WordPress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour

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Today I’m participating in the WordPress weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is “the golden hour”, that first or last hour of the day that gives such a special light to everything around. If you like what you see, feel free to subscribe and receive nature photography updates a few times a week.

I love the glowing effect the rising sun rays give to these puffy clouds.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour - clouds at sunrise
WordPress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour – clouds at sunrise

On a winter morning, I love how the sun rays do their best to shine through the fog and make the fall foliage turn gold.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour - fall foliage glows through the fog
WordPress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour – fall foliage glows through the fog

The morning sunlight right after a night of rain has an interesting effect too. I love to capture that special light on raindrops.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour - morning sunlight lights up raindrops on leaves
WordPress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour – morning sunlight lights up raindrops on leaves

We don’t get a lot of frost in San Diego and when we do, it starts to disappear as soon as the sun comes out and exposes its warm rays. So it’s a race against time to capture the frost in the sunlight before it melts.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour - morning sunlight lights up raindrops on leaves - frost on the edge of a leaf
WordPress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour – morning sunlight lights up raindrops on leaves – frost on the edge of a leaf

The late afternoon sun in the winter can give a nice golden look to yellow leaves, and the scene looks even nicer if you can capture the moon in the background.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour - the sun lights up fall leaves with the moon in the background
WordPress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour – the sun lights up fall leaves with the moon in the background

Finally I like how bright the sky can still be while everything on the ground is getting darker as the sun sets.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour - bright skies as the sun sets
WordPress weekly photo challenge: the golden hour – bright skies as the sun sets

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds

Zazzle online shop If you enjoy my photos and would like to purchase some, I want to thank you! Simply visit my Zazzle online shop and browse the product offerings. If there’s a photo you would like to purchase but don’t see it in my shop, please contact me by using the Contact form at the bottom of my home page and let me know which photos you are interested in purchasing, and in what format / medium.

I’m participating in the online adventure travel and outdoor photography magazine Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers. This week’s challenge is: Clouds.

I’m one of those weird people who LOVE clouds. OK, not so much the boring gray layer of stratus clouds, especially when it doesn’t produce rain. I love staring at the high layers of cirrus clouds that stretch across the skies like cotton candy. A mackerel sky always looks like it’s covered with a huge herd of sleeping sheep. And of course, my favorite clouds are the cumulus type, since they’re the best opportunity for spotting shapes.

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I took this first photo with my cell phone because that’s all I had with me that day and I didn’t want to miss capturing this great opportunity. Here’s my first dog-shaped cloud! Isn’t he a cute little doggie?

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds in the shape of a dog
Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds in the shape of a dog

Another reason I love clouds is because they can make a great sunset look absolutely amazing. I took this photo on December 25, 2012 in San Diego. One of the best sunsets I’ve seen in years for sure.

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds at sunset
Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds at sunset

Now, here’s another photo taken from the same spot during a summer sunset with really nice soft pink and gray clouds.

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds of a pink and gray sunset
Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds of a pink and gray sunset

Of course, clouds can create some beautiful sunrise scenes, especially when the sun tries so hard to pierce through them early in the morning.

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds at sunrise
Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds at sunrise

Finally clouds can look very creepy, especially when they crawl over the hills during a rainstorm. We get this type of crawling clouds once in a while in the winter here, and I love the look of them!

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds crawling over the hills
Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds crawling over the hills

The crawling clouds of a San Diego rainstorm

Zazzle online shop If you enjoy my photos and would like to purchase some, I want to thank you! Simply visit my Zazzle online shop and browse the product offerings. If there’s a photo you would like to purchase but don’t see it in my shop, please contact me by using the Contact form at the bottom of my home page and let me know which photos you are interested in purchasing, and in what format / medium.

I gave you a glimpse of what the crawling clouds of a San Diego rainstorm can look like in my previous photo post. If the cloud cover is high during a rainstorm, this meteorological event won’t happen, but if the clouds hang pretty low, it can be an interesting sight.

The San Diego area is very hilly and the clouds most often travel east, coming from over the Pacific Ocean. As the low clouds go over the various hills, they look like they’re crawling over them, sometimes slowly, sometimes pretty fast. After taking a few dozens of photographs, I realize it’s hard to capture the effect of these crawling clouds well on still photographs and a video would be a nice addition to this post. Something to keep in mind for the next rainy day!

In the meantime, here are a few photos of these crawling clouds over the San Diego hills.

Crawling clouds during a San Diego rainstorm
Crawling clouds during a San Diego rainstorm
Crawling clouds over the hills
Crawling clouds over the hills
Low hanging clouds on San Diego hills
Low hanging clouds on San Diego hills

I took this last photo after I put my camera down and realized that the scene closest to me actually looked very interesting. I’ll need to come back when the weather is nicer to see if the area would look different in sunny light. I love how the yellow grass contrasts with the dark brown low bushes and the skinny, naked trees sticking straight up out of them. There’s something quite eerie about this whole scene, don’t you agree?

Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego, California
Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego, California

The clouds are on fire!

Zazzle online shop If you enjoy my photos and would like to purchase some, I want to thank you! Simply visit my Zazzle online shop and browse the product offerings. If there’s a photo you would like to purchase but don’t see it in my shop, please contact me by using the Contact form at the bottom of my home page and let me know which photos you are interested in purchasing, and in what format / medium.

I love sunsets and how the sun tries to burn up the sky as it goes past the horizon at the end of the day. But there’s something very special about sunrises too, where the sun manages to light up the sky for several minutes before you can actually see it. That’s when the sky can suddenly feature some amazing colors. The best sunrises (and sunsets) usually display some type of clouds, which deflect the sunlight in many directions and shades of color.

I took the sunrise photo below on a winter morning almost a year ago. As soon as I looked at the sky, I knew it’d be one of these special sunrises and I hoped my camera batteries weren’t dead because I wouldn’t have time to grab spares. There’s something about the winter light that can makes for great sunrises. This sunrise makes it look like the clouds are on fire. I tried to take pictures of the clouds once they passed the trees, but by then the light had already changed. Better luck next time!

You can click on the photo of this winter sunrise for a larger view.

Photo of a winter sunrise - clouds on fire
Photo of a winter sunrise – clouds on fire

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Weather

Zazzle online shop If you enjoy my photos and would like to purchase some, I want to thank you! Simply visit my Zazzle online shop and browse the product offerings. If there’s a photo you would like to purchase but don’t see it in my shop, please contact me by using the Contact form at the bottom of my home page and let me know which photos you are interested in purchasing, and in what format / medium.

I’m participating in the LetsBeWild.com Wild Weekly Photo Challenge! This week’s Challenge is: Weather.

I live in San Diego, in Southern California. I enjoy beautiful weather probably two thirds of the year. The baking heat of the summer is the bad part, but the skies can still be beautiful. On many days, the weather looks like this. Not a single cloud in the bright blue sky.

Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Weather in Southern California
Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Weather in Southern California

On a cloudy day, which is a rare occasion, the skies will look like this. You can still find plenty of blue sky even when the weather isn’t so great.

Let's be wild weekly photo challenge - weather - cloudy day in San Diego, California
Let’s be wild weekly photo challenge – weather – cloudy day in San Diego, California

On a rainy day, which is even rarer than a cloudy day, things get wet, but they still look pretty. Here’s a wet California lemon enjoying the precious rain. Yep, it’s the one I’m featuring in my 2013 photo calendar, which is now set up for sale by the way (I haven’t launched it officially yet, but it’s coming…).

Let's be wild weekly photo challenge - weather - a wet lemon in San Diego
Let’s be wild weekly photo challenge – weather – a wet lemon in San Diego

And of course, after the rain comes more sun. Things may still be a little wet, but the blue sky we enjoy on most days doesn’t like to miss a beat. This is Southern California weather for you in a nutshell!

Let's be wild weekly photo challenge - weather - wet branch after the rain
Let’s be wild weekly photo challenge – weather – wet branch after the rain