John & Anne Wiley

2018/06/21

As I Was Saying…

Well, it’s quite amazing to me that nothing new has appeared here since 2/28 (about our 3/29/2017 flight!) and here we are with the delightful 2018 SB Solstice Parade just days away! I guess it’s surprising that it’s amazing, since I’m mainly the one who’s been adding posts here. I’m beside myself. 😉

A few days after that island flight we enjoyed flying past some hillside poppies and lupine near Ventura. The slope had been scarred by fire, and little did we know then that it would burn again in the horrific Thomas Fire (more on that after more catch up posts).

8165 Poppies & Lupine

8165 Poppies & Lupine

We walked the lovely beaches in this area, but seldom take pix then. Why then do we sometimes snap beaches from the air and enjoy “seeing ourselves” down there? Maybe because when a plane flies past us on the beach, we look up and drink in the music of flight recalling being there just as we snap the memories of strolling and wading down there?

8405 Up & Down Beach

8405 Up & Down Beach

It’s always a magical delight when we see whales. Scientists say our mirror neurons fire when we empathize with their parental nurturing.

8557 Swimming Lessons

8557 Swimming Lessons

The scalloped shoreline of Lake Cachuma is often interesting from above, especially when there’s green on the slopes.

8887 Cachuma Shores

8887 Cachuma Shores

Flower fields are another favorite.

8961 Color Harvest

8961 Color Harvest

We like to watch birds in flight, though we seldom see them while we’re flying because they see us far before we see them. Even other aircraft can easily escape our scan due to the distance between us. So it was fun to see this pilot stretching his wings near the edge of a beach bluff.

8975 Birdman

8975 Birdman

Speaking of beach bluffs, some of them tear into the sea in sheets. Pages of pre-history tilted up over eons until they tumble down into the waves they formed beneath, rose above, then dissolved back into.

9152 Over, Under, In

9152 Over, Under, In

Sometimes picking up inexpensive fresh local colorful and nutritious organic produce at the State Street Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, we’ll glance up when a plane flies over. On the rare times we’re flying over it ourselves, we may snap a pic and zoom in later to notice that nobody down there looked up. We’re rare birds.

9500 Market Colors

9500 Market Colors

Sometimes on a clear day while things are still green in late Spring, the hills and fields of Santa Paula just sparkle.

9661 Santa Paula Valley

9661 Santa Paula Valley

Other times the geometry of life and human hands stands out, like the geometry of joy on this day they cleaned out the sandbox at Shoreline Park.

9686 Shape of Play

9686 Shape of Play

Sometimes the sea rises into the air and tries to devour the land, only to vanish in the sun.

9751 Land, Sea, Air

9751 Land, Sea, Air

So in this very abbreviated collection, I’ve almost brought us up to a year ago. How long before I can make time to share more of the delights we’re so fortunate to enjoy?

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2018/02/28

Santa Rosa Island

Filed under: Flying,Has Photos,Inner World,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 18:57

After our quick Santa Barbara Channel Islands tour past San Miguel, we headed East along the South coast of Santa Rosa. There was a soft glow of moisture in the air that day, so I’d put a polarizing filter on the camera to cut the haze. That let me get this long zoom shot of blooms on the North side of Santa Rosa earlier as we descended from the crossing toward San Miguel.

7779 Santa Rosa Blooms

7779 Santa Rosa Blooms

Now we were enjoying a look at Santa Rosa’s SW tip with Point Conception to the NW in the blue hazy distance.

7850 Santa Rosa W. Tip

7850 Santa Rosa W. Tip

Off to our right was a view across Santa Rosa’s rumpled blanket of green to the more mountainous Santa Cruz Island.

7852 NE Across Santa Rosa

7852 NE Across Santa Rosa

But of course closer in we were looking down at pinnipeds hauled out in a small sunny cove and more painterly colors of sand, stone, and island plant life.

7853 Plants & Pinnipeds

7853 Plants & Pinnipeds

The sea caves, shapes and colors of Santa Rosa shores were especially delicious that day, thanks to splashes of wildflowers on some slopes.

7856 Santa Rosa Colors

7856 Santa Rosa Colors

Glancing back toward the West tip, wisps of Pacific color caressed the South coast washed by waves coming to rest after their thousands of miles at sea.

7861 Water Colors

7861 Water Colors

We wondered what plant was making this color we couldn’t name amid faint blotches of red.

7862 Deep Purple Plant

7862 Deep Purple Plant

Already the delights of San Miguel were sliding into the distant memories of these precious minutes that somehow merge into an impression of beauty beyond words. We’re glad to have a few hundred pix to temporarily restore tiny particles of that unfolding panorama we saw, almost proving we actually saw paradise. In the wide and long pix like this one, I can pick out a few of the zoom pix that in reality were much more powerful in living 3D context.

7866 Timeless Memories

7866 Timeless Memories

Even more magical we still had much more of just this second unique island among the four, stretching out ahead!

7868 S.Rosa to S.Cruz

7868 S.Rosa to S.Cruz

But this post is already getting long so I’ll share this one last look of Santa Rosa entire, back toward San Miguel.

7905 Santa Rosa Island

7905 Santa Rosa Island

A green gemstone sprawled in a placid sea beneath wisps of cloud, Santa Rosa Island enchanted us yet again that day.

2018/02/27

Island Colors

Santa Barbara is our favorite region to fly. Among the many reasons is the delicious set of Santa Barbara Channel Islands just a few minutes from SBA. March 29, 2017 we decided to fly out and see if they were still green from the Spring rains, and maybe even spot some wildflower blooms.

Every takeoff from SBA immediately greets the observer with 360 degrees of magnificent views, plus of course the view up into the blue (often with a garnish of a few clouds) and back downward for a new perspective on the familiar scenes below.

7529 Down to UCSB

7529 Down to UCSB

Views like this of the Campus Point part of UCSB are always beautiful, though on this day we were climbing at full power and thus already higher than usual above the foot and bike paths, surfers, SUPs, rolling waves and placid lagoon.

Soon we saw a giant pod of dolphins swimming and leaping toward the West across our path.

7745 1/3 Dolphin Frenzy

7745 1/3 Dolphin Frenzy

This is only about a third of the pod, cropped to give a sense of the size while also showing a tiny bit of detail. In the full-resolution pic you can see that many of them are under the water, while this pic shows mostly the ones breaking the surface. Wonder what the frenzy was about!

Our eyes were still darting to and fro taking in the wonders as we descended along the North shore of San Miguel Island, one of our two favorites among the four clustered off our coast (Anacapa is the other). I’m seduced by the flat striped West end that presented this angle when we turned back eastward along the South shore.

7784 East San Miguel Island

7784 West San Miguel Island

In this particular view I see a coyote leaping left about to gulp a big meal (the high tide islet formed by Point Bennett just offshore). Off in the distance beyond I snapped this zoom of stony Castle Rock across to the North.

7793 Sea Caves

7793 Sea Caves

There are lots of sea caves on the islands, and this little rocky companion boasts quite a collection. I presume they’re used by lots of wildlife. Dustings of white lead me to guess that plenty of birds hang out on the rocks between meals, or maybe longer to raise their families. Here’s a wide shot with Castle Rock at the top center, showing some of San Miguel’s colors that day.

7794 San Miguel Colors

7794 San Miguel Colors

I like how the variations in ocean color complement the shades of sand and life. Many of the grayish hues along the beaches are actually large groups of pinnipeds digesting their lunch in the warm sun. Here’s a closer look at the island colors, with a soft wash of purple, blue and yellow wildflowers.

7797 San Miguel Bloom

7797 San Miguel Bloom

Now a zoom of this little cove with its striated rocks, surging and receding waves, arroyo meanders, and dappled textures in greens, browns and blues.

7809 Tidal Cove

7809 Tidal Cove

A few leisurely minutes later we were looking back toward the Northwest at this glorious long view, already on our way East to the other islands.

7839 San Miguel to NW

7839 San Miguel to NW

2018/02/26

Shadows of Color

Coming home from our 2017 mountain wildflower flight March 24th we saw Neverland. That former playground of Michael Jackson’s that had seemed drab when last we saw it, had burst into brilliant colors as if leaping from the shadows of memory.

7452 Train Time

7452 Train Time

I don’t know if the clock was accurate, but someone had clearly been working to keep it spiffy. Perhaps they were aided by the recent rain. Another floral name was also back in bloom, though seemingly less pampered out where colorful carnival rides had once cast their shadows and now is bare concrete.

7436 Missing Shadows

7436 Missing Shadows

The petting zoo now appears an Old West ghost town.

7402 Fantasy Town

7402 Fantasy Town

Mansions by the small lake while also quiet, seem especially well tended. Are they awaiting return of days gone by, or preparing for new dreamers?

7433 Leisure Life

7433 Leisure Life

Without pausing to ponder such questions we flew on past Nojoqui Falls, thrilled to see it gracefully spreading slender fingers of water again.

7475 Nojoqui Falls

7475 Nojoqui Falls

Winging through Gaviota Pass we greeted the ocean again where it met the colorful hills of last Spring at Hollister Ranch.

2414 Hollister Ranch

2414 Hollister Ranch

One last reminder of that rainy aftermath was Lake Los Carneros as we prepared to land back at SBA. The marsh beneath the footbridge was still mostly dry, but the lake did look less parched and bedraggled than in the exceptional drought of a few months earlier. Swimming above so much green erased brown to bring us briefly beyond the shadow of a drought.

2417 Lake Los Carneros

2417 Lake Los Carneros

2018/02/25

Fires & Flowers

As we face yet another long hot summer fire season with exceptionally dry rainy season, it’s sobering to continue my catch up process of posting here. March 20 saw us taking the short flight to Santa Paula again for more aircraft pampering. Along the way we enjoyed more views of flowers on the hillsides near Ventura.

7252 Lupine

7252 Lupine

That particular hillside was especially attractive, where lupine minged with other wildflowers and crags from a recent fire. It also offered safe terrain and winds to fly within a few hundred feet and catch zoom pix like these that highlight the flowers.

7244 Patchwork

7244 Patchwork

Somewhere out beyond Santa Paula there was a wildfire painting a pall of smoke hinting at the largest fire in CA history that would devastate this whole region in a few months.

7232 Smoky Omen

7232 Smoky Omen

Most of the hillsides were still green though, so the next day we decided to stretch our wings with a flight out across Santa Ynez Valley. The rock formations there never cease to fascinate.

2380 Wrinkled Rock

2380 Wrinkled Rock

Sedimentary layers open pages of geology going back countless millennia beyond our brief time in the sun. Other rocks stand guard above eroded meadows dotted with blooms.

7363 Stone Castle

7363 Stone Castle

More sandstone layers lead the eye down into Zaca Lake nestled in a crook of the hidden valley.

7376 Zaca Lake

7376 Zaca Lake

The poppies ran amok on Grass Mountain, where our long zoom caught this relaxing scene.

7395 Grass Mtn Poppies

7395 Grass Mtn Poppies

Though pale in comparison with prior flights in the Figueroa Mountain area, the brief intense rain of early 2017 had painted some scattered hillsides and meadows in the hues of various blossoms. They describe delicate intriguing shapes telling the story of subtle variations in soil chemistry and many other factors over time.

7351 Hue of a Moment

7351 Hue of a Moment

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