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Fall foliage on willow trees        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The San Jacinto Wildlife Area is a state-owned parcel of seemingly barren land in the San Jacinto valley of western Riverside County, California. It hosts a remarkable number of bird species, especially in winter. Many are attracted to the pond systems, largely created with wastewater from nearby cities. These scenes show fall-colored willow trees along one of dikes between two such ponds. The images were technical challenges because of the sharp tonal gradation between the bright sky and the dark water. I used a polarizing filter and (for the right picture) a graded split neutral-density filter that darkened the sky and helped even the exposure across the frame.

Other pictures of scenery at the Wildlife Area can be found here.

  • above: Canon EOS1v, 17-40 mm lens at 20 mm; Velvia 100 with polarizer and split neutral-density filter (2003)
  • below: digital capture, Canon 1D Mk. II, 17-40 mm lens at 20 mm split neutral-density filter (2005)