At the urging of many friends, I am creating a post that includes what are my personal favorite images of 2016. Continue reading
My September 2016 Photo of the Month is Gray Reflecting Moment, an image made at Hospitals Reef in La Jolla during a dark but beautiful morning. Continue reading
Pinyon Point In The Laguna Mountains
My friend Alex Kunz took me to an awesome location near Stephenson Peak in the Laguna Mountains called Pinyon Point. Pinyon Pines are very rare, and this may be the only location in the Laguna Mountains. This is Alex’s post, which was his August Photo of the Month. Continue reading
An Evening In Glamis
Glamis is well-known for off-highway vehicle hobbyists, but it can be a wonderful places for photographers as well. My Friend Alex Kunz and I decided to go out and do an evening and night landscape photo shoot in East San Diego County and Imperial County. This link will take you to Alex’s post on Pinyon Point in the Laguna Mountains. Here is my Pinyon Point blog post. Continue reading
Volcan Mountain Storm Hiking
My friend Alex Kunz and I decided a storm was the perfect time to get out and make some images. This time, we picked Volcan Mountain outside of Julian, California. We hiked in from the fire road to the Five Oaks Trail before reaching the summit. This is a collection of images from the hike.
As always, clicking on any of the images will launch a slideshow.
While making images in the fog is always a lot of fun, there were other highlights. The manzanitas looked amazing in the rain, with a beautiful sheen from the precipitation. It was a unique look.
We also experienced “tree rain.” For the most part, it wasn’t raining while we were hiking. However, there was an immense amount of water in the trees, so every time the wind kicked up, rain dropped on us from above.
While the wildflower season is over in the lower elevations, we were pleasantly surprised to find beautiful wildflowers in the 4,000 to 5,200 elevations on Volcan Mountain. The lupine were huge, if not sparse. And as luck would have it, Alex wanted to check out a side trail on the top and wondered what the source of the orange was in the distance. I immediately knew we were looking at California Poppies. I had no idea they could be found in San Diego County, but it was perfect habitat. On the wet side of the mountain, on an undisturbed hillside, it reminded me of the poppies that grown on Figureroa Mountain where I had been only weeks before. This was an excellent treat.
Hollenbeck Canyon In April
The California Chaparral is overlooked throughout Southern and Central California, but it is a unique plant community and ecosystem only found in this area of the world. Adapted to a mild and dry climate, many of the brushes and woodlands are unique.
The main goal this morning was simply to hike and get outdoors. We started our hike at 7 AM just as the sun was hitting the higher nearby points like Otay Mountain. It was cool, in the low 40s, but it was very good hiking weather. The trail begins at a parking lot off Honey Springs Road and climbs a small hill before dropping into Hollenbeck Canyon.
Our destination was a grove of oaks that Alex has photographed many times. Indeed, it was a beautify and shady grove, and was a nice way to get out of the sun as it moved overhead. One highlight was getting to use Alex’s Rokinon tilt-shift lens. It makes perfect panoramic images with no parallax. I might need to get me one!
Leaving the grove, we took an outer loop that took us back to the parking lot. There was a lot of evidence of its ranching past, from a corral to miles of fence line. It was too late for good Spring images. Despite the 2015 – 2016 El Nino season, much of Southern California did not get nearly as much rain as hoped.
Alex has trained with the Chaparral Institute, and he pointed out that the incredible frequency of human-created wildfire has taken a huge toll on the chaparral environment accustomed to 30 – 100 years between major wildfires. There was also a lot of invasive mustard along the trails, undoubtedly carried by human traffic. Finally, he pointed out that we know of these chaparral grasses are actually invasives that have out-competed native California grasslands.
I am looking forward to visiting Hollenbeck Canyon more (when it is cool), especially next Winter when our Spring wildflowers get started a little early in February.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the images!