Monday, December 26, 2011

Different Place, New Opportunities

For our Thanksgiving trip this year, we wanted to try something new.  I left the details up to my wife, and she found an RV campground in the hills behind Santa Barbra called Rancho Oso.  In addition to being an RV campground, Rancho Oso is a real horse ranch.  The site sits on about 300 acres, and has beautiful old Oak trees and thick underbrush and other various flora and fauna.

This image was from one of my morning walks.  The Oaks were large, and with the other trees formed a canopy that did a good job of blocking out the sun.  That was until I came across this scene, with a sunbeam punching though like a spotlight.

Since I had no experience with this area, I really didn't know what to expect.  So, I'd walk slowly and try to listen, and watch for signs of wildlife.  Since Mountain Lions are known to be in this area I was somewhat cautious as well (didn't want to have to wrestle with a big cat).

One of the surprises I had was seeing a very large population of Mule Deer.  These guys move quickly and quietly and usually walked around the edges of the heavy brush and the open meadows.  At one time, I saw more than 20 deer in the meadow running and jumping.  It looked like they were having a party.

In addition to the Mule Deer, this little meadow was home to quite a few Cows.  While the adults weren't that interesting the babies were very cute and offered a couple of photo opportunities.

One of the other things I tried to do on my walks was to look at the smaller picture.  Sometimes there's just too much in a landscape and trying to capture it all can be overwhelming.  And then there's the light. As the sun rises the opportunities for that wonderful, warm magic glow diminish.  When the sun gets high enough, the light can become harsh and what were once beautiful scenes are now flat and overly contrasty.  Thats when I start to look at things in a much smaller scale.  As you can see from the 2 images below, you can find some very interesting subjects.

My camera bag contents for these images included my new Canon 60D, and my Canon 70-200 F4 L lens.  The 60D worked perfectly, and provided very clean images in sometimes tricky lighting conditions.  The L lens focused quickly, and enabled me to capture sharp clear images.  At times I wish I had a much wider lens, and a much longer lens, but overall I'm very happy with this combination.  Besides, sometimes the best camera (and lens) is the one you have with you!

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