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Shipwreck – Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California: January 2009 winter storm, Shipwreck, East Beach

Several big storms have been blowing through southern California over the last days causing quite a bit of chaos to a place that is normally used to sunshine.  High seas have torn several sailboats loose from their moorings and washed them ashore on East Beach near the Cabrillo Bath house.  Went down to the beach early this morning in a brief pause in the rain to take a few photos.  Now back at the house at 8:00 am, rain is pounding the windows and low rumbles of thunder can be heard every few minutes.

Winter storm 2009, East Beach Shipwreck, Santa Barbara California

Santa Barbara Fiesta Parade 2009

Today (Friday) at noon was the annual Fiesta parade here in Santa Barbara.  It is mostly an equestrian parade riders from different organizations from around the area taking part, many dressed in traditional Spanish or Mexican costumes.  Only a couple photos for now.  I’ve made a Fiesta photo gallery: HERE, which I’ll add photos to during the next days.

Fiesta parade 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Fiesta parade 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Fiesta parade 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Fiesta parade 2009, Santa Barbara, California

La Fiesta Pequeña – Santa Barbara Fiesta 2009

La Fiesta Pequeña ( the little Fiesta) On Wednesday night marks the beginning of Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days, otherwise known simply as ‘Fiesta.’  Fiesta occurs every August here in Santa Barbara and is the biggest festival of the year.  Traditional music and dancing combined with open air markets and parades attract thousands of people from the world over.  I’ll be out and about taking photos during the next days…

Images from tonight of dancers on the steps of the Santa Barbara mission at La Fiesta Pequeña:

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

Dancers, La Fiesta Pequena, 2009, Santa Barbara, California

The Kind and the Cruel Sea

Further down highway 1 from the Redwood national park area, yet still a few hours north of San Francisco, is Salt Point state park.  The waves here crash against rocky beaches and cliffs, rising into coastal bluffs and forests.

Salt Point state park, California

silhouette of trees at sunset

Rocky coastline at sunset, Salt Point state park, California

Dead seal pup on beach, Salt Point state park, California

In the rugged beauty of places like this, one is often reminded in the frailty of the life that lives there.  While the never ending crashing of waves may look good for my photo’s, they can be deadly obstacle for a young seal pup.  I counted 4 of the little guys along the short stretch of coast I walked along at days end.  The wind was blowing so fiercely that I would only pickup the smell when walking immediately down wind.  A quick search among the boulders and the source would be found.

Tafoni eroded boulder, Salt Point state park, California

Cool looking erosion in the sandstone rocks, called Tafoni.

Tafoni eroded boulder, Salt Point state park, California

Salt Point state park, California

The North Coast

After a night in the Mt. Shasta Area I headed west, through the winding mountain roads of the Trinity Alps and out towards the coast north of Eureka, almost to the Oregon border.  This area is the home to Redwood national park and numerous smaller state parks.  My favorite being Prairie Creek Redwoods state park, a mixture of thick redwood forests and beautiful beaches.  This area is so from my home in southern California (it is a shorter drive from Seattle, Washington than from Santa Barbara) that I only first came through here a couple years ago in the summer and then again in the autumn of 2007.

Gold Bluffs beach - Prairie Creek Redwoods state park, California

Prairie Creek Redwoods state park, California - tents among sanddunes at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

There is this super cool campground at Gold Bluffs beach, set amongst coastal dunes with the endless crashing waves of the Northern Pacific ocean just a couple hundred feet away.

Roosevelt Elk graze in camproung at Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie creek redwoods state park, California

Roosevelt Elk lazily wander and graze throughout the tents and campsites.  I would have liked to get a photo of them walking along the beach, but I never saw them there this time.  More reason to go back again.

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Fourth

Santa Barbara, California - 4th of July fireworks over harbor

4th of July fireworks over Santa Barbara Harbor.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta is one of my favorite mountains in California.  Unlike the chain of rugged granite peaks of the Sierra, Shasta is simply a giant volcano rising 10,000 (3,000m) above the surrounding landscape to a height of 14,179 ft (4,322 m).  The mountain is at the southern end of the Cascade range, a series of (mostly) volcanic peaks surrounded by endless Bigfoot-roamed forests starting in northern California, through Oregon and Washington and up into British Columbia.

Panoramic landscape photography Nikon d700 85mm tilt-shift lens - Mount Shasta, California

Landscape stock photography - Mount Shasta, California

Panoramic landscape photography Nikon d700 85mm tilt-shift lens - Mount Shasta, California

Landscape stock photography - Mount Shasta, California

Tuolumne Meadows and the Yosemite High Country

After the Morning at the Alabama Hills I was yet undecided as to where to go.  As I headed north towards Bishop I heard the days weather forecast on the radio:  hot and sunny in the Owen’s valley and a possibility of thunderstorms up by Yosemite.  So off I went!

No thunderstorms ever arrived, but at least there were some nice clouds during the afternoon and of course at the 9,000ft of Tuolumne Meadows, a sane temperature.  I’ve never acually been here during the summer (usually in the autumn), so it was nice to see everything lush and green, and full of tourists.  Lucky enough, I found myself a campsite at the Tuolumne Meadows campground which saved me from having to drive out of the park at night, and back again in the early morning for sunrise.

Even in the sun, the Sierra hummingbird mosquito was in full attack mode.  Around sunset, while standing in the meadows, I estimate something like 5-6 bites per photo taken.  I remembered why I never go near the Sierra high country during summer.

Lone rock on top of Pothole dome, Tuolumne meadown, Yosemite national park, California

Lone rock sits on Pothole dome.  I wonder how long that rock has been sitting there?

Panoramic landscape photo of granite mountains of Yosemite high country, California

Panoramic photo of Tenaya lake and high country, Yosemite national park, California

View from above Olmstead point looking back towards Tenaya lake.

Panoramic landscape photo: Tuolumne meadows at sunset, Yosemite national park, California

Sunset over flooded field in Tuolumne Meadows.  Lembert dome in the middle of photo, with 13,053 ft (3979 m) Mt. Dana rising in the distant background.

Alabama Hills and Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains

The Alabama Hills are one of my favorite places here in California and a usual stop anytime I head to the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Normally I avoid the area during summer as the temperature is often well above my level of tolerance,  But I decided to check things out anyhow.  On the way up as I was crossing the Antelope Valley before entering the high desert area, I knew I would be in trouble from the heat.  I guess after too much time in Northern Europe, I had forgotten that I really don’t enjoy myself in 100˚ (37˚c) temperatures (yes, I’m spoiled living on the coast).  Turning off in Lone Pine during the late afternoon I headed straight through the Alabama hills and up to the 8,000 (2500m) foot coolness of the Whitney Portal to get a bit of an escape from the heat.  The light was pretty bad anyhow, so I sat around up there and got eaten by mosquitoes for an hour or two.

I have a couple favorite places to camp, but since there is so much to see, I usually do a little exploring to see if I can’t find some cool new place.  The whole area is open for wild camping, so I like to look for a spot where I can roll out the back of my truck at dawn, walk about 10 feet or crawl up some rock and start shooting.  Sure beats having to drive anywhere!

Alabama HIlls, Owen's valley, California

Panoramic landscape stock photography: Alabama Hills, Owen's valley, California

Night panoramic landscape photography Nikon d700 85mm tilt-shift lens: Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

The sunset was actually one of the boring-er ones that I’ve witnessed, but what can you do.  Took a few night photos, but a pretty good wind picked up around sundown which was blowing a lot of dust around.  So after a five minute photo, I’d have to clean everything off again.

NIght photography Nikon d700: star trails over rock formations, Alabama Hills, California

Dawn broke to a perfectly clear sky, again, nothing spectacular.  Better weather for climbing than photography.

Tilt-Shift panoramic landscape photography: Sierra Nevada mountains, California

Lone Pine peak in the center of the photo, with Mount Whitney (14,505 feet – 4,421m, highest mountain in California and lower 48) on the very right of the photo in the pre-dawn light.

Landscape stock photography: Mobius Arch, Alabama Hills, Owen's Valley, California

Mobius Arch, one of the more famous icons in the area.

Alabama Hills and Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lone Pine, California

By 7:00 am it was already getting hot and the light hazy and washed out.  So I decided to some place higher and cooler for the day…

Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Parade

Today (Saturday) was the annual summer solstice parade here in Santa Barbara.  This was the first time I’ve gone in years and years so I thought I might go and take some photos.  Definitely a lot more colorful and sunny compared to how they celebrate midsummer in Germany, but I don’t think we could get away with huge bonfires here in Southern California.

Santa Barbara, California, USA - Annual summer solstice parade. June 20, 2009

Santa Barbara, California, USA - Annual summer solstice parade. June 20, 2009

Santa Barbara, California, USA - Annual summer solstice parade. June 20, 2009

Santa Barbara, California, USA - Annual summer solstice parade. June 20, 2009

Santa Barbara, California, USA - Annual summer solstice parade. June 20, 2009

Santa Barbara, California, USA - Annual summer solstice parade. June 20, 2009

Santa Barbara, California, USA - Annual summer solstice parade. June 20, 2009

Lots and lots of colorful costumes: some cool looking, some funny, some strange and some just a little bizarre.  But hey, it’s summer now…

Click here for a gallery of more photos