Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Photographing the Salinas River: A Review

Watching the Salinas River Go By


The Salinas River was not part of my life until 1995, when my mother moved to a part of Paso Robles California only three blocks from river access. It was the first time I had lived near a real river. I grew up in Los Angeles County, and the only rivers I saw were mostly empty cement waterways that only filled after heavy rains. When we lived near Seattle for four months I was delighted to see some real rivers. I had always wanted to live near one, and now I live in Mom's house where the Salinas River is a short walk away. I love to watch it.

Photographing the Salinas River: A Review
An Ideal Place to Sit and Watch the Salinas River in Paso Robles, taken with Nikon Coolpix S9300

Getting to Know and Photograph the River


Once I had such easy access to the Salinas River, I began to study it and observe and photograph it on a regular basis. The Salinas is a subterranean river. That means I don't see it most of the year because it's flowing underground. If we get heavy rains, it becomes visible again for a few weeks and then disappears from sight. I try to make the most of the weeks when I'm able to photograph the flowing river. I have put many of my Salinas River photographs on puzzles, greeting cards, posters, postcards, and other print-on-demand products at Zazzle. You can see most of those products here. Among them are a poster and greeting card of the bench photo above.

I just made a new poster of my favorite river shot. The river always makes me feel peaceful as it flows by me. So I added a bit of text that reminds me of one of my favorite hymns: "Like a River Glorious"

Here is my new poster. For ordering information, please click the photo. If you'd prefer to have the poster without the words or if you want to change the words, it's easy to do once you click through to Zazzle and click to customize.



You can listen to the hymn here. Sample the many digital professional recordings of the hymn on Amazon.




The Day the Salinas River Came to Me


One January day I had been walking in the dry riverbed after some recent rains, hoping the river was visible again. I didn't see much more than a few puddles. I was walking away with my camera to return to the riverbank when suddenly the river first trickled and then rushed toward me. I was able to capture it on video. I also got some still shots. You can see the video and the photographs I was able to capture that day and also learn more about the river in this article: The Salinas River: Now You See It. Some of my products also feature photos you will see on that page.

What I Like about Photographing the Salinas River


Access to the river from Larry Moore Park is easy. It's also easy to find a parking place beside or very near this neighborhood park. I get some interesting sunset shots over the river if I walk the river trail at dusk. Here are a couple of them.

Photographing the Salinas River: A Review
Taken with my Canon PowerShot SX410 IS



Photographing the Salinas River: A Review
Taken with my Canon PowerShot SX410 IS

I can also find a wide variety of native plants, weeds, and trees to photograph beside or even in the river. I also see a lot of driftwood. I especially like this shot of a log in the river.

Photographing the Salinas River: A Review
Taken with Nikon Coolpix S8200


The sand on the bank also provides some interesting shots. In the photo below, you see footprints leading down to the river.

Photographing the Salinas River: A Review
Taken with my Canon PowerShot SX410 IS


Sometimes one may see some unexpected wildlife. Birds are common, but hard for me to shoot. Rabbits, though,  appear quite often at dusk. I almost didn't see this one. Do you see it?

Photographing the Salinas River: A Review
Rabbit Blending with River Sand, taken with my Canon PowerShot SX410 IS

After the winter rains, the riverbank can come alive with color, as in the shot below. I was looking down from the trail when I took this photo.

Photographing the Salinas River: A Review
Taken with my Canon PowerShot SX410 IS

No matter when I visit the river, whether it's flowing or dry, there is always something new to discover and photograph. My shots aren't as professional as my friend Mary Beth Granger's who gives us some tips in Challenge Yourself to Take Better Photographs, but I have fun.

My Photography Equipment


Photography is my hobby, and I get along fine with a point and shoot camera. My favorite was a Nikon Coolpix that fit in my purse or pocket, but somehow I lost it when I went out one day with friends and we made a number of stops.

Some of these photos were  taken with my Canon PowerShot, another point and shoot. It has a longer zoom than the Nikon did. The zoom helped me capture that almost hidden rabbit above. The Canon won't fit in my pocket, but I got a nifty case for it that will also hold my cell phone and extra battery packs and San Disks. Nothing is worse than finding out that your battery is dead just as you find the perfect shot you'd been searching for.

The case below is the one I chose to go with my Canon PowerShot SX410 IS. It's light and the strap is so comfortable that I don't mind having to carry the larger camera. When I still  had my Nikon, I could even fit it in the slot next to my Canon, though I think it was really meant for a lens. Now the PowerShot and the case go with me everywhere because every time I leave them home I find a shot I wanted to take and couldn't.

Did You Enjoy this Brief Look at the Salinas River?

If you would like to photograph the Salinas River from Larry Moore Park, here's a map to help you find it. My directions are from the Paso Robles Walmart parking lot. You can drive to the park from the southeast exit and park along Riverbank Lane. Or you can park just west of J. C. Penny, that white building on the map closest to the river. That diagonal path you see next to Penny's leads to a park entrance. When you reach that entrance, go straight toward the river. You can't miss it. 



I'll leave you with one last photo with a bit of wildlife. I couldn't get close enough, even with my zoom, to bring the ducks closer, but occasionally they do get to the river. This shot was taken with my Coolpix S8200 and it didn't have as long a zoom as my Canon,  which I did not yet own back in 2013 when this was taken. I didn't want to crop the photo to make the ducks show up better because it would diminish the view of the river.

Ducks Swimming in Salinas River





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

14 comments:

  1. I love that this river inspires you with its peaceful beauty. The caption you chose for your new poster is so perfect. Thanks for sharing this special place that fills your corner of the world with the things that speak to your heart. I had a river in my back yard when I was in college and starting my teaching career. I always anticipated the goslings that would be born in my yard every spring. One is surely blessed when living on or near water. I'm glad you use your gifts to chronicle the loveliness of your river throughout the different seasons.

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    1. I think nature is the one thing I really do get excited about sharing. I'm so thankful I finally do have access to a river close to home -- even if it only has visible water a few months a year. When we spent four months in Washington State we also lived close to a river. It flowed right under the public library, which was built like a bridge over it. Little boys fished in it while their parents were in the library.

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  2. Barbara, I truly enjoyed my virtual river walk with you. It is an ever-changing landscape (waterscape?) :) that is different on every visit. Your photographs are wonderful and capture the moments that are special to you (sunsets, wildlife, river views). Thanks for sharing.

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    1. The river is special to me and even when it's dry there is plenty to photograph.

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  3. Beautiful photos Barb! I really love the photo of the bunny. It still amazes me when I see how God created such beautiful animals and how they are colored just right to blend in and be camouflaged by their surroundings. So many wonderful things we would walk right past and never notice if we didn't stop long enough to take a picture. Your "Like a River Gorgeous" photo is magnificent. I love the way you also captured that fabulous sky. You truly captured a gift straight from the Master's hand.

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia. The bunny was special to me for the same reasons you mentioned. God suits all his creatures perfectly to live in their habitats. And the camera does make me observe more than I would if I were on a walk without it.

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  4. I love being by a river or lake. These are lovely photos of the Salinas river!

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    1. Thank you, Heather. I"m also lucky to live a few minutes from a small lake. You'll probably be seeing that here soon.

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  5. I love water, your pictures are fantastic!!!

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I love being near all bodies of water -- rivers, oceans, lakes, and even puddles that have reflections.

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  6. Thanks for taking me to the Salinas River through the eye of your camera. What a beautiful place to photograph!

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    1. Thank you for coming along to see our river. I like photographing a place I know well, since I'm able to predict when and where I may get the shots I want. Of course, there are also happy surprises.

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  7. Barbara, I love how you capture the many moods of this river. I especially like the lighting in the photo with the driftwood. Gorgeous.

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  8. Dawn, I can't take any credit for that lightening. God provided it. But I liked it, too.

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