San Francisco | Travel Photography | Erika Ryan Photography

For a long time my goal in life was to be able to travel. I didn't care where, I didn't care how...I just wanted to go. I've always been a wanderer by nature. I never thought that would ever be a possibility for me. I always struggled with self motivation and, let's be real, saving money. I never in a million years thought that at 23 I would be able to take myself to San Francisco for my birthday. Photography has given me more than a career and a paycheck. Its given me drive, ambition and something to look forward to. It's given me the motivation to create and find the interesting (not always beautiful) things in the world around me. It gave me an outlet for my thoughts and feelings and it gave me a reason to keep going, keep trying and failing in the effort to improve. 

Anyways, enough with the cheesy shit. I was so excited to go back to my home state for some much needed R&R and some gorgeous scenery. I will admit that I am a creature of habit and was not fond of the over populated areas of SF. I am much more of a "I want to go sit alone on the beach" type of gal. 

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san-francisco-travel-photographer-erika-ryan-photography
san-francisco-travel-photographer-erika-ryan-photography

I spent the majority of my time photographing my favorite thing in the world - the ocean. I have always been drawn to water. I spent the majority of my childhood summers on the Colorado River and always loved going to the beach. So we went to China Beach and Lands End for the most breathtaking views. 

I also have always had a fascination with surfers. Sue me. 

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I've never been cautious until recently. I was always a risk taker, the first one to run toward the scary noise in the dark. Yet, time seems to have made me fearful. Fearful of failure, fearful of harm. I've vowed to myself to take the risks when I need to. To take the photo I don't know how to take (see the last photo in this blog), to try something I think won't work, to climb out onto a cliff at the edge of the ocean to breathe in the view that I've never seen before. As much as it frightens me, I am glad every single time that I did it. 

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Now, the antithesis of my love for the serenity of the ocean is that the place that I usually feel the most at peace is in the middle of the city surrounded by skyscrapers. I love standing still as all of the people move around me, going on about their daily lives. It's the ultimate form of solitude to stand in the middle of a crowd and just....listen. No one talking to you, no one even really acknowledging that you're there. It's an amazing feeling to be a quiet observer of a place that you've never been from the view point of the center. 

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At the end of my trip, I went to visit my aunt in Monterey, somewhere I haven't been since I was four years old. We ate amazing food, had a piece of cake big enough for three, and went out to Asilomar Beach in Pacific Grove, California to see the fire dancers.

I'll be honest. Photographing at night scares me. Like, a lot. I took 50 photos and this single one came out. I was ecstatic! I learned 49 ways to not take a photograph at night, and finally figured out one way that I could. That's all I needed. It's the little things, man. 

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