Friday, October 26, 2018

The fall season brings amazing natural beauty to San Mateo County Parks. Here are just a few ways to enjoy it.

Photo Excursions

On the coast side, keep watch for dolphins, whales, sea lions, and surfers at Mirada Surf at sunset. If you are taking pictures of the sunset, use a faster shutter speed and low ISO to avoid the “bloom” of the sun. Never look right at the sun through the viewfinder, use the led screen.

At Fitzgerald Marine Reserve the view of the undersea world comes to life in fall. Wonderful low tides offer magical photo ops for undersea creatures in the tide pools. Use a point and shoot with an underwater housing or a camera designed to be submerged. Macro photography is ideal in the reef ecology. Hint: use a flash on low power mode or with a diffuser to really bring out colors and texture—in bright sunlight the flash will fill in shadows.

At Devil’s Slide Trail the thick fog of summer usually breaks in fall offering spectacular Pacific views from this majestic trail. A wide angle lens certainly offers a breathtaking opportunity to take in your surroundings as you hike this easy 2.6 mile round trip filled with history and geology. Morning or late afternoon are best bets for picture-taking. Watch for whales, common murres and peregrine falcons. 

The mist at Quarry Park has an ethereal "jungle" quality to it after a light rain. This is a good time to listen for bird calls.

Stunning Vistas

San Pedro Valley Park’s Montara Mountain Trail is a moderate hike that provides countless opportunities for viewing flowers and landscapes.

Pillar Point Bluff has gorgeous trails with expansive ocean views.

Coyote Point Recreation Area is the place to be for outstanding views of San Francisco Bay and planes landing at the airport. Early morning on the Bluff Trail is the perfect time to see the sunrise reflecting off the bay. Not only does Coyote Point Park have easy hiking for kids, it offers one of the few up close, elevated views of the bay.

Be Prepared

At this time of year, the temperatures begin to drop in the afternoons and you can quickly become chilled when you stop walking. Wear layers that will carry you through the day. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen. Also be sure to carry appropriate equipment with you—trail maps, compass, water bottle, flashlight or headlamp. Our days are shorter now and that means earlier wildlife activity at dusk, so you may see more animals on the trail.