Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gnarls Barkley

A closeup view showing the gnarly, abstract growth pattern of the Engelmann Oaks growing all over thousands of acres at Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. This species is now found only in far southwest California; this area near Murrieta and one other east of San Diego are the only two remaining large stands.
The colors around here are rather bland in the summer but can be really nice in the fall, especially in the right weather.  In this particular view, I wanted to concentrate on the complicated texture of the limbs, so I felt that monochrome would be the best approach.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Layer Cake

Next up in my series from Santa Rosa Plateau: this scene caught caught my attention because of the many different horizontal layers of textures and colors that seem to stack up when shot through a mild telephoto lens. Even the sky contributed. Most of this area is rolling hills, interspersed with thick groves of oak trees, so this shot of a single tree on a flat plain is kind of atypical for the area. This is looking out to the west, past the vernal pools that I mentioned couple of posts back.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Santa Rosa Plateau 3 - California Poppies

This is probably the only flower shot that I have ever posted here.. but it happens to fit in with the subject of this series about the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Reserve.  In the spring, these California poppies appear in abundance in the fields between the oak groves, along with some other various wildflowers, making for a real pretty nature walk through the thousands of acres of trees and grass.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Santa Rosa Plateau 2 - Vernal Pool

Vernal pools are small ponds that form, not from natural springs or a stream/river flow, but the collection of winter rains or snow melt and are usually at their highest point in the spring ("vernal" meaning spring).  There are some fairly large ones in this ecological reserve area, but if you go anytime other than late winter/early spring, they are likely to be dry, as was the case last time I was here. Then, it becomes a big, dry bed of cracked mud and no life.  This image is from a couple of years ago, when it was pretty full and teeming with life. No fish here, but amphibians and some other creatures have adapted to the temporary but protected nature of the environment, like this little guy that I caught swimming in the reeds. (Sorry, I don't know the species).