City Photos

Twilight Harbor Mist
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Twilight Harbor Mist

The evening mist rolling in over Santa Barbara always puts on a beautiful show. This particular evening the beautiful fog was just enveloping Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Harbor as the last colors of the setting sun bathed the city in a beautiful glow.


Cypress Twilight
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Cypress Twilight

Last night at Butterfly Beach. One of the nice tradeoffs this time of year for our extremely early evenings are the fantastic sunsets. Of course you have to make sure you get out to see them. But even later in the evening after the sun is gone, the show can last for a surprisingly long time. You just have to slow down and take it all in (and being away from bright lights helps too). As the evening gets darker, the colors in the sky sometimes get richer and more purple. The sky can take on a completely different look well after the actual sunset seems like it has faded and the show can be just amazing!


Santa Barbara Twilight Glow
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Santa Barbara Twilight Glow

The cool breezes lately in the evening have welcomed the return of an absent friend! This year more than most I have really missed the beautiful blanket of fog that rolls in over Santa Barbara. No two nights are ever quite the same. Sometimes the boundaries are less defined, but other evenings, like this amazing night, the marine layer has a distinct boundary making look like a slow gentle wave washing over the city. There is no better place to be when that happens than just above it watching the glow of the city lights peek through.


Santa Barbara Courthouse Mountain Sunset
Monday, August 17, 2015
Santa Barbara Courthouse Mountain Sunset

A beautiful evening at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. It's hard to match the beauty of the Santa Barbara Courthouse, but then again, from the right view on an evening like this it just fits right into its amazing surroundings.


Milky Way Vista
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Milky Way Vista

This week was a great week for stargazing. In case you missed it, the Perseid meteor shower peaked on Wednesday. If you did miss it, don't feel bad. I love that sort of thing and I would have missed it if it weren't for running into a good friend at the beach while I was taking an evening walk with my wife. Fortunately we were all set up for taking photos of the stars anyway. We got a few nice meteor shots, (this NOT being one of them, that's just a passing jet in the sky) and saw even more really beautiful meteors. But I was, purely coincidentally looking to experiment with a wide enough view to capture more of the milky way. Although the meteors were amazing, this is more the image I was looking for and it just goes to show, you don't need to wait for the next meteor shower (October 8th, by the way) to find something absolutely amazing as close as the night sky.

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Evening Sentinel
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Evening Sentinel

I love this palm tree. He's one of a few who live up at the edge of the hills above Santa Barbara keeping watch, as the evening mist rolls in like a gentle fluffy blanket to tuck in the city below. From down there the fog is sometimes called "June Gloom" but from this angle gloom is just about the last word I would use to describe it.


Harbor City Lights
Monday, August 3, 2015
Harbor City Lights

This afternoon it looked like we might have some beautiful sunset clouds. But the sun at the end of the day was just a little too much for them. As the sun faded so did the last beautiful wisps of clouds. But they left in their wake an interesting haze that scattered the late twilight with a beautiful glow making for some particularly beautiful long exposures.


Clocktower Reopens
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Clocktower Reopens

The beautiful view from the Santa Barbra County Courthouse Clock Tower officially reopened Friday after many months of work. Now the view is easily accessible by all with the elevator opening right out on the observation deck. The only drawback is, newcomers might not notice the beautiful clock gallery below that you had to walk past to get to that last flight of steps to the tower. The elevator still stops at the Clock Gallery though, so you can still enjoy every part of this local treasure!


Stearns Reflections
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Stearns Reflections

On one of our evening escapes from the heat recently I found myself wandering Stearns Wharf with my wife. The reflections on the water were particularly beautiful this evening (as was the company). It took a little creativity with the railing and a standpipe to do the view any justice without a tripod, but I'm pretty happy with this nice memory of a wonderful evening.


Twilight Over Santa Barbara
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Twilight Over Santa Barbara

Evening view from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Clock Tower where construction continues to make the tower more accessible. In the very near future everyone will be able to easily enjoy the view from the top. In the mean time, however, the trek to the top for this shot was even more of a walk than normal. With no elevator at all you start to appreciate really how tall the clock tower is. Currently the tower is still closed to the public, but the major elevator work is nearing an end with the opening at the top already complete.


Evening Blanket
Monday, February 16, 2015
Evening Blanket

Some evenings the fog is so thick in Santa Barbara it seems you would never get a good view of anything. But sometimes it only takes a small change of perspective to see what once blocked your view is actually something to behold itself. I love to watch for the evenings, more common this time of year, when the beautiful thick fog hugs the surface rolling in just at sunset leaving a clear view out above it's fluffy beauty. As the stars start to glow from above the city lights light the fog from below and the effect is something quite amazing that you would never expect from the surface.


Stearns Christmas Sunset
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Stearns Christmas Sunset

Stearns Wharf is a wonderful destination any time of year. If you're looking for a spot to get away from the warm summer temperatures or just a beautiful place to watch the boats go by while eating an ice-cream cone. But this time of year the amazing sunsets and the Christmas decorations make it even more beautiful.


Clock Tower View
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Clock Tower View

I'm often surprised at how many locals have never been to the observation deck at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Clocktower. It's a wondeful experience, even for those of us who may be used to looking at the beauty of Santa Barbara all the time. A wonderful experience that is, if you can easily navigate the tight metal stairways winding up the last story from the top of the elevator.

But that is all about to change. Thanks to the caretakers of the courthouse a new project is underway to extend the elevator the last story all the way to the observation deck. But unlike some of the accessibility stories you hear where someone sued or complained to get action, the story behind the project is very positive. The courthouse has had ADA accessibility plans in the works for some time, but this particular project was accellerated by the people who forged ahead, rather than let it stop them. Even though the climb to the top was tough there are many who make the trek apparently even in the face of extreme difficulty. Inspired by the people who felt the experience was worth the effort, the Courthouse Docents urged the powers that be to fast track the project. Led by a guy who's love of the history and heritage in his care is quite apprent when you talk to him, the County Arcitect Robert Ooley, the project got the green light this week.

Of course, extending the elevator another floor is no easy task. Starting January the Clock Gallery and the observation deck will be closed to the public to allow for construction, which is slated to run through July 2015. So if you've never been to the top because you've just never got around to it, now is a great time to go before construction starts! Of course if you've stayed away because of the climb, your wait is almost over. Either way, during the construction I'll do my best to bring the wonderful views right to you.

You can find out more about this project and others in the works at http://www.santabarbaracourthouse.org/


Crescent Moon
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Crescent Moon

The crescent moon setting over Santa Barbara. When the moon is just a sliver like this, it's easy to miss. (in fact you may have to click to view a larger size image) Especially on a day with a beautiful sunset to distract you. But if you look closely the tiny crescent following the sun over the horizon is a beautiful sight.


Friday Night Lights at Butterfly
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Friday Night Lights at Butterfly

I've always enjoyed taking my camera out after dark. A long exposure can reveal all kinds of interesting things you didn't even know were there. This was Friday night at Butterfly Beach. The moon was bright enough in the sky to easily catch the details at a faster shutter speed than this. But I intentionally lengthened the exposure to try to capture a more dreamy effect. In the middle of my exposure the people at the right walked up carrying some kind of small light, a cell phone presumably, which made for some unexpected interest in the form of an abstract light painting along the wall.


Santa Barbara City Lights
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Santa Barbara City Lights

A nice long exposure just after sunset from the end of the breakwater. The tide was pretty high when I took this last week, so I came back from a nice evening walk on the breakwater a little soggy. But it was well worth it. I was not the only one crazy enough to brave the beautiful waves either. There were more than a few people trying to enjoy the view while running from dry spot to dry spot on the breakwater. I actually had fun trying to capture the breaking waves, but they seemed to take on a life of their own. Taunting me only when I turned my back. When I came close to the wall ready to snap my shot quickly then duck, they seemed to know I was stalking them. I actually got all the way out and most of the way back before they caught me off totally off guard. I guess the score is waves 1 - photographer 0, but there will be plenty of warm evenings this summer to give me the opportunity to even up the score.


Santa Barbara Evening View
Friday, June 6, 2014
Santa Barbara Evening View

I love trying to get a different perspective on our beautiful corner of the world. And I've always enjoyed experimenting with my cameras after dark. No surprise then that I would always be on the lookout for a wonderful nighttime perch like this.

We have a wonderful opportunity to go from a beautiful cityscape like this, to an absoulte dark sky allowing great views of the stars in Santa Ynez Valley with only a short drive. And you can see that on some interesting maps online that can help you find dark skies for stargazing, or even bright cityscapes if you're a crazy owl-like photographer who likes that sort of thing. This is one of my favorites... http://darksitefinder.com/maps.html

(By the way, access to this particular view was thanks to a friend, client and regular Santa Barbara View reader!)


Marine Layer
Friday, November 1, 2013
Marine Layer

Although nothing like closer to San Francisco in the north, Santa Barbara is a favorite hang out for something the weather man calls the "Marine Layer". It's basically a layer of air cooled quickly by the water making it much more dense than the warm air above. This cool layer has a tendency to slide into the coast as the sun is setting, bringing with it some beautiful swirling fog. Once in a while the effect is so pronounced that from the right vantage point you can see it rolling in like a beautiful blanket.


Channel Islands Autumn Colors
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Channel Islands Autumn Colors

We are fortunate enough to have some of the most beautiful views around regardless of the season or weather. But some of my favorite spots have a completely different feel this time of year, and standing in the exact same spot I can get a completely different picture from one I would take in the spring. Although the beautiful palm tree in the foreground doesn't give any hint to the season the way the fall leaves in New England would, we still enjoy amazing autumn colors of our own.


Moonlit Island Fog
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Moonlit Island Fog

On the surface near the beach they call it June Gloom. In Santa Barbara the fog that rolls in the late spring and early summer can be very thick right at the surface. But if you take a step back and get a better view you can appreciate its beauty more. This evening the fog was hugging the surface in the marine layer, a cool layer of air just above the water. As it met the resistance of the islands, at first it was not thick enough so it went around, but as the evening progressed it started to pour over the island like running water.


Fog Over The Good Land
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Fog Over The Good Land

This angle is from the foothills just outside Santa Barbara. Overlooking the city of Goleta (our next-door neighbors, AKA "The Good Land"). The fog was rolling in quickly the night I took this. About ten minutes after this shot there were no discernible points of light. Well not on the ground anyway. The stars were still amazing! In fact you can just make aout some of the Milky Way in the left side of the photo.


Mountain View Patio Evening
Monday, March 11, 2013
Mountain View Patio Evening

View of the Santa Ynez Mountains from the El Paseo building in Santa Barbara. A long exposure to bring out the evening lights of our beautiful city.