A Walk on the Wild Side

Ormond Beach

California is a land of contradiction.  Los Angeles sprawls 50 miles south of where I live, and yet there are wetlands nearby that serve as rest stops for migratory birds.  Locally, Ormond Beach, which is between the Seabee base in Port Hueneme, and the Navy base at Point Mugu.  Currently, areas of the beach are closed off for nesting birds whose only nest is a shallow indentation in the sand, with eggs speckled to match.

Nature Conservancy Sign

Today, I met up with a number of people for a hike sponsored by the local Nature Conservancy, whose essential philosophy is to preserve wild places by buying land, and keeping people out.  They have bought up and have had land donated for the Ormond Beach Wetlands Restoration Project.  They also have other sites here in Ventura County, such as in the Santa Clara River, which is one of the last – if not the last – river in Southern California that has not been modified between its source and release into the Pacific Ocean.

Power Plant and Farmland

Recycling Plant

Power Plant

Coastal fog and overcast are normal for the California coast in May and June.  It can be wet and drizzly and grey, while a few miles inland sunshine reigns.  This fog is essential to many California environments, and while not fun to be in at times, it is really stunning in its own right.  We live inland, so the sun is usually visible, but today, it has spread to our own valley.  I left a slightly sunny inland valley to arrive to a drizzly, drippy beach.  My glasses and camera lens had rain drops on them (I hope the camera will be okay – seems to be), and soon my clothes and hair were wet.  Our starting point was a local recycling plant, at the end of a road, and we had views of the Halaco property, which is part of Superfund clean-up efforts . . . there are power plants here, visible across fields ready to plant.  It’s a rather dreary place in the gloom.

Halaco Hill - A Superfund Clean-up Site

Our guides were knowledgeable about the area.  While very flat, the plants and such could be a bit of a challenge to trudge through.  We saw various birds, such as great blue herons, great white egrets, horned larks, terns, and snowy plovers,  Flowers such as coastal lupine, beach morning-glory, dune primrose, and non-native species were also in bloom.  We found animal toilets, where this animal and that pooped, leaving behind interesting scat filled with remains of pelagic crabs, feathers, and bones.  Animal trails showed paw prints of coyotes, raccoons, herons, and other small birds.

Spider Web and Raindrops

Leaves

Primrose

Raccoon Print

Beach Flower

In a world increasingly damaged, the beauty and delicacy of the natural environment is accordingly threatened.  Places such as Ormond Beach are a refuge for not only birds and animals, but for humans as well.  I enjoyed this hike, and came home like a little kid, covered in mud and muck, soaking wet, and completely refreshed by a beautiful world and fun companions.

Anacapa Island

At Ormond Beach with the Nature Conservancy

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I have never used Ilford Super XP2 400 film, which is a b&w film developed in C-41, used for color film processing.  Not SOOC, but pleasing enough with some post.  Although I was out shooting just to use the film up – to see the results – I did make a few photos I liked.

Matilija Poppies

Matilija Poppies

These are flowers I look forward to seeing every Spring!  They can be up to 5 inches in diameter, and stand taller than me (I’m 65″).  Bees love them, and often you will hear the buzz long before you reach them.

Taken with Nikon FM2N, Elicar 55mm f2.8 AIS Macro, Fuji Superia Xtra 400, and scanned with Pakon 135.

In the Canyon

In the Canyon

This was taken a few weeks ago while out on a hike through the local backcountry.  Spring is fading away, and wildfires are already beginning to rear their flames.  The plants here are more lush than they have been in some time – we had a bit of rain!

Nikon FM2N, Elicar 55mm f2.8 Macro, Fuji Superia Xtra 400, Pakon 135 scanner.

In the Canyon, BW

The Green Boat

The Green Boat

The day we were out was gloomy and grey.  The coastal fog was slung low overhead.  We came from a sunny inland valley and ended up in the May Grey (now June Gloom) of the California coast.  Colors pop on such days.