For the past 5+ years I've boasted my love for the California coast-- the stretch from San Francisco to Santa Cruz in particular. I'd driven it countless times and it was always the first thing I'd recommend to strangers visiting my home state.
I thought I knew the area well until I asked Aya and Blair where they'd like to shoot their engagement photos and they suggested Panther Beach. It's a turn-off you'd easily miss if you weren't looking for it (and might miss even if you were). You park, cross railroad tracks, then hike down a steep hill single-file until the path lets out to a hidden stretch of beach you'd never find if you were just driving by.
Along with discovering this hidden treasure, photographing Aya and Blair was the perfect way to fall back in love with California. Even though it wasn't as warm as the rest of the world might believe California to be, they were fearless about everything from splashing in the cold Pacific to climbing tall sea rocks barefoot.
The very best part of this shoot, however, was seeing my freshmen dorm neighbor all smiles and just so happy to be with her love just days before their wedding. Congratulations, Aya and Blair!