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Hearst State Historic Park, San Simeon, CA

This has to be the worst weather we have encountered since we left Jackson Center, OH in early October. Gusty strong winds, frequent rain, 50s -- a real blustery damp day, not the sort of weather one associates with coastal southern California.

But they do get weather here, and there wasn't much to do about it but go ahead and investigate Hearst Castle as planned. The conditions made a challenging photographic subject even more difficult. They don't allow any sort of flash photography inside the buildings, and all the rooms are dimly lit to preserve the art inside. I had to crank the camera's ISO up to 1600 to get anything at all, and most of the photos were hopeless. I even got a reprimand from the tour guide for the Nikon's "AF assist" light, which briefly illuminates the subject to help the autofocus system, so that feature got shut off, too.

Hearst Neptune pool.jpg

Outside, the same prohibition on flashes seems to apply (although you would think the marble statues wouldn't care if they can take the direct sunlight), and the whipping wind, rain, and fog pretty much wiped out all photo opportunities. The photo above is of the heated outdoor "Neptune pool" which was rebuilt twice as Hearst enlarged it. Believe it or not, this is the best shot I got all day.

Emma survived the 1 hr, 45 minute house tour fairly well, but with that length (and at $20 per adult) we decided one was enough for our family. We had an expensive set of hamburgers made from former 4-legged residents of the Hearst ranch ($25 with drinks and fries), saw the movie, toured the exhibits, and fled. I suspect it's a nicer trip on a sunny day, but today the lack of central heating in much of the Visitor's Center and the house itself was painfully apparent. It felt like visiting the dungeons of some European castle.

The sea is stormy, exciting, and worth watching today, but now that dark has fallen we are thinking about where we will head next. Forecasts claim we will have better weather tomorrow.


Too bad your experience was poor. We had a great time at the Castle this summer (still - it was in the 70's). Our Cannon A510 made the shots work well. Even our kids had fun - ages 6,10, and 15. For food, I cooked in the Argosy - no need to pay for food with a trailer around!
Happy Holidays!

My friend Andy suggests that while Mr Hearst engaged in what they call "yellow journalism", I am engaged in aluminum journalism! I like that.

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