Aerial Exploration: LAX to SFO

Flew from LAX to SFO (almost a year ago now). Even though I was on the wrong side of the plane —  always better to be on the side opposite the sun and not staring into it — the images came out pretty good with a little help from Photoshop.

Channel Islands of California
Google Maps Wikipedia
The Channel Islands are located just off the cost of southern California and consist of eight islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rose, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, San Nicolas, Santa Catalina and San Clmente. The first five are part of the Channel Islands National Park. Anacapa Island is the only one not given a Spanish name — it is the seamonster looking island in the photo ‘swimming’ towards Santa Cruz island which is the largest of the five park islands.

Pismo Beach, California
Google Maps Wikipedia
From the air, the sand of Pismo Beach really stood out from the green and browns of the California coast. Apparently, Pismo Beach is famous for having one of California’s longest and widest streteches of beach. Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area, is the only California State Park where vehicles can be driven on the beach. Or if you prefer walking on the dunes, try the Oceano Dunes State Recreation Area which has a two mile trail over the dunes.

Big Sur and the Santa Lucia Mountain Range
Google Maps Wikipedia
What I love about this picture is the way it captures the blue of the Pacific and the jagged Coastal Mountain range. You can see why early explorers didn’t venture into California’s interior until they stumbled across the fog protected San Francisco harbor in the late 1700s. Highway 1 runs along the coastline and passes through Big Sur in about the middle of the picture where there is a small stretch of beach.

Redwood City and the Cargill Salt Ponds
Google Maps Wikipedia
Highway 101 heading north up the Peninsula from San Jose to San Francisco passing through Redwood City. There are no redwoods in Redwood City. The large rust colored salt ponds are owned by Cargill Salt. Bayfront Park can be seen on the bottom right of the photo. The future of the salt ponds are being heavily debated — Cargill is proposing a major new development and others would prefer to see the salt ponds restored to natural tidal marshes (

Redwood Shores and Foster City, CA
Google Maps
Bay Slough snakes through the center of the picture dividing Redwood Shores (part of incorporated Redwood City) on the left and Foster City on the right as it runs into San Francisco Bay. Both communities were created in the 1960s built on landfill in the marshes. Both bill themselves as ‘affluent waterfront neighborhoods.’ What is really surprising from the air is the difference in colors. The blue water on the right in Foster City is called Central Lake which is much darker than Redwood Shores lagoon.

This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. J.E.
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    The reason why the Foster City lagoons are a dark blue, in contrast to the greener color of the natural slough that separates the city from Redwood Shores is because the City of Foster City actually uses dye to color their water blue. Fill in bay marshes with housing and turn the sloughs into heavily managed canals. What a concept!

    • Posted April 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the quick response. Die to color their water? It gives me visions of swimmers diving in and climbing out looking like members of the Blue Man Group (

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>