Icy Hot?


It’s hard for me to really pick a photo that says “warmth.” Perspective on cold is different in Southern California, where winters approach but rarely drop below freezing, and the winter rains make December through April the greenest months of the year. So we don’t use fires much, and flowers and greenery make me think of the cool winter/spring weather instead of the hot, dry, brown summers. Even beaches make me think of late afternoon ocean breezes.

So I thought I’d pull out a shot for irony: An “Icy” warning sign somewhere in the San Gabriel Mountains, seen during the warmth of spring…when it most definitely isn’t icy!


Curves of Morro Bay

Morro Bay From Afar

Morro Bay lies along the central California Coast near San Luis Obispo, and is known for two major landmarks: Morro Rock, a large volcanic dome right near the shoreline, and a power plant with three very tall smokestacks.

Some miles north, Highway 46 cuts through the coastal mountains from Cambria to Paso Robles, revealing cattle ranches, wineries, and empty hills. There’s one spot along the road where the hills part, revealing a perfect view of the bay and the rock. Better yet, there’s a turnout, making it easy to stop and look.

The first time I drove this way, it was gray and overcast, and might actually have been raining. A year later I took the same drive again on an sunny day, unable to remember how far along the turnout was but watching for it the whole way. The result: this shot.

The curves of the dome, the bay, the rolling hills and the patch of heavier vegetation all fit in with this week’s photo challenge theme.

Santa Monica Bay at Dawn

Santa Monica Bay at Dawn

I don’t usually get out before sunrise, but on this particular morning in 2011 I was up to watch a lunar eclipse. I found myself out on the road running along the top of the cliffs near the beach, watching the eclipsed moon set through the haze above the ocean.

You can see the Redondo Beach power plant near the right, with the pier in front of it and King Harbor jutting out into the bay. Way off in the distance you can see the lights of Santa Monica and Malibu, with the Santa Monica mountains behind them.

Blimp Hangar and Cloud Shadows

Blimp Hangar and Cloud Shadows

This is the other of the two blimp hangars at what was once MCAS Tustin. This was taken on the same party-cloudy March day as the shot I posted last week of the south hangar. [Edit: make that today. I’d intended to schedule this post for next week, and ended up scheduling them both for the same day by accident.]

View on Flickr: Blimp Hangar and Cloud Shadows.

Blimp Hangar Looming

Blimp Hangar Looming

One of the two World War II-era blimp hangars on the former Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, California. I posted another angle on this one a few years back.

The base was decommissioned in the 1990s, and last I heard, the fate of these historic buildings is still up in the air. The trick is finding the means to preserve them.

View on Flickr: Blimp Hangar Looming.


Mercey Springs Gate

Next to the first gas station south of CA-152 along I-5 in California’s central valley.

Here’s to maps+satellite views. I’ve identified this as S. Mercey Springs Rd, at the parking lot of Mercy Spring Shell. The private road runs up into the hills past this gate. Off to the right, it makes a sharp turn to cross the freeway and then head north to Los Banos as Highway 165.