Sky Photos

1000 Steps Sunset
Sunday, November 30, 2014
1000 Steps Sunset

A beautiful evening at 1000 Steps beach. The wonderful and colorful dance the sun does as it slips below the horizon is due to the large amount of the atmosphere the light rays travel through at the steep angle near the horizon. You probably already knew that, but did you know that the moment you see the sun touch the horizon on a day like this it has actually already set? The refraction of the atmosphere bends the light around the curvature of the earth so you actually see the image of the sun projected slightly higher than it actually is. The same thing happens in the morning. When you see the sun peek above the horizon the leading edge is still actually below the horizon by slightly more than the diameter of the sun. The results of this atmospheric refraction result in about six minutes more daylight than simple geometry would suggest, which are always welcomed especially this time of year!


Cannery Row View
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Cannery Row View

Happy Thanksgiving from Cannery Row, Monterey! Ahh the beach, just one of the many things to be thankful for. I hope your blessings are too many to count! Happy Thanksgiving!


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.)


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.


Harbor View Sunset
Monday, September 1, 2014
Harbor View Sunset

The Santa Barbara Harbor about a half hour after a beautiful summer sunset. This year has been one of the driest on record, but several Pacific hurricanes have supplied us with enough of these beautiful wispy evening clouds to put on quite an unseasonable show. This particular day had a wonderful parade of high clouds all day giving me a good hint that the evening would be beautiful. And I couldn't think of a better place to spend the warm evening than walking on the breakwater at the Harbor with my best friend.


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!


Butterfy Watch
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Butterfy Watch

These beautiful palm trees watch over Butterfly Beach in Montecito. They all seem to be trying to lean out to see the sunset around their friends. And who could blame them? What better place to spend the end of the day especially walking on the beach with your best friend.


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!


Shoreline Cirrus
Monday, August 11, 2014
Shoreline Cirrus

Shoreline Park showing off the cirrus clouds that promise to put on a beautiful evening show, as it turns out, one of the best of the summer!


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.


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.


Cypress Super Moon
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Cypress Super Moon

The view from last night above Butterfly Beach. At the time I did not realize this was a "supermoon". A full moon that coincides with the moon's perigee, the closest part of the moon's orbit to Earth. But the crowds of people out along the beach watching seemed to suggest something was up. Of course the moon needs to be very close to the horizon to really notice a difference in size, but then every moonrise is beautiful here.


Summer Sunset at the Santa Barbara Harbor
Monday, June 30, 2014
Summer Sunset at the Santa Barbara Harbor

Last Thursday was shaping up to be a beautiful afternoon. The sky was full of wispy clouds and a clarity in the air that made me really want to get outdoors with my camera. Fortunately the long evenings this time of year give us plenty of time to enjoy the beauty around us. I knew our ultamate destination would be the harbor. But we got there in on a meandering route that let us explore the beaches along the way for anything interesting. (Interesting things like our favorite coffee spot in Montecito so I would have enough energy to carry thirty pounds of camera gear around all evening.) Once we got to the harbor, we found the tide high enough to make staying dry on the breakwater a challenge. But the splashing waves were beautiful in themselves. So beautiful in fact that I almost missed getting in place for the sunset while I tried to capture the power of the waves! More photos to come from that beautiful evening!


Lone Tree Sunset
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Lone Tree Sunset

Overlooking Haskell's Beach in Goleta from the Sandpiper Golf Course, this little tree is standing watch at the edge of the bluff. This particular day was absolutely beautiful (come to think of it, most days are here), but in this case there was just enough moisture in the air to make this beautiful golden evening light, but not so much that we didn't have an amazing view of the ocean and the fluffy white clouds above.


Harbor Bound
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Harbor Bound

The end to what looks like it was an amazing day of sailing. This sailboat is motoring its way back into the Santa Barbara Harbor under one of the most beautiful skies imaginable.


Sandpiper Sunset
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Sandpiper Sunset

The rain isn't the only thing we've been missing this year. The lack of moisture has made it a more timid than usual sunset season. But if there is one place you can count on to get every bit of breathtaking beauty out of a sunset it's Sandpiper Golf Course. Evenings like this make me want to take up golfing just to have an excuse to spend more time there.


Golden Reflection
Friday, January 24, 2014
Golden Reflection

Reflecting on the last sunset of 2013. This was during a beach walk on New Years Eve. I love the sailboats anchored off the coast, they always make me ponder going down to the harbor and renting one for a day or two. This one was at the perfect location relative to the beautiful stretch of Butterfly Beach I found myself on to line up perfectly with the sun and cloud above. Perhaps before the sun sets on another year I'll get down to the harbor and get the perspective from out on the water.


Golden Hour from the Montecito Hills
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Golden Hour from the Montecito Hills

Friday night was a wonderful night to be out enjoying our beautiful views. The sunset was absolutely amazing, but even before the clouds lit up with the colors of the sunset. As the sun slipped closer to the horizon the clouds seemed to swirl around it. leaving just enough space to watch it's descent and reflection on the ocean. In the center of the image you can just make out Stearns Wharf in the distance.


Queen of the Missions Sunset
Monday, January 20, 2014
Queen of the Missions Sunset

The end to another beautiful day, yesterday at the Santa Barbara Mission. The sunset this evening was absolutely amazing. The clouds were putting on a beautiful show long before the sun neared the horizon. It promised to be another amazing show, and when the colors really started it did not disappoint. The brightest glow like this only lasted for a few moments, but it was a fitting backdrop for such a beautiful example of historic architecture.


Stearns Sunset from the Vedanta Temple
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Stearns Sunset from the Vedanta Temple

Last night's sunset overlooking Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara from the grounds of the Vedanta Temple in Montecito. The sunsets have been a little less intense this year due to the lack of moisture in the air, but not last night. The beautiful colors in the sky seemed like they would just keep getting more and more intense. Another beautiful evening in Santa Barbara.


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.