Dun-Colored Hills

The hills always look like this in late August in Southern California. Sunburned. Desiccated. Sapped of all moisture, hillside flora becomes millions of acres of tinder, ready to ignite at the slightest provocation. Remembering what the countryside looks like at this time of the year, makes the sudden greening after winter and spring rains all that much better by comparison.

This frame was captured at Sycamore Canyon on August 29th. The only green in this view is trees rooted near a creek (lower right) and the watered residential area in the middle distance.

I was carrying the Lumix G1 and ran up against the limits of that camera when I abruptly caught sight of a road runner in the underbrush. I’d never seen a road runner in the canyon, though there’s no reason why that bird wouldn’t be there. The road runner moved so fast that I was unable to do anything other than zoom all the way in with the 14-45mm (28-90mm equivalent) lens. I didn’t have time to set a bigger aperture, so the bird is blurred at f/20.

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