Journey in the West

For around three weeks, I traveled with my girlfriend and her family across the west coast. From northern California to SoCal, to Nevada, through Arizona, and then back to California, these are the events that ensued. 

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The first place we went to was Yosemite National Park. An absolutely beautiful, flawless park. Swimming in a deep, flowing river in the park was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. The water was so pristine and beautiful with fool’s gold shining at the bottom.

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The first night we camped in Yosemite, we shared Chinese hot pot. One of the coolest products I’ve ever used, the copper furnace was heated by burning coals at the bottom, with the chimney running up the middle. Around the bottom, boiling water with spices and oil filled the pot, where we dunked and cooked endless amounts of delicious vegetables, meats, and fish. There was definitely no compromise eating in the wilderness that night.  

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The next place we went to was Las Vegas. While I can see the appeal of it, I found no enjoyment in gambling (losing money) and watching corny shows. It was a little interesting people-watching in the streets at night, but I felt guilty spending any money there and supporting the people who own the casinos there. These negative emotions dampened my desire to do any serious photography.  One morning, we went to the Hoover Dam. It was 119 degrees. We quickly left.  

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I then visited the Grand Canyon for the second consecutive year. Taking a tour of Antelope Canyon was one of my favorite memories on this trip. While my photos of the Canyon may not be as impressive as some of the billions that are available online, I tried to put a unique spin on the Canyon. Inspired by Chiaroscuro paintings that I enjoy, I tried to take away as much detail of the form as possible by taking shots with as much contrast as possible.  

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Our tour guide was a very friendly man from the reserve who played a song using a traditional Navajo instrument. It really completed the experience, and he was an amazing, fun guy.  

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My favorite thing about California are the beaches. No, not for the pure quality of the beach in terms of cleanliness, sand, and view, but for the atmosphere; there is just so much life to them. The atmosphere never seems to sleeps as people from all wakes of life have fun there. I had short, enjoyable conversations with countless beach-dwellers and had delicious street food as all the stresses of life were seamlessly lost for the night.  

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Ending the trip in San Francisco was a perfect seasoning to top off a trip with many ups and downs. San Francisco is a place of strong contrast. Really poor, really rich. Really fun, really serious. All of these contrasts are almost impossible to comprehend until you experience it for yourself. The best way I can describe San Francisco is,” You’ll never be bored.”

I would like to thank my girlfriend, April and her aunt for inviting me on this fantastic trip and Dirk for allowing us to stay at his place outside San Francisco and the interesting conversations on politics, in addition to the Lee family for the welcoming dinner, and Cayden for being a fantastic companion on this trip.