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Now is the Best Time for Photography
Travel photography defies common travel wisdom.
When most travelers settle down for their dinner, I often try to capture the best light of the day. When other travelers dread the colder weather and declare that it is best to stay home or shop for the holidays, I feel a strong draw to go out and take photographs. Suddenly, my summer slumber is over and I can hardly sit still for a weekend.
The onset of winter brings an excitement to pictures that is impossible to capture during the "boring" summer months. Photography between fall and spring is pure excitement. The clouds are back in Southern California, creating the most spectacular sunsets (see above). During the last couple of weeks, I have seen dolphins underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, spotted migrating whales from the shores of Montana de Oro, and seen playful flocks of seals circling the Avila Pier. It is almost as if the animals know my secret and just waited for the crowds to disappear back into their comfortable and warm homes and overcrowded malls.
Unfortunately, there are still some strange blokes out there. Shortly after I took the photograph of this egret snatching himself a lunch-lizard, a man walked up to me, pulled out his point and shoot camera, took a photograph of the egret, and then shooed it away. However, the reduced amount of travelers during the off-season makes such occurrences rare and tolerable. I assume the lizard would not have minded an earlier rescue and would disagree with me.
During the course of a single day, we also saw several whales blowing in the distance, the seals that you can see above, and a few fishing pelicans (see below). Here you can see one taking a dive from a high altitude to catch fish below the water's surface. The pelicans are amazing fishers with a grace that you would not expect from the sometimes clumsy-looking birds.
We did get several storm systems coming through this area during the last view days. As a friend told me how this would spoil his plans, my thoughts drifted to the incredible opportunities and the fantastic light you can catch with a coming and going storm. Low cloud coverage with a sliver of open sky in the distance to let the sun come through is the perfect condition for dramatic sunsets and I got lucky twice within a few weeks. The first photograph at the start of this article is from Venice Beach. You can see the lifeguard towers in the foreground and the most amazing sunset. Somehow, the sunsets in Southern California are more vivid than anywhere else in the world.
The second chance was this sunset at McWay Falls. The falls are located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and plunge onto a secluded beach in a tranquil cove. Fortunately, we stuck around long enough to see the sunset that lit the last remaining clouds of this day's storm.
Do not let a few raindrops or a drop in temperature "drop" your excitement for the outdoors. There is no better time than the coming months for photography in the Golden State of California. Go out and see this magical place. Still not sure where to go? Then try my new iPhone application. It will guide you to the most photogenic locations in California. It is now available on iTunes: