Sky Photos

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.

Butterfly Sunset Panorama
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Butterfly Sunset Panorama

An amazing evening at Butterfly Beach. Some evenings the sunset just doesn't quit. This was one of those evenings. As the sun set the display was breathtaking, and every time it seemed like it was going to fade, a whole new deeper pallete of colors appeared. This was not only one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen, it had to be the longest.

Reflections of The Belt of Venus or...
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Reflections of The Belt of Venus or...

...Paddle Boarding in the Shadow of the Earth. Just after sunset there is a beautiful phenomenon that we can clearly see in Santa Barbara thanks to generally clear skies and good views of the horizon. The blue band you see in the sky opposite the location where the sun recently set is actually the shadow of the earth. You can see it cast upon the atmosphere in the distance as the angle of the sunlight dips below the opposite horizon. The pink or purple layer above that is called the Belt of Venus or the anti-twilight arch, which is caused by a completely different phenomenon, a backscattering of the light from the already set sun. You could think of it as a reflection of the sunset that is happening further to the west of your location. Now isn't physics pretty? By the way, if you're more of a morning person you can see these effects just before sunrise too.

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.

Sandpiper Sunset Clouds
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Sandpiper Sunset Clouds

Sandpiper Golf Course is one of the best places I can imagine to spend a few hours, especially this time of year when the sunsets are really getting spectacular. This evening I was actually on the course to get some timelapse shots.

Shipwrecked After Dark
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Shipwrecked After Dark

If you have to be shipwrecked, this is a nice place to do it. Every so often a sailboat slips its mooring in the Santa Barbara area, and it seems more often than not they end up on Butterfly Beach.

Greek Orthodox Dome Mountain View
Friday, August 23, 2013
Greek Orthodox Dome Mountain View

View of the mountains in the distance from the Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, in the foothills by Goleta. This beautiful church has some beautiful architectural details. And it's a great place to go if you're looking for a little refreshing change from red tile roofs.

Evening at Mount Carmel
Monday, August 19, 2013
Evening at Mount Carmel

One of my favorite local landmarks, Our Lady of Mount Carmel church in Montecito. There are many well known sights to see in Santa Barbara, but this is one of the little local gems that is more tucked away off the beaten path.

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.

Santa Barbara Bluff Sunset
Friday, July 12, 2013
Santa Barbara Bluff Sunset

This was one of those evenings that the sunset seemed to be long gone. But it was still a beautiful evening to enjoy a walk on the beach. As we wanderd down the beach the clouds on the horizon started to glow again even more beautiful than before.

Sandpiper Lenticular Sunset
Monday, June 3, 2013
Sandpiper Lenticular Sunset

On any day Sandpiper Golf Course in Goleta is an amazing spot to chase a little white ball around or to just enjoy some of the most beautiful views the Santa Barbara area has to offer. Then there are the really spectacular days, the ones with clouds that have so much texture in the clear air that you're sure you could reach out and touch them. The days with sunsets that stretch color from horizon to horizon. This was absolutely one of those days.

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.

Rose Garden Panorama Sunset
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Rose Garden Panorama Sunset

An amazing sunset at the Santa Barbara Mission rose garden. The Roses are in full bloom this time of year, it's a wonderful time to visit the Mission and wander around the grounds. If you have really good timing you can experience a spectacular spiring evening with amazing beauty in every direction.

Blue Moonrise
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Blue Moonrise

Once in a blue moon... The full moonrise is quite a sight to see in itself, the moon on the horizon looks so large and beautiful. But on an evening like this there is actually enough light reflected by the amazing moon to photograph our beautiful landscapes and beaches. The cool lighting gives the beach a completely different feel from only an hour before when the sunset glow bathed it in warmth.

Santa Barbara Mission Cross at Night
Monday, May 20, 2013
Santa Barbara Mission Cross at Night

One evening when we were at the Santa Barbara Mission we noticed someone playing ball with their dog in the field by the mission rose garden. The really interesting thing for my camera is they were playing with a ball that had a light in it. It was a lot of fun watching the ball move back and forth, it was too dark to really see the dog, but it was obvious where he was. In the end, there were too many cars to get an interesting shot of the ball, although it is in there bouncing under the big tree at the left. The fun thing is the shot came out beautifully anyway.

Vista Point Storm
Friday, May 17, 2013
Vista Point Storm

There is a little turn off from the 101 South about 20 miles north of Santa Barbara. The evning I took this was right after a great storm rolled in. Santa Barbara and Goleta were already socked in. They are somewhere in that deep dark cloud on the horizon. But the storm had such a distinct edge, it seemed like it would be possible to get out from under it so I took off for the Vista Point. A few miles before I got there the clouds started to break up and I got out from under the rain enough to watch it slowly make its way toward me as the sun was going down.

Santa Ynez Night Sky
Monday, May 6, 2013
Santa Ynez Night Sky

This was a beautiful evening in the Santa Ynez Valley. The exposures were so long that I couldn't really tell how much the wispy clouds were affecting the shot. At one point it seemed like the clouds were too heavy to get anything interesting, but I kept at it. I was glad I did. The clouds only made things more beautiful. They gave a glow to the stars and Jupiter, and helped increase the glow of the lights in the distance. The light at the top (generally in the west) is the last glow of the setting sun. The light down the road is the glow of houses and cars moving around on the other side of the hill (the cars moving, not the houses.)

Butterfly Beach Fog Season
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Butterfly Beach Fog Season

Santa Barbara is always beautiful, to the point that some people think we don't hardly have seasons here. But maybe you just have to look at them a little differently. Winter sunset season just ended, at the beginning of that was butterfly season, when the Monarchs come home to roost. We're now entering fog season. Locals have lots of names for it, most commonly "June Gloom", or before that "May Grey" but the fog is rarely solid and complete as those names make it sound. It's beautiful and wispy, it dances beautifully as it rolls in and out. Sometimes it hugs the coast and the ocean where from inside it may seem grey. But get above or beside it like this and it's an amazing soft blanket hugging the city.

Windrose Sunset
Friday, May 3, 2013
Windrose Sunset

Sunset on Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara is a wonderful experience. This day even more so than usual. This compass rose (or windrose) is out near the end of the wharf, past the buildings where there is nothing around you, not even railings to seperate you from the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Sunset Cypress
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Sunset Cypress

The windswept trees along our coast are all works of art in their own right. This little Cypress is between two of its absolutely massive big brothers at Butterfly beach. Even though it's much younger than the others you can still see the beginnings of the windswept character that make them so beautiful. The amazing view of Santa Barbara in the background doesn't hurt either.