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Thread: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

  1. #1

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    Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    We're visiting family in Berkeley at Christmas, but we grandparents plan to get away for a week beginning the weekend after Christmas. In other words, in the rainy season, so the climate data say.

    We are looking for ideas for the get-away. We'd prefer warm to cold, sun to rain. Good walks every day are a primary consideration because the cold wind does blow in winter on our street here in MI, and it can be too much for a healthy walk.

    Does that mean chance the ocean instead of the Sierra? But if long rains are highly likely--near certainty--on the coast, we'd opt for inland. So, ideas? Pacific Grove/Monterey/Carmel? South coast/Big Sur? North coast? Flee to Wawona? Or just outside the park, somewhere else? Or--?

    Did I mention that we don't have a money tree here? That's a consideration, at least until the house is paid for!

    Yes, I'm taking the camera--Wisner 4x5, two lenses, beaucoup holders, etc., in an Osprey Sojourner bag--wheel it/backpack it.

    Thanks for helping us out.
    Peter Collins

    On the intent of the First Amendment: The press was to serve the governed, not the governors --Opinion, Hugo Black, Judge, Supreme Court, 1971 re the "Pentagon Papers."

  2. #2

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    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    If your up for the addition to your trip the valley of the sun (Phoenix) here in southern Arizona is a nice place to be in the winter.

    Donald Miller

  3. #3
    http://www.spiritsofsilver.com tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    [QUOTE=Peter Collins;523753]

    Does that mean chance the ocean instead of the Sierra? But if long rains are highly likely--near certainty--on the coast, we'd opt for inland. So, ideas? Pacific Grove/Monterey/Carmel? South coast/Big Sur? North coast? Flee to Wawona? Or just outside the park, somewhere else? Or--?
    QUOTE]

    Or...Death Valley! January should be a good time for it: Nice skies with character but no rain - you'll be blest if it did rain! Nights will be cool and days will be mild. About an 8 hour or so drive from the bay area. Tip: Take the backroads and some infrared film on the drive down and back.

  4. #4
    8x20 8x10 John Jarosz's Avatar
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    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    I'll second the idea of Death valley. It will be cool enough to spend some time in the spots that will cook you to death any other time of the year. And it won't rain.

    John

  5. #5
    Scott Davis
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    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    If you drive down the central valley from San Jose through Gilroy and beyond, there will be plenty of warmer, milder climate. Pinnacles National Monument is worth a visit, which will give you plenty of hiking on well-developed trails. You can hit Pinnacles on your way to Death Valley, and pass through some interesting landscapes along the way. If you want warmer and sunnier, stay away from the coast until you get a fair bit further south, although Santa Cruz is always a pleasant visit any time of the year.

  6. #6

    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    There's alway Muir Woods in Marin County.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    Sometimes it can be mild around here in Jan, sometimes quite wet. Hard to predict.
    Just bring a raincoat and good hiking shoes. I personally love photography in the redwoods on rainy days; if it starts raining hard, you can just set up under one of the
    larger tree and remain dry. They're like a big umbrella!
    If you go inland just realize that the tule fog in the central valley can be very tedious and dangerous to drive through at night or morning hours. Death Valley is a long drive
    away. Pt Reyes and the Golden Gate area of Marin can be lovely in Jan since there's
    less wind at the beach than most of the year, unless of course, there's an active storm. I wouldn't personally go into Muir Woods unless it's the very coldest,wettest
    day of the year. It can get very crowded. Plenty of other places nearby without all
    the tour bus activity.

  8. #8
    Drew Saunders drew.saunders's Avatar
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    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    A lot of replies are forgetting one thing: the nastiest January day in the SF Bay area is going to be warmer than the nicest January day in Ann Arbor. See, there's this "snow" stuff that much of the rest of the country can get even at sea level during a season that they call "winter." I think it's what happens when rain gets real cold, or so I've been told.

    Yes, there's a good chance of rain on any given day, but we don't often get the torrential downpours that the affordable parts of the country see. The rain tends to come from north to south, so a rainy day in Marin or Napa might be dry and pleasant in Santa Clara or Monterey counties. A rainy day is more likely to be a few hours of light to medium drizzle.

    Here's an idea: A driving tour of some of the California missions. Most aren't on the water, and many are quite photogenic: http://www.missionscalifornia.com/missions_map.html

    Drew
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/drew_saunders/

  9. #9
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    The north coast, ie north of San Francisco, is quite nice in winter, in between storms that is. It is actually my favorite time of year to photograph on the coast. Just depends on the weather patterns. In between storms it can be mild and sunny. If storms are coming in, then it can be 2-3 days (or more) of heavy rain and wind.

    Jon
    my black and white photos of the Mendocino Coast: www.jonshiu.zenfolio.com

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Need Suggestions: Early January, SF Bay Area

    Everything in this part of the world is about microclimates. If things are too wet at the
    coast, driving half an hour the other direction might prove to be a T-shirt day in Jan.
    Some nice spots slightly inland from Berkeley include Mt Diablo and Sunol Regional Park
    (great rocks!). A more ambitious drive down to Monterey, Pt Lobos or Pinnacles is
    about 1-1/2 hr. Pinnacles can be very cold in Jan, or very nice, depending (actually
    best when icicles are on the rocks! Like the Sierra, you can be shivering in the shade,
    but then be back to a T-shirt in the sun! I work in Berkeley and might or might not be
    around that week, but if you want you could try messaging me for local tips. Last year
    it took the 8x10 repeatedly down to Sunol in Jan; but it's also a wonderful time for
    wildlife viewing and general photog at Pt Reyes.

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