Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach, California ---------

The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is full of life but it isn’t a prime area for landscape photography. The water of the laguna looks clean and clear but the land around is still bare and muddy. Few trees can be found. However, these wetlands are under restoration and this will take time. It may not yet be the prettiest, but it is one of the most interesting restoration areas where I have ever put the legs of my tripod in the sand. Behind the beach buildings is the Pacific Ocean, between the beach and this part of the laguna is the busy Pacific Cost Highway, and behind me and the camera is the larger part of the laguna. Oil wells are within the borders of the reserve and the laguna is surrounded by rows of expensive looking homes. It is always kinda noisy from the highway and of course air traffic. Three major airports are not very far. And still, it is an oases within a densely populated area that provides food and breeding grounds for many species of birds, some of them rare, and other wildlife. In Bolsa Chica I always realize how fragile our ecological systems are. A single oil spill can be devastating. Bolsa Chica’s restoration to a functioning wetland has been one of the biggest attempts on the west coast. Sure, this is not inexpensive but the progress I have seen since 2010 and meeting very many people enjoying the wetlands last Sunday tells me that this is money well spent. Here in eastern Iowa we have similar projects on a smaller scale (i.e. Mud Lake and Deere Marsh at the Mississippi River), and they all make sense if we want that our children and grandchildren have still the chance to watch wildlife at its best in the years after our generation is gone.

Pointing the lens towards the sunset over the ocean and exposing strictly for the highlights makes all the clutter disappear in the photo. It still shouldn’t blind our eyes for the environmental problems this world is facing…