Cali Trip Diary: Balboa Park and Filoli Garden

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We stopped by Balboa Park in the morning on the day we decided to head back to San Jose. It's a place that a few friends have recommended. And wow, was it spectacular! I wish we had more time to walk around because there are so many museums there and that we had gone there instead of the historic Gaslamp Quarters. Although tbh, we went to Gaslamp on a Monday night, so it was pretty dead. Otherwise my friend told me that it gets crazy on weekend nights with the nightlife!

Beautiful architecture

The San Diego Botanical Garden in Balboa Park, the most photographed place in San Diego (according to the park itself).

The lighting was beautiful inside, so I couldn't stop myself from a little photoshoot! Jon is slowly but surely learning the ways about DSLRs and composition.

bye bye SoCal! :(

Another place we visited was Filoli Garden, part of the historic Filoli estate 30 miles south of San Francisco. For those on the other side of the States, you can think of Filoli as the East Coast equivalent to the grand Biltmore Estate.

I highly recommend going off the big roads and heading to Filoli. It's a lovely place to spend a quiet afternoon. Those who are currently college student, remember to bring your student ID! You save $10 on admission!

As a photographer who loves flowers and macro photography, and as a girl who loves aesthetics in general, these two gardens were a thrill to visit! There were so many varieties of orchids in Balboa Park and the countless types of roses grown at Filoli Garden were in full bloom. Juliet roses are my favorite, but I'm not sure if I did see any. The first pink flower photo in the Filoli Garden section of this post looks awfully like one though! Flowers are the most widely photographed subject by both amateurs and professionals, so I am constantly challenged with thinking of new ways to present the beauty of something, always trying out something new. But it's so satisfying when the photo comes out the way I like.

A tip for those with 50mm lens - try shooting flowers using free lensing and reverse-lens macro technique! You can read about them in my post here. Both help create a unique shot and helps with the macro zoom length that the lens normally lacks. The latter is an extreme close up though, but it's perfect for shooting the tiny flowers. Biggest drawback, however, is that focus is all manually adjusted. Obviously it's time that I invest in a macro lens!

Overall, this trip was a blast. As a girl who has lived on the East Coast her whole life and has only gone as far west as Tennessee and Kentucky, this was definitely a great experience for me. In-and-Out burgers are definitely good, but if you want amazing burgers, get a Mos Burger rice burger. In-and-Out fries are the best I've had though! Mexican food in San Diego...omg amazing!! We drove down to Tacos El Gordo, 10 minutes away from the border, just for some real Mexican tacos. Tacos were only $2, tax included! The real deal isn't like the Americanized version. The real deal is so much better. I highly recommend it, as long as you don't feel afraid of driving so close to Mexico!

Catch up on my trip
Monterey Bay Aquarium | San Francisco | Los Angeles | Disneyland and Universal Studios | San Diego | Balboa Park and Filoli Garden

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