Wild View Yonder

Please visit Wild View Yonder, a collection of aerial photography from Shutter-Eye.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A weekend in the Santa Maria area

I spent the weekend in and around Santa Maria, CA, visiting with friends. We chanced upon the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve, a beautiful stretch of beach with dunes, surrounded by a small but beautiful wilderness preserve. Driving toward this park, we passed seemingly endless fields of farmland growing a variety of produce in various stages.

This field was recently ploughed and seeded with a new crop.

Just before the entrance to the park, this twisted old tree greets our arrival.

Driving into the park, a narrow winding road passes first a sand works where sandbags and trucks are loaded with sand for various uses; then climbs a sand hill to overlook a little river valley where cattle peacefully graze.

The view just across the road is of a very different landscape looking more like an isolated desolate wilderness than a coastal region so close to fertile farm land.

We found crowds on the beach, not of people, but pelicans, seagulls, and a few other species of birds.

Pelicans congregate on the shoreline in preparation for another sortie.

Suddenly, the sortie begins. Within a few seconds, hundreds of the huge birds surge skyward looking like a swarm of enormous bats rising into the sky.

A pelican flies overhead coming around after take-off.

Just a short distance from all the life lies a patch of Mars. Apparently lifeless, it consists of rocks that closely resemble many of the surface-level images sent back by the various rovers exploring the surface of that planet.

Looking rather like its dinosaur roots, an emu at a local winery peers over the fence separating it from the parking lot.

Next vintage gets its start.

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