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Santa Barbara International Film Festival Opening Night

Tonight is the opening night of the 30th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. This is a shot from the side balcony of the Arlington during last years’ opening night film “Mission Blue”. In the same vein as Mission Blue the Film Festival will continue their support of pioneers of protecting our beautiful oceans by honoring the entire Cousteau family. -Bill Heller


Golden Hour from the Montecito Hills

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Golden Hour from the Montecito Hills
The evening I took this shot the sunset was absolutely amazing, even before the clouds lit up with the colors. As the sun slipped closer to the horizon, the clouds seemed to swirl around it leaving just enough space to watch its descent and reflection on the ocean. In the center of the image you can just make out Stearns Wharf in the distance.
-Bill Heller


Fata Morgana: Virtual Reality Photo

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

Fairy Castles in the Santa Barbara Channel
We’ve had some beautiful sunsets lately. This evening a little over a week ago was one of the most spectacular. But the amazing show above may have distracted you from something much more elusive and intriguing happening at the horizon. Take a close look at the islands across the channel in the image. The rapidly changing weather caused a particularly interesting phenomena called a Superior Mirage. Where the mirages people are most familiar with (inferior mirages) reflect images as though they are mirror-like pools of water on the road, a superior mirage does just the opposite. The layers of air in a particularly strong inversion layer near the surface act as not only a mirror above objects on the horizon, but they take on the effect of a fun house mirror distorting and repeating images or even making objects appear to float above the surface. The name for these mirages when they become particularly complex is “Fata Morgana” an Italian phrase referring to stories told about the floating islands often seen in the Strait of Messina being fairy castles. Fata Morgana (or Fairy Morgan) incidentally refers to a particular fairy from the legend of King Arthur… but that’s a story for another day.

Be sure to zoom in and explore the image with the controls at the bottom, it is a large panorama with a lot of detail!

-Bill Heller


Queen of the Missions Sunset

Santa Barbara photo to start the week, by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Queen of the Missions at Sunset
The end to another beautiful day at the Santa Barbara Mission. The sunset this evening was absolutely amazing. The clouds were putting on a beautiful show long before the sun neared the horizon. It promised to be another amazing show, and when the colors really started it did not disappoint. The brightest glow like this only lasted for a few moments, but it was a fitting backdrop for such a beautiful example of historic architecture.

-Bill Heller


Lone Tree Sunset

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

Lone Tree Sunset

Overlooking Haskell’s Beach in Goleta from the Sandpiper Golf Course, this little tree is standing watch at the edge of the bluff. This particular day was absolutely beautiful (come to think of it, most days are here), but in this case there was just enough moisture in the air to make this beautiful golden evening light, but not so much that we didn’t have an amazing view of the ocean and the fluffy white clouds above.

-Bill Heller


End of the Rainbow

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
End of the Rainbow
Friday after the storm, the late afternoon sun on the mountains was spectacular and the air was clear and beautiful from the rain. As the sun slipped below the remaining clouds there were several light rainbows appearing and disappearing moment by moment as the shafts of light played among the remaining clouds. It was an amazing afternoon to just enjoy our beautiful city at the end of the rainbow.

-Bill Heller