About Bill Heller

Bill Heller is a local photographer who has been contributing to the Santa Barbara View since February, 2009. His photographs, virtual reality photos, and innovative video techniques showcase our beautiful City and County on a weekly basis. You can visit Bill's website at, http://www.billheller.com.

Author Archive | Bill Heller

Annas

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.

Anna's
Our hummingbirds are having a particularly active season right now. On one evening walk we counted at least eight sitting patently waiting for their flowers to refill with nectar on a small stretch of the path by the beach.

This beautiful little creature was watching me quite intently. He seemed as interested in me as I was in him. He was probably just trying to figure out what the tall guy with the 300mm nose was doing. He was a little nervous at first, but over the years I’ve found a patent slow approach usually puts them at ease. After a few minutes I was able to get close enough to get the shot I was looking for.

-Bill Heller

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Cypress Super Moon

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Cypress Super Moon
The view from last night above Butterfly Beach. At the time I did not realize this was a “supermoon”. A full moon that coincides with the moon’s perigee, the closest part of the moon’s orbit to Earth. But the crowds of people out along the beach watching seemed to suggest something was up. Of course the moon needs to be very close to the horizon to really notice a difference in size, but then every moonrise is beautiful here.

-Bill Heller

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Santa Barbara City Lights

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Santa Barbara City Lights
A nice long exposure just after sunset from the end of the breakwater. The tide was pretty high when I took this last week, so I came back from a nice evening walk on the breakwater a little soggy. But it was well worth it. I was not the only one crazy enough to brave the beautiful waves either. There were more than a few people trying to enjoy the view while running from dry spot to dry spot on the breakwater. I actually had fun trying to capture the breaking waves, but they seemed to take on a life of their own. Taunting me only when I turned my back. When I came close to the wall ready to snap my shot quickly then duck, they seemed to know I was stalking them. I actually got all the way out and most of the way back before they caught me off totally off guard. I guess the score is waves 1 – photographer 0, but there will be plenty of warm evenings this summer to give me the opportunity to even up the score.

-Bill Heller

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Fire Palm in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara photo of the week as we head into July - by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.

Fire Palm - Happy Birthday USA

The fourth of July fireworks from one of my favorite locations high above Santa Barbara. I love the closer palm trees in the photo, and from this angle it almost looks like the fireworks are trying to immitate the palm trees. Fire palms. – Bill Heller

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Athena the Barn Owl

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.

Athena the Barn Owl
This week I made it over to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Although I was especially looking forward to the Butterflies Alive exhibit, on the way to the pavillion we bumped into this beautiful creature. (You may have noticed, she’s not a butterfly!) This is Athena, a barn owl who was rescued after being hit by a car left her with limited eyesight. With limited depth perception she has trouble landing on perches and would not be able to catch food in the wild. Athena and her friends (a group of seven raptors, including Max a great horned owl and several falcons) were adopted by the Santa Barbara Audubon Society when it was determined for various reasons they could not be released back to the wild. You can learn more about them at their website. And you can meet them at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History most afternoons (check their online calendar for times).

Oh and, we did eventually make it to the Butterflies Alive exhibit, and they were absolutely amazing too!

-Bill Heller

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Terra Sol Customer

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.

Terra Sol Customer

Yesterday I had intended to visit the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. I just got my macro lens back from being serviced, and what better place could there be to put it through it’s paces than wandering through the Butterflies Alive exhibit? As so often happens, Saturday flew by too quickly. Fortunately, Terra Sol Garden Center is open until six these days. We stopped there to get some peppers for the garden and I thought I would snap a few shots just to test the lens.

When we arrived we found our peppers, and a great display of various flowers grouped into sections based upon what they will attract to your garden. Sure enough, in the butterfly section right next to the Milkweeds was another Terra Sol customer and my butterfly photo opportunity. This beautiful Monarch was a very patient model too, posing on several different flowers and waiting just long enough for me to catch up and snap a few shots before finding a new perch.

I’ll still find time to make it over to the Butterflies Alive exhibit sometime soon, and maybe I’ll get some great hummingbird photos with my new flowers too.

-Bill Heller

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Santa Barbara Evening View

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Santa Barbara Evening View
I love trying to get a different perspective on our beautiful corner of the world. And I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with my cameras after dark. No surprise then that I would always be on the lookout for a wonderful nighttime perch like this.

Thanks to our mountains, we have the opportunity to go from a beautiful cityscape like this, to an absoulute dark sky allowing great views of the stars in Santa Ynez Valley with only a short drive. And you can see that on some interesting maps online that can help you find dark skies for stargazing, or even bright cityscapes if you’re a crazy owl-like photographer who likes that sort of thing. This is one of my favorites… http://darksitefinder.com/maps.html

(By the way, access to this particular perch was thanks to a friend, client and long time Santa Barbara View reader!)

-Bill Heller

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La Playa Lights

Santa Barbara photo to start the week, by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
La Playa Lights

The lights of La Playa Field at Santa Barbara City College as seen through the masts of the sailboats at the harbor. -Bill Heller

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Shoreline Silhouette

Bill Heller provides a beautiful reminder of what’s right in Santa Barbara with this photo.
Shoreline Silhouette
We have a lot of beautiful spots in Santa Barbara, but there is something special about Shoreline park. More than just just about anywhere else there seems to be something for everyone. On an evening walk you can see such a wide variety of people enjoying the outdoors. From kids playing at the park, to entire families having bar-b-ques, the smell of which is usually enough to make everyone wish they were invited. Then there is the everpresent canine parade out walking their people. All of this just steps away from the surfers below, and at the right time of the lunar cycle, amazing tidal pools. More than any place I photograph Shoreline seems to evoke amazing memories from those who remember a simpler time there, especially those who no longer call this area of Santa Barbara home. When I’m taking a photo like this, I’m always thinking of the great memories they have shared with me and hoping to bring back more!

-Bill Heller (click to enlarge the Santa Barbara photo of the week)

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Haskell’s Sunset in Virtual Reality

Santa Barbara photo of the week in 3D by Bill Heller.

There’s no better way to end a day of record breaking heat than with an evening walk on one of our beautiful beaches. And if you’re looking for a bit more secluded location Haskell’s beach by Sandpiper Golf Course in Goleta is one of my favorite spots.

-Bill Heller

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Santa Barbara Sunset

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Santa Barbara Sunset
Sunset over Santa Barbara. This is the kind of sunset that perplexes people about Santa Barbara. On the west coast you’d probably expect the sun to set over the ocean. The thing is, we’re along a stretch of the California coast that faces south. There are spots where at the right time of year where you can see a beautiful ocean sunset but this time of year the sun has made its angle far enough inland for some wonderful views like this looking back from Stearns Wharf. – Bill Heller

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La Purisima Mission Bells

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.

Santa Inez Mission Bells

This week I visited the Santa Inez Santa Inez mission. If you haven’t been there in a while it’s a great place to visit. They are always working on some creative example of how life must have been for the inhabitants of the mission. If you wander behind the main building of the mission, where this shot was taken you’ll actually find some displays of the mission store, a spot where people working and visiting the mission could trade their goods. And a mill where you can get up close to a mill stone that looks like it’s ready to grind flour. All it needs are the burros. Of course don’t ask the guys out front, them and their beautiful Ox friend are retired. They just spend time entertaining the visitors and absorbing as much love as they can.

-Bill Heller

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Jalama Road

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.

Jalama Road

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, we spent the afternoon just wandering the rolling hills from Santa Ynez to Jalama Beach. Jalama beach is actually closed through May Second, but the drive out the winding road is still a wonderful experience on a beautiful spring day. By the time we got out this far the California Poppies had all closed for the evening, but the yellow mustard flowers covered many of the hills making the further hills look painted with a yellow brush in the distance.

-Bill Heller

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Springtime in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.

Ladubug Daisy

I love the beautiful flowers this time of year, especially on my cacti. Unfortunately I’m not the only one. The aphids seem to be quite fond of them too. But, rather than spray or use soap we went down to the hardware store and got a little box of lady bugs. Most of the nurseries or home and garden stores keep them in little refrigerators, kind of dormant just waiting for an assignment. Mine had two jobs… get the bugs, and look pretty for the camera while doing it.

-Bill Heller

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Cypress Silhouette

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Cypress Silhouette
This is one of my favorite trees in the Santa Barbara area. A beautiful Cypress that hangs out over Butterfly Beach in Montecito. It always makes a beautiful frame for the lights of Santa Barbara in the distance. -Bill Heller

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