CELIA RAGONESE PHOTOGRAPHY

photography blog by celia ragonese / philadelphia

California Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip - A Personal Post & Birthday Celebration

"Travel: The only thing you buy that makes you richer."

Well, friends, it is finally time for a more extensive California post. 

On my bucket list for life was the big ticket item of doing a road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles. For my birthday, my beloved husband (aka my ride-or-die boo of 11 years), Charles, treated me to this epic trip and did most of the driving (he deserves a million thank you's just for that alone). Of course, I'm not one to hold back on advice, so I have a few obvious and sometimes overlooked practical tips specific to PCH road trips: 
  • Rest stops can be rare and pricey in certain parts. Stock up on gas, snacks, and whatever else you might need for the trip before you go and when you see an opportunity.
  • There's barely any cell phone service in certain areas, so my advice is to never close out of Waze or any other GPS apps -- as I accidentally did when taking a photo and it took awhile for the GPS to connect back to my iPhone (sorry, Charles!).
  • At nearly every turn is a breathtaking photo. Be ready and use turn signals for peeps behind you. (Yes, there will be tourists in your photos. It's okay.)
  • Got motion sickness? Scared of heights and switchback turns with sharp drop-offs? Samesies. Bring your non-drowsy Dramamine, breathe, and just look directly ahead. 
  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
Below are a selection of images taken by Charles and by me. We went to other places as well, but these were the major points that I wanted to share and include a Google Map link for you all to make this post #linkedaf.




And a big thank you to Johanna for being the ultimate Northern California tour guide, picture taker, and design guru. To our friends, Matt, Dana, and their sweet baby girl for making us feel at home in their home for dinner when we really needed a non-hotel night in. And also to Kait at Roam Travel for helping us (Charles, really) put together an AMAZING birthday celebration at Belmond El Encanto. Highly recommend Roam and their services to make any trip extra special -- just a warning that you may love what they put together so much that you never want to leave.

View the full gallery of images here and please contact me if you would like prints. 

Sidenote about photography in California: If you are from the East Coast and have been suffering through rainy weekends and super flat light, you will quickly get acquainted with your highest shutter speed setting, chromatic aberration, stopping down your aperture, and crying inside when you see a consistent and stable weather forecast that doesn't change on an hourly basis. ;)


LAKE MERRITT AIRBNB
CYPRESS TREE TUNNEL + POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE
POINT REYES BOAT
PALACE OF FINE ARTS
POINT LOBOS - SUTRO BATHS 
(Built in 1896 and later destroyed by a fire, this public bathhouse once had several saltwater pools.)
SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL
SAN FRANCISCO WATERFRONT (SOUTH)
CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA
VARIOUS POINTS ALONG THE HIGHWAY
BIXBY CREEK BRIDGE
MCWAY FALLS
JULIA PFEIFFER BURNS STATE PARK
BELMOND EL ENCANTO - SANTA BARBARA
SANTA YNEZ
LOS ANGELES (& SANTA YNEZ lower right)
GREYSTONE MANSION
WAYFARER'S CHAPEL & TERRANEA RESORT
PASADENA CITY HALL

2 comments

  1. These came out beautifully! Love seeing this landscape through your lens, and so grateful I got to share a little leg of your journey. xo

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Johanna! It was amazing road-tripping with you and you showing us Northern Cali. Our trip would have been incomplete if it weren't for your North Star guidance. *hugs*

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