Thursday, May 30, 2013

Foggy San Francisco Skyline during Sunset

It was a extreme windy and cold late afternoon on Twin Peak viewpoint in San Francisco. The wind was so gusty that it almost knocked my camera off the ground. Luckily, I held onto it tightly. The fog was moving in fast and covering the whole city. From the viewpoint, the city was no where to be seen. The visibility was just a few hundreds feet at most. So we packed up and left the viewpoint. On our way down the hill, the view started to get clearer. We stopped at a small pull out on the way down. And luckily, the sun broke through the fog and lit up the San Francisco skyline. The way a warm and golden sunlight illuminated the tall buildings was just magical.

Lost in Time at The Redwood Empire

Foggy Redwood in mountain
Finally after years of dreaming, we went to the Redwood Empire in Northern California and it was more spectacular than we'd ever imagined. Although it was a dry winter down in Southern California, it was relatively wet up there. We could see many wildflowers this place along highway 101 (aka The Redwood Highway). The freeway traversed the redwood forest including some old groves. It rained (not too hard) and it made the forest even more special. Fog and low clouds were hugging the trees. The rain washed away all the dusts and turned the forest into a deep emerald green color. Traveling on the freeway, we just wished that the forest would just stretch out into infinity.
We took a detour on Avenue of The Giants (highway 254) which going through the Humboldt Redwood State Park. The park was amazing. We drove under the canopy of redwood trees which claimed the title the tallest trees on Earth. Parking on the highway, yet we could only hear the sound of rain drops and birds chirping. The breeze was a little chilly, and we could smell a scent of pine in the air. We sat there for a while, lost in thoughts.
redwood forest panoramic view
Visiting the park, we felt like time had stopped here long ago. Hiking underneath these giant trees, it felt as if we were in the age of the dinosaurs. It was not just the redwood trees, but also ferns and shamrocks covered ground along with many other deciduous trees and vines made the whole place special. The serenity and tranquility cleared our minds of all the worries in life. We loved this place so much that we wished we could move here some day. We felt proud and appreciated all those who had worked so hard to protect these treasures for us and generations to come. Without their effort, we wouldn't have a chance to visit these places today. You could still see sign of logging in the early days. The American idea of national parks is truly the greatest gift to nature lovers like us.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trinidad Bay - A Gem of California Northern Coast

Trinidad State Beach - Trinidad Bay - Pewetole Island
Pewetole Island - Trinidad State Beach
Over the Memorial weekend, we took a trip to the northern coast of California. The drive was long but the beautiful scenic highways turned it into the best road trip ever. On Sunday, we arrived at Trinidad Bay, a small state beach about 20 miles North of Eureka. Located right in the bay, Pewetole Island is one of the most iconic places in the northern coast. It looks somewhat similar the famous island in Olympic National Park of Washington state. We explored the area while waiting for sunset. But the arriving storms didn't seem to cooperate. Luckily, we got some cloud and decided to take the photo in black and white. It was still little bright at the time so we had to stack a polarizer filter with a 3-stop ND filter to bring the exposure time to around 8 seconds in order to smooth out the raging waves. We hope you enjoy the photo and share some of our feelings from the trip. We will definitely come back here some day and this time we'll spend a lot more time in the area.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Little Bit of Purple

lavender flower blooming close up with hue of colors

It's just a little bit spring left over in Southern California. This spring is pretty short due to lack of rain in the winter and many heat-waves early in the year. Wildflowers are parched early in March. You can only find some sight of spring in local gardens or farm where rain is not really contribute much. I always like lavender flowers ever since reading about it in books or story especially this one - Royal Velvet Lavender. It's such a beautiful name, isn't it. Even in a local farm, this year lavender doesn't bloom as much. The plants are much smaller and the bloom is more scattered. I cannot believe it is this dry this early in year. I think I should make the rain dance now even if it's still early.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Shasta Cascade

Mossbrea Waterfalls - Shasta Cascade
Cleaning up my email, I've found some old email from a group of friends regarding about the trip we took 4 years ago back in 2008. It was around this time, and we headed to Shasta Cascade region located North of California. I know there are some photos that I have marked but for some reason I haven't have a chance to take a look at them. I almost forgot about them until today. Sometimes it's good to dig through your "trash" to find treasures lying around. 
Shasta cascade is a special place in California. It boasts numerous of lakes and waterfalls. The waterfalls in this region isn't as large as Yosemite's. However, they're spectacular nonetheless. The Mossbrea falls is a small waterfall but it's a special one in California. It's not tall but it cascades more than 60 feet long running through moss-covered wall. In wet year, the fall is most amazing in early spring after a wet winter. Late in summer, it becomes just a few trickles.
McArthur Burney Falls State Park
The most famous waterfall in this region is McAruthr Burney waterfalls. It's about 130 feet tall. It's not the largest or the tallest one in California but it is the most beautiful. Most people take photo to show the grand-beauty of the whole waterfall. I want to try something different by zooming closer. Still one can see the magnificent of this natural treasure.