John & Anne Wiley


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


Fire Water Mix

You probably saw this region in the news (and this blog), first for our drought and then our fires. For example, flying near Camarillo the Woolsey Fire provided a tragic sort of beauty looking toward Point Dume.


Woolsey Fire

Wind was whipping the water from the Oxnard area toward sunset beyond the Channel Islands, making for a otherworldly scene.


9575 Surreal Sunset

The coastal slopes of our own Santa Ynez Mountains had begun to recover from the horrific Thomas Fire, but were still mostly bare. Tangerine Falls just to the right of the bottom center, was scrubbed clean and nearly unrecognizable.


9688 Thomas Fire Recovery

By 11/22/2018 the popular Casa de Maria retreat center was struggling to recover from our Montecito debris flow disaster, caused by a torrential January downpour on those bare slopes.


9668 La Casa de Maria 11/22/2018

Hiking the Tucker’s Grove trail later that day provided a welcome reminder of how our creeks usually look. San Antonio Creek was relatively untouched by the fires and floods of that year.  Just looking at this pic again now, of the lively boulder alongside it, triggered a deep nourishing breath of serenity.


9695 Silent Boulder Garnish


Scene From Above

Here are a few more aerial views, starting with the geometry of field and stream in the CA Salinas Valley.


5074 Nature & Nurture

The last pic I ever snapped from Tripp was of the Laguna Blanca area of Hope Ranch on a smoky and hazy day, that for me evokes the mist of memory.


5187 Era’s End

As weather finally began to hint at drought relief, from a safe distance we enjoyed the look of clouds beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains.


8976 Beyond the Divide

It’s nice having the long zoom lens of the Sony RX-10m4 for pix like these.


9421 Cachuma & Clouds

A few days later we enjoyed this somehow rakish view of Lake Cachuma.


9004 Angles & Reflections

Though it was from a Cachuma dam release to replenish ground water in the Santa Ynez Valley, it was nice to see a thin strip of green amid bone dry scrub.


9495 Thirsty Land



It’s surprising to me how much has happened since the last post here! So finally today a little time opened up to share more pix since the end of our last big Tripp trip to the Pacific Northwest and UK/EU airline adventures. We were deep in an epic drought back in July, with wildfires running amok and smoke hanging over our brown hills.


4804 Veiled Brown

People were enjoying our beaches though, like this one next to the marina.


4966 Shape of Water

August brought much more of the same.


5007 Watersports

Including wildfires that felt overwhelming despite the courage of firefighters rushing toward the dense smoke.


5115 Defender

August also sadly saw our last flight in beautiful Tripp. There’s a story in the performing arts about how to get the most from every show: make it for two people. The person seeing it for the first time, and the person seeing it for the last time. Though we hope to see many more flights in small planes in coming years, harvesting pix of familiar sights from that last Tripp flight is extra special now.


5128 Kelp Harvest

Hendry’s Beach (Arroyo Burro) evokes the relaxed mood in our zoom pix as we rode our magic carpet offshore that last time.


5140 Relaxing


« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: