Contra Costa County Photos

Contra Costa County

Although many hundreds of thousands of people live here, there is an extensive network of regional parks and open space areas which make for excellent hiking and landscape photography opportunities. Mt Diablo, rises nearly 4,000 feet above the surrounding area and provides excellent views as well as being an iconic subject all its own.


Fork in the Road - Walnut Creek, Contra Costa, CaliforniaFork In The Road – Walnut Creek, California

I am always on the lookout for a spectacular local sunrise that you rarely see on vacation because you are only there for a few days. I have pre-scouted these hills for good locations where I can get to them quickly. I got up early, noticed that the clouds were arriving just as the sky became light. By sunrise, the open sky was reduced to a sliver on the horizon, which is the best situation.

This fork in the road reminds me that in life, there are often situations where you must make a choice and each choice will lead you in a significantly different direction. Choose carefully and wisely!


Lafayette Impressions #1 - Lafayette Reservoir, CaliforniaLafayette Reservoir Morning – Lafayette, California

The Lafayette reservoir is a beautiful place to take a hike. There is a trail that goes around the lake and the views are excellent.

Sometimes it is difficult to find a good view that looks good in a photograph. There are so many trees that most good views across the lake are blocked. However, there is an opening in the trees that allows this view to be had. I use a long exposure to smooth the water giving it a surreal and impressionistic look.


Diablo Spring #1Diablo Spring 1 – Lafayette, Pleasant Hill, California

Billowing cumulus clouds build up on a spring afternoon following a storm . It is rare to see such depth to the sky in the San Francisco Bay Area (or in SoCal) because clouds either are thick and rainy, or there are no clouds at all. As the sun set, the lift created by the warming ground eased and the clouds evaporated into blue sky. 2 hours later, and it is now clear. When I took this shot, it was clear over the ocean because there are no mountains and updrafts of warm air to create the clouds.

This was at 4pm with the sun still high in the sky. So I had to wait for clouds to pass overhead to allow the kind of filtered light that looks best on a landscape like this.



Ray of Light - Mt. Diablo, CaliforniaRay of Light – Mt. Diablo California

The sunset slid in behind a late winter storm creating some incredible light through a lifting fog, on Mt. Diablo 20 mi. east of San Francisco.

It was really stormy just a few minutes before I saw this. But on the satellite photos, I could see the storm ending so I was hoping that this might happen. And it did. Sometimes it is good to get out there and hope that the moment is right. But there are no guarantees! I have never seen light like this here since this moment.



Diablo Spring Evening - Mt. Diablo, CaliforniaDiablo Spring Evening, Mt. Diablo, California

When I am hiking on Mt. Diablo, I always bring my camera and tripod. You never know what will happen. On this evening, a spring storm had just passed through so I was hoping that there would be some clearing, which would allow light to spread across the hillside.

I was not disappointed! Minutes before, it was dark and stormy and minutes later it was almost completely clear. so only durin gthis moment was the light just right.



Lone Oak #2, Lafayette, CaliforniaLone Oak 2 – Lafayette, California

Lone oaks make excellent photographic subjects, but it can be difficult to find oak trees that are all alone. They like to grow in groups or forests where there is enough water to last during the long dry season. Adding to the difficulty is that the few lone oaks that I see are often in places like against a hill, where they do not stand alone in that respect.

This oak is a nice exception, so I waited for a spectacular winter sunset to capture it at the most dramatic moment.