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Time often stands still for hours in California, and then either something happens, or nothing. But as you cannot tell the days from each other, it doesn't matter much. As in photography, it's not the destination, it's the journey that matters.Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.


The Story Behind That Picture:
"California is a beautiful space in time"

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California

By: Thorsten Overgaard. July 15, 2023.

 

Today, a little photo essay from California, the imaginary faraway place that I often visit. I am not talking about California as a political statement, as in 'us and them' ... I am simply talking about the timeless space of always great weather, large spaces, and – if you can put your mind back to a time long ago – opportunities to build and create in a new country.



The beaches along California Highway 1 are more grand than anywhere else, but then the road takes a turn and you realize ... it is all exceptional grand. Leica M9 with 90mm Sumamrit-M f/2.5
.

 


Experiencing places through a camera is different than reading about it.

 

Driving through California, you can still find yourself feeling you are traveling through an area that hasn't been discovered and explored. It has the feel of the empty land, the Wild West, the coastal grass prairie. And of course, as you enter the cities, a different movie plays out where much of the architecture and culture seem founded in the 1890s and 1950s – and still in many ways seem to prefer to stay in that time rather than the present.

 


In California, you occasionally find gems of the past stowed away. You never know when the good times come back. A bit like the Germans who hope the Deutsche Mark returns soon. Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux f/0.95.


And then you can continue up north to Oregon and Washington State, which is equally breathtaking, while the temperature drops and makes you feel at home if you are used to North European weather. A bit more like the feel of brown leaves and snow as praised in the song, "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas and The Papas (1965).

 


Robert out and about in California during my workshop.


The weather of California, however, is exceptional and unbeatable. Though, I recently found the weather in the Balkan country Montenegro to be similar, and the landscape just as fresh, untouched, and beautiful (even with medieval cities and no tax) ... which I will return to in another photo essay soon.

 


Coasts are huge, the sound of and smell of the ocean mesmerizing. Leica M9 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0.

 


Disneyland California opened July 17, 1955 and in many ways has stayed the same. Leica M 240 with Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPHERICAL f/1.4.

 


Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux f/1.0.

 

The dream of sitting in a distant cottage in an unspecified location in California and writing a book ... Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux f/1.0.
The dream of sitting in a distant cottage in an unspecified location in California and writing a book ... Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux f/1.0.

 


Early morning at Lucia Lodge, a place to take a night's rest along California Highway 1 in a cottage. No cell reception or anything else to bother you. Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Summilux f/1.4.

 


Time often stands still for hours in California, and then either something happens, or nothing. But as you cannot tell the days from each other, it doesn't matter much. As in photography, it's not the destination, it's the journey that matters.

 


Leica M10-P with Leica 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4.

 


Like a painting of uncharted territory. Leica M9 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0.



There is also the possibility of not giving a damn and live far and away from it all. There is space enough. Leica M10 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron f/2.0.

 


The soft light filtered through the morning mist, the smell of the ocean, and finding a cozy diner for breakfast.

 


Leaving Los Angeles through Santa Monica, as in this picture, you are less than half an hour from entering the real rural California. Leica M10-P with Leica 50mm Summilux f/1.4.



Even in big cities like San Francisco, there are spaces where you can be alone with your best friend. Leica M10-P with Leica 50mm Summilux f/1.4.

 


Palo Alto. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Noctilux f/0.95.

 


Driving through California.

 

See you soon

I occasionally do workshops in California. Carmel-by-the-Sea, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Silicon Valley, and more. Go to my workshop page for dates, details and available spaces.

 

More to come

Bon voyage with it all. Sign up for the newsletter to stay in the know. As always, feel free to email me with suggestions, questions and ideas. And hope to see you in a workshop one day soon.

 

Thorsten Overgaard

 

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Above: Time often stands still for hours in California, and then either something happens, or nothing. But as you cannot tell the days from each other, it doesn't matter much. As in photography, it's not the destination, it's the journey that matters.Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0. © Thorsten Overgaard.

Thorsten Overgaard in Milano by Nicola Semprevivo.
Thorsten Overgaard in Milano by Nicola Semprevivo.

Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish-American multiple award-winning photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops to photographers. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via email.

You can follow Thorsten Overgaard at his television channel magicoflight.tv.

Feel free to email to thorsten@overgaard.dk for questions, advice and ideas.

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