A couple years ago, my brother Greg was in southern California on business. Ordinarily, he would've driven to San Diego to visit when his business was done, but we opted for me to pick him up, and we would make the drive to the Bay Area. On that trip, we went to Muir Woods. Well, to be more exact, we went to the parking lot of Muir Woods, drove around for thirty minutes, and then left. It was 4th of July weekend, and it was just that crowded.
This time around, however, I really wanted to make it down there. I was hoping that the fact that we'd go on a Thursday would help matters, and it did. We were able to find a parking spot after a mere 15 minutes of trying.
|The entrance to Muir Woods National Monument...|
Muir Woods National Monument is named after John Muir, who was instrumental in getting the United States Congress to pass the National Parks bill in 1890. Muir devoted his later life to preserving America's natural beauty, so much so that he is now known as the "Father of the National Parks".
Essentially, without Muir, there would be no National Parks system.
Now, while most Americans will never actually step foot in Muir Woods, most, I dare say, will see it. Anyone who's seen the movie "Return Of The Jedi" will recognize Muir Woods as the planet Endor. It was also used in the movie "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes".
It's an amazing place. Some of the largest trees in the world are here, both hundred of years old and hundreds of feet tall. A well built boardwalk permits you access to the entire park, and photography, for personal use anyway, is highly encouraged. Commercial photography is permitted, but you need a permit.
It would be possible, I'm sure, to spend days exploring Muir Woods. It seemingly goes on forever and, for me, every time I turned around there was something else to aim my lens at. It was a visual feast, and it even lent itself to some HDR work.
|Taking a break from shooting at Muir Woods National Monument. Photo by Chris Estes...|
As amazing a place as it was, we decided we needed to leave to get some food. Our breakfast plans had fallen through, and we were starting to get a little squirrely. We decided to head over to the small town of Tiburon for some lunch.
Aside from being the home of Shark's Deli, where we had lunch, Tiburon is also home to Schoenberg Guitars. This store has some amazing instruments on display, many of which climb into the mid-five-figure price range. They really do specialize in high-end manufacturer and small independent luthier guitars.
|Schoenberg Guitars in Tiburon, California...|
|Chris plays a Bruce Sexauer guitar at Schoenberg Guitars...|
After about an hour or so in Tiburon, we decided to make our way back to Lafayette. We had a gig that night, and the reality is that the trip back could take a while, even outside of rush hour. It was nice to have that down time in the passenger seat, though...