water

Standing On The Edge Of The World | San Diego, California by Rachel Abrahams

I have been incredibly lucky to live near the ocean for most of my life. My entire world has been shaped by the ocean lifestyle of seeing people run across A1A with their surfboards in hand, skipping school to hang at the beach (which was half a mile from my high school), and everyone having their favorite beach to surf/swim/sunbathe at (because depending on what you were doing there was a beach that was better for it).

I recently moved to where I can actually see the ocean from our 2nd floor deck. I can hear the waves at night and smell the salt air when the wind is moving in the right direction. It is home and I am reminded on a daily basis how amazing it is to be here, especially after living many other places throughout my life. This is where I want to be.

Growing up, whenever I visited the beach I would stand at the water's edge with Florida behind me, the Atlantic Ocean ahead of me with Africa in the far far distance, and just stare out thinking about how I was on the edge of the continent and straight across from where I was standing was the other side of the world. It has always fascinated me.

When we visited California, I was super stoked to now be on the other side of the United States and get my toes into the sands connected to the Pacific Ocean. The beach was similar to Florida and yet so different. The preferences of different beaches was the talk of the locals (just like at home). It amazed me how far it was from the sandy beach to the ocean (Florida's is so small). Now here I was standing at the edge of the continent but I was staring at the other side of the world from a completely new direction. It was now California behind me with Asia in the far far distance. 

That may be my favorite thing about the beach. It reminds me I am a small part of this amazing world and yet with my toes touching the water I am physically connected to so much more than the tiny spot I am standing on. It has always fascinated me and I assure you it will never ever get old. 

Pull Over And Have An Adventure | California Photography by Rachel Abrahams

Before going to California, the number one question I was asked was "Are you planning on driving the Pacific Coastal Highway?". I was told repeatedly how it is beautiful and definitely worth taking the extra time to drive it. We decided to drive it from Los Angeles to San Francisco and it was absolutely worth every minute of it. Some parts were isolated, other parts were nerve wracking (high cliffs and teeny weeny ledges for the car), and almost all of it was gorgeous. We didn't have a detailed plan other than wanting to be at a certain point before sunset so we took full advantage of stopping wherever we saw beautiful sights. My husband was fantastic and kept scouting great photography locations to explore.

Not too long into the drive, we came upon this beach. It was isolated and there was only one other car there so we pulled over to explore. There was a large drop off from the road down to the sand and without my husband's assistance (both down and up the drop off), I never would have been able to get down onto the beach to explore. It had everything you expect from a beach on the Pacific Ocean - rocks, huge piles of seaweed, driftwood, and the water was so COLD. Not like Florida ocean water - this was wet suit required cold water. Plus, I'm a big (Floridian) wuss when it comes to cold water.

I am proud of the fact I was running around in capris and flip-flops while it was 50 degrees on the beach. That didn't bother me. Swimming in it would.

It was so lovely to be on this beach, scouring for treasures, with no one really around. The wind was blustery and the sun was strong. This situation was an example of something I read once that said to take pictures no matter what the light is like. As photographers, it is repeated over and over to us to always take photos in the best light - which is typically around sunrise and sunset. Well, I didn't have that option and had to work with the sun light directly over the water and the ocean reflecting it like a huge mirror onto my camera. The article was right - just take the photos. Don't miss out just because the light isn't perfect.

My favorite aspect of traveling is seeing how different things are where you visit and I could not get over how FLUFFY the seagulls were in California. Are they seeing some specialty bird hairdresser we don't have in Florida? Maybe it's all the celebrity beauty treatments and some weird seagull keratin feather treatment? These guys actually looked cuddly. Of course, I still can't stand birds so they didn't look cuddly enough to actually try to get near one. The day that happens, the people close to me know it's time to check me in for old-timer's disease or senility. I've tried but birds and I don't mix. Trust me.

Although it felt really isolated in this nook of a beach there were two houses within view. I cannot even imagine what a gorgeous vantage point they have every day. I waved in their direction in case anyone happened to see this little redheaded hobbit climbing around the rocks like an idiot. If someone did see me, I guarantee they were placing bets on me falling. FYI - I didn't. Well, I nearly did trying to climb back up the drop-off to the road. Hubby saved me though so it doesn't count.

What's the best place you discovered while meandering off the beaten path? Would you (or have you) dare(d) to swim in the arctic cold of the Pacific Ocean waters without a wet suit? Am I the only one who isn't a fan of birds?

Beautimous Florida Sunset On The Beach |Beach Photography by Rachel Abrahams

I live on the East Coast of Florida which means we have sunRISES over the beach - not sunsets. In other words, to see the beautiful light on the water I need to get up early and, well, that's really hard for me. I always promise myself I will get up really early on the weekend (cough), especially since I am up that early anyways during the week (cough cough), and go down to the beach for some sunrise photos (cough cough cough). I'm sorry - I keep coughing at my own good intentions (that I keep sleeping through). When I was invited to visit the West Coast of Florida, which meant I would finally see the sun set OVER the ocean, I was a happy little camper.

I do admit almost every time I visit the beach and see the sun setting, I think of my friend Justin who visited us "east coasters" when I was in college. We all went to the beach and to maximize our sun bathing time, we turned our towels toward the sun (away from the water) and Justin just laughed at us. He wanted to know why we would waste a perfectly good beach visit by not facing the actual ocean. Then he plopped down his chair into the sand, facing the water, and continued to make fun of and cracked up at us. I had to remind him our sun doesn't set over the ocean. When he pointed out he's from the west coast of Florida and they get the joy every day of seeing the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico, I was quite green with the jelly monster.

Ever since having that conversation, I craved seeing the sun set over the ocean and wasn't going to miss my photographic chance when I finally got to see it.

Getting back to my west coast visit; A storm passed through prior and its remnants hung around during sunset. The colors were intense and began as pastels, deepening into amazing blues, and then ending the light show in purples. Each time I'd think I saw the best the sunset had to offer it would shift into a new color level. I stayed down on the beach for close to an hour - which did result in getting eaten alive by the sand fleas. I didn't care and called the bites my badge of honor.

Looking at these photos, it was definitely worth it.

The Clouds Are Real, I Swear by Rachel Abrahams

AspiringImagesbyRachel_Disney-AnimalKingdom-EverestontheWater

I showed this to someone recently & the first thing they said was "Cool sky. Is that a stock image or did you Photoshop it in yourself?"

Huh? What?

Until that moment, the idea that the sky looked so nice that I couldn't have possibly captured it that way had not occurred to me but I promise you, I did. It was incredibly hot that day (of course it was, it's Florida) and there were storms coming later which meant the preceding weather was an oppressive heat that made me question my sanity for being anywhere outside that day. There were soooooooo many people at the Animal Kingdom park in Walt Disney World and I really didn't want to spend a lot of time in the park. My mom was willing to be my partner in crime while I wandered around looking for ideal photo opportunities with the promise we would ride Expedition Everest (excellent roller coaster) and also have lunch at Tusker House (it was delish). I know this isn't the most original photo and many people before me have taken this shot but I HAD to do it when I saw these amazing clouds floating by. They were moving quickly so I just stood there waiting for the right "grouping" and took my moment.

Plus, if you look in the water you can see the reflection of the sky. I may be getting better at Photoshop these days but there is NO WAY I am that good, haha!

P.S. In my opinion, Animal Kingdom is my least favorite of all the parks at Walt Disney World. When I think of going there, images of oppressive heat, overwhelmingly crowded walkways, and battles with double-wide plastic strollers invade my mind. Maybe I haven't given it an honest chance but I've been approximately 10 times now and I only look forward to Asia & Expedition Everest. Anyone else feel this way? Willing to convince me otherwise?