Wednesday, September 29, 2010

California Nights

California Nights, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I'm back in Southern California.

Last night I spotted clouds in the west, and rushed to Shell Beach to catch the sunset. It was a beautiful evening, 70 degrees with amazing colors in the sky.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Painting with Light in Lake Tahoe

Tahoe, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I was standing in the water when I took this picture.

With my phone on maximum brightness, I painted the word "Tahoe" in air during a 30-second exposure with my camera. This is the end result...and the best one out of at least a dozen attempts!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Pacific Valley - Big Sur

Pacific Valley, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Back in May I was offered the opportunity to stay at a private ranch in Big Sur overlooking the ocean. I jumped at the chance, and spent a weekend in early June in the southern section of Big Sur. Got this photo at a beach in a hamlet called Pacific Valley, several miles south of the ranch where I stayed. It was quite a beautiful place...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Tree of Swirl

The Tree of Swirl, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Whoa! This picture must have been Photoshopped, right?! Wrong - it's all done in camera.

This photo actually shows a tree in my backyard. I got it by zooming in while simultaneous spinning the camera. Pretty cool, huh?

Pizza in North Beach

North Beach, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

The North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco is famous for being Italian, and, consequently, having great pizza. I got this tasty pie at Caffé BaoNecci on Green Street - it's certainly one of the best pizza places in the city.

If you remember the movie Mrs. Doubtifre, Caffé BaoNecci is located on the bottom of floor of the building that stood in for Robin Williams' apartment in the film.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Traffic and Fireworks

Traffic and Fireworks, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Took this a few days ago on the Fourth, of course. We were on an overpass above a busy street...the fireworks were great!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Sunset in Avila

Sunset in Avila, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Two Fridays ago I was at Avila while the sun was setting. It also happened to the night of a windstorm, and 50-mph gusts were sandblasting me as I took this photo.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Afternoon Sun

Afternoon Sun, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

The wildflower bloom is nearly over here in Southern California. I took this photo back in April on a remote road near Cayucos. The lupines were much thicker than this in some places - we found one patch of the flowers the length of a football field.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Avila Beach

Avila Beach, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Avila Beach is a small town in the southern part of SLO county. Located at San Luis Bay, the town faces south and thus has a warm microclimate with gentle surf. I was there on Friday night and the town's famous warmth was absent - 40 mph winds were howling through the canyon out to sea, creating waves heading away from shore. Although you can't tell in this photo, I was being pelted with sand.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Chinatown Lights

Night Lights, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

While exploring the shops in Chinatown, San Francisco, this one stood out due to its huge collection of lights and lanterns.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A Night in the City

A Night in the City, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

A few friends and I drove up from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco for Friday night and Saturday. Most definitely an awesome trip. This is the view last night from Conzelman Road in the Marin Headlands - those lights on the otherwise dark hillside are car headlights.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SLO Town View

slo town view, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

It was a stormy day in San Luis Obispo, but that meant for dramatic skies. Indeed, sunset proved to be an amazing time, with fast-moving clouds and beautiful shades of pink and orange. The non-native grasses, which can be seen in the foreground, are already drying up, despite all the late-season rains we've been having.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lupine Explosion

Lupine Explosion, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

First it was a tidy tip explosion, but a return to Shell Creek Road revealed an explosion of lupines.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Canyon of Color

Canyon of Color, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I returned to Shell Creek Road again yesterday, the third time in several weeks. The wildflowers were still as beautiful as ever. My friend and I did some hiking up into the hills and found a small canyon whose floor was carpeted in these lupines, goldfields, and tidy tips.

The goldfields are going downhill in terms of bloom, but the lupines and tidy tips are still at their peak! With the upcoming storm, the wildflower bloom should be prolonged a week or two.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Los Padres View

Los Padres View, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

A view into Los Padres National Forest and Grass Mountain, seen from Figueroa Mountain. Poppies and goldfields are in the foreground, while vast sheets of lupine carpet the distant hills.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Shooting Star Road

One Out of Many, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

As we drove down Highway 58, a dirt path leading off to some ranches caught my eye because of its unusual name: Shooting Star Road. On the way back from Shell Creek, we stopped at this road and saw spectacular masses of goldfields with scattered sky lupines mixed in. No shooting stars, but definitely gold.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Cal Poly Poppies

Cal Poly Poppies, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

The California poppies are in full bloom on top of the Cal Poly "P" ridge. The "P" is a large monument-like letter engraved in the hillside above the Cal Poly campus. The ridge above the "P" is covered in wildflowers right now.

Technicolor Fields

Technicolor Fields, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Multicolored carpets at Shell Creek Road...the species you see here include goldfields and owl's clover.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tipped Off

Tipped Off, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

A tidy tip among owl's clover at Shell Creek Road.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Shell Creek Oak

Shell Creek Oak, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

The oaks are just starting to leaf out at Shell Creek Road. The wildflowers, however, are at peak bloom. Wildflowers in this view include tidy tips and goldfields.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tidy Tips for Easter

Tidy Tip Explosion, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Happy Easter everyone!

Yesterday I was at Shell Creek Road in remote San Luis Obispo county. The wildflowers were at peak bloom, with Easter pastels and vivid oranges covered in the color scheme. The tidy tips were the major bloomers, with incredible sheets of the flowers stretching across the valley.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Dessert at Farmers'

Dessert at Farmers', originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

The San Luis Obispo Farmers' Market is much more than just a place to buy fruits and vegetables. You can get culinary delights such as tri-tip sandwiches and teriyaki bowls to churros and strawberry shortcakes like the ones seen in this picture.

Sky Lupine

Sky Lupine, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

This is the fragrant sky lupine, lupinus nanus. It grows in exposed fields and on hillsides all over California. If you drive through the Santa Ynez Valley right now you will see hillsides covered in sky lupine. These blooms were on Figueroa Mountain, just outside of Los Olivos.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Slo Afternoon

A Slo Afternoon, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Cerro San Luis is a special place. Uncrowded and varied in environs, it's an awesome mountain to climb. The view from the top is spectacular - the morros of SLO county line up and stretch all the way to the Pacific.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Light

Del Amigo Light, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Sunlight shining through the branches of a black oak on the Del Amigo trail in Las Trampas.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Spring Day in Danville

A Spring Day in Danville, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

A blue oak coming into leaf in Las Trampas Regional Park. It's hard to believe that in a few shorts months the green hills will be dry and golden.

Gold Field

Goldfields, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

More goldfields along Mines Road south of Livermore. These flowers literally carpet the ground and in many places are the only plant growing.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cream Cups at Shell Creek Road

Cream cups wildflowers not usually seen in massive displays. The fields at Shell Creek Road, however, were very different. Blanketing the ground were millions of these cream cups, which are poppy relatives. Spring in California can really be incredible.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Color on Figueroa

Color on Figueroa, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Figueroa Mountain has got to be one of the most colorful mountains I've seen. The wildflower displays near the summit are incredible. I recommend you visit if you're ever in the area!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Santa Maria Grown

Santa Maria Grown, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Strawberries at the SLO Farmers' Market on Thursday night. Some of the produce they sell is amazing...really good stuff!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Las Trampas Morning

Las Trampas Morning, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

This seems to be the spring for goldfields in California. They're everywhere. I found this pool of the flowers up in a remote part of Las Trampas Wilderness. How is spring coming along in your area?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fields of Figueroa Mountain

Here's a wide-angle view of some of the flowering hillsides on Figueroa Mountain near Santa Barbara. What an incredible place...unbelievably colorful!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Giant Oaks in Los Osos

Los Osos Forest, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Here's a view from within the forest at Los Osos Oaks State Reserve. What a cool park - the trees (coast live oaks) are huge and ancient, while nearby lies pygmy forest and chaparral. Some of the oaks were over 250 years old, and it's great to see they have been preserved so well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Figueroa Flowers

Figueroa Flowers, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Sky lupine and California poppies mixed together on a steep slope of Figueroa Mountain. This mountain is truly incredible - the displays of wildflowers were awe-inspiring.

Goldfields on Figueroa

Goldfields on Figueroa, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Here are some goldfields up on the slopes of Figueroa Mountain in Santa Barbara County. The mountain is spectacular, with beautiful displays of wildflowers.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shell Creek Blue

Shell Creek Blue, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Baby blue eyes carpet the ground at Shell Creek Road. The displays are very impressive this year, and, of course, spectacular.

Shell Creek View

Shell Creek View, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

The wildflowers at Shell Creek are starting to bloom...I hiked up this hillside of poppies to get a better view. Amazing color out there yesterday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

California Cream Cups

California Cream Cups, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Earlier today a friend and I went out to Highway 58 and drove east towards the Carrizo Plains. On the way there, we stopped at Shell Creek Road, a famous wildflower location, where we saw vast fields of millions of these cream cups. I have never seen such massive displays of the cream cups, even at places like Bear Valley.

Spring is just getting started here in California - the wildflowers will put on quite a show in the coming weeks.

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Last night I watched the sunset over Pismo Beach, a community on California's Central Coast about 10 minutes away from San Luis Obispo. With offshore winds, the temperature was in the 70s even as the sun was setting, making for a great evening. Spring is here in California, what about your part of the world?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Longleaf Bush Lupine

Longleaf Bush Lupine, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Lupinus longifolius growing on the mountain above the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Poppy Leaf Dew

Poppy Leaf, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Dew drops on a California poppy leaf up on Yucca Ridge.

Sunrise Over Cuesta

Cuesta Sunrise, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Twelve hours after the sunset hike yesterday, I was up on the ridge again, but this time for sunrise. The sunrise wasn't as dramatic as the sunset as there were no clouds to catch the light...hopefully they'll be there next time!

Sunset Over Cuesta

Sunset Over Cuesta, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

When I was on this ridge Friday night, clouds were just starting to drop rain. A storm and 24 hours later, I was on the same ridge, but the clouds were moving to the East, leaving behind a beautiful sky.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Violets, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

They're violets, but they're yellow. In full bloom on Yucca Ridge behind Cal Poly. Close examination of the ridge-top revealed that there are millions of things getting ready to bloom in the coming weeks.

Approaching Rain

Approaching Rain, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

It's been a very wet winter here on California's Central Coast. With over 17 inches of rain so far, we're at more than twice the amount of rain we had at the same time last year. As a result, the hills are incredibly green, the reservoirs are filling, and the Sierras are buried in snow. This is great news considering the state has been in a drought for the past few years.

A band of rain just behind Bishop Peak is visible in this photo. About 60 seconds after this photo, another rain band from the south drenched me by surprise.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mission Bells

Misty Mission Bells, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

On a hike yesterday I spotted these mission bells in full bloom. They're really an interesting species, unlike anything else that grows nearby in the grassy oak woodlands.

Spring is here in San Luis Obispo, but what about your part of the world?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Clover in Poly Canyon

Clover in Poly Canyon, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

With all the rain we've had this season, the hills are especially lush. I found a big patch of clover down near Brizzolara Creek which made for an interesting photo study.

Spring is coming into bloom here in SLO; be on the lookout for pictures of what is looking to be a great year for wildflowers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bishop Again

Bishop Again, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Here's a view up the trail on Bishop Peak taken a few weeks ago during a period of stormy weather. The mountain's chaparral is getting nice and green.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

UCLA Dance Marathon

UCLA Dance Marathon, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

This weekend I was one of over 800 people to partake in Dance Marathon at UCLA. We danced for 26 hours nonstop, no sitting down allowed. The purpose of Dance Marathon is to raise money to fight pediatric the end we raised $407,223.73!

At DM, we heard from children afflicted with HIV/AIDS and heard their stories - it's amazing that those kids contend as well as they do. They are incredibly strong. In addition to the kids, numerous celebrities and dancers appeared to boost the morale. The last hour of DM, known as "Power Hour" was a massive rave-like dance party that filled the Ackerman Ballroom with energy. Sitting down at the end of the 26 hours seemed like the best thing in the world.

For this picture, I set up my camera on a raised dancing box and took a long exposure.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Passing Clouds on Bishop Peak

A Cloud Drifts By, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

The Sun was setting as I hiked down Bishop Peak on Saturday, and the fast-moving storm clouds lit up in bright colors for a few short minutes before twilight began. A long exposure shows some of the motion in these clouds. Those boulders are the summit rocks of Bishop Peak, and the true summit is inaccessible without climbing gear.