May 5, 2015

IMG_0552Wild, uneven hillsides with rugged shrubs and wildflowers, windswept rocks, and lonely patches of fog — it could be the highlands of Scotland, but you’re really right here in California.You’re so close to San Francisco it feels like you can reach out and touch it, and it’s just a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge that brings you to the Marin Headlands — national park and home to a lucky few. Since Karl the fog won’t come play with me in my sunny Mission abode, I’m bringing the party to him and stepping into the clouds for a weekend away…
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Right after you cross the Golden Gate Bridge exit the 101 immediately and wind your way around and under the hills riddled with bunkers, tunnels and other artifacts from WWII — you’re heading to the Marin Headlands Hostel. Once these were houses for officers and their families, but any sense of military precision has softly eroded over the years. There’s something so soothing to the soul about these white clapboard sided homes; their red roofs and wide windows. When I wasn’t walking the trails around the park looking for flowers and wildlife (deer, raccoons, big birds and even a few coyote) I’d be in the common room, snuggling with a cup of tea, watching the fog drift by, soaking in the history all around me. As soon as I set down my bags in the hostel I wished I could cancel work and stay for the week; since I found out that the hostel shared space with an Artist in Residency Program I’ve dreamt of nothing else than leaving it all behind for a few months in this coastal hideaway, following the call of a writing project that’s been on my mind for a while. Whether you’re here to stay for the long run or just passing through, here’s what you need to know:

Stay in the Headlands Hostel
Visit the Point Bonita Lighthouse
Camp at Kirby Cove
Bring your hiking shoes, water bottles, and food — there’s no markets or cafes in the park

Thanks to MB Maher for photographing me above and for handing down his treasured Canon Mark II for me to shoot the rest on. My birthday came early this month when he had a chance to upgrade and I got my hands on a full frame camera — at long last!!! While taking it out for the first time in this park I paused to manually tinker with aperture settings. ‘Opening up’ the aperture means letting as much light in to hit the ‘film’ as possible. This fairly simple concept quickly gets confusing because the lower the number of your “F Stop” (aperture) the more open/wide it actually is. This has something to do with the number representing a reverse square root, but please don’t ask me to get any more mathematical than that. Opening up the F Stop results in those photos where the subject is in focus and the rest of the photo is really blurry, while closing up the aperture lets in less light and results in a sharper image. For a direct visual of what that means check out the images below:
On the left we have a 2.8 aperture, and on the right a 4.5. Both were shot on the same 80 mm lens. On the left my shutter speed was at 1/800 to get that quality of image, on the right on 1/160. The result is definitely more depth and less clarity for the opened image, but I also feel like there’s an emotional aspect to this that is less easy to define or explain. Doesn’t it just feel like there’s more light in the photo on the left?
IMG_06211U6A3551May is a month for thoughtful exploration, for finding my way back to the things that really matter — adventure, exploration, education, creativity and close friends. I’m about to hit the road — we’re driving from San Francisco to Santa Fe to see/marry some wonderful people, and I’m so excited to close down work and wander for a bit. I’ve got a lot of SF photographs and personal style posts to publish up here before the scenery begins and I’d love to find the time to post twice a week again. What would you like to see up here on the blog? How important is it to you for blogs to publish regularly/more often? Has anyone else fallen in love with the Marin Headlands? Also, please let me know if you have any tips for me as I travel through the West or if you’d like to meet up somewhere along the way! Speak your mind in the comments below! I post things here to challenge my own brain as much as to connect with you lovely readers. And until next time let’s stay in touch over on twitter and instagram where I’m regularly posting photographs and daily discoveries. If you’d like to be notified of new posts head over to facebook or bloglovin’. See you next week! — (maybe sooner!)


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