Tag Archives: california

Golden California Hills

Golden California Hills Photograph

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!

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Its Beach Afternoon In Santa Cruz

Its Beach Santa Cruz photo

Beachgoers, both human and canine, enjoy the late afternoon sunshine at Its Beach (Lighthouse Field State Beach) on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, California.

I took this photograph from Lighthouse Point, looking down onto Its Beach and across to West Cliff Drive. This is an image that feels straight out of my childhood. I grew up near this beach and spent many hours in the area captured in this photograph, both on the sand as well as walking on the always beautiful West Cliff Drive. Growing up in Santa Cruz meant growing up in a California beach town; one of the neatest parts of this was the ability to have beach bonfire birthday parties in Winter. Mmmm…s’mores!

I could continue to reminisce, but instead I will say this – it’s Summer, the weather is warm and beautiful…come, join me at the beach!

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Sea Glass Treasures At Glass Beach

Sea Glass Treasures At Glass Beach

Sea glass and pebbles, wet from the Pacific Ocean, adorn Glass Beach at Mackerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California.

Sea glass has always fascinated me; once jagged pieces of trash carelessly discarded, the ocean has transformed these sharp shards into smooth and colorful “stones” which wash up along the beach. This is a case of nature truly turning trash into treasure.

Glass Beach is actually a series of several beach coves and is a former dump, hence the abundance of glass. It is amazing to behold shimmery beaches thick with colored glass “pebbles,” but sadly this unique resource has been greatly diminished due to its status as Mendocino County’s most popular tourist attraction. While Glass Beach is part of Mackerricher State Park and therefore glass collecting is technically illegal (and there are signs everywhere stating as much), this law is ignored, and people collect huge bags of sea glass to take home. Several of the coves no longer contain much glass due to over collection. We spent two mornings at the cove with the most sea glass left, and were saddened to see we were the only visitors not collecting bags of shimmering treasure. It’s a beautiful spot and I don’t regret going, but I’m not sure I will return due to the frustration of watching visitors cart off that very thing which makes the area special and unique.

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Rare Summer Rain On A Salvia

Rare Summer Rain On Salvia

Sage (Salvia) ‘Wendy’s Wish’ gently bows under a light summer rain in my garden.

Let’s face it, California is in a severe drought, and we are seeing the muddy bottoms of reservoirs (there is an old car sitting in the mud and cracking earth at the bottom of a local one). In a year where rain during the winter rainy season was a novelty, the thought of summer rain is mildly absurd in our climate with its traditionally dry summers. Therefore, I thought I’d post this photograph as a reminder that moisture can indeed fall from the sky, and once in a long while, it even happens during the dry season…even if it is just a little sprinkle to moisten foliage and flowers.

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The Point Reyes Lighthouse – The Descent to Light

The Point Reyes Lighthouse - The Descent to Light

The Descent to Light is an image of the impressive view from the top of the 300 step staircase which leads down to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.

The Point Reyes Lighthouse, or Point Reyes Light Station is located in Point Reyes, California, and operated from 1870 through 1975. This historic landmark is now preserved as a visitor center, and many visitors brave the extremely high winds and frequent fog to learn more about this chapter in California history. The Point Reyes area is an incredibly beautiful part of California, with its rugged cliffs, scenic vistas, beautiful beaches, and the chance for amazing encounters with wildlife such as the tule elk. The Point Reyes Lighthouse is a must see, if you’re visiting the area.

Given my previously mentioned cold wimpiness, I was glad we visited the lighthouse on a sunny day; I could at least have the illusion of warmth while being buffeted about by the wind. Numerous visitors huffed and puffed, descending and ascending the steep set of stairs while I waited for that perfect moment when the stairs were deserted, so I could take this photograph. A quick click of my camera’s shutter button and I captured this image, and then more people began their journey up and down the stairs.

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Pacific Ocean Splash

Pacific Ocean Splash

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.

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Ghost Boats

Ghost Boats

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.

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