A Perfect Morning Doing What I Love

A perfect morning doing what I love. My son Shawn and I headed to the Santa Rosa Plateau nature reserve in Murrieta, CA (about a 10-minute drive from Shawn’s house). It’s beautiful here now, it’s early Spring but still crisp and fresh in the mornings. Everything is green from the prodigious rainfall in San Diego County this Winter (even the deserts are blooming). We started our 5-mile hike around 8 a.m. and finished up about 10 a.m. It felt really good to get back out into nature again—nature is my tranquilizer and meditation.

The purpose (or the excuse we used) was to dial in our cameras and lenses. Shawn was shooting with my old Canon EOS 5D Mark II which we picked up yesterday from repair & servicing. It looked brand new (again) but we wanted to make sure everything was functioning smoothly—and this is a new camera for him so he wanted to get familiar with it. I was shooting with my new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Super-telephoto zoom lens.

Shawn & Steve at Shawn’s Retirement Party

We had a GREAT time roaming the reserve and photographing the critters and scenery (it was a weekday and early in the morning so we had it pretty much to ourselves). I was hoping to see (and photograph) some Coyotes and I did. We came across two foraging for food and they were magnificent, both still had their winter coats and looked very healthy. I was actually able to approach pretty close mano a mano. I wanted to hug them like dogs (not a good idea).

I also photographed a little Squirrel that was pretty darn cute even if they are very common. Common can be beautiful too. And there were a slew of Woodpeckers flitting about an old barn. Returning we also saw a small Garter Snake on the trail but no Rattlesnakes. I had completely forgotten that both times I’ve been seriously bitten by Rattlesnakes its been in the early Spring—like TODAY (dodged another bullet).

The scenic shots speak for themselves, it’s just plain beautiful up there. During my visit I hope to get back up there often and photograph more critters. Hopefully I can get closer to the Coyotes next time even though I was very close this time. A perfect day: out in nature, photographing the sights and returning to process and edit my images. And to top it off I was doing all of this with my son who I hadn’t seen in five years. PERFECT. Take a moment to browse the photos if you like, just click on them to enlarge for better viewing.

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