The Grotto

By Nathan

Last Sunday we decided to take a break from wedding planning and homework and head to a well known LA hike, The Grotto.  We had the usual LA traffic which delayed us from arriving until 3:00 but since it was a short hike we knew we could finish before sunset.  It was a little cold, windy, and the fog started to roll in as we started down the trail to the Grotto.


Not only did Katharine want to check it off her “hikes to do list” but we are also scouting for a site to take our engagement photos.  We liked the open grasses at the start of the hike where we could set-up a mock camp.


Soon we headed into a wooded area where we found a nice branch that was fun for photos.  Katharine climbed up the branch and then I set-up my tripod and set the 10 second timer.  The plan was to run 20 feet, jump, grab the branch, swing my body up and sit next to Katharine all in 10 seconds.  Well…I gave it my best shot.


As you can see from the photo I only made it to step 2 so I resorted to taking photos of Katharine alone.


The conditions weren’t the best for photography that day because of the late afternoon light and thick fog but I think with the right lighting it could look pretty cute for engagement photos.

After crossing the stream by jumping rock to rock we reached the Grotto.

The Grotto is an interesting location where the stream drops below some of the rocks creating waterfalls below the surface.  The small caves give an adventurous feel to the hike.


In some places I could see through a hole in the rocks showing Katharine exploring the caves below.  If I had a wider lens or full frame camera I think I could capture the scene pretty nicely.  I am not sure what the photo would look like though, maybe too much like were trapped in a dark pit.

I also found my favorite plant, poison oak,  lining the trail which always gives me phantom itching.  After a major episode requiring two steroid shots I can’t stress enough to stay on the trail and wear long pants.


When the fog rolled in knocking out the grand vistas I turned to macro shots of the rocks around me.

Canon 40D, 50 mm, f/1.8, 1/160, ISO 250

Different types of lichen gave the gray rocks some much needed color during our dark and cloudy hike.  We turned back as it started to get dark and drizzle, but we hope to return on a warmer day to explore the complete Grotto. Now that we’ve switched to daylight savings time, there’s extra time for hiking!

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