Vacation is underway and this year I brought along a laptop pc and the camera my wife won at a party at work. Of course in addition to that we brought along a Tomtom (no link on borrowed electronics) that my brother-in-law has set to give voice directions as Mr. T. For instance, “Don’t give me no jibber jabber, make a right at the next stop and then get on the motorway. Mr T. Don’t get no tickets!” (that is a quote.) And an iPod, in addition to both of our cell phones… Se we’re not exactly leaving the world behind this year, but then I’m not sure if I could function without at least some of this stuff.

Vacation destination this year was the California coast. The wife looked up the locations of the missions that run along the coast on El Camino Real, and planned out a day trip to the Channel Islands. I have been merrily snapping pictures the entire time, not even remotely concerned about running out of memory on the camera means I am taking pictures of damn near everything.

Right now I am sitting in a hotel in Lompoc, CA. This is the first night that I have had access to WiFi, and I am taking full advantage of that by uploading hundreds of photos. I am taking care to only upload the reduced versions of them though (most of which I have reduced to 35%) because the full size ones are 2.2MB, and don’t really buzz through the airwaves on this gratis connection. But the resolution on them is amazing. Here is an example:

What you are looking at there is a cropped and resized version of this scene which isn’t exactly web friendly, if you know what I mean.

So until I get back home and have the time to wade through the picture and properly thumbnail them, etc, I am going to just throw a couple of them up. On these next ones just click on the image to see it in it’s browser bending beauty.

Here is the Mission Santa Barbara. This is the first one that we stopped by today.

While I am not a religious man, I have to admit that when you see these structures you have to at least be taken back a bit by the amount of time and effort the believers spend both building and maintaining these throughout the centuries. The buildings really are beautiful, and somehow manage to evoke the same reverence in everyone who walks through the doors. I only took photos inside the main temple of one of the missions that we visited today, and then only when it was expressed to me that it was okay to do so. Not that I think it would have been an affront to God to do so, but that I thought it would have been disrespectful to do so without permission. And I had no intention of seeking out someone to ask if it was okay.

This next one is from the outside of the same mission, in the graveyard.

That was (I think) one of the best photos that came from the missions today. It was actually very dark inside there and with the naked eye I could hardly tell what it was at all. In the photo you can clearly see that at least two people are interred there (one on either side). The stained glass in the center is gorgeous, but to look at it from the outside it actually looked like it was paint. This photo was snapped between the bars of a locked gate in the cemetery -a place that I am relatively sure I wasn’t supposed to be taking a photo. Of course if you were to ask me why I thought it was okay to take this picture while I didn’t think it was okay to take them inside the church I would stare at you like Paris Hilton would if you asked her a math question.

We also took the time to stop at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. While I have never been to this specific museum, I am pretty damn sure they make these things with a cookie cutter and throw them up every 200 miles or so. It looks just like the one I remember visiting in Oregon and in Arizona. Right down to the planetarium and the fossils. One interesting thing they did have though was the butterflies.

If you are going to look at the full size versions of any of the pictures I posted, make it that one. I wasn’t sure that the camera was going to be able to capture the colors and contrasts of the butterflies, but boy was I ever wrong. This looks like the photo you would see on the outside of the box the camera comes in; the one that you can never take no matter how perfect the lighting. The thing is I managed to take about a dozen photos of different butterflies that all look this good. The ones that don’t look good are because the damn butterflies refuse to sit still for the pictures. Bastards!

Anyway, once I have a real broadband connection again I will finish uploading some photos from vacation, and there may even be a couple worth looking at.

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