John & Anne Wiley


Soft Summer Start

Santa Barbarians have a long tradition of fun gatherings, and our favorite is the annual Summer Solstice Parade. This year it unfolded beneath a mostly soft overcast, with the sun peeking through just often enough to confound manual camera settings. Still, here are some of our pic pix from this sweet event starting with kids in the street as the parade approached.


0001 Family Fun

Soon the parade arrived with a group of dancing flamingos showing off their amazing high kicks, some perhaps learned back in high school.


0786 Kick Off

This year there were several floats with acrobats, like this one who adroitly balanced on a pole as their bouncing float was pushed uphill by volunteers (no motorized vehicles in this parade).


0789 Seahorse Acrobat

People of all ages join the parade, and the variety of expressions they wear hint at intriguing inner worlds.


0822 Faraway Eyes

Next to catch our eye was this kid in an interesting mask who like many in the parade and in the crowd, noticed our cameras.


0830 Hidden Eyes

Speaking of the crowd, one of my own interests is observing the observers who populate balconies and windows slightly above the crowd.


0832 Sociologists?

Another flamingo theme seemed to focus on kiddie pools and inflatable toys.


0844 Flamingo Flourish

We don’t know what the theme of this small group was, but we enjoyed watching their interactions.


0851 Bubble Heads

These very similar costumes may have been part of the group, but for some reason their helium balloons tied through nylons clearly evoked antennae.


0859 Feelers

This next group caught me catching them, and warmly welcomed the notice.


0867 Happy High

Some of the floats were especially magical and artistic for us, like this massive sculpture contemplatively inviting us into a deeper consciousness in the boisterous flow of colorful life.


0873 Gaia?

She was followed by a large smiling sun reflecting the mild warmth of this event.


0883 Seasonal Warmth

In a group of gracefully rolling butterflies, one was serenely walking with a flat tire.


0884 Grounded

In reference again to the crowd, check out the delighted kids at the left below enjoying the little dog.


0886 Kids & Dogs

This rolling butterfly on a hoverboard hints at some quality of Blues Brothers meets Ghostbusters.


0887 Orange is the new Butterfly

Behind a personal pedicab was this high-stepper (for a guy) escorting a gray bunny bike.


0938 Bunny Bike

Another acrobatic float featured three gals hanging out in hoops.


0950 Happy Hoopers

After many other delights, all too soon parade’s end approached. Usually last is this Pali inflatable acrobatic float.


0967 In The Bubble

There was also some combination of an intricately carved dragon and dark lion show in the parade finale, maybe referencing a movie we’ve not seen?


0973 Intricate Dragon

A tradition in our parades is eggshells filled with confetti. So following the last float with dancers and drummers came a crew with brooms pushing it all into the street for circling machines to collect for disposal. One of them paused long enough for us to snap this street chalk art message.


Chalk Art

A large crowd follows the last float to our stately 3-park complex where the floats are parked, and people in the parade mingle with the crowd. There are always several musical groups and drum circles performing amid the food and craft booths under the canopy of patient old trees.


0983 Park People



Fresh Water Cycle

February flying reminded me of the “water cycle” that land-based life depends on, starting with this view of the Devereux Slough. Clouds over the channel South of Campus Point were inching inland carrying water picked up from the ocean, purified by evaporation.


In the hills to the North, water that had previously fallen on the mountain slopes above was finding its way down waterfalls on a private road just above Goleta.


0146 Private Paradise

Higher up the slope we saw many other seasonal falls like this one tumbling from a quiet pond, and carving shapes into sandstone laid down in ancient seas.


0149 Passing Delight

One of my favorite local waterfalls was running even during the drought near San Marcos Pass just below a bend in highway 154. After the strong recent rain there it was gushing.


0153 Fast Water

From a different angle you can see how ripples in the flow interact with undulating ripples in the smooth rock beneath.


0156 Dual Ripples

Revisiting the popular Seven Falls, even in light dimmed by gathering high clouds the flow there looked stronger too.


0162 Seven Falls

On maximum zoom the camera provided a better look at the many beautiful pools beneath this string of short waterfalls.


0164 Bubbling Pools

We relish how this region ranges from the austerity of near desert conditions sometimes, to verdant seasons of misty moisture. Looking toward the East along Montecito’s coast was this summary view softened by water in air, sea and vegetation.


0182 Season of Plenty



SB “Winter”

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 06:25

Having lived where it often hit -40ƒ for a week and Winter is the longest season, Santa Barbara is a change of pace. Often the flying weather here is fabulous in January, and local sights like Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch are worth the short hop.


0032 Neverland Ranch Mansion Area

That time of year, we can often catch a glimpse of the mansion and guest houses if the trees are bare. In this pic they’re above the central pond, and the train station is upper left tho you can’t really see any details in this reduced pic. Still, I like the colors and patterns at this scale.

A couple of minutes over the hill from there is Zaca Lake – also easy on the eye. 🙂



By mid-January there was even water spilling water on a thirsty land from the Gibraltar Dam.


0113 Welcome Sight!

Coming home across the mountains toward SBA it was delightful to also see some water in one of the more popular local waterfalls.


0127 Seven Falls

March this year was great after rainfall in the normal range had transformed our slopes from drought brown to colors like this.


0613 Slash of Color



SB Sights

People worry. Folks we’ve met in other parts of the world ask if we worry about living in California. Topics often begin with earthquakes, and more recently may also include wildfires or the other disasters that have visited us here in the Santa Barbara area. In the instant after hearing such questions our thoughts usually turn to sights like this.


9716 A Favorite Scene

Anne has the best view of this just after we take off from SBA runway 15. The UCSB campus is simply breathtaking, especially given that we’ve explored it extensively on foot, bike and watercraft. Our dear Molly graduated there too, which always adds a level of sweet nostalgia.

After clearing this and other precious memories from our minds, we smile and reply that disaster fears haven’t reduced our delight in living here. Instead we prepare for and manage the risks as best we can, just like folks facing hurricanes, tornadoes, sea level rise etc., who love where they live. Lately we’re also seeing more rocket launches from nearby VAFB. We watched this one by SpaceX from our front yard when it came into view above mountains between here and Lompoc (snapped w/telephoto).


9916 SpaceX Launch Clears Mountains

The changes in the trail are always different and sometimes spectacular.


9923 SpaceX Into Thin Air

Altitude, atmospheric conditions, and rocket power level make for changes in the trail.


9934 SpaceX Space Edge

Long after the rocket is no longer visible from here, the trail often hangs in the air expanding and bending in the varying winds at the altitudes it passed through. One sunset launch created a magnificent colorful trail you may have seen pix of (alas, we heard it but didn’t go out to snap pix). Instead, here’s a more typical view of what the aftermath looks like.


9938 SpaceX Skywriting

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