California - October 2017 / by Denise McMahon

California is a state of mind. Travelling is a state of mind. When I reflect back on trips to California, I am always filled with a great sense of contentment and awe. There is just something very magical about the west coast that I love. It doesn't hurt that going to California ultimately means seeing all the family and friends in my world too.

My amazing friends, Autumn and Kevin, who got engaged during our trip in NZ, were getting married in California so we decided to turn it into a 2-week west coast stint, hitting up both California and Seattle, WA (future post because Seattle was IN-CRE-DI-BLE and deserves its own blog post). While we were in California, we saw my mom's side of the family, my dad's side, Michael's mom's side, AND attended A&K's intimate wedding in the beautiful wine country of Paso Robles. We also managed to cram in a few touristy sights throughout the week, like Hearst Castle (aka the most jaw-droppingly opulent sight I have ever seen), 17 Mile Dr/Pebble Beach, Natural Bridges State Beach, and Mission San Luis Obispo. In ONE week. Do we deserve a round of applause or what?

There's a few cellphone pics strewn about this post too. I consciously decided to be present with my family and friends when we got to spend time with them and so I chose not to tote my camera around too often. I'm grateful that I was more conscious about not having my face behind the lens 24/7 but the downfall is that most of our family group photos are cellphone pics (ugh!). I think I can strike a better balance with that in the future. Any other photogs out there also searching for the perfect balance between being behind the lens and being present?