Saturday, December 10

Happy Accident on the Carrizo Plain

When I told a friend that I was heading to Carrizo Plain with a birder, she asked if I made bird photographs. Not me, I said. I am not equipped with the gear or patience to make a practice of capturing birds in pixels.

But every so often, life hands you an opportunity that works. So here is my best bird photo ever (and that probably applies to future endeavors, too).

When we first encountered this red tail hawk (Nan identified it), it was perched on a fence post smack in front of us. It was patient and posed while I grabbed my camera and adjusted the exposure settings.

Oh yeah, shooting through the windshield in autofocus does not work.

Manual focus worked but don't look too close as focus is not my strong suit. Besides the hawk had given up posing for me and returned to the business of scanning the landscape for dinner.

Shortly after that, something spooked the hawk and it took off then settled down just left of the car. Just outside my window! I quickly snapped off a few frames (checking the focus as I went) and magically caught some good ones. Please - click the panel for a better view.
What a happy send-off from the Carrizo Plain.

Thursday, December 8

From The Basin Through The Valleys To The Plain

Up San Marcos Pass to the overlook and this sharp-eyed California grizzly among poppies.

Pause at Bradbury Dam to examine Lake Cachuma. The water level is troubling - so low.

But, on this autumn morning, green promise in the oak landscape.

Down into Los Alamos Valley, we hurried to lunch then sped off across the Santa Ynez Valley.

We drove Tepusquet Road both ways before turning toward Santa Maria Valley.

Does Tepusquet come from the Spanish "tepuzque" (in English "tease").

Tomorrow, Carrizo Plain.