Californian Dreaming Part 3: Marine Life, Monterey Bay And San Francisco / by Lawrence Eagling

Following on from the stunning mountains of Yosemite Valley our journey cut back to the coast and along to Monterey. We spent the week exploring the city, mostly in and around the fabulous Monterey Bay Aquarium (where my fiancée is working with the senior aquarists on ocean sunfish). During our visit we were lucky enough to spend a lot of time exploring the fascinating exhibits in the aquarium, which are both breathtakingly beautiful and jam-packed with information with a strong focus on conservation and animal welfare.

After our busy week in Monterey, we wound down with a weekend in San Francisco before flying home. It was a wonderful place for lazy pancake breakfasts and long walks. The piers provided an amazing view (when the fog lifted!) and the Musée Mécanique was a real highlight, a tiny warehouse packed with wonderful old mechanical arcade games from shooting ranges to photo booths. Of course, when in San Fran, all the tourists pile on day boats to Alcatraz, and we were no exception.

The Alcatraz tour was a strangely quiet and sobering experience, to think of all the men (whatever their crimes) who were cooped up inside, but with the sights and sounds of San Francisco echoing just over the water. The views of the bay and the bridges spanning the water were wonderful through the mist, but fair warning to anyone who goes it gets very cold out on the island! From the grey stillness of the prison, we leapt at the chance to explore our new found freedom in the glorious Golden Gate state park where hummingbirds zoomed through bushes and jazz groups busked under bridges to improve their acoustics. In the evenings we left the USA for a while, wandering through Chinatown, Little Italy and Japantown, which provided some of the best food of the trip. Then all too soon, time to fly all the way back to Belfast!

Our road trip around California was an incredible adventure, such a beautiful and varied landscape, a perfect photography destination (and not too shabby for proposals!) We will certainly be returning to explore more of the wild Pacific coastline and searching for more wildlife encounters (still need to see a blue whale after all…).

I have included some of my favourite pictures below all taken with the Fuji X-Pro2 using a combination of the XF23mm f1.4, XF56mm f1.2 and the XF50-140mm f2.8. If anyone has any comments or questions, or would like to purchase a print please contact me using the details below. 

If you would like to request a print or ask me anything about my photography, please get in touch by email at, Instagram @lawrence_eagling or twitter @LawrenceEagling.