We were only going to be in California for one week, so my family and I tried to cram in as many sights and experiences as we could. I’d never been to the west coast, but the one smallish region of the state we vacationed through was enough to blow our Northwest Ohio minds. In fact, having half of our party, myself included, come down with bronchitis three days into the trip wasn’t enough to deter us from powering through and enjoying the beauty of this state.

Having a passion for landscape photography (and pretty much all other kinds) can be difficult to pursue when the highest elevations in your hometown are a toss up between the reservoir and the landfill. You can imagine my delight when, in the course of one day I was up near Mammoth Mountain and June Lake, only to descend to the lowest point in North America a few hours later, Badwater Basin in Death Valley. That’s just about an 8,000 foot difference in altitude, not to mention temperature, or scenery!

To be honest, the week was difficult and uncomfortable at points thanks to my sickness that naturally reared its head at such an inopportune time. I adopted the mind-over-matter attitude as best I could, and through hoarse coughing fits and a running nose I managed to snap quite a few keepers. It’s not hard to be awe inspired with so much natural beauty at every turn, but it is hard to keep the camera down. It’s one of those good-to-have problems.

Matt Burgess