Santa Cruz and Capitola

A day trip captured on CineStill 50

Note: This post was originally published on January 9, 2016 on Exposure. It can be found at

We Took a Day Trip

Me and a couple of my buddies piled into our Jeep early in the morning on August 14th to embark on our most ambitious photo adventure yet: a day trip from Nevada City to Santa Cruz and Capitola (a near four-hour drive each way) and back again. We made pretty good time getting down there once we got on the road (despite a couple hiccups in the morning, like sleeping in past the alarm) and spent the whole day exploring Santa Cruz and the surrounding area. This is a look back at our trip as captured on CineStill 50 film.

CineStill 50 1
The Giant Dipper

The Boardwalk

After a picnic lunch at Natural Bridges and a cruise along the coast, we stopped for a while at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

I didn’t ride any rides, but two out of the four of us rode The Giant Dipper. Then we walked along the beach.

When we walked to the end of the beach, we ended up at the pier.

The Pier

We started off by checking out how it looked from underneath. I guess it’s a popular spot for photos, because there was a family there taking portraits underneath it, too.

Close up of underneath the pier
Close up of underneath the pier

We walked along it all the way until the end; from the edge you could get a really great view of the entire Boardwalk.

Then, we piled back into the car and took off for our next stop: a small beach town just a little ways away called Capitola.

The pier at Capitola
The pier at Capitola


We parked (after hunting for a spot for a little – it was kinda busy) and walked along the tracks to get down to the beach. There was a surfing class or something going on while we were there, so we stayed and watched for a little while.

We walked around downtown for a little bit and did a little more exploring, but we were going to start losing daylight in an hour or two and we still had one more place that we wanted to check out. So back into the car it was and we set out for our last stop.

Rio Del Mar State Beach, looking right
Rio Del Mar State Beach, looking right

Rio del Mar State Beach

Our last stop was at Rio Del Mar State Beach, just a little bit farther south than Capitola. We hung out there for a while – it was actually pretty clean and the waves were really fun to walk through.

Then it was back in the car to go to Santa Cruz for dinner (Thai food, which seems to be our default photo adventure cuisine.) And then the near-four hour car ride back home to finish out the day.

Revisiting French Corral

My dad and I yesterday revisited French Corral, California to get some more photos and explore the area for other mining remnants. I mainly wanted a full shot of the Wells Fargo & Co. building, which I find really awesome looking, but I also wanted to see if we could find the old schoolhouse in French Corral, which I initially read about here during my research session. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find the schoolhouse (or if we had, we weren’t aware of it,) though at least we made off with a couple good photos.

We were also walking around and stumbled upon a monument commemorating the world’s first long distance telephone:

The text on it reads, “Commemorating the first long distance telephone in the world. Built in 1877, by the Ridge Telephone Co, it connected French Corral with French Lake 58 miles away. It was operated by the Milton Mining Co from this building which was built about 1855. Marker placed and dedicated by Columbia Parlor No 70 Native Daughters of the Golden West. May 19, 1940.”

I don’t know what it is about French Corral, but I am going to have to do some more research into it. There might possibly be some records in a local library, mentions of it in historic newspapers or documents, etc. There doesn’t appear to be a ton of information about French Corral (not to mention smaller mining towns, which I’d also like to take a look at) on the internet, so it may be time for me to do some digging locally. I feel like there’s something about French Corral that I may be missing. More on this to come.

French Corral, California

I find mining towns fascinating.

Why? For a number of reasons, but mainly due to the fact that I live near many of them. They also are very photogenic (if that term can be used for buildings) and make interesting subjects. Maybe it’s the feeling of being in a place where its history is so evident, so real. Maybe it’s because we were taught so much about them during our California History classes in school. Maybe it’s just because they’re different from what we see on a daily basis. French Corral is one of the many mining towns nearby, which I decided to share some photographs of on my blog.

My Dad and I were at Bridgeport today for a picture-taking and video-ing trip, since my Dad is making a series of spec spots and wanted to get some shots on a windy road with our Jeep. On the way there, I saw I sign for French Corral, just a couple miles past Bridgeport, so we decided to check it out as I hadn’t heard of it before. As it turns out, there isn’t much nowadays to the little town of French Corral, but it does have an awesomely photogenic building, adorned with a sign stating “Wells Fargo and Co. Express” and the town’s founding date and elevation. A quick Google search for French Corral brought up a bit of information about it, namely that it was one of the many boomtowns that were set up during the California Gold Rush that now has a tiny population still residing in it, the town largely unheard of.

I didn’t get a full look at French Corral, as we only stopped at the Wells Fargo and Co. building before turning around and heading back towards Bridgeport, but I’m definitely going to have to head back and take a closer look around. In any event, I got some decent images from the outing, so check them out.

For more information about French Corral (and the sources of the information I included in this post) can be found at,_California, and