Star Photos

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.


Butterfly Beach Milky Way
Friday, August 21, 2015
Butterfly Beach Milky Way

Waiting for Perseids out on Butterfly Beach. This was a really fun evening. There were only a few really spectacular meteors, but they were worth the wait. Especially with this view. Even without the camera, once your eyes really adjust it's breathtaking how many stars you can see. Even more amazing to think that the little spots of light are just our local neighbors. Really just a small handful of the stars in our galaxy, the bright swath of stars so numerous they blend together and are largely blocked out by the large clouds of gas and dust in the middle. Standing under the stars always brings out the child-like wonder in me! But then again, exploring most of the world with my camera does that too.


Cypress and Perseid
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Cypress and Perseid

Last night at Butterfly Beach hanging out under the beautiful Cypress Tree watching the meteors go by. There were some really spectacular displays, this was just a tiny one, but every one was really exciting to see!


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.


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.


Santa Barbara Skies
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Santa Barbara Skies

An evening in the hills over Santa Barbara. The lights of the city are just visible as the bright glow through the trees and the foreground was lit by the headlights of passing cars. There is such an amazing dance going on just above our heads every night. And you don't even need a telescope or even a camera to appreciate it. Just a short drive up the mountain to a dark spot and the patience to sit and let your eyes adjust, is all you need to have the beauty of the universe laid out before you. (Or at least our little galactic corner of it.)


Heaven and Earth
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Heaven and Earth

Every evening as we go about our lives there is an amazing ballet going on above our heads. Most of us are too busy to think about it. But if you take some time to get away from the brighter lights of the city you can see some spectacular things just by looking up. This is the the beautiful Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, under the equally beautiful Milky Way Galaxy. The Galaxy we call home. If you think of all those stars at night that you usually see from any location, they are in general just our local neighbors in a small part of the Milky Way. All the visible stars you can make out with your naked eye in every direction from the earth (anywhere between five to ten thousand stars give or take) only comprise a tiny fraction of the stars in the Milky Way. That glowing band however, is made up of individual stars so numerous that they appear to be a continuous cloud of light to the unaided eye. Estimates put it from one to four hundred billion stars. There are absolutely wondrous and beautiful things all around us!


Milky Way Over Goleta
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Milky Way Over Goleta

Last night in the foothills above Goleta, the sky was beautifully dark and clear. I have been planning a drive to Santa Ynez to get some Milky Way pictures out where there is less light. But last night I just had to get out and see what I could get, even if it was a little late for the drive all the way to my favorite astrophotography spots.

This was one of my earlier shots of the evening. The glow is from cars in the distance and the city of Goleta down the hill in the distance. This spot was not my first choice (or even my second) when thinking of where to go, but as it turned out it was the best. There was just enough of a ridge around this area to block the city lights enough to get some beautiful images of the night sky and to see quite a few beautiful shooting stars!


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.


Moonlit Bluff
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Moonlit Bluff

Butterfly Beach lit only by the light of the full moon rising on the horizon and the faint fading glow of the sunset.


Twilight Bluff
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Twilight Bluff

An early evening long exposure from Butterfly Beach. The glow in the distance is the reflection of the city lights on the evening marine layer, and the last light of the setting sun. This is about half an hour after sunset while there was still a little color in the sky. Of course these days a long exposure like this is 3.2 seconds. Once upon a time I would have been standing there for minutes with a stopwatch.


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.


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.


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.)


Jupiter over Santa Ynez
Friday, February 15, 2013
Jupiter over Santa Ynez

Last evening I found myself in Santa Ynez Valley. My plan was to look for some interesting wildlife to try out a borrowed lens to get comfortable with it before a shoot this week. But having arrived a little late in the day to find a good spot I decided to go after a different shot. As things got dark I found a perch on a back road overlooking several vinyards. The stars were really something to see this far away from the city lights. The amazingly bright one is actually not a star at all, it's Jupiter. The two large trails of light are planes, but in the upper right hand corner there is the small trail of a shooting star.


Christmastime in Santa Barbara
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Christmastime in Santa Barbara

Ahh Christmastime in Santa Barbara, when everyone decorates their... umm.. rigging? Which of course makes the beautiful Santa Barbara Harbor even more enjoyable than usual.


Heavens Above
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Heavens Above

This view of the Milky Way Galaxy over the Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church is a long exposure taken in almost total darkness. The light inside the greek orthodox church is the smallest flicker of light from a very small bulb. The lighting of the thin clouds and shadows on the wall were cast by the glow from the horizon of the just past full Moon, which had not risen yet. Although long by normal photo standards, at 30 seconds the stars are still points of light rather than trails. This much detail in the stars would have been nearly impossible just a few years ago without a motorized tripod head to track the movement of the stars which, of course would make the objects on the ground blur.


Santa Barbara Mission Millstone
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Santa Barbara Mission Millstone

I'm always wandering around the Santa Barbara Mission looking for a new angle or a veiw that I have not noticed before. This was at the end of a long day of shooting, as the last glow of the sunset was slipping behind the mission. These pepper trees are a beautiful part of the look of the mission and they are prominent in many of my photos. The interesting details I love about this shot are the old millstone and the stone bench under the pepper tree.


Milky Way From Painted Cave Drive
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Milky Way From Painted Cave Drive

This is the latest in my experimentation capturing the night sky from the mountains above Santa Barbara. The night of the new moon was dark enough to catch an image of the Milky Way. It was an amazing evening, and I will definitely be doing more of this type of work.


Pepper Tree Inn Virtual Tour
Friday, July 2, 2010
Pepper Tree Inn Virtual Tour

A beautiful spot on upper State Street in Santa Barbara, this is the Best Western Pepper Tree Inn. It was a great spot to do a tour. Be sure to look around closely for the arrows to move around and see the rest of the beautiful grounds.

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