I was practicing my panning skills on some gulls, when I decided to try for some abstract shots of the distant shoreline. This one turned out quite nicely.
A very cold storm was forecast for this weekend, with snow levels possibly down to 500 ft. We did get quite a bit of rain on Friday, but the precipitation was over by the time the temperature dropped. However, all was clear at dawn the following day. This made it really difficult to decide where to head out for the day, and I ended up staying close to home in the hopes the weather would get more interesting. Luckily, some large cumulonimbus clouds started developing over the mountains in the afternoon. It looked like the weather was clear along the mountaintop ridge, so I gassed up the car and we headed on up.
While at the gas station, we could see precipitation moving in from the east. Normally, our weather comes from the south or west, so this was a bit unusual. Even from such a distance (several miles) I could tell that the precipitation was not the usual rain. On the way up, we started getting fat drops of rain, which then turned to icy pellets, and actually started accumulating on the road. When we left Goleta, it was almost 55F, but had dropped to near freezing by the time we reached the ridge-top.
The precipitation had intensified greatly and a large amount of graupel was falling and accumulating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this form of precipitation, so it was very cool to experience something new. Photographing in these conditions is always a challenge. The lighting conditions and weather were changing rapidly and with the road conditions deteriorating, I couldn’t spend a lot of time up there. However, I managed to come away with several images that I like.
“Cumulonimbus Clouds” – Lake los Carneros, Goleta (2-stop, soft, GND Filter)
Birds in flight and weather seemed to be the theme of the past week. After weeks of beautiful, but boring weather, we finally had a few storms come through. I’ve always looked forward to stormy weather, because that usually makes for great landscape opportunities. Now I have another good reason to cheer for the rain… animal tracks. Since I’m not seeing much of the bobcats anymore, I’ve come to rely on finding their tracks to know that they’re still around. But I’m getting far off topic.
Since there are two pairs of White-tailed Kites starting to nest near me, they have been an obvious photographic target. I already have a huge catalog of Kite photos, so I’m making an effort to photograph them more creatively, or at least photograph behaviors that I’ve missed before. I’m also working on shooting some video, since some of their actions are difficult to photograph.
“Passing Zone” – Male and Female White-tailed Kites
A cold storm blew through last weekend and some mysterious white stuff graced the Santa Barbara mountains. Unfortunately the clouds didn’t clear until the snow completely melted from the front range. However, from the ridge-top there was plenty of snow to be seen on the distant mountain peaks. Sunset would have been a better time to photograph them, but it is always hard to know how long the clouds will last, so waiting is always a gamble. As it was, there were clouds forming literally in front of me as I perched atop the ridge. The constantly moving clouds created some amazing light, with foreground vegetation illuminated against dark skies. These conditions changed from minute to minute and I could have spent all day photographing along the mountain top. Unfortunately I had to hit the road, but I’m really glad I made the trip.
“Backcountry Snow” – Santa Ynez Range, Los Padres National Forest
It was only a little over a week ago that it was well into the 100’s here in So Cal. Now, our first cold front of the season is heading our way. It probably won’t bring much in the way of rain, but it certainly brought the wind! It also brought some interesting clouds to the local mountains. Here are a few snaps from the brief evening walk.
Most people would lament the ending of Summer, but I’m quite happy for it to be over. Summer is the least interesting season here in Santa Barbara and I’m glad to see it go. I did get in a bunch of traveling over the summer, and hope to post some images that haven’t already made it to Flickr.
The first weekend of October has been a Jekyll & Hyde affair. We have had crazy weather since the middle of last week, with large thunderstorms over the mountains and gorgeous clouds floating by overhead. Not to mention, the bolts of lightning dancing across the mountain tops. This is not something we normally see here. The interesting weather abruptly ended sometime last night, with the return of the marine layer which has yet to burn off today.
“Ground Fog at Sunrise”
We had an unexpectedly nice sunset this week and I thought I’d share. Hope you are all having a great summer!