The setting sun casts a warm glow over the golden California hills, its last rays illuminating the tops of distant oak trees. A little used gravel road winds its way in and out of the peaceful scene, and all seems right with the world on this tranquil evening in the mountains of the San Francisco Bay Area.
I’ve mentioned our severe drought in several recent blog posts, and here is an example of the current state of the land. I took this photo last week, as the sun began to set below the hills. We have a “Mediterranean climate” (mild winters, warm to hot dry summers) and are used to the grass drying up and many plants going dormant in the summertime. However, the vegetation is particularly parched this year, and many local reservoirs have turned to cracked depressions filled with grass and a bit of mud. While there is a certain beauty to the rolling golden hillsides such as the ones depicted in this photograph, I certainly hope for a long and heavy rainy season this winter!
Dawn colors the soft turquoise waves flowing up onto Pacific Beach in San Diego, California, and lights up the edge of Crystal Pier.
We spent the end of 2013 traveling down the scenic California coast, eventually ending our journey south in San Diego. I hadn’t been there since childhood, and we spent a lot of time simply orienting ourselves and visiting popular tourist destinations (including several trips to the beautiful and amazing Balboa Park). We ended up staying at a somewhat iffy hotel just steps from Pacific Beach. What the hotel lacked in quality, it certainly made up for in location. While the drunken partying of our neighbors kept us up long into the night, we were able to peek outside at the beach bright and early each morning, judging when to grab our gear and head down onto the sand.
The weather was cool and Pacific Beach was mostly empty at dawn, save for an occasional jogger and the ever present seagulls which repeatedly and quite successfully photobombed many of my long exposure photographs. I took this photograph on the morning of New Year’s Eve, just as the winter sun began to rise and bring a soft pastel peach glow to the sky and gentle waves. It was a tranquil moment, and viewing this photograph brings back that sense of peace that I felt as I breathed in the fresh salt air and enjoyed the beautiful scene.
Huge granite boulders and trees bare of their leaves are reflected in all of their winter beauty in the Merced River, at the entrance of Yosemite National Park in California.
Each time I create a blog post, I am drawn to highlight a photograph for a variety of reasons; sometimes I post a new photograph from a recent trip or an exciting new flower in my garden that has caught my eye, as the newness is what interests me. I find that I am sometimes drawn to a certain color and the subject is less important, or I might want to relive a memory that a particular photograph rekindles for me. Some photographs evoke a certain mood, and ‘Reflections’ is one of those photos. I have had a lot of time to reflect on my life lately, and find this image matches where I am at. The calming neutral tones, still water with perfect reflections, cold winter dormancy, and tranquil subject matter reflect my contemplative state of mind.
A solitary oak tree stands strong amid the grapevines…
Rows of wine grapes curve up and over the hill in a vineyard in the Edna Valley region of San Luis Obispo County, California. A part of the San Luis Obispo Coastal Wine Trail, a drive through this area entails whizzing past multiple wineries, all open to a public eager to sample the bounty of this incredibly fertile valley. While I’m personally not a wine drinker (oddly enough it makes me sneeze), I still love this area for its incredible beauty. I find it mesmerizing to stare out the window of a moving car, watching row after row of bright green grapevines fade out into the distance.
The deep turquoise waves of the Pacific Ocean crash onto the jagged rock formations near Big Sur, California.
We’ve taken the drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur numerous times, and it always surprises and delights. Each turn reveals yet another startlingly beautiful scenic vista, with the ocean crashing and foaming in shades of blue and teal as it pushes and pulls on the sand and rocks below the steep cliffs that border the highway. In this photograph, the curving shape of the intersection between tumultuous water and steady stone reminds me of a sideways yin-yang symbol.
Ghost Boats In Morro Bay – A dreamy, foggy, early morning capture at Morro Bay Harbor on our recent trip down the coast…
Have you ever experienced the coastal fog roll in after days of blisteringly hot weather? Have you ever opened your eyes and found your surroundings shrouded in white, moist, mystery? Have you ever felt the dampness of sea fog against your skin as you inhale the salted ocean air?
California had an early heat wave, getting into the mid 90’s inland in early May. We escaped to the coast, and were surprised that even Big Sur was hot, as we headed down the wild and scenic Pacific Coast Highway (California State Route 1). The fog came in on our second morning in Morro Bay, blanketing the quiet harbor and turning it into a mysterious place, with ghost-like boats bobbing gently in the distance, just barely visible through the dense fog.
The winter sun peeks through the forest as it sets, staining the snow pink with its brilliance.
I took this photograph at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, while delicately tiptoeing on top of a big pile of snow and hoping not to fall through. It was bitterly cold, and snow had lodged itself inside of my boots. We’d waited for a spectacular sunset over Crater Lake itself, but all was blah and boring. Suddenly, the world changed into a magical land of glowing snow and long dramatic shadows. The setting sun flared dramatically through my camera lens, creating a bright golden starburst peeking out through the snow-heavy trees.