Over a recent six-day trip, adventure photographer Tiffany Nguyen explored the beaches of San Luis Obispo County before heading to the snowy mountains of Mammoth Lakes. In addition to posting photos on her Instagram feed (@tiffpenguin) and website, Nguyen shared highlights with us about the most memorable parts of her trip.

@tiffpenguin

1. What was the top highlight of your California trip?
This is a tough one, but I’d have to say being able to spend the morning laying out on Pismo Beach and then flying to the snowy mountains of the Eastern Sierra for a sunset dip in the hot springs. There aren’t many places where you can do it all in the same day, but California has just about everything for everyone.

@tiffpenguin

2. Which destination or attraction surprised you the most, and why?
The Oceano Dunes in San Luis Obispo County were incredible! I felt like I was in the Sahara Desert, but what makes this location so unique was that you have the ocean right beside you as well. It makes for such a cool landscape, and I had never seen anything like it before.

3. Which one picture or social media post best demonstrates how others can Catch the Winter Wave in California?

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4. What is your best piece of advice to visitors looking to experience California's winter surfari?
What’s great about California is that you can really have it all here. Especially in the winter, you can take advantage of the diversity of California’s landscapes to experience all of the seasons. The fact that you can go from the beach to the mountains in just a few hours makes California such a rare, special place.

@tiffpenguin

5. Which California destination is next up on your bucket list, and why?
I’m hoping to visit Yosemite National Park next! With all the snow we’ve been getting, I’d love to go photograph the valley all blanketed with snow. Yosemite is easily one of my favorite places in the world so I’ll definitely be back soon.

6. Can you share your best tips for taking amazing Instagram-worthy photos?
When composing a photo, I’m always trying to think of a way to show how grand a location is by using a subject to show its scale. This really makes the viewer feel like they’re right there with you in the photo and brings the whole scene to life. Every photo should tell a story and incorporating multiple elements will help to make that story more rich.