In California there is a short period in spring when the hills are so vibrantly green that you could be reminded of Ireland. If you are lucky, the wildflowers will also be in maximum bloom. Most years, you have perhaps a week or two to enjoy the best of both. In 2005, the green stayed around longer thanks to unusual weather. The wildflower season was prolonged as well.
The fact that for much of the year most hills in California are dusty, dry and brown makes these soothing green hills all the more special.
Sunol Regional Wilderness in the East Bay has many appealing aspects, including the Little Yosemite scenic gorge on the Alameda River, amazing wildflower displays, and access to the Ohlone Wilderness. While a fairly popular park in spring, there is plenty of territory to explore.
Sunol's earliest inhabitants, Native Americans, left behind bedrock mortars used for grinding acorns from the local oaks. In recent history, the land here was used primarily as ranch land. The East Bay Regional Park District allows cattle to graze in the park.
The visibility this day was very good, but not crystal clear. In this scene, you can see Mount Diablo, Pleasanton Ridge, Calaveras Reservoir, Welch Creek Road, the San Francisco Peninsula, and perhaps even Rocky Ridge. The wildflowers include California poppies, lupine, and johnny-jump-ups.
The moon is visible in the scene, but it is very small.
Nikon SLR camera, homemade panhead atop a carbon fiber tripod.
Behind the scene : how this panorama was made
The locale here was so spectacular that it didn't seem like you could go wrong.
But it is not clear if this is my best panorama of the year. While I shot quite a few scenes in 2005, my wall-map projects didn't leave me much time to build panos.
Shooting parameters: 27mm lens, exposure was 1/80th at f22.
This scene was stitched in AS v1.01, edited in Photoshop, and optimized in DeliVRator.