Santa Barbara was one of the destinations I investigated while visiting southern California. I had made the trip from Bangkok to Los Angeles after spending a consistent 3.5 years living in South East Asia, most of that time spent in Thailand. I was experiencing a stunning amount of culture shock during my time in California. Thankfully, I was visiting my brother who was an incredible host despite the fact I was a complete freak. The photos in this series, among others shot while in California, reflect my state at the time. I photographed what to me was incredibly different and what I felt was mellow and balanced. I completed the photos in this particular series in Photoshop, applying a haze reflective of the mental lense I was experiencing the world through.
At the time, the Santa Barbara coast was frigid to me. I was bundled up in layers while others sat on the beach in swimsuits. The sailboats in this series felt exotic and the empty beaches, rich. The beaches I had visited in Thailand were often packed with foreigners; the ones in Pattaya were so tightly stacked with tourists and the occasional bar girl for hire that there was absolutely no sense of privacy. We were all within arms length of one another it seemed and spending time on the beaches of Pattaya was rarely free. Most people pay a fee to rest on the beach; some are given free admission if they know the workers or have other arrangements. Spending time on a cold, empty Santa Barbara beach without having to pay in any respect was both strange and pleasant.
Context: Santa Barbara, California is a coastal city of approximately 91,000 people at time of writing. It’s situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. The popular tourist attraction is often referred to as the American Riviera due to its temperate climate and abundance of resorts.
How To Drive To Santa Barbara, California
Travel Highway 101 (aka the Pacific Coast Highway and Highway 1). Highway 101 passes right through Santa Barbara with incredible views along the way.