For the sake of full disclosure: I’m publishing this post long after our honeymoon, which pre-dated our business by a few months and this blog by a number of years. But when I created a website for tracking our travels, I opted to also blog our older trips that hadn’t been included here previously.
And this one seemed especially important to feature not only because it was our first trip as husband and wife (as well as our first big trip together, period) but also because it in a sense marked the beginning of our professional photography. We’d purchased our first Canon DSLR a month prior specifically because we wanted great honeymoon photos — not realizing at the time that that camera would be our first step toward photography becoming a much bigger part of our lives!
When I jumped into it as a side hustle in January 2011, some favorites of these honeymoon shots were the first I featured on my first website — well before I had much in the way of client photos to share. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it actually seems very sweet to me looking back that this celebration of our newlywed life was also the start of so much else for us.
And what better place to launch hopes and dreams than Hollywood! Scroll to see more of our very first adventure:
day 1 • 10.12.10
Hollywood Boulevard & Hollywood Hills
Two days after our wedding, we boarded a plane for our first flight together and landed a few hours later in Los Angeles!
Above: We made sure our first stop after the airport was a quintessentially California one … as well as one where we could get a much needed late lunch.
Afterward, we made our way to our hotel on Hollywood Boulevard:
… And then got ready to head out and explore on foot!
The Hollywood Walk of Fame honors achievements in the entertainment industry and features almost 2,700 sidewalk-embedded stars along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street.
Also near the famous Hollywood and Vine intersection is Capitol Records (above right). It was designed to resemble a stack of records and was the world’s first circular office building when it was completed in April 1956.
We have no shame in doing touristy things, so a bus tour was at the top of our itinerary.
Above: The Las Palmas Hotel, with the balcony where the final scene of “Pretty Woman” was filmed.
Of course, we also saw the famous Hollywood sign. At the time of its installation in 1923, it read “Hollywoodland” and was an advertisement for a new housing development. It was originally intended to stand for only 18 months but underwent restoration in 1949 — with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the City of Los Angeles Parks Department opting to remove the “-land” in order to reflect the entire district rather than the one specific housing development.
Seeing an iconic landmark at golden hour — not a bad way to begin a honeymoon!
Another sight we saw was Hollywood United Methodist Church (above), which has frequently been used as a filming location and is featured in movies like “Back to the Future” and “Sister Act.”
The latter part of our tour took us past stars’ homes in Beverly Hills. One downside of seeing the Hollywood sign at golden hour is that we were viewing a lot of the later locations after the sun had set — which didn’t make for great photos from a moving vehicle! But it was still fun (even if not very successfully documented).
And afterward, on the walk along Hollywood Boulevard back to our hotel, we came across a very fitting star for our new status:
day 2 • 10.13.10
Universal Studios Hollywood & Griffith Observatory
Universal Studios Hollywood is both a film studio and theme park, and it holds the distinctions of being one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood film studios still in use, as well as the first of many Universal Studios theme parks around the world.
When it first opened to tourists in the early 1900s, Universal Studios’ draw was the tour it offered of its sets — which was discontinued for a while around 1930, due to stages not being sufficiently soundproofed as sound films were getting their start. Fortunately for us, the backlot tour had long since resumed, and we thought it was one of the best parts of our Universal Studios experience.
We worked hard to get the above shot with our shadows positioned just so on the sign (while using a nearby object as a makeshift tripod … with crowds passing by the entire time). Clearly we were committed photographers even then!
Don’t ask me how I’d made it 26 (almost 27) years without eating sweet potato fries, but the ones I had during our dinner at Universal Studios (above) were my first ever … And definitely not my last!
After dinner, we went to Griffith Observatory. Funds for building the observatory and the land surrounding it were donated to the City of Los Angeles in 1896 by industrialist and philanthropist Griffith J. Griffith, who wanted to make astronomy accessible to the public and stipulated in his will that admission be free.
The inside exhibits (above) were really interesting, but our favorite part of our visit was probably the city view outside (even with all the smog!):
If you look closely at the photo above, you can see the W at the top of our hotel, the W Hollywood (about a third of the way from the left side of the image). And once back down on Hollywood Boulevard, we took a couple more nighttime shots before calling it a night:
day 3 • 10.14.10
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre & Huntington City Beach
Our last day in Hollywood, we took one more walk down Hollywood Boulevard on our way to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now TCL Chinese Theatre) opened in 1927 and has been the site of many movie premieres. It’s also known for the almost 200 celebrity handprints, footprints and autographs embedded in the concrete of its forecourt.
On our way out of Los Angeles, we did a quick drive down Rodeo Drive — then were off to San Diego. (Although we may have missed a single turn not far from here that resulted in us sitting in traffic for an hour … And reminded us that living in a less populated part of the country does have its perks!)
Also on our way to San Diego, we stopped in Huntington Beach to have our first shared ocean visit:
Huntington City Beach stretches along a portion of the Pacific Coast Highway and is known for its picturesque Huntington Beach Pier (below). And speaking of picturesque, the shot of Seth at above left was the main image on the homepage of my original website. Although it’s long since been retired from marketing duties, I do still love it!
day 4 • 10.15.10
SeaWorld San Diego & Shelter Island
First up for us in San Diego: SeaWorld!
An 8×10 print of the above shot greets anyone who steps into our entryway … because whose day isn’t brightened by a flamingo stare?
SeaWorld no longer offers entertainment-driven shows like the one shown here, and it’s good to know the people there are prioritizing the ethical treatment and wellbeing of their animals. But it really was incredible seeing what orcas can do … and the dolphins were impressive too!
Above: The San Diego Bay area looking so pretty near sunset. We also took some photos that night on Shelter Island, where we were staying at Humphreys Half Moon Inn:
day 5 • 10.16.10
San Diego Zoo
No inaugural trip to San Diego would have been complete for us without a trip to the famous San Diego Zoo, and it didn’t disappoint!
Our first time seeing pandas in person! The zoo doesn’t currently have pandas — after sending its last two to China — but it spent 20 years helping save the species from the endangered list.
Above: Views of Balboa Park and downtown San Diego from the Skyfari Aerial Tram.
day 6 • 10.17.10
Cabrillo National Monument / Point Loma, Coronado Island & Laguna Beach, CA
Our last day in San Diego, we visited the rugged peninsula of Point Loma, which is home to Cabrillo National Monument. The monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo — the first European to explore present-day California — at San Diego Bay in 1542.
Also at Point Loma is Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (above right).
One last memory from when my business was a baby: The photo above was what I used on my first business card. Maybe not the most professional headshot, but I liked it!
Last up for us in San Diego was crossing the San Diego-Coronado Bridge to Coronado Island. Coronado is a resort city across the bay from downtown San Diego and is home to Hotel del Coronado (below), a National Historic Landmark considered to be one of the world’s top resorts.
On our way back to Los Angeles for our flight home the next day, we stopped in Laguna Beach for one last little bit of time at the ocean.
And then we were back where we’d started, at the end of a first week of marriage we’ll always remember!
I'm a print-journalist-turned-wedding-photographer who fully believes in the value of telling true stories beautifully. By means of a camera, I am a curator so my clients can be keepers of their most important moments.
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