Channel Islands National Park

The Channel Islands had been on my photography wish list for years but the actual trip never happened because there were always 'better' or 'more important' things to deal with. What a mistake! My first visit was not only a pleasant experience but it also put the Islands right up with my favorite park: Point Reyes National Seashore. At a fraction of the distance from Los Angeles, even with the 50 minute boat ride, the cooler temperatures, salty fresh air and foggy atmosphere make this place a very attractive destination.


Speaking of attractions there are five islands to chose from, with their craggy coastline, unique landscape and wildlife... but for now let's just stick with Santa Cruz, which is the one I camped on.


Upon approaching the island the captain had to slow the boat down as we found ourselves in a dolphins induced traffic jam. It was my first time seeing so many dolphins swimming and jumping through the waves! Once we docked, I also noticed how blue the water was and how beautiful it looked contrasted against the orangish yellow hues of all the seaweed and kelp. 


There were Island Foxes frolicking on the grassy hills and at the campsites and dealing with them made for a one-of-a-kind experience. These cute photogenic animals will steal your food and mess up your campsite if you don't take some precautionary measures.


The sunset was simply phenomenal. It started out with stunning blues of the clear sky mixed with the golden yellows of the land before it all slowly turned to glowing orange hues and later foggy pinks and purples. I just stood there in awe way passed magic hour....


By nightfall the fog and clouds had almost completely covered the island, so I opted for a sunrise mission instead of trying to capture the night sky. There's something magical about rising before the sun, stumbling in the dark along the coastal trail, and seeing the island come alive at the first lick of daylight. Birds were everywhere and as the California brown pelicans started to dive for fish the opportunistic western gulls flew by in flocks. As the island awoke, its colors turned from a dark blue to a bright yellow, while the sun played peek-a-boo with the low hanging clouds. 


It was an experience that I won't ever forget and I have a feeling that I'll be back soon... I have already set my eyes on San Miguel for the next trip!