My April 2016 Photo of the Month is Figueroa Mountain Valley, an image made North of Santa Barbara during a clearing storm.
In recent years, I have missed the bulk of California wildflower season because my daughter’s birthday falls in March and my Spring Break with her usually falls right in peak flower season. One of my favorite places to visit blooms in April though, and I have always loved the California Poppies that can be found on Figueroa Mountain. When I read about an incoming storm set to hit Santa Barbara County, I got my gear and got on the highway.
As you can see, the weather did not disappoint. Dramatic light and clouds were everywhere. I made over a dozen keepers in just a couple hours. Clouds, fog, emerging light, shadows, flowers, and rugged hillsides. Figueroa Mountain is a sublime place. In fact, this was the location of Michael Jackson’s famous Neverland Ranch.
This image was my favorite. I loved the beautiful green hillsides and the cloud layer below. Being in a Mediterranean climate, this is just something I do not see often.
This month, my family lost my Grandfather, Arnold House. In fact, I made this image shortly before I got the phone call that my Grandfather was in the hospital and things were serious. I would be in Yuma a couple days later to see him, and unfortunately he was not able to survive the blood clot that had severely damaged his heart. So it is with a lot of sadness that I select this image. I will miss my Grandfather, a gregarious storyteller and a very caring human who was talented beyond measure. I will never look at this image and not think of my Grandfather. I do hope that with time I can smile more, but for now this image I love is one I will be emotional about.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image and write-up.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.