Nature Photos

Andree Clark Sunset Reflections
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Andree Clark Sunset Reflections

The drought has been hard on all of the natives and visitors of California, the Andree Clark Bird Refuge and its visitors have been no exception. But standing there on a beautiful peaceful evening like this enjoying the sunset with the ducks offers a wonderful break from all the cares of the day.


Andree Clark Sunset
Friday, August 1, 2014
Andree Clark Sunset

One of serveral absolutely spectacular sunsets this week thanks to high clouds in the area from Hurricane Hernan. This was the view from the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, one of the amazing natural places in the Santa Barbara area, named in memory of the sister of the refuge's primary patron, Huguette Clark. A special thanks to Alan Rose at KEYT, for the heads up early in the week about the impending high level moisture. Knew it was going to be a good week when I heard that.


Sandpiper Sunset Reflections
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Sandpiper Sunset Reflections

One of my favorite spots to watch the sunset, the 18th hole at the Sandpiper Golf Course in Goleta. If you want to chase a little white ball around this is the place to do it. Even if you don't know what you're doing you would have to admit this is a great place to spend the day.


Backlit Monarchs
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Backlit Monarchs

It's a wonderful time of year for a trip to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. This was last weekend about two-thirty in the afternoon when the light was coming around behind them. But the light moves fast in their little gorge, only a few moments later the sun was gone from this cluster.


Dragon Perch
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Dragon Perch

This is a Meadowhawk Dragonfly (A Saffron-winged Meadowhawk I believe) and he was very partial to this one bush. I love chasing these guys. He would tollerate my presence for a while, then he would fly to the other side of the bush. But unlike some Dragonflies, he didn't seem to have particular favorite perches. Each time he moved to a new spot and a different pose, this was my favorite. They commonly rest with their wings spread wide and straight. But this leaf was more exposed so he had to hold his wings down a little and put his back into the breeze. It made for a much more interesting composition. Dragonflies or people, portraits look better when the subject is not so stiff and still.


Late Afternoon Flight
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Late Afternoon Flight

On an afternoon walk at the beach recently we noticed this hummingbird who seemed to be contemplating the sinking late afternoon sun. It took a little manuvering, but I was able to get a few silhouette shots just as he took flight. This is a double exposure of two successive frames. In the first frame he had released his grip on the perch and spread his wings, but not actually taken flight yet. Only one sixth of a second later he was moving fast. Fast enough to leave me staring into the glare of the sun with no idea where he'd gone after that.


Bewicks Wren
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Bewicks Wren

This weekend I took a drive to Santa Ynez for, among other things, a walk around the Santa Ynez Mission. The timing wasn't quite right to get the sun on the building, but there are always beatiful things to see. I know there are hummingbirds that hang out in the gardens, so I went in search of them. Instead I found this beautiful little bird, a Bewick's Wren. He was quite nervous, but he really liked this bush. He was able to dive into it any time I got too close. But then he was curious enough to come back out pretty quickly. Apparently, they Bewick's Wren is moving westward. There are less of them in the east than there used to be. But the numbers have been increasing here, and I'm glad to have them. He was very entertaining and beautiful.


Pacific Grove Sunset
Monday, October 7, 2013
Pacific Grove Sunset

In every city I spend much time, I always end up with my favorite spots where I try to end up at the end of the day. This is Asilomar Beach in Pacific Grove on the tip of the Monterey Peninsula. Some days the waves are huge and breathtaking, other days the sun slides down past the horizon peacefully, but every evening it's a wonderful show.


Shoreline Bluff
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Shoreline Bluff

Just after sunset the colors are beautiful this time of year. This is looking east from Shoreline Park, one of the best places in town for a nice evening walk.


Stretch
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Stretch

After a big meal it's nice to go back to your favorite perch, stretch your wings and relax!


Blueberries on the Hoof
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Blueberries on the Hoof

Yesterday we went to Buelton to pick Blueberries at a great little spot, Santa Barbara Blueberries. They have a wide variety of bushes so you can find your favorite ones. It's just the beginning of their season and they are only open limited hours, so be sure to check out their Facebook page for updates.


Sunset Leaves
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Sunset Leaves

This is just being in the right place at the right time. As I was coming out of Starbucks in Montecito the other day I saw this beautiful backlit scene.


Resting Monarchs
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Resting Monarchs

This is a shot from our beautiful Coronado Butterfly Preserve in Goleta. This year the butterfly population seemed a bit smaller than years past, but they are still an absoultely amazing sight.


Ladybug Daisy
Monday, April 1, 2013
Ladybug Daisy

Recently I found some aphids on the blossoms of one of my cacti. Rather than spray or use soap we went down to the hardware store and got a little box of lady bugs. Most of the nurseries or home and garden stores keep them in little refrigerators, kind of dormant just waiting for an assignment. Mine had two jobs... get the bugs, and look pretty for the camera while doing it.


Skimming Pelican
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Skimming Pelican

Have you ever seen a Pelican surf? On the land they seem a little comical, but in the air they are amazing. They often fly right along the surface of the water taking advantage of "Ground Effect" an aerodynamic effect giving more lift in close proximity to the surface. It makes sense that they would do this to save energy, but at times they move closer to the breakers, riding the front of the wave just like a surfer. They wait until the last moment to slip gracefully over the top of the wave as it crashes below all gliding without a flap. This evening I caught this guy skimming the surface, but as he slowly flapped he actually ran the tip of his wing through the surface of the water just like a surfer playing in the front of the wave with his or her hand. He wasn't being as playful as some in the breakers but he was very graceful and relaxed. It was a pleasure to watch him and his friends fly off into the sunset.


Shoreline Snowy Egret
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Shoreline Snowy Egret

Time for another local resident! I love all the birds that frequent our shores, but the Egrets have to be some of my favorites. This is a Snowy Egret, fishing at the beach at Shoreline Park. If you ever get the chance to watch them fish it\'s definitely worth the patience to stay still and let them get comfortable with your presence. They like to slowly walk through the shallow water, reaching out with their free leg and large foot to agitate the water, trying to scare any tasty treats out of their hiding places. Their large feet, combined with the fact that they actually walk on their toes giving the impression that their knees bend backward (when in fact it\'s their ankle) makes them look like they are reaching out with a hand just like a person would. This guy does not normally have an upright crest, but those beautiful wispy neck feathers were getting quite blown by the wind. So they have another human-like trait, they can have bad feather days!


Misty Mountain
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Misty Mountain

Every evening this time of year is a different work of art. This particular evening, the clouds were just lapping over the top of the mountains. As the golden light fell on them I knew just the place I wanted to take it all in. This is the view of the Santa Ynez Mountains over Laguna Blanca in Hope Ranch.


Gone Fishin'
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Gone Fishin'

This week was great for fishing, at least if you're a Brown Pelican in the Santa Barbara area. There are almost always pelicans feeding off the coast here, but there must have been some impressive schools of fish off of Butterfly Beach a few nights ago. The two Pelicans on the surface behind the dive bombers just surfaced from their dives and there must have been hundreds of attempts. If you look closely to the left of the photo you can see a nose sticking out of the water of what I believe must be a sea otter. But it's hard to say since I was paying so much attention to the Pelicans I did not actually see him until I looked at the photo.


Butterfly Beach Cypress Sunset
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Butterfly Beach Cypress Sunset

The evening I took this a few weeks ago, like many evenings, I took a walk along Butterfly Beach. But that night I was paying particular attention to this tree, one of my favorite spots along the walk. I had just spoken to someone who was looking for a special gift for someone who loves this tree as much as I do. Now I have quite a few shots already, but many of them use the amazing sweeping branches to frame other subjects, especially the sunset from the other side. Never one to shy away from the chance to look at a faviorite subject in a new light, I took it as a chance to spend some time wandering the beach with renewed inspiration for one of my favorite spots!


Annas in Flight
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Annas in Flight

This is another shot of one of the beautiful Anna's hummingbirds I was following around Valley Hills Nursery in Carmel. It looks like a beautiful spring day, but a beautiful nursery can make any day look like a beautiful spring day in California.


Thoughtful Hummer
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Thoughtful Hummer

This little guy was actually as interested in me as I was in him. He flew around a bit and kept coming back to this spot. As I moved closer and closer every few shots, he would tilt his head back and forth seemingly trying to see what I was up to. Even at rest he was graceful and beautiful.


Backlit Monarchs
Monday, December 10, 2012
Backlit Monarchs

It's the time of year when the Monarch Butterflies return to their overwintering spot in Santa Barbara, the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. According to the experts the clusters of butterflies are small this year, although it's still early. Even so the experience is amazing. This is just one of the small clusters, but the position of the sun was perfect. What you can't see are the hundreds of butterflies fluttering around the grove. It's a wonderful spot that only exists because of the hard work of volunteers and donors who have protected it.