Coastal Hikes and Lifestyle Photography

I'll start by saying that hiking has never really been a thing for my family. Our lovely neighbors in England would have a bit of a giggle if we shared that we had taken a walk that day. We aren't outdoorsy people, what can I say? And don't even get me started on the idea of camping.

But hiking IS a thing here. A big thing. And I understand why. California has some spectacular landscapes. Why wouldn't you want to get out there and enjoy it, especially when the weather is as perfect as it always is around here?

So we did it. We drank the kool aid and went for a hike. Two hikes, actually, two weekends in a row! Who are we?? It turns out that we are people that kind of like hikes. And when I say hikes, I mean easy walks on marked paths with no special gear required. Except for maybe your superhero cape.

Our first hike took us on a quest to fine the secret swings of La Jolla. Turns out they are so secret, they don't exist anymore. But you know what? The photos from that hike are some of my favorite photos of my daughter that I've taken recently.

She's not one to pose for the camera anymore (I apparently take too many photos), which is fine because I'm not a huge fan of posed photos, anyway. These images capture her personality at this age far better than a photo of her smiling at the camera would. She's a superhero, a tomboy, a lover of cars, her dad, and her blue play shoes. And those curls? They are my favorite feature of hers.

So yes, this post is about our inaugural hikes in San Diego, but it's also a little about my philosophy regarding lifestyle photography. When she heads off to college in 14 years, these are the memories I want to trigger when I look back at photos. They represent her spirit that an image of her neatly posed in front of a tree just wouldn't. There is certainly a time and place for those photos, but when it comes to capturing families - and children, in particular - it's the spirit that I'm after.

We took our second hike with our best family friends who we are lucky to have living nearby. The Guy Fleming trail at Torrey Pines State Park is wonderful for children - an easy loop with interesting vegetation and gorgeous ocean views.

And the reward for all that walking? A run into the ocean, fully clothed, her spirit shining through the entire time.

On evolving content, consistent style, and Instagram followers

We are nearing the four month mark since we left England and are settling in quite nicely to life on the West Coast. I have taken to San Diego like a fish to water; there are a lot of reasons for this, not the least of which is the glorious weather (it's no exaggeration how magnificent it is), but it's a bit more complicated than just the increase in vitamin D. Without getting into too much detail (we'll save that for my therapist), let's just say it's the change I needed.

That's not to say that I didn't love England (I did!) or that I don't miss it (I do - just not the rain!), but the lifestyle my family lives means that we are always ready for a new adventure every two or three years. And living in a city in an area of America that I have never lived before is proving to be a wonderful adventure. I've fallen for Southern California.

It should come as no surprise that a move from rural England to urban California means that the types of things I see on a regular basis are very, very different. Gone are the country lanes and thatched roof cottages.  Gone are the quaint village scenes and the dramatic, bucolic vistas. They have been replaced by the Spanish architecture and gardens of Balboa Park; the hip coffee shop, restaurant, and boutique scene; the majestic views of the Pacific Ocean; the eclectic architecture of SoCal.

When it comes to photography, and particularly Instagram, my content has always been centered around what I see on a daily basis - whether it was while walking around the villages of Hampshire or while traveling through Europe with my family. The images I share are typically place-oriented, no matter where that place is, and my style is (hopefully) conveyed through how a photo is framed, lit, and edited.

Leaving England, I was aware that there would be a noticeable shift in my Instagram posts.  They would still be place-based, but that place would likely be more urban than rural, and the posts would feature more interior images, a skill that I have been wanting to hone and improve upon.  Despite this content shift, my goal has always been to maintain my style - my photographic signature - and to maintain a focus on what I'm truly passionate about, namely design and architecture.

And there is the tie, the commonality that I hope bridges the thatched cottage to the mid-century modern house. As a lover of design, I appreciate both of these styles, recognizing the value that each brought to the built environment and landscape of the eras in which they were developed. And while my personal style may prefer one over the other, my goal is to convey a universal appreciation for each.

Now not everyone has that same appreciation, and that's okay. Lovers of the English countryside may not dig the California vibe. I get that. So I'm riding the evolution of my Instagram following - both the highs and lows - with a bit of ease. I'm hoping those that stick around do so because through the shift in content, they can see that my style remains the same. That's not to say I won't be experimenting with and refining that style, but I have no plans to veer too far off course.  So thanks to those who are riding that evolution with me, and hello to the newcomers - I hope you continue to stick around.

Summer in the exquisite Balboa Park.

Summer in the exquisite Balboa Park.