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

Santa Barbara Marine Layer

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Santa Barbara Marine Layer
Although nothing like our friends to the north in San Francisco, Santa Barbara is a favorite hang out for something the weather man calls the “Marine Layer”. It’s basically a layer of air cooled quickly by the water making it hug the ground under the lighter warm air above. This cool layer has a tendency to slide into the coast as the sun is setting, bringing with it some beautiful swirling fog. Once in a while the effect is so pronounced that from the right vantage point you can see it rolling in like a beautiful blanket.

If you take the time to watch it, you can almost imagine an animated living breathing thing the way it swirls and moves so gracefully. This year we’ve seen a little less than usual of our beautiful fog friend, but there are still some amazing moments!

-Bill Heller

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Peaceful Evening on the Water

Santa Barbara photo to start the week, by Bill Heller (click to enlarge).

Peaceful Evening on the Water

I love to walk on the beach and at the harbor and look at all the boats. There are a wide variety of amazing crafts around Santa Barbara, but the sailboats have to be my favorites. It’s been a long time since I’ve been sailing, and I’m pretty sure I’d have trouble living full time on one. But it sure looks like a nice relaxing way to spend the sunset hours. Someday soon I’m going to find the time to spend more time out on the water -Bill Heller

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Heaven and Earth

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Heaven and Earth
Every evening as we go about our lives there is an amazing ballet going on above our heads. Most of us are too busy to think about it. But if you take some time to get away from the brighter lights of the city you can see some spectacular things just by looking up. This is the the beautiful Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, under the equally beautiful Milky Way Galaxy. The Galaxy we call home. If you think of all those stars at night that you usually see from any location, they are in general just our local neighbors in a small part of the Milky Way. All the visible stars you can make out with your naked eye in every direction from the earth (anywhere between five to ten thousand stars give or take) only comprise a tiny fraction of the stars in the Milky Way. That glowing band however, is made up of individual stars so numerous that they appear to be a continuous cloud of light to the unaided eye. Estimates put it from one to four hundred billion stars. There are absolutely wondrous and beautiful things all around us!

-Bill Heller

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Santa Barbara Breakwater Twilight

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

Santa Barbara Breakwater Twilight

Walking along the Santa Barbara Harbor breakwater at sunset, the perfect end to a warm day. -Bill Heller

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Friday Night Lights at Butterfly

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Friday Night Butterfly Lights

I’ve always enjoyed taking my camera out after dark. A long exposure can reveal all kinds of interesting things you didn’t even know were there. This was Friday night at Butterfly Beach. The moon was bright enough in the sky to easily catch the details at a faster shutter speed than this. But I intentionally lengthened the exposure to try to capture a more dreamy effect. In the middle of my exposure the people at the right walked up carrying some kind of small light, a cell phone presumably, which made for some unexpected interest in the form of an abstract light painting along the wall.

-Bill Heller

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Andree Clark Sunset

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Andree Clark Sunset
One of several absolutely spectacular sunsets this week thanks to high clouds in the area from Hurricane Hernan. This was the view from the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, one of the amazing natural places in the Santa Barbara area, named in memory of the sister of the refuge’s primary patron, Huguette Clark. A special thanks to Alan Rose at KEYT, for the heads up early in the week about the impending high level moisture. Knew it was going to be a good week when I heard that.

-Bill Heller

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Evening Over Stearns Wharf

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Evening Over Stearns Wharf
A nice cool evening out on Stearns Wharf. This is one of my favorite times to be out on the wharf. Most of the shops have closed and the only people out are fishermen or the restaurant patrons heading back to their cars. Of course it’s a little harder to get ice cream and candy at this time… but the parking is free!

-Bill Heller

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Anna

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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