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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


Christmas on Stearns Wharf, in 3D

Virtual reality photo of Santa Barbara by Bill Heller.


I always love wandering around Santa Barbara this time of year. Our city is beautiful any time of year but with the lights and decorations it’s even more spectacular. And with the reflections in the sand and the natural light show Stearns Wharf at sunset has to be my favorite spot this season.

Be sure to look around, it’s a large panorama and you can drag and zoom in.

-Bill Heller


Thousand Steps Sunset

Santa Barbara View to start the week, photo by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
1000 Steps Sunset
A beautiful evening at Thousand Steps beach. The wonderful and colorful dance the sun does as it slips below the horizon is due to the large amount of the atmosphere the light rays travel through at the steep angle near the horizon. You probably already knew that, but did you know that the moment you see the sun touch the horizon on a day like this it has actually already set? The refraction of the atmosphere bends the light around the curvature of the earth so you see the image of the sun projected slightly higher than it is in reality. The same thing happens in the morning. When you see the sun peek above the horizon the leading edge is still below the horizon by slightly more than the diameter of the sun. The results of this atmospheric refraction result in about six minutes more daylight than simple geometry would suggest, which are always welcomed especially this time of year!

Oh and don’t worry, if you want to enjoy this phenomenon at this beautiful spot, it’s only a name, it’s a big stairway no doubt, but not even nearly one thousand steps.

-Bill Heller


Harbor Bound

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Harbor Bound
The end to what looks like it was an amazing day of sailing. This sailboat is motoring its way back into the Santa Barbara Harbor under one of the most beautiful skies imaginable.

-Bill Heller


Sandpiper Sunset Clouds

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Sandpiper Sunset Clouds
Sandpiper Golf Course is one of the best places I can imagine to spend a few hours, especially this time of year when the sunsets are really getting spectacular. There is something about their beautiful little slice of our coastline the clouds seem to do particularly magical things just as the sun hangs low in the sky to highlight their amazing texture and beauty.

-Bill Heller


Savanna May Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Savanna May, Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara Harbor is one of my favorite evening walks. The shops and restaurants along the side of the harbor are always quite busy in the evenings, and the walk out on the breakwater offers a variety of wonderful views on the city. This was one of the last shots of the evening on one of those walks.

-Bill Heller


Andree Clark Sunset Reflections

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Andree Clark Sunset Reflections
The drought has been hard on all of the natives and visitors of California, the Andree Clark Bird Refuge and its visitors have been no exception. But standing there on a beautiful peaceful evening like this enjoying the sunset with the ducks offers a wonderful break from all the cares of the day.

-Bill Heller


Night Fishing at the Harbor

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Night Fishing
On warm days I like to take a walk out the breakwater at the Santa Barbara Harbor. It’s always cooler out there and any time of day it’s a beautiful walk. At sunset, and just after, it’s absolutely magical. This evening I was enjoying the beautiful view of the last colors of the setting sun in the company of an amazing Great Blue Heron (in the center at the edge of the water). Of course I think he was more interested in the fishing than the sunset, but we were both happy to patently stand there and take in the wonderful evening.

-Bill Heller


Clock Tower View Closed Soon for Renovation

Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
Clock Tower View, Closed soon for Renovations

I’m often surprised at how many locals have never been to the observation deck at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Clocktower. It’s a wonderful experience, even for those of us who may be used to looking at the beauty of Santa Barbara all the time. A wonderful experience that is, if you can easily navigate the tight metal stairways winding up the last story from the top of the elevator.

But that is all about to change for the better. Thanks to the caretakers of the courthouse a new project is underway to extend the elevator the last story all the way to the observation deck. But unlike some of the accessibility stories you hear where someone sued or complained to get action, the story behind the project is very positive. The courthouse has had ADA accessibility plans in the works for some time, but this particular project was accellerated by the people who forged ahead, rather than let it stop them. Even though the climb to the top was tough there are many who make the trek apparently even in the face of extreme difficulty. Inspired by the people who felt the experience was worth the effort, the Courthouse Docents urged the powers that be to fast track the project. Led by a guy who’s love of the history and heritage in his care is quite apparent when you talk to him, the County Architect Robert Ooley, the project got the green light this week.

Of course, extending the elevator another floor is no easy task. Starting January the Clock Gallery and the observation deck will be closed to the public to allow for construction, which is slated to run through July 2015. So if you’ve never been to the top because you’ve just never got around to it, now is a great time to go before construction starts! Of course if you’ve stayed away because of the climb, your wait is almost over. Either way, during the construction I’ll do my best to bring the wonderful views right to you.

You can find out more about this project and others in the works at http://www.santabarbaracourthouse.org/

-Bill Heller