During an early morning drive across an unspoiled Namibian landscape, the sunlight is diffused in purple hues .
We turn off our engine and are enveloped by the pure quiet…
and we leave the engine off and take in the moment.
With elbows propped on the side of the balloon basket to stabilize my camera, I marveled at the mystical desert that passed below: the curves of ridges rising from the sand, the swirls and patterns in the sand itself, sometimes the small speck of an animal or a tree, sometimes a colorful balloon floating below.
The rising sun illuminates the fabric in a neighboring balloon as it floats over a ridge.
People talk in hushed voices and the quiet is only occasionally broken by the sound of the burner.
Dunes and ridges rise as sculptures from the desert floor…
as the sun continues its ascent.
An oryx, a species of antelope the size of a large horse, casts a long shadow in the early morning sunlight.
A lone tree also casts its shadow across the barren sand.
We received a hot air balloon ride as a gift! Here we are looking down on another balloon as it floats above some Southern California orange groves and vineyards.
And here is the flame that kept our own balloon aloft. We learned during the flight that our balloon captain was an airline pilot who flew balloons for fun. That gave me confidence!
We had started early with champagne at sunrise while floating over the Temecula Valley. The captain poured the champagne, but did not partake. That also gave me much confidence!
One of the many things to appreciate about Australia is the opportunity to take in an unobstructed coastal view, something that still exists but is not always readily available in the U.S. The Victoria coastline, even being in a relatively populated area, still offers a bit of morning solitude and, on this particular morning, beautiful light for a sunrise image.
Another thing I took special note of in Australia is the way the spindrift blows backward off the breakers. I know our waves in California have spindrift sometimes, but it seemed especially lovely along the Victoria coast. Lovely also is the morning light reflected in shallow pools dappling a shoreline rock shelf.
The sun is rising over the Upper Newport Bay, a large coastal wetland and nature preserve in Southern California. The upper bay connects to the Lower Newport Bay and eventually the Pacific Ocean.