Tag Archives: Sierra Nevada

Magnified Fall in the Foothills

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  It’s always good to be home, even though there are no cultural places to visit nearby, or Diners and Dives restaurants.  There’s also little rain, traffic, or noise – although cows make a lot of noise from time to time.

There’s not much traffic on this street, but PG knows to move over when a truck ambles by.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day that I took my big lens out for a walk to experiment with it.  I took the wide-angle with me, but never got it out.  It was too much fun to get up close and personal with the mountains.

Sierra Nevada Mountains

These mountains I do know, and I know that we are looking east.  The Sierra Nevada range is a Spanish name meaning sawtooth snowy.  It must have been loggers that named it, but I think they were accurate in their description.

There are definitely teeth in them thar hills.

You can see that east of the valley is more frequently range land and not farming, although we do have groves of citrus in this area.  Mountains compose 2/3 of Tulare County.  This location is only about 40 minutes from the mountains where you visit Sequoia National Park.I love the layers of hills and mountains.  It’s hard to capture them with even the big lens., but we had rain while I was away, and the mountains took on a thin layer of snow which helps show their definition.  Unfortunately for capturing the sky, I waited just about an hour too long before going outside.  While it is clear as a bell from 10:00 to about 2:00, after that there is a winter haze that settles in.These pictures may all start to look the same to you.  I’m having to go back and forth a little to make sure I don’t pick the same picture accidentally because I didn’t save all the pictures in the file, and I didn’t go in order.  I just stand in one place and pivot, so there is a lot of similarity.  I’m sure every little peak has a name, but I don’t know them. However, I do have my favorites, and this little saw blade on the left side of the picture is one of them.

Just so you know, there are foothills on every side.  This picture points northwest.

Foothills every which way

And this one points due west.  See I really do know my directions.Since I’m from deciduous Indiana, autumn is not complete without leaves.  The sun was almost ready to set making these leaves shimmer and shiver with the impending dusk.Even the ugly leaves are pretty in the sun.

I got a phone call at just about this time, and missed the sunlight on the dandelions.  They looked etherial on the hillside.  The more I take pictures, the more I am aware that if I don’t snap the picture from exactly the right place at exactly the right time, I miss it.  I can walk one step and the view changes.  This drives me nuts when I am driving and I can’t stop the car soon enough.  In this case I had to settle for dandelions on flat land, not circling the tree like alien landing lights.This at least gives you a glimpse of the magic I saw magnified through my mega 75-300 lens.  Hope you enjoyed being back home again in Tulare County, California.

Relaxing After Work

A technician told me the other day that he didn’t mind driving home 35 minutes from work.  When he had lived 2 minutes from work, he always took a drive out into the country to relax before he went home.    His story inspired me to take you on a drive with me as I relax on my way home from work.

You are seeing rural California at its best.  The temperature is a perfect 80 degrees.  The air smells fresh and clean.  You can open your car windows, forget about air conditioning, and let the wind mess up your hair because you are going home.

I stopped along the way to take these pictures, and walked out into the middle of the street.  I could take my time snapping pictures because there is only evidence of human habitation here – telephone poles, garbage can, and, of course, groves and groves of trees, not so many real humans.

The foremost crop in this part of Tulare County is citrus.  Oranges have just been picked for the most part, and although there are still a few in the trees, they are small.

Without irrigation, this area is very arid.  I took this picture on  May 22, 2012, and the hills are already brown, and there are not even any weeds growing along the side of the road.

This is one of my favorite turns in the road.  It changes season by season, but is always beautiful.  Dark clouds, sometimes a heavy downpour, come occasionally from December until maybe as late as April and create a dramatic skyscape for the snow-capped peaks.  In early spring the white peaks of the Sierra Nevada contrast with a bluer sky.  On a windless mid-summer day dusty air hides the mountains, and in the fall the few deciduous trees turn orange and yellow.

Coming from the Midwest, and later the Northwest I had to develop an appreciation for the color brown.  In the Central Valley of California water comes from wells, reservoirs, and we also import water from the north.  A few years ago many, many trees died because farmers couldn’t get enough water.  Now those groves have been replanted.

You can see the drip irrigation hose wrapped around the first tree and stretches to all the trees in the row.  Some types of groves are flood irrigated periodically instead, but this is the most common method of watering citrus trees that I have seen in this area.

I grew up in cities.  I love them, the activities, the lights, the people, but my technician friend was right.  When I lived there, my family and I always took drives into the country to relax before or after going home.  Now I relax by going home, but have to go to cities  so I don’t turn into a vegetable.  I am blessed to have both in my life.