Dear Pen Pal . . .

Good Friends are like Stars.  You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.

I wait with nervous anticipation, our first face to face meeting EVER! After nine years of knowing someone and never having met them in person, today is the day!  Brian and I anxiously wait at Starbucks in Carmel, for Carolyn and Jim.

We arrived a bit earlier than they did, as I sat at the table nervously tapping my foot, Brian asked me ” Are you excited?”  “Yes!” I answered. We have been on the West Coast for a little over a week, and today, at long last, I will finally get to meet Carolyn and she will get to meet me.  What will our first impression of the other be? Will we like each other as much as we do in our phone conversations, our joint blog posts and the numerous texts we send each other throughout the day?  Hardly a day goes by that I don’t speak to her in one way or another. She and I have become so close, it’s as if we have known each other for most of our lives.

If you did not read the prior blog before I left for the West Coast, you can read it here.  Carolyn and I decided after posting our “before the meeting” blog, that once we met, we would post a second blog describing our first actual in person encounter.  So this it!  I linked Carolyn’s blog here, so you can read her impression of our encounter too.

California Sea Otter State Game Refuge

I can tell you that when we first saw each other, it was so exciting and we did not stop hugging each other for a few minutes.  We were like two long lost friends, standing in the middle of Starbucks, in everyone’s way, just hugging, looking at each other, then hugging some more.  Once the initial realization that we finally met each other subsided, we moved over to let people pass by and then grabbed another coffee and set off on our adventure.  Carolyn and Jim are from California and they were going to be our tour guide for the day.  We were going to ride along Pacific Coast Highway 1 to Big Sur.  Carolyn wanted to show me some spots that she had previously photographed.  We also stopped for breakfast and some conversation.  I was a bit nervous about Brian meeting Jim, I knew Carolyn and I would have plenty to talk about, but I wasn’t sure about Brian and Jim, they had never spoken to each other, let alone spend a day together.  My fears soon vanished,  they had so much to talk about and got along so well.  Which was nice, because Carolyn and I would disappear for a while photographing, talking and just being the closest pen pals we could be.

One of the spots Carolyn wanted to show me was the Bixby Bridge, which to my surprise, my husband actually knew about this bridge and he super exited to see it.  I’m not sure if he was more excited than I was?  The morning turned out to be quite overcast and foggy, so the beautiful blue sky we had come to adore surrounded by the Pacific Ocean was not to be had this morning.  Beautiful photographs can also be taken in cloudy and foggy weather, sometimes this type of weather gives a more moody feel to a photograph.  The weather did not deter either me or Carolyn from photographing any of the places she had chosen to show us.

Bixby Bridge – Big Sur, California
Big Sur, California
Big Sur, California

One last photo, I found it so difficult to chose what to post, but honestly, I could be here for days, editing and positing all of the amazing shots I took in Washington, Oregon and California.

Big Sur, California (yes, that is a kayaker in the water!)

The final stop on our journey this amazing Saturday morning was a waterfall Carolyn said was small but quite beautiful.  So we all got back in our cars and continued our ride on the Pacific Coast Highway meandering down then up the winding road.  One thing I can say, if you have never driven on this picturesque road before, it can be a bit unnerving.  There are points in the road that you almost feel as though you have lost your bearings, you look up and sometimes all you see is sky and water, both blending together, appearing as tough there is no definition between the two.

One of the highlights of the trip, came on our last day, my visit with Carolyn.  Not to say the entire trip wasn’t amazing, because it far exceeded my expectations.  My husband planned for months, researched and chose what locations to visit and what hotels we would stay in.  I have to say, he did a magnificent job!  Thank you Brian, for showing me a part of this country I had never visited before.  With that said, thank you Carolyn, for posting a photo of a “dead” flower all those years ago, that is what started our wonderful friendship, so Thank you!

Thank you for stopping in, I hope you enjoyed my photos this week.  Until next week, have a great week ahead everyone . . .

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In the beginning . . .

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

Many years ago, in another galaxy, just kidding! Really though, many years ago, I embarked on a journey called photography.  I didn’t know then, that it would become a hobby that would encompass my entire being, but it has.

On this journey, I met someone while taking an online class, who has become such a close friend, even though we have NEVER met in person.  I guess you might call her my pen pal, or in today’s world it’s more of a phone/Instagram/blog relationship.

Carolyn and I met while taking an online class at BetterPhoto called Understanding Digital Photography.  It had received my first digital camera for Christmas, and didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I thought this was a logical  place to begin.  During the class Carolyn posted a photo of a dead flower, and for the life of me I could not understand why anyone would photograph a dead flower. From this photograph would bloom an amazing friendship that I’m sure neither of us could have imagined! Today, I completely understand why she photographed this dead flower and I’ve been known to photograph a few myself.

It’s been nine years since Carolyn and I became friends and this month we will finally get to meet each other in person.  My husband I will be traveling out west and one of our stops is California.  Carolyn, and her husband Jim will meet us for a day of photography, lunch and an afternoon of conversation.  I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to finally meet her!

Maine 2010

We both thought that posting a blog about this encounter and our journey would be interesting.  We agreed to post photos we’ve taken along the way to show our progression from where we began in comparison to where we are today.  Looking back was sort of fun, to see what I loved photographing eight years ago in relation to what I love to photograph today and how far I’ve come in so many aspects of photography. Time has a funny way of changing you, making your grow and looking at things a bit differently. During the past nine years, I’ve lost my job, had cancer, my daughter got married, and I became a grandma in April.  Quite a bit of activity going on and through it all our friendship has become stronger.  We speak a few times a week, consult each other on photographs and life in general.  We bounce ideas off of each other, we are very honest with our critiques of each others work and ideas.   It’s so nice to have someone who can be completely honest with you, knowing that they are doing it out of friendship and love.

Stone Harbor_10_NL

After we have met in person, our intention is to post a blog about our encounter, our photographs and our meeting in general.  I hope you will have a look later in June once we have had a change to edit photographs, write our blogs and relive our “in person” day together.

Until next time, thank you for stopping in . . .

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