Whitney is a mom living in Boston, Massachusetts. She's been photographing babies and families since 2012.

Boston Newborn Photographer – California

All photos from this post can be purchased as prints here! 

I promised to share more of my travels, and here we are. I recently went to California for about a week. My sister moved out to Oakland a year ago, so she met me at the airport in San Fran, and we headed out to Yosemite for a few nights. With our typical luck, her rear passenger window blew out on our way, making for an annoying interesting drive. Luckily we were in CALIFORNIA, so I didn’t mind the fresh air. Mind you, this was after months of blizzards in Boston, so just seeing green grass made me the happiest person on the west coast.

We stayed in a crappy little motel right outside of the park. It wasn’t much but it was cheap and close! The next morning we drove into the park and immediately were hit with amazing views.


We decided to hike to the top of Nevada Falls, which is a 5.4 mile round trip strenuous hike with an elevation gain of 2000 feet. Somehow I missed the “strenuous” when I planned my sister’s first hike ever, but she powered through and we got some AMAZING views from the top. I’m a photographer, but photos do no justice of this landscape.

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I later realized that since Glacier Point and Half Dome were closed for the winter, this was the most difficult hike open at Yosemite. Killed it 🙂

After our hike, we headed to the Ahwahnee restaurant at the lodge. I had read that this was the best restaurant in Yosemite and got us a reservation. Problem was we just hiked for 6 hours, hadn’t showered, and probably looked like crazy people in this very fancy lodge. We were politely told that we weren’t exactly up to dress code, so we settled for eating at the bar next door. Fair enough.

The next morning we headed out of Yosemite Valley and down to Mariposa Grove to see the giant sequoias. We stopped at the infamous Tunnel View on our way down the scenic drive down to the grove.


Once again, photos do not do justice. Here is a shot of the giant sequoias, but you really need to see them in person to understand the magnitude of these trees. I can’t wait to visit Sequoia National Park some day to see them again. Interestingly, I learned that the Giant Sequoias at Mariposa Grove are not the tallest or the widest, but the largest trees by volume in the US.


After our visit to Mariposa Grove, we headed to Pacific Grove, a quiet beach town on the Monterey Peninsula, where our parents rented a house for the month. Luckily since we were hiking and hanging out with my parents, being on East Coast time worked out well for me. I was able to go to bed early every night and wake up early every morning to start the day. The next morning, I took full advantage–woke up at 5am to take some photos at sunrise.

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All photos from this post can be purchased as prints here! 

The next few days we spent time around Big Sur, eating, drinking coffee, sitting on the beach, exploring and taking in the view. The coast was my favorite, of course.

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And on the last night in Pacific Grove, I got my favorite photo. The only night I actually went out to photograph the stars. It wasn’t the milky way, it wasn’t even a ton of stars, but it was beautiful, and right across the street, on the beach. That light you see is not the sun rising or setting, its light pollution from the town off in the distance. Still, a lovely way to finish the trip. Thanks for reading!

All photos from this post can be purchased as prints here! 



Whitney O'Brien

photographer, new mom, puppy lover, coffee addict

Follow Whitney on Instagram @whitneyobrienphotography