them. It’s a long story but it’s a fear that I’ve had since I was little. But I think that they can make interesting subjects in pictures (as long as they stay further back).

To be honest, these were the only 3 birds I remember seeing the entire trip. I saw them flying from far away so I brought my camera to my eye and just started shooting. I was hoping I could capture them in some type of way that would be interesting. I think I accomplished that when they were flying over this mountain peak. I love how they are lined up similar to the shape of the mountain.

I still haven’t gone through all my images from Norway yet, but you may have noticed that I’ve already gone through so many from Ă…ndalsnes. I loved it. The entire place is so photogenic. I remember feeling so small because you’re basically surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks like this one. You can see why we wanted to stay here for two nights instead of one. So I highly recommend staying here for at least 2 days if you really want to make the most out of your trip to Ă…ndalsnes.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 1/500th ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Just got home from an amazing trip to Norway. It was honestly one of the best trips I have ever taken! The scenery, the culture, the experience was something I will treasure for a long time. But it took a lot of time and research to plan the whole trip. So I thought I would take some time out and lay out everything I did to prepare for the trip to help future travelers.

Side note: This trip was Andrew and I’s big trip for the year but he didn’t plan any of it. He was so great that he let me plan whatever I wanted to do and he was going to be ok about it 🙂 So obviously I planned this trip all around taking pictures. 

To be honest, I didn’t know much about Norway before I booked this trip. Obviously I have seen some stunning images of the country on Instagram but it wasn’t until I was saw this one old episode of the Amazing Race that really got me interested in going. I know, cheesy but true. The very next day I received an email from TravelZoo with a promotion to travel to Norway. I figured that if that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is!

Prior to booking, I read that the best landscapes were along the west coast so Andrew and I booked round trip tickets to Bergen for a week. From then on I was all over pinterest and tripadvisor looking for recommendations of what to do in Norway but in the end it was the advice of my friend, Frithjov who helped out the most.

The Goal:

  1. To drive as much of the Norwegian coast as possible without being in a car all day
  2. Not have to drive past the same sights when traveling back to Bergen
  3. Some short hikes here and there would be great

Frithjov asked one of his friends for recommendations and laid out an ambitious itinerary for us including Kristiansund, Dombås and Odda.  But I did not want to have to be on a very strict time table. So after a lot more research and several changes, here’s what our more relaxed schedule finally ended up being

Side note: Booking a ticket on the Hurtigruten was key! It’s a cruise ship that stops at many ports along the west coast of Norway. Luckily you can customize your travel with shorter segments. I’m so thankful for that ship and the ability to bring back the car with us back to Bergen. So booking this ship was the first thing I did and the rest of our travel based on the fact that we were going to take it from Ă…lesund to Bergen at the end of our trip. Consider goal #2 accomplished.

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One of the first things we did when we arrived in Norway was head over to the Fløibanen funicular in Bergen. Luckily our hotel was really close by and it was only a 10 minute walk to the station. I was happy to see that we were able to purchase either one way tickets or round trip tickets. Andrew and I decided to do the one way because neither one of us wanted to hike up the mountain but we thought it would be cool to see the views walking down.

Well, it was stunning to stay the least. It was raining on our way up which wasn’t too bad since we were covered by the tram but once we arrived to the top of Mt Fløyen I didn’t even notice the rain anymore. We spent some time walking around the 180 degree semi circle which provided amazing views of Bergen and the surrounding area.

While we were walking down the mountain, the rain was off and on but mostly on. We stood under some trees hoping that the rain would pass quickly but it didn’t. So we just kept it moving. But during the times when the rain was off, the sunlight would come through the clouds and it would create this gorgeous light on the buildings below us. It was like the whole world was glowing. So if you’re ever in Bergen, I’d highly recommend the Fløibanen funicular. It’s a great ride up and an easy walk down. I just hope it won’t be raining like it was when we went.

Quick tip: While walking down Mt Fløyen, I noticed that any scenic view had a bench right by it. It’s like a little sign saying sit down, relax and enjoy the scenery. But it wasn’t just in Bergen that they had that. It was all over Norway. So if you ever had a doubt you would see something nice, look for a bench!

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/2000 ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Have you ever gone on a trip for a week and it seems like you’ve been gone for a month? That’s what I’m feeling now but in the best way possible. I think it feels like we were gone for so long because everyday Andrew and I were in Norway there was something thing new and exciting to do and see. To be honest, I didn’t know much about the country before I left. Now I can’t wait to go back. We only got to see a little portion of the massive country and there’s so much more I need to experience and photograph.

This image was taken on one of our last stops on our road trip around Norway in Ă…lesund. It was one of our first views of the city and had to immediately pull over. The water was pristine and the reflection was amazing. Andrew and I walked all around this water when we decided we wanted to cross the bridge to see what the view looked like from the other side. I tend to walk slow in general but if I have a camera in my hand, I walk even slower. Andrew, on the hand, walks fast. So it’s not uncommon for him to walk about 10 feet ahead of me whenever we’re going somewhere. I love how it worked out though. The scale of this 6 foot guy compared to this massive mountain makes him look so tiny. Next time I just have to get him to wear a more colorful jacket or something. We both tend to wear dark colors all the time.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/4000th of a second at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

PS If you’re interested in learning more about how I planned the road trip, all our stops, and things I would do again, let me know! I think it would be fun to write a guide to share all my experiences. Plus this was one of the best trips ever and I think a lot of people would enjoy it.