In March 2015 I attended a six-day meditation retreat with Tibetan teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche at Mount Madonna. The retreat center is perched high along the summit ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains and looks across the Pajaro Valley to the Monterey Bay.
During the breaks I wandered the campus practicing mindful and meditative photography (is there any other kind?) Spring flowers were in bloom attracting birds, bees and butterflies. At sunrise each morning turkeys gobbled a loud wake up call while a small herd of deer silently grazed the greenery nearby.
Gophers are big problem in the West. They usually remain unseen; only the extensive damage they wreak is visible. But as I sat resting on a stone wall a fat and curious gopher emerged from his earthen home and casually surveyed the above ground world. After checking out the sunlight landscape the gopher closed up his tunnel entrance and disappeared.
Mount Madonna has a pond (quite low because of our terrible drought), an outdoor temple and several water features. One man-made stream and waterfall has a small alcove behind the cascade. Sitting in the cool and damp recess, I shot through the sheet of shimmering flowing water.