#Untouched by Pia in Sea Ranch, California

We love @palila’s sweeping landscapes of Sea Ranch, CA. Her shots of the area’s bluffs and sea make us want to pack our bags and move there. Like, now. Follow the fun at @palila.


Place you live? I live on the north coast in Sea Ranch, California

Place your Instagrams were taken? A large majority of my photos are taken right here in Sea Ranch. If not specifically in Sea Ranch, then also locally in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

Can you sum up Sea Ranch? Sea Ranch is unique and breathtaking. It borders roughly 16 miles of the Sonoma and Mendocino county coastlines.  It’s very rural and untouched, in a sense you feel like you’re traveling back in time. An article about Sea Ranch in the New York Times titled ‘Utopia by the Sea’ likened it to the well-known Big Sur. I agree. 🙂

What is a perfect day in Sea Ranch? Fog is always perfect for photos, it’s nature’s filter. But when the sun breaks through the fog, that’s my idea of perfect.

If Sea Ranch was a person who would it be? If my city were a character it would probably be Robert De Niro. It appears powerful, aloof and out of this world, but as you get closer, it draws you in with its humble nature.

How long have you been using Instagram? I’ve been on Instagram for more than two years.

Do you shoot mobile or with traditional cameras? I mostly shoot with my iPhone but at times I break out one of my SLRs or DSLRs depending on what I’m in the mood for. I am a mom to two toddlers so the iPhone generally wins out because of the time factor and its convenience. I have a tripod for my iPhone, which I love to use as well.

What is your editing process? The VSCO app is my go-to for editing. I love Snapseed and Afterlight for the first stage of processing, then I’ll move into VSCO. I love the editing process so sometimes I’ll also go into either Image Blender, Mextures or Faded.

Do you take photos outside Instagram? I create images outside of IG as well. I do freelance photography on the side and also create just to create. It’s an outlet for me and I absolutely love it, but honestly I don’t share probably 70% of those. I have a Tumblr account that I mostly post on for fun. Some of those are my SLR and DSLR shots, but I’ll randomly post iPhone shots there too.

Has Instagram and mobile photography changed the way you shoot? Instagram and phonography have definitely altered the way I shoot. There’s a cornucopia of talent on IG and it’s hard not to get inspired by so many thoughtful images. I realize that Instagram started with the premise of simply sharing your perspective. The way that has been interpreted provides somewhat of a creative ‘home’ for everyone. Some will share just things they love, what they’re doing, the fun they’re having, their sushi dinner or their outfit of the day. While others choose to share a story from their eyes; intimate parts of their lives, milestones, their home, their family. To each his own. That, I love. For me it started on the more personal side and sharing the local beauty and my adventures. It was/is an outlet for me for the changes in my life. But the more it grew the more timid I became, to be honest. I am the sole caregiver to my beautiful children and realized I had to make smarter choices about how personal I got if I was to remain public. I also provide for my family partly by means of my photography, which necessitates staying public. So I now shoot to create, to learn, to document, explore and inspire. And with everything I do there remains the constant thread of being a great example to my children.

Can you give some tips to aspiring photographers? First, just to stay true to you. “Be who you are, everyone else is already taken.” Also the like-minded always find one another, so when you hit a rut or a wall just remember that slow progress is better than no progress. And it’s very true, the more you shoot the better you become. Experiment with light, whether inside or out, and create, create, create. An important part of creating is knowing when to edit and when to keep it simple. But most importantly, just have fun!

Who are your three favorite Instagrammers? My three favorite Instagrammers are @saysthefox@sanghan_ and @aperfectpoem33. Each of their individual talents are unique, inspiring and simply speak my language.



Want more Instagram tips and inspiration? Check out all of our Best of Instagram features and learn from the masters.

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City:Sea Ranch, California

Best place to eat?

The Sea Ranch Lodge, Trinks, or St.Orres

Best place to drink?

Two Fish for coffee.

Best outdoor activities?

Exploring, hiking, surfing and kayaking.

Local tip?

Go to Stump Beach, Black Point Beach, Sea Ranch Bluffs, Stornetta Bluffs in Pt. Arena, Gualala Point, Bowling Ball beach or Lighthouse in Pt. Arena. Also go hiking through the redwoods along the Gualala River. Check out the Gualala Arts Center.