February 20, 2013
Alighted in Napa

Light. If I had to sum up my experience in California in one word, I’d say, “light.”

Every year, after the bustle-y Christmas season, packed with last-minute photo sessions, gift print orders, and all kinds of family parties and holiday adventures, December gives way to January, and I find myself in a deep lull. I kept saying, “Next January, I’m going to go some place warm.” And, then I’d end up bored, complaining about the cold, planning my year on the wintery East Coast.

This year was different. I actually made a plan, and booked myself a January trip to California. I started in the Napa / San Francisco area, flew down to Los Angeles, and then took the train down to San Diego. All in all, I was gone for nearly 3 weeks — enough to completely forget about blizzards and snow boots.

It was perfectly refreshing and put me into the mindset of being able to fully embrace the light of California.

After the sun crests past the point of “high noon” anywhere eastward in the U.S., it continues bouncing off the earth in the way it had done all day. But in California, it seems to reach a point where its light begins to refract off the vast ocean.

Have you ever been near enough to the seashore that you could smell the fresh sea air waft towards you on the breeze? I swear, the light in California wafts off the sea in the same way, drifting in waves of soothing softness, barely tangible but undoubtedly present.

“I could get used to this,” I thought. It’s true, I am particularly enamoured with the way California photographs. The magic in this series of images I created at a Napa Photo Soiree shows the playful, subtle glow of that special sunlight.

Still, I like to keep moving. Changing location is such a simple way to keep my point-of-view present and focused.

Northern California gave me a moment to pause, to create from a fresh perspective with the cold, dark, overcast winter still fresh in my mind. Somehow the keen awareness of what I was missing back east seemed to help me tune in with even more love to what sparks of energy illuminated my subjects and my explorations on the west coast.

More, the fact that I knew I’d be moving on in a few days helped me tune in and focus on being exactly where I was while I was there. Aren’t those simply the moments we remember most clearly?

This Photo Soiree benefited local Napa charity ParentsCAN, an organization committed to helping parents of children with special needs.

Stay tuned to the blog for more on my trip!

Love this? Connect on social so you won't miss a post.