Despite my official retirement from the hotel technology consulting world last June existing clients kept me traveling through into December, so things didn't feel too different. This year, though, for a variety of reasons I didn't travel anywhere for the first five months. Oddly enough, it was very restful to be at home for an extended stretch, photographing the spring beauty of the Northwest and not feeling any urgent need to get back on a plane! However, a family visit to Burbank, CA in late May called us back to the air, and it did feel good to be back by a window seat again, camera at the ready.
Once the initial cloud cover cleared after leaving Seattle plenty of intriguing patterns and images once again presented themselves. The current Gallery of the Month shows all the main images I took, but here are a few I thought worth commenting on. (As always, click on any image to enlarge it.) The colors of Shasta Lake around Bridge Bay Resort were especially striking, and it was good to see the water level higher than it's been in a while!
A little further south the agricultural fields in the Central Valley formed their usual fascinating abstracts. I was particularly taken with the angles in this one; even the cultivation of individual rows in some of the fields seems to start and stop on sharp diagonals!
One field in particular had a pattern I've not seen before, looking like some kind of traditional Southwest blanket design. Given the apparent flat nature of the surrounding fields I can't begin to imagine what combination of farming, irrigation and terrain produces this effect, but it was very pretty.
On the return trip a residential development construction site caught my eye, with its intriguingly complex and rhythmic pattern of roads, tiered building sites and colors.
Here's another intriguing farm image, this one near Bakersfield. I doubt if the white buildings at the top were laid out with this in mind but it certainly looked to me like a painting of a Greek temple, complete with columns and entrance portico!
This farm showed a most unusual effect. The cultivated fields appear to be uniformly flat and even, laid out like a massive sheet of cardboard on top of and completely separate from the underlying arid desert soil with its multiple streambeds and gullies. Looking closely you can see traces of the terrain showing through the crops, but the illusion is striking..
Finally, before the clouds of the Northwest rolled in and cut off the view, I was struck by the brilliant blue of Millerton Lake (near Fresno) snaking through stark, bare hills on the western fringe of the Sierras. Coming from England I'm still not accustomed to seeing lakes of this size in such barren surroundings, completely devoid of vegetation. Makes me wonder how long it takes for nature to work its magic, breaking down the rock into soil and slowly spreading plant life up from the water's edge. Probably quite a while...