U.S. Road Trip: Chapter I

"Natural Bridges", Santa Cruz

"Natural Bridges", Santa Cruz

I've just got back to Cartagena after an absolutely memorable time in the United States!

I spent two weeks with my girlfriend in California, and I'm gonna share a bit of my trip here on my blog over the next five or six posts.

It was my very first time there so I was stoked with the chance to see a bit of the West Coast, a side of that country that is so remarkably famous for its natural beauty.

But what got me there in the first place was the invitation I had received from Saskia to photograph her wedding in Santa Cruz.

Saskia and my girlfriend got to know each other while surfing here in Cartagena, and after seeing my work on Instagram, Sas thought I was the right man to photograph her wedding, even though I had never done any wedding before. 

I was obviously honored with her invitation, and although also a bit nervous with the enormous responsibility of photographing such an important day, I decided to accept the challenge and told her she could count on me for the job. 

Ale and I landed in San Francisco late at night a few days before the wedding, and we had a few hours to explore the city before being picked up by Sas, who was kind enough to get us in SF and drive us to Santa Cruz

Early golden light at the hostel where we spent the night in San Francisco

Early golden light at the hostel where we spent the night in San Francisco

Downtown San Francisco

Downtown San Francisco

Walking around SF

Walking around SF

Walking around SF, part II

Walking around SF, part II

Tourists posing for a selfie in front of the "Painted Ladies", one of the most visited sites in SF

Tourists posing for a selfie in front of the "Painted Ladies", one of the most visited sites in SF

Beautiful parks in the city

Beautiful parks in the city

Beautiful architecture 

Beautiful architecture 

We didn't have that much time there, and as we both do not like to be running around in a rush, we decided to take it easy, but we still had long enough to see some pieces of that beautiful city, including the world-famous Golden Gate bridge, one of the most impressive marvels of modern architecture. 

A monochrome view of the Golden Gate partially covered by the already characteristic fog

A monochrome view of the Golden Gate partially covered by the already characteristic fog

Walking on the iconic bridge

Walking on the iconic bridge

A boat seen from the bridge

A boat seen from the bridge

So after an hour or two having out around the bridge, and literally walking through it with our luggage (we didn't have a place to keep them while we were there), we sat for a coffee and waited for Sas.

She didn't take long to arrive, so soon we were with her on her car, driving along a beautiful, panoramic road towards Santa Cruz

On the way to Santa Cruz

On the way to Santa Cruz

Beautiful views all along the way

Beautiful views all along the way

Pristine beaches

Pristine beaches

The ocean was a constant companion during the way

The ocean was a constant companion during the way

We arrived in Santa Cruz just before sunset, with enough time to leave our stuff at Chris and Ily's house (Saskia's friends who were kind enough to host us during our stay in SC), borrow two of their bikes and then cycle along the coastal promenade of the city.

Bike cruising Santa Cruz with my special one

Bike cruising Santa Cruz with my special one

Our first impression of the city could not have been better. The Sun was setting and the views were absolutely gorgeous!

Incredible, unspoiled beaches in Santa Cruz

Incredible, unspoiled beaches in Santa Cruz

One of the lighthouses in SC

One of the lighthouses in SC

More beautiful beaches

More beautiful beaches

After our great bike ride, we headed back "home" and had a beautiful evening with Chris, Ily, Saskia and her fiancé Dash. I had met Saskia in Cartagena, but that was the first time I was meeting Dash. We all had a super fun evening drinking local beers and eating the famous burritos (my girlfriend couldn't stop talking about the Californian burritos before our trip!).

The next morning, our plan was to meet Sas and Dash and visit together the venue of their wedding, as well as discuss the pictures they wanted and so on. 

Santa Cruz did not disappoint us

Santa Cruz did not disappoint us

Other than that, our day was pretty much free, so we rode more around the city, and in the afternoon I went out to photograph while Ale was at home doing some work.

Impressive rock formation at the beach, known as "Natural Bridges"

Impressive rock formation at the beach, known as "Natural Bridges"

And yet another gorgeous sunset in SC

And yet another gorgeous sunset in SC

Natural details

Natural details

Serene light at "Natural Bridges"

Serene light at "Natural Bridges"

When the Sun goes down...

When the Sun goes down...

And more amazing views

And more amazing views

Taking a moment to slow down and be present

Taking a moment to slow down and be present

The next morning, we wanted to see the mountains, so Ily showed her generosity once again and let us borrow her car! We drove to Henry Cowell State Park and I'm super glad we went there! What a beautiful place! Those giant redwoods are just amazing.

Ale checking the park's map and choosing the hiking trail we would take

Ale checking the park's map and choosing the hiking trail we would take

Gorgeous morning light on our trail

Gorgeous morning light on our trail

And more light...

And more light...

Details...

Details...

More walking...

More walking...

Redwoods...

Redwoods...

And more pictures of this woman who means the world to me

And more pictures of this woman who means the world to me

Giant, hundreds of years old trees

Giant, hundreds of years old trees

And more of green, shadows and light...

And more of green, shadows and light...

A greenish sea of redwood trees

A greenish sea of redwood trees

We had an awesome time wandering through the park before going back to town to help Sas with some wedding errands, and in the evening we went to their pre-wedding dinner, at one of their friend's house. It was a gorgeous evening and it was great to get to know their family and friends before the big day.

And this is where this post ends, and the next one begins :)

The second part of my series of posts about my time in the U.S. is gonna be about Sas and Dash's wedding, which was just...too beautiful. I feel honored for having had the chance to photograph such a special day, and I will share more about that on my next post, which is gonna be up here in probably a week or so.

So see you soon, hasta luego!

Saludos,

Bernardo Salce