Male Anna’s Hummingbird

Male Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) perched on a charred Ceanothus twig, showing iridiscent crown and gorget, Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail, Escondido, California. April 2018.

Sometimes I’m lucky (and I think I deserve it – just like everybody else;-). I’ve begun to haul the 200-500mm lens around on local walks recently, and today in the morning I dragged “Big Bertha” (as a friend calls it) up to Bernardo Mountain. 4 1/2 pounds extra weight are fun, why not?

I was actually looking for wildflowers (and found a pretty Allium praecox, Early Onion) when I saw this male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) perched on a charred Ceanothus twig. It was completely isolated from the surrounding shrubs and I had the sun behind me. The bright morning light brought out the iridescent magenta glow on the little bird’s crown and gorget. I almost couldn’t believe my luck!

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Spring along the San Dieguito River

Coast to Crest Trail at San Pasqual Valley in spring, Escondido, California

Heavy rains hit San Diego County on Monday and precipitation varied between 1.5 inches of rain in the desert to 9 inches at Palomar Mountain – for a single storm, these numbers are quite dramatic. Today was the first day that all of the various trails of the San Dieguito River Park were open again, and I was curious to see whether I could see the river proper for the first time.

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Colorful Chaparral Hillsides at Daley Ranch

Colorful Chaparral Hillside, Daley Ranch, Escondido, California, February 2017.

Shuwen and I went for a morning hike at Daley Ranch. I was hoping to reproduce an older photo of a color chaparral hillside with Ceanothus (California Lilac) in bloom at a higher resolution, but in that particular location, the Ceanothus wasn’t flowering. It was hard to tell whether it wasn’t flowering yet, or if it was past its bloom already – strangely enough, despite the (perceived) cold and (definitely) wet winter, plants seem to be pretty early to bloom*.

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The Jack Creek Meadow Titan

Patriarch Coast Live Oak along the Jack Creek Meadow trail, Daley Ranch, Escondido, California, December 2016.

On a hike with Scott Turner at Daley Ranch yesterday, we came by this old favorite oak of mine – a giant, patriarch Coast Live Oak along the Jack Creek Meadow trail. I’ve photographed it before and presented it in black & white then just like now. One of its massive limbs fell (quite a while ago, it was broken off already when I made my first photo, linked above) but the rest is still incredibly impressive. I’ve named it the “Jack Creek Meadow Titan”. :-)

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Elfin Forest in infrared (3 photos)

Infrared photo of a Rocky Passage of Escondido Creek at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, Escondido, California. June 2016.

On my quest to find out “what do things look like in infrared?” I visited Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve near Escondido early in June. The riparian areas down by Escondido Creek are actually fairly similar to Los Peñasquitos Canyon, but I think the creek crossings are far more photogenic, so I went back to make some photos of flowing water, dragging the shutter as usual, but in infrared of course.

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Tree Canopy at Daley Ranch (Vertorama)

Tree Canopy 180° Vertorama -- Daley Ranch, Escondido, California

Here’s a vertical panorama (vertorama?) of Coast Live Oak tree branches arching over the trail at Daley Ranch. The difficulty with a vertical panorama probably lies in making it – the photo below is pretty close to a 180° field of view (I cropped away the trail at the top and bottom for aesthetic reasons). Needless to say, that’s much easier with a smartphone. ;-)

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