Category

Photo of the Day

Late Night Run to the Ice Machine

Photo of the Day

As soon as we check into a hotel room, any hotel room, one of my kids always has to make a run to the ice machine. What’s up with that?

Girl walks down hotel corridor at night, carrying ice bucket, abstract blur time exposure

Girl walks down hotel corridor at night, carrying ice bucket, abstract blur time exposure.
Image ID: 20571

Photos of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Photo of the Day

We went for an easy hike at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve in Murrieta on Sunday. We hit the reserve shortly after sunrise to be there before the crowds and to give the poppies in Elsinore, which we would see later in the morning, some time to warm in the sun and open up. Mike took me to his secret spot where chocolate lilies (Fritillaria biflora) are blooming. We saw lots of them, it was quite a display. Indeed, they look like chocolate. I was more interested in the oaks along the trail, they are bigger so I don’t have to blowout my knees crouching down to photograph them like I would with the lilies. Backlit as they were by the morning sun, the oaks were so contrasty that I had to resort to the old HDR multi-exposure technique to make them look reasonable.

Oak tree and dirt walking path, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Murrieta, California

Oak tree and dirt walking path.
Image ID: 20531
Location: Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Murrieta, California, USA

Oak tree and dirt walking path, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Murrieta, California

Oak tree and dirt walking path.
Image ID: 20532
Location: Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Murrieta, California, USA

Oak tree and pastoral rolling grass-covered hills, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Murrieta, California

Oak tree and pastoral rolling grass-covered hills.
Image ID: 20538
Location: Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Murrieta, California, USA

Photos of Poppies in San Diego

California, Photo of the Day, San Diego

California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) have been blooming all over the place in the San Diego area, courtesy of the terrible wildfires last fall and the perfectly spaced rainfall of the last two months. Here is a hillside that was burnt in October, now coming alive with spring color. My friend turned me on to this little spot.

California poppies cover the hillsides in bright orange, just months after the area was devastated by wildfires, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Del Dios, San Diego

California poppies cover the hillsides in bright orange, just months after the area was devastated by wildfires.
Image ID: 20490
Species: California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica
Location: Del Dios, San Diego, California, USA

Palm Tree Farm

Photo of the Day

I wandered around a palm tree farm in the desert, feeling like I was amid some kind of midget forest. The palm fronds were just above my head, and the ground was covered in thick fuzz and trimmings from the trees. Due to the wide lens I used, these trees look a lot taller than they really are.

Palm trees on a tree farm, looking like a forest of palms, Borrego Springs, California

Palm trees on a tree farm, looking like a forest of palms.
Image ID: 20475
Location: Borrego Springs, California, USA

Photo of McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Photo of the Day

I stopped for a bit in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, to make the short walk to McWay Falls. I walked over to the bluff you see above and to the right of the falls, the one with the trees overlooking the ocean. There is a small campground hidden in those trees, probably the coolest little camp hideout I have ever seen, I had no idea it was there. It would be great to set up our little tent and spend an afternoon on that perch, among the trees, with the falls just below. McWay Falls is fed by underground springs so it flows strongly year-round. It drops from oceanside cliffs directly onto the sand of McWay Cove and, when viewed from the overlook, is surrounded by the incredible Big Sur coastline. I saw a few gray whales blow and sound while I was there. Its a great place and literally only about 10 minutes by foot from Highway 1.

McWay Falls drops 80 feet on the sand in McWay Cove.  McWay Falls is fed by springs so falls year round, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California

McWay Falls drops 80 feet on the sand in McWay Cove. McWay Falls is fed by springs so falls year round.
Image ID: 20363
Location: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California, USA

McWay Falls drops 80 feet on the sand in McWay Cove.  McWay Falls is fed by springs so falls year round, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California

McWay Falls drops 80 feet on the sand in McWay Cove. McWay Falls is fed by springs so falls year round.
Image ID: 20365
Location: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California, USA

Photos of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse

Photo of the Day

The Piedras Blancas lighthouse, which sits on BLM land just north of San Simeon and Hearst Castle in central California, originally stood 115 feet tall when it was completed in 1875. It is one of only two coastline “tall-style” lighthouses on the California coast, the other being at Point Arena. The original lens and lensroom were damaged in a storm, and now the lens is on display in the town of Cambria nearby. A replacement, automated light is now in use in the tower.

Piedras Blancas lighthouse.  Completed in 1875, the 115-foot-tall Piedras Blancas lighthouse is one of the few tall-style lighthouses on the West Coast of the United States.  Piedras Blancas, named for a group of three white rocks just offshore, is north of San Simeon, California very close to Hearst Castle

Piedras Blancas lighthouse. Completed in 1875, the 115-foot-tall Piedras Blancas lighthouse is one of the few tall-style lighthouses on the West Coast of the United States. Piedras Blancas, named for a group of three white rocks just offshore, is north of San Simeon, California very close to Hearst Castle.
Image ID: 20348
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California, USA

Piedras Blancas lighthouse.  Completed in 1875, the 115-foot-tall Piedras Blancas lighthouse is one of the few tall-style lighthouses on the West Coast of the United States.  Piedras Blancas, named for a group of three white rocks just offshore, is north of San Simeon, California very close to Hearst Castle

Piedras Blancas lighthouse. Completed in 1875, the 115-foot-tall Piedras Blancas lighthouse is one of the few tall-style lighthouses on the West Coast of the United States. Piedras Blancas, named for a group of three white rocks just offshore, is north of San Simeon, California very close to Hearst Castle.
Image ID: 15654
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California, USA

Piedras Blancas lighthouse.  Completed in 1875, the 115-foot-tall Piedras Blancas lighthouse is one of the few tall-style lighthouses on the West Coast of the United States.  Piedras Blancas, named for a group of three white rocks just offshore, is north of San Simeon, California very close to Hearst Castle

Piedras Blancas lighthouse. Completed in 1875, the 115-foot-tall Piedras Blancas lighthouse is one of the few tall-style lighthouses on the West Coast of the United States. Piedras Blancas, named for a group of three white rocks just offshore, is north of San Simeon, California very close to Hearst Castle.
Image ID: 20350
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California, USA

Photo of Sea Otter Mother and Pup

California, Morro Bay, Photo of the Day

On my way back down the coast from Big Sur I made a stop in Morro Bay for a bite, and to take a quick look in the harbor for interesting fishing boats, birds or otters. I didn’t see any good birds, and the light was overcast which made for poor photography of boats, but I went to my secret otter spot and lo-and-behold I found a raft of eight sea otters (Enhydra lutris), including three pups. This pup was constantly on the move, diving and swimming circles around its mother and making lots of loud chirping noises. In fact I heard him from far off before I even saw the otters. I hung out for about an hour trying to get some photos of the otters, but they were mostly resting, tied up in kelp to keep from drifting with the incoming tide.

A female sea otter floats on its back on the ocean surface while her pup pops its head above the water for a look around.  Both otters will wrap itself in kelp (seaweed) to keep from drifting as it rests and floats, Enhydra lutris, Morro Bay, California

A female sea otter floats on its back on the ocean surface while her pup pops its head above the water for a look around. Both otters will wrap itself in kelp (seaweed) to keep from drifting as it rests and floats.
Image ID: 20434
Species: Sea otter, Enhydra lutris
Location: Morro Bay, California, USA

Photo of a Brown Pelican Preening

California, La Jolla, Pelicans, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

Here is a California brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) preening. Using it’s long bill, the pelican spreads preen oil from its uropygial gland (near its tail) and spreads it over its wings and head. The preen oil helps to keep the feathers clean and dry. Check out the bird’s coloration, it is at the height of it’s breeding plumage with a bright red throat and chestnut brown hind neck.

See our Guide to Photographing Pelicans in La Jolla.

A brown pelican preening, reaching with its beak to the uropygial gland (preen gland) near the base of its tail.  Preen oil from the uropygial gland is spread by the pelican's beak and back of its head to all other feathers on the pelican, helping to keep them water resistant and dry.  Note adult winter breeding plumage in display, with brown neck, red gular throat pouch and yellow and white head, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

A brown pelican preening, reaching with its beak to the uropygial gland (preen gland) near the base of its tail. Preen oil from the uropygial gland is spread by the pelican’s beak and back of its head to all other feathers on the pelican, helping to keep them water resistant and dry. Note adult winter breeding plumage in display, with brown neck, red gular throat pouch and yellow and white head.
Image ID: 20295
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Photo of a Pelican in Flight

California, Pelicans, Photo of the Day, Wildlife

Yet another photo of a pelican in flight. This California brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) is seen soaring over the cliffs looking for a place to land and preen in the warm sun.

See our Guide to Photographing Pelicans in La Jolla.

Brown pelican in flight.  The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status.  In winter months, breeding adults assume a dramatic plumage, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

Brown pelican in flight. The wingspan of the brown pelican is over 7 feet wide. The California race of the brown pelican holds endangered species status. In winter months, breeding adults assume a dramatic plumage.
Image ID: 20294
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA