Northern California

Northern California

We had heard that Northern California had excellent landscape opportunities. But we had never had the opportunity to spend any time there. However, while on a trip to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary in Hawaii we found ourselves in San Francisco. So, we decided to spend a few days in Northern California, specifically north of San Francisco around Mendocino and the old Fort Bragg area. As always, we had done extensive research on the Northern California area before our trip and had decided, based on that research to our home base in Mendocino for this photo shoot. During our research one of the interesting things we found about Mendocino was that it was used for filming the TV show “Murder She Wrote” which we frequently watch on TV. I always thought that Cabot Cove was in New England (who knew?).
After renting a car at the SFO airport and loading our luggage, we were ready for the 4-hour ride to Northern California. We decided to take the expressway route to Northern California and the scenic Pacific Ocean road back to San Francisco. We were warned about the winding roads we would encounter on the way to and from Mendocino, but the roads were worse than we imagined. It took us six hours to get there and the return trip took us about 10 hours. We stayed at the Agate Cove Inn, which was on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, had a fantastic view and was centrally located to the areas we wanted to photograph.

The town itself is small and quaint and full of architectural photo opportunities. Besides Jessica Fletcher’s house, there were many picturesque homes and businesses nestled among the cliffs. Old fishing shacks and beach homes were also found in abundance in this piece of Northern California.
I brought along a new Sony RX10 camera, the Sony NEX7, and the Canon 5dsr. I also brought the MX 450 monopod and the Silk carbon Fiber tripod. My goal was to try to use the Sony RX10 as much as possible to test it with respect to a full featured DSLR.

I used the Silk tripod almost exclusively on this shoot. However, I usually always have the MX 450 monopod handy. It is a very sturdy monopod with a genuinely nice screw on top that allows me to use it as a walking stick as well as a monopod. Another good feature of this monopod is that it looks like a walking stick when the head is on the top. This has allowed me to be able to take this into some botanical gardens and other places that discourage tripods or monopods and it has allowed me to get some exceptionally good, in-focus images.

The Sony RX10 camera performed well beyond my expectations. As a landscape photographer I do often use a tripod. In order for me to get a good and in-focus image, I need to turn off the auto focus and image stabilization. This camera does allow me to make those adjustments. I also often shoot early in the morning and frequently use neutral density filters. I found that the camera worked well in low light conditions and when using neutral density filters.

Some places you may want to photograph in the Mendocino area are The Mendocino Highlands State Park, anywhere along point Mendocino Trail, Big River Beach, Russian Gulch State Park, and McKerracher State Park. The whole area is rich for photography. We also visited several other sites such as Fort Bragg as well as Point Cabrillo Light.

We spent five days in the Northern California area. We could have spent much longer. If we ever again get to Northern California, we will be sure to re-visit this beautiful spot.

This gallery but a sample of the images we captured while we were in the Northern California area. If you have any questions or comments please send us a message using the contact page.

Mendocino Area Information: