california, claire, iphoneography, photography
Comments 6

california: coast, vineyards and (not) using my dslr

california | south by north

After our time in Big Sur, we carried on down the coast towards Morro Bay. One of the most beautiful places that we stopped on the coastal drive was Sand Dollar Beach – a wide stretch of sand and huge rocks perforating the surf. We walked on the beach and also along the bluffs on the cliff edge – we were going to head down to Jade Cove, and almost made it but I majorly lost my nerve when I saw how steep the final climb was. I was actually worried we (well, just me really!) wouldn’t be able to get back up.

california | south by north

This part of the trip was booked pretty last minute and we had been hoping to stay by the coast, but everything was too expensive or already full. We ended up reserving our second Air Bnb about an hour inland in a town called Templeton – it was a holiday cottage overlooking a handful of gorgeous vineyards. Considering we knew nothing about the area and booked it mainly based on one picture, it worked out amazingly well. We picked up stuff to bbq for dinner and went for a cheeky wine tasting at a nearby vineyard. Our evening was mostly eating bbq steaks and drinking wine by the outside firepit. It was such a lovely place, and we could have easily stayed longer.

california | south by north

california | south by north

I want to talk a bit about my photography this trip – both David and I had decided that we didn’t want to ‘overuse’ our dslrs, so a lot of the photos I will be sharing are from my phone (like all of the photos in this post). There are a couple of reasons for this. The main reason is the sheer volume of photos that we end up with when constantly snapping away on our dslrs. There have been quite a few trips where we have come back with thousands of photos and multiple memory cards and it just feels like too much, for us anyway. It makes editing them a burden, and also means having to carry a huge camera everywhere. It was actually really enjoyable on this trip to pull out the big camera for certain moments and use my iphone as my day to day camera, just like I do at home. In the end I took around 350 photos on my dslr in the eight day road trip. That may sound like a lot, but considering how many places we visited it felt pretty restrained. For example in LA I didn’t use my big camera once.

The other reason that I really enjoyed this new approach to my camera is that I think it actually improved the quality of my dslr photos. Instead of the constant snapping and knowing that out of thousands I would be bound to find some good ones, I forced myself to be more considered and make each shot count. When editing I only deleted a handful, the rest are all pictures that I am really happy with – usually I would be wading through loads and finding it hard to decide what to keep. It was pleasantly surprising to upload them when I got home and not have to spend several hours editing and organising.

I would love to know how you approach your dslr photography – are you snap happy or do you keep it for special occasions only?

You can see the rest of my California posts here, or check out my instagram, #southbynorthcalifornia

california | south by north

california | south by north

california | south by north

california | south by north


  1. What phone do you have? The photos are so crisp you wouldn’t even miss lugging around the DSLR!!

  2. Can’t believe you took the tiny humans shot on your phone! I’m totes guilty of carrying my dslr everywhere but I really want to get back into this film year, so I’m thinking of just taking my film camera for a few trips (haven’t totally convinced myself of that yet!)

    • Well, your photos are beautiful so it definitely pays to be carrying your camera around! David uses film sometimes and the photos really are just next level. I’d love to see your film shots.

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