If you have ever lived on both coasts in the United States, and you love both locations, it is obviously difficult to determine which one is better. Recently, I lived in California, which is probably my favorite state. I had a goal to live in California, so I did just that, and I loved every moment there. But as soon as I write that it’s my favorite state, I suddenly hesitate, as I relocated to another favorite place: the Washington, DC metro area. Plus, I am no longer a child who has favorites.

Of course, we know as adults that our “favorites” are part of a continuum, something my lovely young niece at one point couldn’t understand when she asked: “Aunt Cryn, what is your favorite color?” And I replied, “Well, honey, it depends upon the day or the time you ask me that type of question. I don’t have one favorite color.” She looked puzzled, and I gave in, saying, “Oh, honey, my favorite color is blue.” The same sentiment goes with whether or not I adore Washington, DC or California more. That’s a tough one, and it all depends upon where and when I am asked the question.

I was recently out in California for a short business trip, and as soon as I landed in LAX, saw the majestic Pacific Ocean and palm trees, I couldn’t wait to hit the highway and head south towards San Diego. I had intended to visit The J. Paul Getty Museum, which hovers like a white spaceship over the cliffs overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean. In 2012, I visited The Getty in early summer with a new friend, and enjoyed the company of new, vivacious people. We sat and talked about all sorts of philosophical issues in the Getty’s famous garden while watching a reddish-pink sun set, which eventually cast long shadows onto Catalina Island in the distance. Soon there was total darkness and the glittering, navy blue Pacific had turned into an endless space of blackness.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Vera-Martinez

And while I write about this memory of being at The Getty in California, I sit in lush Northern Virginia, surrounded by tall pines, old oaks, plush sycamores, and countless other types of trees. I was reminded of The Getty when I ran across interesting news about the Museum’s decision to lift restrictions on their digital images. The news is exciting, as The Getty offers rich, beautiful digital images to anyone online.

Getty President and CEO James Cuno made the announcement in early August on The Getty’s blog called The Iris. Titled, “Open Content, An Idea Whose Time Has Come,” Cuno explained, “Today the Getty becomes an even more engaged digital citizen, one that shares its collections, research, and knowledge more openly than ever before. We’ve launched the Open Content Program to share, freely and without restriction, as many of the Getty’s digital resources as possible.”

Approximately 4,600 images from The J. Paul Getty Museum are available in high resolution.