Summer Sunrise Photography in the Preserves


When was the last time you got up before dawn just to enjoy the sunrise? In the blazing heat of the Santa Clara Valley summer, early morning is the perfect time to get out in nature to enjoy cool air and the beautiful morning light, but there’s no doubt it can be hard to get motivated for this without some company.

In July, the Open Space Authority offered the opportunity to come and experience our preserves as the sun came up with “Nature Photography at Dawn,” a series of nine early morning hikes at Coyote Valley, Coyote Ridge, Rancho Cañada del Oro, and Sierra Vista open space preserves. The workshops were led by Seasonal Education Aide and avid photographer, David Mauk.

"I wanted to extend the opportunity for photographers of all experience levels to be in the preserves at a time that normally isn't available to the public, but when some of the most beautifully lit scenes occur and when many animals are out," said Mauk.

Attendees rose as early at 3:30am, to hit the road and meet at the preserves by 5am. They were a mix of photographers of all skill and experience levels, and nature lovers, eager to catch a glimpse of wildlife preparing for the new day. The groups hiked along some of the preserves’ most scenic trails to catch the early morning light coming over the hills and lighting the majestic oak trees on clear days, and, on misty days, burning through the fog. They spotted grazing cattle and a lot of wildlife including foxes, deer, coyotes, wild pigs, woodpeckers, owls, white-tailed kites, American kestrels, magpies, a golden eagle, and a bald eagle. 

Two local photographers shared some of the photos they captured at these events, Authority Docent Bill Adams (Flickr & Youtube) and Paul Dileanis (Facebook). Bill Adams has volunteered for the authority for almost two years, supporting these dawn photography hikes and past “Shoot the Seasons” events.

We look forward to planning future photo-driven events like these and seek out other opportunities to increase public access to the preserves

Want to share your love of nature or photography with the community? Sign up to volunteer.

WBA_Coyote-Ridge-OSP_20180715_72017_CR-foggy-sunrise-JPG1200 Sunrise through the morning mist at Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. Photographer: Bill Adams.

WBA_Coyote-Valley-OSP_20180722_72788_CV-sunrise-JPG1200Sunrise at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Photographer: Bill Adams.

Paul Dileanis - Floating Oak Branches on the Mayfair Ranch Trail - Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space PreservePeak rising from the morning fog. Mayfair Ranch Trail, Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Photographer: Paul Dileanis.

Paul Dileanis - Oak Branches on the Mayfair Ranch Trail - Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space PreserveSun rising over the Coastal Range and Henry Coe State Park. Mayfair Ranch Trail, Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Photographer: Paul Dileanis.

Paul Dileanis - Sunrise from the Mayfair Ranch Trail - Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space PreserveSunrise view from the Mayfair Ranch Trail, Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Photographer: Paul Dileanis.

CRID - Sunrise - D. Mauk -Jul-20-2018-1First light coming through the clouds, Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. Photographer: David Mauk

RCAN - Landscape - D.Mauk - Jul-13-2018-2Warm morning sun, Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Photographer: David Mauk

RCAN  - Sunrise - D. Mauk -Jul-29-2018Sun rising over the clouds, Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Photographer: David Mauk

WBA_Coyote-Valley-OSP_20180727_72905_WhiteTailed-Kite-JPG1000Juvenile White-tailed Kite with breakfast after the sun burned through the fog, Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Photographer: Bill Adams.

CVAL - Northern Shrike - D.Mauk -JUL-6-20182Northern shrike, Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Photographer: David Mauk

CVAL - Cotontail Rabbit (happy Bun!) - D.Mauk - Jul-29-2018 -
Cottontail rabbit, Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Photographer: David Mauk

Paul Dileanis - Ranger Dave - Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space PreserveExpedition leader in action. Seasonal Education Aide, David Mauk, Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. Photographer: Paul Dileanis.

September 05, 2018
For media inquiries contact:

Alisha Maniglia

Communications Specialist
amaniglia@openspaceauthority.org