A Trip to California

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Recently, I flew from New Hampshire to San Francisco to photograph Ali & Ian’s engagement session.  My mother came along to join me after my work. We got to see a bit of the city, Muir Woods, and Yosemite National Park.

The first afternoon, we scouted locations I thought would be perfect for the engagement session. This is where we parked to walk across the street and explore the Palace of Fine Arts.
Golden Gate Bridge on a Sunny Afternoon
The Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 as part of the Panama-Pacific Exhibition. It was one of ten palaces, and the only one remaining. It still hosts occasional art exhibits, but mostly serves as a tourist attraction and a special event space for weddings.
Palace of Fine Arts and Cedar Tree
Palace of Fine Arts Pond and Columns
Architectural Detail at The Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts and Ducks
Next, we scouted the opposite side of the Golden Gate Bridge, where it’s quieter. We also found Baker Beach, a pleasant beach with few people and lovely views of the bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge with Wildflowers
My mother at Baker Beach.
Mom at Baker Beach, San Francisco
The next day, we explored the murals of Clarion Alley in the Mission District.
Clarion Alley Murals Bird and Goldfish
Clarion Alley Mission District Murals
Clarion Alley Homeless Man
Bobby has lived in and around Clarion Alley for years.
Homeless Man Sitting by Human Rights Mural
Telegraph Hill is home to Coit Tower, which was built in 1933 as a gift to the city from resident Lillie Coit. The little park has lovely views of the city and many hummingbirds.
Telegraph Hill Sign and Hummingbird
This statue of St. Francis is actually in another neighborhood, in a little park on Beach Street.
St. Francis Statue and Hummingbird
Mom watched for hummingbirds while I explored the terrace gardens.
Mom and Hummingbirds
Years ago, I watched a movie called “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.” Since then, I’d wanted to see them. I descended (and later climbed) about a thousand stairs to find the parrots, and I did! The flock of about 50 parrots was shy–and loud! I didn’t travel with my long “birding” lens, but I managed a photograph of this parrot.
Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Sunset View of the San Francisco Bay Bridge from Telegraph Hill
Twin Peaks is a beautiful place to enjoy the views of the city.
Telescope at Twin Peaks
View of Golden Gate Bridge from Twin Peaks
City View from Twin Peaks 2
City View from Twin Peaks
We went to see the “Painted Ladies” at sunset.
The "Painted Ladies"
We took a day trip to Muir Woods National Monument, which is a little over half an hour from San Francisco and is home to a large stand of giant Redwood trees.
Muir Woods Path and Queen Anne's Lace
Muir Woods and Fern Detail
Fallen Redwood Tree
Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world.
Redwoods and Path with Redwood Roots
Songbird and Muir Woods
Back in the city, we visited Pier 39, where many sea lions have made their home.
Pier 39 Lighthouse and Sea Lions
Sea lions happen to sound exactly like our Basset Hound, Milly, when we arrive home after leaving the house for a ten-minute errand. It’s a mournful I-thought-you’d-never-come-back “OH-OH-OH-OH!” This is Milly. She even looks like a sea lion!
Basset Hound on the Sofa
Sea Lions at Pier 39 Fisherman's Wharf
We had a quick walk around the Fisherman’s Wharf area before the four-hour drive to Yosemite National Park.
Cable Car
A Bakery Near Fisherman's Wharf
Cable Cars
This was our cabin in Stanislaus National Forest, just outside of Yosemite National Park.
Cabin at Evergreen Lodge
There was a forest fire here in 2013, so the road to our cabin looked like this. If you look at the forest floor though, you’ll see gorgeous wildflowers returning.
Charred Trees and Wildflowers
When we first arrived in Yosemite National Park, it began to rain. This was quite welcome here as they have had the driest spring in ten years.
Waterfall and Deer in Yosemite National Park
Deer in Yosemite National Park
Deer in Yosemite 2
This was just before my mother yelled, “LOOK! ANOTHER ONE!” and they all scattered.
Deer in Yosemite 3
Rain on Wild Berries
Wildflowers in Yosemite
The road along Tioga Pass had been closed due to snow, but it opened at noon so we decided to drive the 39 miles to Tuolmune Meadow. The elevation on this road gets close to 12,000 feet!
Tioga Pass View
Tuolumne Meadow
Tuolumne Meadow
Yosemite Waterfall and Wildflowers
Waterfalls in Yosemite National Park
Lupines
Lupine in Yosemite National Park
El Capitan
El Capitan