Friday, May 16, 2008


Thursday:Mission San Juan Bautista

I needed to leave the Carmel/Monterey area before the mission at Carmel was going to be open to visitors for the day... but, as I was driving from Monterey to San Francisco, I saw the sign for Mission San Juan Bautista (John the Baptist).
See the pictures HERE.
If I lived in California, I think I'd have to make a project out of visiting and photographing all 21 missions along the Camino Real. While the adobes and the churches are interesting, the added surprise is that they all apparently have amazing walled gardens.
Unfortunately, yesterday was not the best day to be photographing a garden... or doing anything outside. A freak heat wave had temperatures over 100 F-- the first really awful weather of the trip. (10 days- one less than perfect? I can handle that!)
By noon, spending any real time out of doors was unpleasant and exhausting, so after I finished shooting the mission, I finished my drive up to the SF area and did a little shopping for gifts for folks back home and called it a day.
Well, it's Friday, and in a few hours I need to get on that plane and head back to Ohio. I hope to be able to shoot the Rockies and a few other things from the plane, but by and large this gallery is probably the last major installment of the Mental Health Tour.
The trip did what I needed it to do-- it re-aligned my vision, gave me new insights and things to think about, and was just plain fun. I saw so many things that amazed and delighted me. From newborn fauns and calves to breaching humpback whales. From tiny wildflowers to mighty redwoods. Chaotic and noisy San Francisco to the silence and majesty of Big Sur. Rough adobe missions to wedding-cake cathedrals. Urban sophistication and timeless miracles of nature.
There were things on my original itinerary I never got around to doing. I never walked up Telegraph Hill or spent time in Japantown. I went sailing in the bay instead. I never spent time in the Aquarium in Monterey. I went whale watching and spent time photographing a wild seal pup at play instead. But at some point I had to decide if I was here to relax and enjoy myself, or if I was determined to check off all the "must sees" on some list.
I have enough things I'd still love to do to justify another trip someday. But this has been a wonderful journey, and one I'll remember for a very long time.

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