by Andranik Zetlyan
Introduction by Janet Koed
While in our local hospital having hip surgery, I explained to the excellent physical therapists that I looked forward to a quick recovery so I could get back to hiking on the Gaviota Coast. These physical therapists were avid hikers so they understood my drive. Zetlyan even shared some photos he took on Gaviota, making me feel right at home. He agreed to share his story and his photos. I recovered quickly.
Story by Andranik Zetlyan
In an attempt to get away from sirens and traffic of Los Angeles, I constantly find myself traveling North to the peaceful city of Santa Barbara. On this particular trip, we decided to travel further and visit Solvang. Along the way we decided to make a pit stop at the nearest beach and that’s where we discovered Gaviota State Park. Upon entering the park, I was captivated by the train track running along the coast. While sitting on the beach, enjoying the views, I had a “lightbulb” moment. I thought to myself, the train track and the beach would make for a perfect nighttime shot. With this in mind, I drove to Gavoita Vista Point the following night. Stepping out the car I felt immediate regret as it was cold and windy, but I was also thankful I didn’t bring my fiancé along as she would probably resent me for a while- her definition of “cold” is anything below 80 degrees, a true Southern Californian! Nevertheless, I convinced myself to grab my camera and tripod and headed to the bridge. As I set up the equipment, I realized I would need to hold down the tripod firmly to prevent the wind from pushing it into the distance. This also made it challenging to take long exposure shots, as even a slight oscillation would cause a distortion in the image. As a rule of thumb, I took several shots to make sure that at least one came out as I had envisioned it.
Upon returning home and scrolling through the camera, there it was, the perfect shot! The image had depth, vibrance and mojo. My goal with each shot is to push the boundaries of the human mind and to capture something that goes beyond the imagination. As always, these shots are only possible to be captured thanks to the beauty of the world we live in and the nature that surrounds us. The Gavoita Coast is one of those places and I my hope is that this could be preserved for decades to come.
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