Sunday, July 31, 2011

In and Around Monterey

Just a few of the sights from my recent vacation near Monterey, CA...

Amazing view from the Monterey Bay Aquarium    

Cannery Row

The Beach at Moss Landing

Monterey State Historic Park

Live Music at Fisherman's' Wharf

Along Fisherman's Wharf

Sea Dogs Playing

Pirate Life Is Good

Friday, July 29, 2011

California Missions - Part 3

Last weekend during my camping trip near Monterey, CA I took some time to photograph the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission as part of my personal project to photograph each of the California Missions. Although this is only the third mission I've explored, camera in hand, it was my favorite! The colors and textures reminded me a lot of Italy.

The first photo I'd like to share was also submitted as part of Photo of the Week (hosted by Jessica Rogers Photography).

Rustic Carmel
San Carlos Borromeo Mission was founded in Monterey on June 3, 1770 by Father Junipero Sera and Don Gaspar De Portolá. On August 24, 1771, Father Serra moved the Mission from Monterey to its present site in Carmel to distance it from the military presence at the Presidio of Monterey. The original structure was made of mud and wood and later rebuilt by the Ohlone Native Americans in adobe brick.

In the early 1800's the Mission was destroyed by Privateer Hipolito Bouchard and was left in ruins until Father Angel Cassanova began to restore it in 1884. Renovations continue today to preserve this historic landmark. (,

An intriguing cemetery with abalone shells marking each grave

The day that I visited the mission there were back to back weddings being held in the sanctuary.  I was able to sneak in for a couple of minutes between ceremonies, but because there were so many people around I didn't get many photos.  Still, from the two I have here you can tell it is gorgeous. Hopefully one day I'll be able to return and explore the interior more thoroughly.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission through my viewfinder. If you've missed my early posts on the California Missions series check them out here:

About my Personal Project
California Missions - Part 1, Mission San Diego de Alcala
California Missions - Part 2, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Saturday, July 23, 2011

AMA SuperSport Laguna Seca

Superbike races! This afternoon Les and I hiked up to the famous Corkscrew where we had a great view of one of the most exciting turns on the track. I ended up having a bit of "excitement" of my own when I was watching the track, trying to find a great photo vantage point, and stepped off of the trail, turn my ankle and took a spill.  I saved the camera, though. :) I was (mostly) able to walk it off and capture a few great images.

RIDE LIKE A GIRL!!! #21 Elena Myers
Enjoy! I'm sure I'll take a few hundred more frames tomorrow so stay posted for more photos :)

Friday, July 22, 2011


Ahhh....vacation! This week my family has been camping near Monterey, CA. One of the many places we've visited was the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  My favorite exhibit is always the Jelly Fish.  There is just something so peaceful and beautiful about watching them. (And yes, I've been stung before. Not fun.)

I don't have a lot of time right now to sit on the computer, but I wanted to share a few of my Jelly Fish photos.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cabrillo National Monument

A couple of weeks ago Les & I took his parents to Cabrillo National Monument, a beautiful spot out on the tip of Point Loma.  This week's Photo of the Week (hosted by Jessica Rogers Photography) was taken that day.

Cliffs over the Pacific
Here are a few other photos from that gorgeous afternoon...

Father & Son (my hubbie & his dad)

Juan Rodriguez Cabrilllo
If you get the opportunity you should really visit this park. The view is unbelievable - on a clear day you can see for miles - over the San Diego bay on one side and out to sea on the other.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Old Town

About a month ago I did a bit of exploring with a friend in Old Town. We met for one-on-one photography coaching to help him get acquainted with  his new camera and lens and had a great time! Here are a few of my shots from that day...

Although there isn't much "old" about Old Town these days it is still a lot of fun to explore the details.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Time for a change...

I can't believe I've been back in the States for more than seven months!  Time has flown by.  Its been quite an adjustment compared to living in Sicily, but I think I'm as settled as I'm gonna be (I always have itchy feet, anxious to go somewhere, anywhere!).

I started this blog in July of 2006, just before I moved to Sicily. "California to Sicily" was a way to chronicle and share my journey as a military wife moving and living overseas and a way to share my adventures with friends and family back home. As my blog evolved over the years I found a niche in travel and photography. I loved sharing photos of the places that I was lucky enough to visit!

In December of 2010 I moved back to the US and changed the name of my blog to "California to Sicily (and back)." I wasn't quite ready to give up that connection to Sicily. I missed Europe terribly (and still do) and found myself in a creative rut. So much of my inspiration was tied to the sights and textures of Europe.

It has taken me a while regain my creative spark. Personal projects like Photo of the Week and the California Missions have been a huge source of inspiration!  I've had to slow down and take in the details - and while it isn't Europe, California is pretty awesome! I'm having a blast taking photos again and exploring the world around me.

With that in mind my new blog title: "Explore - Capture - Create" probably makes a lot of sense (the URL will stay the same). I've been thinking about this title for a couple of months and I feel that it really describes me: my love of travel, photography, and anything creative.

Expect to see lots of travel stories - local and abroad; tons of photos; and bits about the things I create: with photos, paper, in the kitchen...really the sky is the limit! I hope you enjoy the new focus and direction of this blog.  I'm excited to see where it will take me!

P.S. I'd love to hear from you in the comments! Please let me know what you think of the new name and blog design. Thanks!

Wild Things

Last weekend we braved the heat and crowds to visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (previously known as the Wild Animal Park) with my hubbie's parents. It had been several years since my last visit and much has changed. We had a lot of fun exploring and watching the animals - they have so much personality!

This week's Photo of the Week (hosted by Jessica Rogers Photography) is from the Safari Park.

Do you like my Zebra socks?

A couple more fun shots from that day:

Sleepy Kitty

This Lion has the right idea - it was a hot & humid day and I would have curled up in the shade for a nap, too, if I could have!

Mmmmmm.....tree :)

I had no idea that Giraffes had black tongues!

I will definitely head back to the Safari Park when the weather cools. There is more to see that we didn't get to. We took off early afternoon - I'd had enough of the heat and it was getting too crowded for my taste, but that is what we get for going on a holiday weekend. At least we had the sense to get there when they opened!