#SLO by Karen Grubb in San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Karen Grubb offers a glimpse of what its like to live and adventure like a local of the Central California Coast. Her photos will make you wonder what you been doing living in your city for so long. Her feed offers just a hint of all the natural beauty within a stones-throw of San Luis Obispo, California. Keep up with Karen’s adventures here: @mrsgrubby.

Name:Karen Grubb

Place you live: San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Place your Instagrams were taken: Around San Luis Obispo County (Montana de Oro, Carizzo Plain, Terrace Hill, Edna Valley, Morro Bay, Madonna Mountain, Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo)

Can you sum up San Luis Obispo? “The Happiest City in America”, or at least that’s what National Geographic and Oprah Winfrey call it. San Luis Obispo really is a great little city and the general population truly is pretty happy. How could you not be happy living in such a beautiful area? The weather is pretty moderate year round. Most people here are active with hiking, biking, surfing and other outdoor activities. It’s a very friendly city with a pretty laid back atmosphere and plenty to do.

If your city was a person or character who would it be? Wooderson from “Dazed and Confused” (Matthew McConaughey). He’s fun, laid back, friendly to everyone, non-judgmental, good looking, appreciates life, and just wants to have a good time. That’s the SLO-life in a nutshell.

How long have you been using Instagram? I started using Instagram around spring of 2011 but didn’t really get into the social networking aspect of it until November that same year.

What phone camera do you use to shoot with? iPhone 5s.

What is your editing process? I try not to spend too much time editing my photos. I normally just adjust brightness/contract and bring up the details a little in Snapseed. I’m starting to use VSCO a little more these days, experimenting with their adjustable presets.

Do you create images outside of Instagram? Yes, but they just collect dust on my computer.

Has Instagram/phoneography affected how you shoot? Definitely. The use of a smartphone to shoot has allowed for more photo opportunities than before, in places where I just couldn’t be bothered to lug around a DSLR while hiking. I spend a lot of time traveling and exploring outdoors and I always have my iPhone with me. Instagram allows you to easily shoot and share, so I am inspired to shoot more than I ever did before in order to share the beautiful places I visit with others. I think I have developed more of my own personal style as a result of using the app and I’ve found a lot of inspiration through following others on Instagram.

Can you give a couple tips to aspiring Instagram photographers? Instagram used to have a blog feature called “How I Shoot”. I wish they’d bring that back, but essentially it’s tips from others on their shooting/editing process. Those posts are probably a little outdated now, but a good place to start for inspiration. Those new to the app should find/follow other like-minded users that inspire them and don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their process. Experiment when shooting, find what works. Look for different angles. Get down low to the ground, climb on top of something or hold your camera over your head. If you take a shot, find another angle to shoot the same scene. And just go shoot, shoot, shoot. The more you shoot, the more you will learn what you like and develop your own style.

Who are your three favorite Instagrammers? @skyelit @tonycross @selk @artchang @petehalvorsen @chrisburkard. Oops, that’s more than three. I could keep going, I have so many favorites for different reasons it’s hard to pick just a few.




Name:Karen Grubb

City:San Luis Obispo

Best place to eat:

Depending on what type of food you’re looking for, my favorites are: High Street Deli (sandwiches), Kreuzberg Cafe (brunch), Shalimar (Indian), Buona Tavola (Italian), Pepe del Gatos (Mexican), McClintocks (BBQ).

Best place to drink:

Granada Bistro and Wolff Vineyards

Best place to shop:

Higuera Street downtown

Must do:

Hike Bishop’s Peak or Madonna Mountain, drive out to Montana de Oro and walk Point Buchon Trail, go wine tasting in the Edna Valley, visit Avila Valley Barn and, of course, the bathrooms at the famous Madonna Inn.

Local tip:

There is a great Farmers Market every Thursday night in downtown SLO. Lots of fresh produce, food booths, and live music. Also, the tri-tip sandwiches at Firestone are a local favorite.