Sandstone Sculptures

July 24, 2009

Ever since visiting Antelope Canyon I’ve been excited about photographing some local sandstone structures.  In particular, the wind caves at Gaviota.  I felt that morning would offer the best opportunity for interesting light, given that most of the caves face east or southeast.  I’m really happy with the initial results and hope to make it back soon with additional camera gear.  (All of the below shots were taken handheld with my G10.)

“Sandstone I”

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Lake Los Carneros – last weekend

July 24, 2009

Watching The Tour de France has kept me close to home recently.  Even so, I’ve managed to walk over to the lake on a regular basis.  The highlight from last weekend was getting up close and personal with a California Quail.  I have watched the same group of quail and hadn’t been able to get any great shots.  Finally, the male decided to cooperate and pose nicely for me.  We also had a lovely thin layer of clouds drift overhead.  Thankfully I brought my 35mm lens with me and was able to capture the variety of patterns as they plied overhead.

“Clouds”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

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Birds from SJWS

July 23, 2009

While wandering around looking for the bobcats at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary I found plenty of birds to photograph.  Coming from Santa Barbara, it was great to get shots of the Avocets and a lone White-faced Ibis.  Once Avocet was particularly protective of his area and bravely defended it from ducks several times its size.

“Avocet in Pursuit”  –  SJWS, Irvine, CA

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Persistence and Luck

July 19, 2009

Early last week, I read an article by professional photographer Jim Richardson about the virtues of planning and preparation vs. dumb luck.  I thought it was interesting at the time but it resonates even more after what I experienced later that week.  His last sentence sums up the article nicely,  “As for me, I’ll take predictability over luck every day of the week.”   While I very much agree with his statement,  it doesn’t hurt to be lucky too!

As my regular readers and close friends know, I spend a lot of time attempting to photograph the local bobcats.  I suppose it has become something of an obsession to me.  And this obsessiveness paid off once again last Sunday with one of my closest encounters yet.  Just after sunset, I found the female bobcat lying in the grass, just off the footpath.  She seemed quite undisturbed by my presence and I could have sat and watched her until it was too dark to see.  (As a rule, I try not to remain near them for more than a few minutes so as not to disturb their prime hunting time too much.)

Now, onto the Luck part…  I have heard of another bobcat family located at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary located in Irvine, CA.  Since I had to drive down to San Diego for work on Thursday, I decided to head out early and look around for them.  From what I have read, many local photographers feel lucky if they see one of the bobcats more than once or twice a year.  Therefore, I felt that my chance of seeing one, let alone any of the kittens, was exceedingly low.  And, I almost didn’t.  But after walking around for two hours and deciding it was time to go, the mother and a kitten appeared.  It doesn’t hurt to be lucky indeed!

“Bobcat I”  –  Lake Los Carneros, Goleta, CA

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Mount Pinos – Fauna

July 13, 2009

I was hoping to photograph deer among the pines, but was rewarded with an abundance of other creatures.  There was life nearly everywhere, some more vocal than others.  A family of Clark’s Nutcrackers was seen foraging along the trail.  Well, at least the parents were searching for food.  Their offspring was of little help in gathering food, but its calls to be fed could be heard quite a long distance away.

“Clark’s Nutcracker”  –  Mt. Pinos, CA

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Mount Pinos – Flora

July 13, 2009

The trip up to Mt. Pinos was another reminder that I really need to get a good wildflower guide.  Many, if not most, of the flowers I saw were new to me.  Happily, I did come across one plant in bloom that I easily recognized, even though I had never seen one in person.  I’m referring to the curious and colorful Snow Plant.

“Snow Plant”  –  Mt. Pinos, CA

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Mount Pinos – Scenes

July 13, 2009

Foggy mornings have been replaced by blue skies here in Santa Barbara.  With warm temperatures along the coast and hot temperatures in the inland valley forecast, I thought a trip to the mountains sounded like a great idea.  Mt. Pinos is one of my favorite places within a reasonable driving distance but I can’t recall ever going up there this time of year.  Nearing the top, it felt like I had gone back in time.  The forest and meadows were filled with signs of spring.  Unbeknownst to me, a powerful reminder of summer’s presence would soon appear.

“Spring in Summer”  –  Mt. Pinos, CA

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