Bill Dewey likes to fly. He also enjoys photography. As a pilot, he gets to do both, professionally, at the same time.

Dewey has been photographing the California landscape since taking up the camera in the early 1970s. He has had his private pilot’s license since 1981 and bases his aerial photography excursions out of Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.

The Wildling Museum of Art & Nature in Solvang is featuring Dewey’s photography in its second-floor Valley Oak Gallery through March 12. The show features more than 20 prints of the tri-counties area (Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura) taken from the air. At least three-quarters of the photographs are recent works that have never been exhibited, including reflection of an orange sun through the smoke from the Whittier fire, a view of last spring’s super bloom of wildflowers at the Carrizo Plain and winter storm clouds over Rincon Point.

“This region encompasses so many different land forms and ecosystems, with varied patterns, shapes and colors,” Dewey said. “But the wild and beautiful tri-counties also meld together, which you can see clearly as a pilot.”

A native of San Diego County, Dewey attended Brooks Institute of Photography, UC Davis and Rochester Institute of Technology. He has had a photography studio in Santa Barbara for more than 30 years and is a member of Santa Barbara’s Oak Group.

His work can be found in the collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, UCSB, Museum of Ventura County, Carnegie Museum of Oxnard, Santa Cruz Island Foundation, as well as the collections of many private individuals. Dewey has been published extensively, and his work is represented by Marcia Burtt Gallery. 

Stacey Otte-Demangate, Wildling executive director, curated the show in the museum’s Valley Oak Gallery. Dewey’s photographs are organized geographically by county. 

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