Whether biking thousands of miles in the mountains, scrambling through the Wonderland of Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park, riding a camel in the shadow of the great Pyramids of Giza, or watching a hummingbird rebuild her nest in his own backyard, mountain biker and photo buff Michael Caley has sought a window into the beauty of nature through the lens of a camera.
“For me, observing the natural world is an elixir. Photography is my way to bottle it,” he says.
His passion for observing and documenting the natural environment coalesced into a unique project in August 2009 when 250 square miles of the Angeles National forest burned in the Station Fire above La Cñnada Flintridge, including his favorite cycling trail up Earl Canyon Road and west to Mt. Lukens overlooking Tujunga. In the spring after the fire, with the forest closed to all, he was granted special clearance to travel the mountains as a U.S. Forest Service volunteer. Ever since the fire’s devastation, he has ridden in the mountains weekly, photographing the remarkable natural process of the forest’s recovery.
The results of his continuing rides are now presented in a gallery show at Penelope’s Café, Books and Gallery in La Cañada Flintridge. “From the Station Fire Ashes: A Forest Recovers” chronicles the transformation from scorched earth to extravagant displays of fire-follower wildflowers and the return of animals to their homes.
The show runs through Oct. 30 at Penelope’s Cafe Books & Gallery, 1029 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge.