Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a chance to step outside and enjoy a little mother nature. I know for some of you its freezing outside. I guess that gives you time to plan a few adventures for the spring time. Last week in Southern California we received a needed rain storm. That rain turned on some of the seasonal waterfalls in San Diego county and I decided to explore one of those areas, Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. The preserve is sandwich between the communities of Carmel Valley and Sorrento Valley.  A beautiful open space that I had yet to explore. So I woke up nice and early and headed to the trial head. I thought there might be more people out enjoying the area but that muddy trail was all mine. After a three mile trek I finally reached the waterfall area. I found out later that day from a local photographer that there is a closer spot to park that knocks off a few miles.

I was taken by surprise as I approached the waterfall. It was more of a foam fall and not a waterfall. And now your science lesson for the day…. Basically decaying vegetation creates surfactants that break the water surface tension and allows the bubbles to foam. Here is a link that explains it more in depth….. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/pdf/foam-surface.pdf

A foamy day on the upper section of the Los Penasquitos Preserve waterfalls.

All this foam made it bit more difficult to create images that didn’t look like someone was taking a bubble bath in the river. To be honest my inner child wanted to grab a rubber ducky and jump in and play in the bubbles. After relaxing and enjoying the oddity of the bubbles I grabbed the camera and started looking for an image.  The first image required some bolder hopping out past the bubbles to this spot and a long exposure to mask the froth.


Winter storms turn on the the upper section of the Los Penasquitos Preserve waterfalls.


I sat out on that boulder until the clouds decided to drop a bit of rain on me and I was forced to scamper back to my bag and grab an umbrella. I bring an umbrella anytime it might rain, well unless its an electrical storm, in that case I try not to tempt Zeus by holding medal objects above my head. After the rain stopped I decided to move down towards the middle/lower section of the falls. The foam was still a factor in composing a  nice image. To give you a better idea of what I was seeing here is a reference photo followed by the image(s) I decided to create.

Winter rain fall turns on the Los Penasquitos Preserve waterfalls.


A slow shutter allows me to balance the bubbles with the fast moving water of the Los Penasquitos canyon waterfall.

I decided to the best way to balance out the foam and fast moving water was the use of a slow shutter speed. I believe this was just about 1.6 seconds. The following image was taken horizontally and at 2.5 seconds.

Winter rain turns on the Los Penasquitos Preserve waterfalls.

I sat there a while enjoying the beauty and the relaxing sounds of the flowing water. With the growl of my stomach I knew it was time to start the three miles back to the car. I think I’ll use that closer trail head next time. Remember to get outside and enjoy the beauty of this world and be kind to mother nature and the people in this world.

No Comments