I wanted to say a special goodbye to California, my home since 2011. It's been good living here. It's been good photographing here. I'll miss California, for sure! I hope that life allows me to visit from time-to-time. I'm looking forward to the many opportunities that await.
For my tribute to California I decided to go through the alphabet, beginning with A and ending with Z. I found a photograph of mine that fits each letter. Some of these are locations and some are subjects (and some might be stretches, as some letters are difficult to match an image to). I thought this might be a fun exercise--fun for me to put this together and fun for you to view it.
These are not necessarily my best photographs. Some might be. Many of my best photographs were not included because either 1) a different photograph was selected for the letter that it would be represent and 2) I only included color images in this article and not monochrome (a whole lot of my favorites are black-and-white).
Without further introduction, here's California in photographs from A to Z.
A - Anaheim
|Colorful Mickey Mouse - Anaheim, California|
|Flare & Flag - Barstow, California|
A dusty desert town along old Route 66, Barstow seems to always provide photographic opportunities. It's far from the nicest town in California (and a place to avoid in the blistering summer months), but it's certainly interesting. And interesting means the chance of creating interesting images.
C - Cambria
|Red Chairs - Cambria, California|
The quaint coastal town of Cambria is my favorite place in all of California. It is a must-see! It's photogenic, it's charming, it's the perfect outpost for exploring the Central Coast. I really love Cambria! I've captured some of my favorite images there, and I hope to return sometime in the not-too-distant future.
D - Daisies
|Daisy At The Wood Fence - Cambria, California|
E - Energy
|A Bakersfield Sunset - Bakersfield, California|
California is one of the top energy producing states in America, and a big chunk of that is oil. There's also hydro and wind and solar and such, but oil is what's big. In fact, California produces more oil than Alaska. So it's no surprise that it has made its way into my pictures.
F - Farming
|Red Field, Green Field - Tehachapi, California|
One thing that California might be best known for, aside from endless summer sun, is agriculture. So much produce is grown in this state, on small family farms and large corporate farms. In a way, California feeds America. And on a few occasions I have photographed it.
G - Giant Trees
|Sequoia Forest - Yosemite National Park, California|
H - Hearst Castle
|The Hearst Castle - San Simeon, California|
William Hearst built the massive Hearst Castle complex on a hill near San Simeon along California's beautiful Central Coast. He began construction (along with architect Julia Morgan) in 1919 and continued building until his death in 1951, leaving some parts unfinished. Many celebrities visited Hearst Castle in the '20's, '30's and '40's. Now it is a part of the California State Park system, with tours open to the public.
I - Ice Plant
|Ice Plant Blossom - Cambria, California|
There are well over 100 different verities of ice plants in the world, and many don't look anything like each other. The type that I'm referring to here is called Sesuvium Portulacastrum, or sometimes Sea Purslane. It grows along the Pacific Coast, and even inland in some places. If you go the beach you are sure to find it. It has large pink or purple blossoms. In the Philippines people pickle the leaves and eat them.
J - Joshua Trees
|Joshua Tree Morning - Rosamond, California|
Joshua Trees are not technically trees, but a plant that's a part of the Yucca family. They look like a cross between a tree and a cactus. They're mostly found in the Mojave Desert in California, and sparingly in a few other southwestern states. They can turn a boring desert landscape into something more interesting.
K - Kelp
|Kelp Close Up - Avila Beach, California|
L - Lenticular Clouds
|Lenticular Sunset - Cantil, California|
Some people mistake these for UFO's, but Lenticular Clouds are not out-of-this-world. They're created when mountains and valleys disrupt the airflow. In central and southern California I see them often, perhaps because of all the mountain ranges here.
M - McWay Falls
|McWay Falls View - Big Sur, California|
N - Newberry Springs
|Lazy River Bend - Newberry Springs, California|
O - Ocean
|Pacific Sunset - Morro Bay, California|
There are only two more states with more coastline than California (Alaska and Florida, in case you are wondering), so it's no surprise that I've photographed the Pacific Ocean many times over. It's incredibly vast and hypnotic to watch, and the absolute best place to catch a sunset. It's a big part of what makes California special.
P - Pasadena
|Colorful Umbrellas - Pasadena, California|
Q - Quiet
|Sleep Silent Child - Valencia, California|
R - Roses
|Red Rose Sky - Bakersfield, California|
S - Sun Rays
|Rays of Hope - Stallion Springs, California|
T - Tehachapi
|Sunrise At The Wind Farm - Tehachapi, California|
U - Urban Exploration
|Oh, Well - Boron, California|
V - Vistas
|Gold Above The Valley - Stallion Springs, California|
W - Wildflowers
|Field of Bloom - Tejon Ranch, California|
X - X-Factor
|Sunset At Morro Rock - Morro Bay, California|
I would call the Central Coast in California the X-Factor for this state. It's nothing short of amazing (and full of surprises), and it's what sets California apart from every other state in my opinion. From Pismo Beach to the south to Monterey Bay to the north, there is so much natural wonderment to experience, as well as man-made marvels, that you could spend a lifetime here.
Y - Yosemite National Park
|Half Dome Reflection - Yosemite National Park, California|
Z - Zebras
|Zebras Below The Castle - San Simeon, California|
Wild zebras in California? Absolutely! If you have a good eye, they can be spotted along the Pacific Coast Highway in San Simeon below Hearst Castle. They were once a part of William Hearst's private zoo, but now they run wild on the coastal hillsides. Typically you need a long telephoto lens to photograph them, but occasionally you can find them closer to the highway.