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The People Behind the Places: A budding traveler and photographer

The People Behind the Places profiles Amber Larks and her photography

Amber Larks, a West Hills resident who attends college in Washington, describes a recent trip to the Gulf of California and Mexico with her grandparents as one of her most memorable trips. The islands she saw on her two-week sailing adventure were unlike anything she had seen before, she said.

Larks lists traveling and photography among her passions, so of course she took a camera on her trip. At Agua Verde in coastal Mexico, she photographed the Gulf of California at sunset. It became one of her favorite images from her travels last summer. We liked it, too, featuring it online as part of our fall reader photo issue.

We enjoyed many of her other travel images as well, but we couldn't share them all in our online reader gallery. So we decided to share them here, along with some of her thoughts on travel and photography.

Why do you travel?

I travel because it excites me, and I’m able to spend time with the people I love. I travel for the adventure. It’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives, and travel is a nice break from that routine.

What led you to photography?

When I was little, I really enjoyed taking photos on my family’s point-and-shoot film cameras. I remember going to Costco with my mom to get film developed, and I would be so excited to get the photos back. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I received my first DSLR camera as a gift from my grandparents. That’s when I really started getting serious about photography. It quickly grew to be one of my greatest passions.

What inspires you?

I would say other people's photography really inspires me. It gives me the opportunity to see other places. It makes me want to get out there and visit the places they photographed. It's mind-boggling to see how many places there are out there. My list of places is never ending. I'm always finding inspiration.

What's your most memorable photo?

It's hard to pick. When I reflect on my portfolio, I see it as a whole. For other people, it's probably the one that was published on the L.A. Times website, the Sea of Cortez (a.k.a. Gulf of California) photo, because it got a lot of publicity.

What's your best trip?

One of my best trips was the Mexico trip with my grandparents. That's the first time I've been out of the country. We went on a two-week sailing adventure on the Sea of Cortez. We stopped at a bunch of islands. The waters were so pristine and clear.

What's your next trip?

I was hoping to go to Europe this summer, but flights are so expensive. I think my next trip will be another road trip with my boyfriend in August from Los Angeles all the way up to Pullman, Wash., where we go to college at Washington State University.

On the way, we want to explore Zion National Park in Utah and carry on to Yellowstone National Park as we travel north. It’s about 24 hours of driving total and about 1,600 miles. I hope my little Honda Accord will power though it! It’s still unplanned, but I would really love to see more of the national parks here.

For more of Larks' photos, visit Amber Larks Photography.

"The People Behind the Places" is a series of occasional profiles on aspiring photographers and readers whose photography has caught our eye. If you're interested in sharing your work with us, visit our Flickr page. You can also email yourscene-travel@latimes.com.

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