Oaks in the clouds

Palomar Mountain’s “Love Valley” is a beautiful little gem, outside of the State Park boundaries, on Cleveland National Forest land. It’s easily reachable with a short hike down a dirt road. At the pastures of Love Valley itself, one can continue on an old ranch road that becomes increasingly overgrown, and walk around the entire meadow in about an hour.

Located on Palomar Mountain’s south-eastern side, the valley is high enough that passing storms shroud it entirely in clouds. On this late November afternoon, it was easy to forget that this is Southern California: close to sunset, temperatures dropped, and a gusty wind drove the drizzle from the clouds sideways. I loved how this group of oaks disappeared in the fog too much to pass on the opportunity to photograph them. I had to wipe off the drizzle from the front element of the lens after each exposure, and it was sure worth to have professional, weather-sealed camera gear for this occasion!

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