The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

My last post was a tribute to autumn and with the season FALLing towards winter here’s a last photographic tribute to this colorful season in the Golden State.

Sonoma Valley.
Established as a Spanish settlement in 1823, the town of Sonoma is located in the colorful wine country valley of the same name. The valley is home to over 400 wineries including the Buena Vista Winery, California’s oldest winery, and Gundlach-Bundschu, the state’s oldest, continually operating family winery.
Below, a home sits in a bright autumn hued vineyard.   

Located in California’s Gold Country, Drytown had its heyday during the Gold Rush of the early 1850’s. The town’s name comes from Dry Creek which ran dry during the summer months. The town itself belies the name as it was once home to twenty six saloons.
It is the oldest town in Amador County, also a wine producing region that is famous for its old vine Zinfandels. Big and bold, Zin is my favorite wine variety.
Earlier this month, Cora and I spent two nights in a cottage located in the middle of a vineyard.
Below, the colors of fall in the vineyard.

Morro Bay.
We visited Morro Bay on California’s Central Coast in early October when the coastal fog tends to sit right on the surface of the water.
A thick fog was what I found on our first morning in Morro Bay and my first thought was, no photos this morning. That’s until I got to the waterfront. I’ve often thought of shooting a scene in a dense fog as a photographer’s nightmare. Over the years I’ve learned to look for opportunities in what I might normally see as a wash out (after all it’s not like I have to pay for film and processing – right?)   

American River.
Highway 50 just east of Placerville runs along the course of the American River. During a recent drive to Lake Tahoe I captured this classic scene of the river decorated with autumn foliage.           

The calendar, the position of the sun and the climate may be screaming that it’s fall but these late November photos prove that for the surfers in Pacifica, it’s always summer.                             

Lake Tahoe.
Old man winter made an early cameo appearance during our early November trip to Lake Tahoe. I suppose that he’s letting us know that his time is nigh.
Below autumn leaves on a winter blanket.             

This post is my contribution to this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge.  Tina Schell left us with the wide open topic, “You Pick It.”  To view Tina’s contribution and those of other lens artists follow the link to Tina’s site, Travels and Trifles.

29 thoughts on “California Autumn: A Photo Tour

  1. Those are wonderful pictures Paulie. I love the boats in the mist and the red leaves in the snow.

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Peter. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been in the snow and actually the first time that I’ve photographed snow.

  2. Tina Schell says:

    Wow Paulie – you’ve captured an amazing variety of wonderful scenes. Despite the glorious colors, which of course I love, my absolute favorite is your second foggy boat capture. It is truly marvelous. I also really love the closing image with snow on the red leaves. Terrific response to the challenge. One question – were none of the areas you captures affected by the fires this year? I thought Sonoma was really badly affected. Happy to see the wealth of foliage there.

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Tina for the kind words.
      Sonoma is a fairly large county that stretches from the Pacific Coast to the hills that separate the Sonoma Valley from the Napa Valley. The Glass Fire was confined mostly to wild and rural areas. I took a drive through a very small portion of the valley near to the town of Sonoma itself.

      1. Tina Schell says:

        Once again the news people grossly over-exaggerated the impact of the fires. They showed homes burning and burnt out cars as people fled the flames. Having been to Sonoma and seen it’s amazingly verdant hills I am so happy to learn the fires were confined. Thanks Paulie

  3. pattimoed says:

    Beautiful gallery, Paulie. Lovely images. I love the fall colors and your final image with the fiery red leaves and the snow. What a great contrast! I’m glad you joined us!

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Patti. I almost passed up the trip to Tahoe when I found out there was going to be snow. That’s until I realized that I’ve never had the opportunity to photograph snowy scenes. Now I can’t wait to go back (just don’t want to drive in the stuff).

  4. Jane Fritz says:

    Just lovely, Paulie. You have a gift. So glad you’re using it and sharing the results!

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Jane. I guess it keeps me out of the bars. Of course the bars are all closed anyway.

  5. Sheree says:

    Beautiful photos

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Sheree.

      1. Sheree says:


  6. Amy says:

    Thank you, Pauli for the enjoyable California autoumn photo tour. Love the classic scene of the America River. I love the first foggy boat captur. The “autumn leaves on a winter blanket” is truely beautiful.

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Amy. This year was the first time that I’ve been able to take photos in the snow. Hope to do it again this year if I can figure out how to avoid driving in the stuff.

  7. M.B. Henry says:

    Absolutely gorgeous fall photos

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you so much M.B.

  8. Kaya says:

    Beautiful autumn moments and so wonderfully photographed. I like especially the wild river, it’s so peaceful and surrounded by beautiful trees.

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you so much. My regret about that river is that I didn’t make more stops along the way to our destination.

  9. restlessjo says:

    Such fabulous colours! Many thanks for sharing 🙂 🙂

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you for visiting and for the kind words.

  10. These are beautiful photos Paulie! And we stayed in Morro Bay a couple of years ago when we did a roadtrip up Highway 1! We loved the little town, and of course the roadtrip was amazing. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos!

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Lisa.

  11. JohnRH says:

    WOWWWWWW. Beautiful!!!!! Love the banner shot, dark rocks amongst leaves, in particular.

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you so much John. I have to say that I do like that American River shot. I regret that I didn’t stop at more turnouts on the way to Tahoe but I wanted to beat the snow. In retrospect it wasn’t a good decision. It’s not like you can go back and try again.

  12. Leya says:

    Just gorgeous, Paulie! And I understand your fascination with snow…we’re really missing it here. Due to climate change there is less and less snow in the winters. Last winter we had none at all. Only grey and damp. So, thank you for your colourful and cold images! Love the American river and the foggy boats especially. But – the last one in bright red and white really cheered me up!

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you Ann Christine. Photographing the snowy landscape was a new challenge for me. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area snow is a rarity except in the higher elevations. There’s been very little snow in The Sierra so far. We need more or we’ll be seeing another drought year and more wild fires.
      Glad you enjoyed the boats in the fog. I was a bit unsure of those.

      1. Leya says:

        I would say you never have to be unsure…!

  13. Sooooo beautiful.

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

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