One family's diary, journeys and thoughts

Friday, June 26, 2009

San Diego impressions

Last week, I drove down to San Diego to meet a friend, who flew there from Canada. Spent a fun week there, walking around and shooting pictures. Here are some of them.

The Victorian building of Hotel Del Coronado at Coronado Island (which is really a peninsula). Why is it that 100 years ago people took pains to build aesthetically pleasing buildings, and nowadays they don't care?

Cliffs at Point Loma. Not surprisingly, the place is called Sunset Cliffs Park.

A cormorant colony on a large rock by the cliffs. The white color of the rock is mainly due to their, ahem, by-products.

A view at the same rock with wide lens.

A textbook Pacific sunset with yachts anchored offshore.

Night at downtown, complete with a tram and futuristic-looking towers. I actually liked San Diego downtown, it doesn't look boring at all. There is a mix of styles and time periods that is very interesting to see.

Not too far from the previous location, but looking centuries apart, the Seaport Village is one of those typical tourist traps with restaurants and quaint little shops.

My friend and I spent one of the afternoons at Balboa Park, first driving around, then devouring sandwiches under a huge oak tree. This last occupation attracted scores of squirrels, tree and ground kind alike, which were bold enough to take food right out of our hand.

Here is one feasting on a piece of apple I gave him.

Old Town San Diego looks interesting enough, and walking through it you can get an idea how those early settlements looked. Unfortunately, it is less of a museum and more of a tourist trap nowadays, though some of the merchandise is quite unique.

This guy with his horse cart was taking a break from giving rides to kids and families. Except for the coffee cup in his hand, he looked quite authentically 19th century, right down to his calloused hands. So did the horse.

Speaking of old, the hotel we were staying at was a landmark in itself. Right in the middle of the Gaslamp Quarter, it looked like it was around for a while.

This is how the lobby looked. I liked the 19th century photos of the first owners and views of the hotel in olden times. There was also a horse there - a full-size model. Apparently, the building used to be a carriage-house before!

A view of the hotel from the outside. Another nice Victorian building.

San Diego airport is located right in the city, couple blocks away from downtown. I co9uldn't get over how low the planes flew over the buildings when they lined up for landing.

Once my friend got busy with her conference, I took off and drove South to where the map said was a wildlife preserve called Chula Vista. Spent the whole day there, wandered around, almost got locked up inside the premises... it was fun! They have some really amazing representatives of the disappearing local wildlife. Of course, I would be much happier if these animals were actually roaming free in large numbers, but with coastal wetlands being developed, their habitat is shrinking and one by one the species end up on the endangered list.

Here is the oystercatcher doing a hokey-pokey. You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out...

Cooper's hawk eyeing me suspiciously...

This mockingbird just didn't know what to do with his huge trophy. He was running around this little roof, trying to find a place to eat his meal in peace.

Cottontails abounded on the grounds of the preserve. There were so many of them! I just hoped there were also enough hawks and foxes to keep the population in check.

These are not a mom and a baby - bugs don't have that. Just two stages of the same species, one immature and the other fully grown.

Argiope spider. These abound in Mexico, but I didn't expect to find one so far north.

These last two pics are tweaked in Photoshop a bit - one is desaturated and the other has color added to it.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Seeing red

Last weekend, there was a car show at Americana. A few antique cars from Petersen's Automotive Museum were lined up along the street, most of them either heroes of some Hollywood movie or once a property of a celebrity. Most colorful.

So, I tried stepping out of my "comfort zone" and photographing something I usually don't take pictures of. Cars. You tell me what came out of it. I just know I will never enjoy it as much as I enjoy shooting the smallest bug, bird, or lizard.

This one is a self-portrait, so there...