northern cali and southward home (hill)

road trip days 13-16: norcal coast – home (mill valley)

we finally slowed down the pace. instead of doing 6-8 hours of driving, we did 2 or 3 or 4. got to spend more time walking, shooting and on our starbucks sessions to upload our photos to picture summer. i remembered that i’m insanely in love with meadows. all those little grasses mixed together creating the perfect imaginary playland … just like when i was a young girl, i imagine i’m thumbelina-sized, walking through the forest of GIANT trees (of knee-high grasses). sublime. even in the presence of a whole herd of elk, i felt the tug to snuggle into the opposite meadow — sans elk — but with the most magnificent display of feathery grasses and plants … grasses, elk, grasses, elk … for me it was clear … grasses. but cynthia loved the elk. she wants to be a wildlife photographer in africa when she grows up.

my trusty van waited for us patiently (she finally got a name on this trip: mojo) between the meadows, grasses to the right, elk to the left.

later we found a great campsite on the banks of the klamath river close to its confluence with the pacific. the morning was deliciously foggy (home sweet home). cynthia REALLY wanted to see another bear, and in the morning we heard there had been one the previous evening playing on someone’s tent. we must’ve been making dinner … sheesh! but rumor had it there was a bear who swam across the river many mornings, so we sat in these chairs and waited, alas no bear.

our assignment that day was to photograph “wind”.

we eventually wound our way down the avenue of the giants and burst out to the coast above mendocino. the coast! getting closer to home!

no bears but a great hillside of goats.

you old goat! (what do you think they were saying to one another?)

ended up in sonoma for lunch. our assignment that day was “light”. this fork photo ended up being featured on the picture summer site! a lovely end to our trip.

cynthia flew back to australia after a few serious days of shopping: aveda, yoga mats, juicy, neoprene wine bags, etc etc etc. she is now officially my special shutter sister. it’s hard to believe she just started photographing during our road trip. she has the gift! our last assignment of july was to create a photo garland of all the picture summer photos.


road trip epilogue:

all in all, we travelled over 3500 miles in 16 days!

we experienced: yosemite granite, a bear, photo galleries, a las vegas show, the inside of a helicopter inside the grand canyon, red rocks at zion, deer, geological history, stone arches, friends, sushi bars, organic grocery stores, rock shops, big skies, campgrounds, sweaty shirts, maps, snacks of blueberries and walnuts and carrots (ate primal — no gas station junk food — the whole way), too many gas station restrooms, starbucks in every state, family, lizards, brand new guest beds, poached eggs, microbrewed beer, bbqs, more friends, kids, rivers, dogs (we both missed ours tremendously so had to pet each and every dog we came across), dusty cameras, photoshop, oregon green, an old boyfriend, giant sequoias, goats, the pacific, seals, fine restaurants, finer wine.

and so much of road trips happen inside the car. we talked the entire time. had brought 7 books on tape which we did not even listen to. we had 7 years to catch up on! shared music, stories, tears, the love of photography, laughs, insights. we rekindled a deep friendship. cynthia is 10 years younger than me, and she’s like a sister, but not a younger sister. just a sister. i learned so much from her. strength. beauty. generosity. efficiency. love.


About hillarah

my dad gave me my first camera in high school, a sturdy black minolta. i found my gift, my voice, my way to be with the world. after journalism school, i swashbuckled as a photojournalist for over a decade. moved home to norcal to be near family and started a boutique stock photography agency, see jane run. life had other plans. my camera lived mostly in the closet for nine years. last summer working on a film in france and spain, my camera became my friend again. and now, it's like rekindling a long-lost love. now with more wisdom, more freedom. pure joy.
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One Response to northern cali and southward home (hill)

  1. Cynthia Brown says:

    Oh Hilly! What an eloquent chronicle of our trip! And magically illustrated as well…of course…although I’ve come to expect nothing less of my new shutter sister 🙂 Loving your grasses to death…they draw me in every time. Thankyou for your kind words. xoxoC

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