Since I once lived in the southwest and have spent a great deal of time on the west coast, I have difficulty recalling there was a time not so long ago (relatively speaking) that anything west of the Mississippi was a mystery to me.
In 2006, I was 38 years old and had not seen much of the country. That year, I had the opportunity to present at a library conference in Monterey, CA. It was my first time in California and the beginning of a wonderful relationship with that part of the country. I have since been to the Monterey-Carmel-Big Sur area a number of times. The library conference in Monterey led me to my job at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and it was also where I met Holly. So I relate that part of the country to major life changes.
Last year, Holly and I had a wedding to go to in Saratgo, CA. We extended the wedding trip into a longer vacation by spending a couple of days in Carmel-by-the-Sea and in Paso Robles. We enjoyed Carmel so much that we decided to make that the focus of our vacation this year.
We spent five full days in the area and enjoyed it as much as we had hoped. Part of the appeal of Carmel-by-the-Sea is that there really isn’t a lot to do. Although we did take a couple of side trips, the majority of our vacation involved reading in our room, going out to eat and to wine tastings, and walking around town and down to the beach.
Just before our trip last year, I had gotten my Canon EOS Mark IV and used that for taking pictures. This year, I decided to bring a couple of film cameras: my Minolta XE and my Olympus OM-1. My rationale for bringing two cameras was to have different speed film in each for different lighting situations. The plan worked out well since we had a few days with a lot of fog and a few days of sun. I used Kodak Gold 200, Kodak Ektar 100, CineStill 50D, and Lomography Color 100 in the Minolta, and FujiColor Superia X-Tra 400 and FujiColor Pro 400H in the Olympus.
I brought two lenses for the Minolta (35mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.7) although I only used the 35mm one. I only have one lens for the Olympus (28mm f/2.8).
And, of course, I had my Samsung Galaxy 9+ for additional photos.
I finished the roll of the FujiColor Superia X-Tra 400 in the Olympus walking around Carmel-by-the-Sea on a few occasions. The roll of the FujiColor Pro 400H is currently still in my camera with several shots remaining so it will be a while before I have those.
The fog was a bit of an issue, but I was able to manage some decent shots although they don’t quite do justice to the charm of the town. On our last day there, I specifically went out with the intention of photographing the places we ate at.
With the Minolta, I shot the roll of the Kodak Gold 200 during our first visit to the beach. One of the wonderful aspects of Carmel-by-the-Sea is the proximity of the beach to trees.
Although we were inclined to just stay in town, we did venture out on a couple occasions. We took a short drive to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve which is only about three miles outside Carmel-by-the-Sea. Despite being chilly and foggy, it was rather lovely. We only hiked a small part of it and definitely plan on seeing more on our next trip. We had the idea to drive down to Nepenthe in Big Sur for lunch. It’s about an hour drive. When we got there, we were told it was an hour-an-a-half wait for a table. We figured in an hour-an-a-half, we could drive back to town, lose the car, and have a boozy lunch which is what we did. It wasn’t wasted time since the ride along U.S. 1 is a beautiful, coastal ride.
The pictures from Point Lobos mostly turned out OK, but the foggier ones have a green tint across the top. I’m not sure why that happened.
The next day, we went to the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo where I finished one roll of film (CineStill 50D) and started another (Lomography 100) with the Minolta.
These are a few of the ones I took with the CineStill 50D.
And here are some with the Lomography 100.
Because I was shooting with 50 and 100 speed films, I was unable to use the Minolta inside, but I had my phone with me so was able to take some within the buildings.
We weren’t sure what our plans were going to be on the last full day. We were flying out of San Jose very early the following morning so we made reservations at a hotel close to the San Jose airport for that night. We had to check out of the inn where we were staying by 11:00 am but needed something to do between then and getting to San Jose.
A couple of fortunate things happened that made that last day rather pleasant. The first was that the inn let us keep the car in their lot past the check out time which meant we were able to spend more time in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The other fortunate thing was that the person who was waiting on us during our wine tasting at Trio Carmel recommended Carmel Valley, about a 20 minute drive away.
After we had a lovely breakfast at Village Corner, another walk to the beach and around town, and a delicious lunch at Yeast of Eden, we drove out to Carmel Valley and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon, getting to a couple tasting rooms, taking a few pictures (Minolta XE with the Lomography 100), and a great early dinner at Corkscrew Cafe.
I shouldn’t only mention Village Corner, Yeast of Eden, and Corkscrew Cafe. We had done a lot of great eating and drinking, including a few places we enjoyed last year (Village Corner and Cultura) and some new to us places (Yeast of Eden, Corkscrew Cafe, Carmel Belle, La Bicyclette, First Awakenings, Pescadero, Basil, and Etats-Unis).
Our Carmel trip was everything we hoped it would be, and we’re already contemplating a return trip next summer.
You can see all my pictures from this trip in my Flickr album.