Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

We didn’t expect to have any time between the Coastal Redwoods and the airport drive.

We didn’t expect to see the coastline, not when the sign read Beach Closed.

We didn’t expect this winter season to give us any kind of color, especially when the gray fog dipped low over the hilltops all around us.

We didn’t expect to turn towards the arrow that read beach overlook and find any sort of view or path. We had no idea if it was even open in this quiet off-season.

No, we didn’t expect this last nugget of pure shining beauty, in the form of an empty overlook, at the top of Muir Beach.

We did not expect our last stop to be the best. Not after being over-the-top joyed at so many places in the San Francisco Bay Area – Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Par, Chinatown, Napa Valley, and the Coastal Redwood forest.

No, we did not expect this at all.

And it took our breath away.

**Click on any photo to enlarge and view as a slideshow**.

In the depth a light will grow,
A silver shine no shadows know,
Like wings unfolding in the sky,
That circle ’round a gleaming eye,
Turning darkness all away,
Even depths will know their day,
For every shadow has its end,
In light!
Life will return again!

― Robert Fanney

See other unexpected entries at The Daily Post at WordPress.com.

My iPhone Adventure in Northern Cali

I headed to San Francisco to meet my husband on Friday. He was already there on business the last few days. I used his AA miles to get there and favors from my two big kids – Brandon and Sydney – to watch the dogs for me.

This adventure wasn’t planned too far in advance. I call it an unplanned lucky break. We lucked out his conference was in one of my favorite cities. And caught a break getting me free airfare, and of course, travel agent rates in Napa Valley.

All in all, this is one my favorite trips on record. The coast. The cool air. The beautiful wine valleys. And those gentle, giant redwoods. This is the stuff vitality is made of. I soaked it up and hope I breathed in enough of the Pacific Ocean to last until next time. There is something about it that just calms me.

I highly doubt Nothern Cali needed me, but I sure needed Northern Cali.

Since I have no idea when I will upload my 800+ photos taken with my big girl camera. I am giving you a glimpse via my iPhone photo library.

I took mobile phone pics in hopes of making up for the lag in posting the “pro” ones. But hey, I get to brag on my new iPhone 5s.

Isn’t she awesome? She did a fabulous job!

DFW airport. My journey begins.

View from the airplane. I just love clouds. My window had funky cracked lines on it. Kinda weirded me out, but made a nice sun flare in my photo.

Lunch on Pier 39. Clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl, mmmm, delicious.

The Bay Bridge at sunset. So pretty! And after this photo, it turned a brilliant pink.

Wine tasting at the hotel. Pretty sure there was only one I didn’t care for, but the rest were magnificent.

We hit the Italian chocolate factory after. It is like the Willy Wonka of San Francisco. So! Much! Chocolate! I would have gone back before we left, but we ran out of time. Not just for the chocolate, but the super cool mermaid holding a mermaid baby fountain in front of the store (a reason to go back! Ha!).

Day two in full tourist gear.

We are visiting the wharf and Pier 39 again. What can I say? Different time of day, different light. My photographer friends will understand this.

The sea lions. My favorite animals on the bay. Yes their arfing night and day is annoying, but they are so funny and cute. They remind me of my Anna dog.

Big war ship and submarine on the bay. The photo makes it small, but this beast was massive.

To die for pizza at Tony’s in North Beach. The leftovers were given to a homeless man in Chinatown. No doubt he enjoyed. Amazing food.

The Golden Gate Bridge by Big BUS tours. I liked riding the big BUS. Reminded me of Big Butt and hey, I can relate. Ha.

Day three, we arrive in beautiful Napa Valley.

I am truly amazed by this countryside. We drove up the side of a mountain for better views.

Muir Woods. We didn’t just walk the boardwalk and take a few pics. Oh no. We took to the trail and hiked steeply up, over, and around for an hour and a half. But now I can say, I lived and breathed redwoods for several hours. It was fantastic.

Fare thee well fine city. I will miss your vibrancy and your culture.

And lastly, the sun sets as our plane flys home.

A beautiful ending to a beautiful trip.

Have you been to San Francisco?

Hanging at the Harbor – Dana Point, California

Dana Point, our very first stop after landing in Orange County.

I had been to Dana Point before, somewhere around thirteen years ago. The cliffs and the harbor stood out in my memory, along with the Pirate ship they had on display. I had to see if it was like I remembered it, or how much it had changed.

Overlooking Dana Point Harbor

We first glimpsed the harbor from the street we were lost on driving on. This was, also, our first look at the Pacific this trip. Ahhh! The great deep beyond of the Pacific waters. I could stare at them forever.

Hillside view of the Pacific.

Dana Point is a little nugget tucked away from Orange County on the way to San Diego. It’s beach and harbor are surrounded by hills. It took quite a few turns (with GPS) to get us to this little gem of a destination.

Dana Point Sign.

But we did find it. I think we followed a surf board (and a sign).


We got to the harbor.


We got to the beach.



It was as lovely as I remember it. This time I wasn’t as in awe of the cliffs and ocean, as much as I was the endless boats. I had my boat picked out, the name christened, and I was ready to sail away.

I probably need to move to California first, heh.

We had a nice lunch next to the harbor highway. We watched the boats big and small parading in and out of entrance. We enjoyed a crisp 68-degree day that was (literally) heaven on earth after the scorching 110 in Dallas.

The flowers were not withered and brown, but a colorful display to the eye.




At the very end of the harbor, I found the Pirate Ship in the same place as it was before. It looked a lot newer. I believe they do cruises, or something. It was straight out of a movie cool.

Sailing Ship at Dana Point Harbor

The walk back down the harbor was just as delightful, except for my slippery sandals.

We took it slow to take it all in (and get sunburnt our first day). Looking all around and up at the hillside, I see beautiful palm trees and gorgeous homes.

Hillside Palm above Dana Point Harbor


Back by the beach, there is tons of surf board paddlers and children at play.


The wall surrounding the beach had hand-made tiles designed by children. I didn’t find the story behind who they were or why they decorated the beach walk, but they were very crafty and unique. I definitely felt the charm they added to Dana Point.


I took lots and lots and lots of harbor photos.

Dana Point Harbor
Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point, California, 2011

When we finally left, we stopped back at the first place we came to, and I took more pictures of the view.

Hillside view of the Pacific at Dana Point.


Speedboat and Sailboat in Dana Point, CA

And Again….

Pacific View from Dana Point, CA

And again….

The view is amazing. And guess what? A wedding was about to take place.

Wedding on hillside of Dana Point, CA

I totally creeped on it. We waited, and waited for the bride – maybe behind a tree with my camera – but she didn’t show. Not even after we saw all the bridesmaids. We finally gave up. I hope she made it. The groom was looking a little worried.

So we said good-bye to the view……


And took off for our next destination.

It’s going to take me awhile to post all the places we went to. Hope you don’t mind LOTS more.

So far, it’s been day one, ha.


I am uploading all the photographs to my photography Facebook page before I post them on the blog. If you like sneak peeks, be sure to “Like” and “Look”. Angelia’s Photography Fan Page.

San Diego’s Ocean Beach

Initially, I thought I would take my vacation photographs in bite-sized pieces.

I would share with you step-by-step our progressive trip through Southern California.

But instead of showing you our first stop (Dana Point, CA), I am showing my second. Because really?

This is it. The beach from the summer I turned thirteen. This is where my obsession (and yearning) for California was born. My escape. My paradise.

I am so glad we found it. I am so glad it was a real place.

After so long, I just wasn’t sure.

Ocean Beach Pier Entrance

Sun Rays over Ocean Beach Pier.

Pink sun rays off the Ocean Beach Pier.

We landed here for our first sunset of our trip and the first sight of surfers and dolphins.

Dolphin sighting.

It was pretty dim when I took the last few photos of surfers. They are hard-core riding to the very last drop of sunshine.

The clouds part, the rays disappear, and the sun melts into the Pacific Ocean.

Pier Sunset at Ocean Beach.

We watch.

Ocean Beach at Sunset


The sinking sun into the Pacific,\.

It was a very moving display of color and light as the evening tide reached up to embrace the sun in its last good-bye for the day.

Jason standing at Water's Edge

We lingered in the glow until we headed back to the hotel. The beach was a little chilly after sunset. Not quite the 100 degrees we were used to. The cool was a welcome friend.

So far, our trip was pretty amazing.

Of course, this is just the beginning…………stay tuned!

Ocean Beach Pier, California 2011

Adding this to You Capture as best summer sunset.