Balancing high in the sky above San Diego!

I never tire of tall ships.

When crew members are working aloft, I have to stop and stare.

That was the case this afternoon at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Up in the rigging of visiting tall ship Exy Johnson, members of her crew balanced high in the sky, like circus performers, unfurling sails.

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Sony World Photography Awards at MOPA!

Some of the world’s most amazing photography is now being exhibited in San Diego. The Sony World Photography Awards has come to the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, with award-winning photographs that can be viewed nowhere else in the United States!

I ventured into MOPA yesterday with a combined sense of excitement and dread. Excitement to see a collection of absolutely stunning photography. Dread that my blog’s amateurish efforts pale by comparison.

As I stood staring at these great works of art, I felt drawn into worlds that were almost like dreams, but somehow more than alive. Lenses had magnified small details and emotions. Shutters had caught ephemeral moments that are otherwise lost in time.

The annual Sony World Photography Awards consists of four different competitions: Professional, Open, Youth and Student. And there are many categories in which photographs are judged. It all results in an impressive diversity of images and artistic viewpoints.

My photographs of photographs don’t do the originals justice, so I’ve included just a few to provide a tiny idea of what you might see. And you have to really see it all in person!

The traveling exhibition departs San Diego on April 16, 2023.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Super creative piñatas fill the Mingei!

Would you like to see a jaw-dropping exhibition of super creative piñatas?

Would you like to see fantastic works of art that have been inspired by the traditional Mexican piñata?

Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration is now on display at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park!

I’ve never seen so many unique piñatas all in one place. And so many unusual ones!

In addition to more familiar traditional piñatas, visitors to the exhibition will see unusual piñata costumes, creative piñata wall art, piñatas with political messages, humorous piñatas, pop culture piñatas . . . even a life-size car piñata! (That car piñata would hold a lot of candy!)

According to the Mingei’s website, this is one of the first-ever exhibitions to spotlight piñatas as a traditional craft and vibrant contemporary art form.

I was excited to see so many unexpected creations. It never occurred to me that piñatas might be crafted as small hummingbirds or butterflies, or a bag of Cheetos, or a bottle of COVID-19 vaccine!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing views from the top of Grant Hill!

Amazing views of San Diego can be enjoyed from the top of Grant Hill.

To the west lies downtown San Diego and its skyscrapers; to the northwest one can spy distant Point Loma; to the southwest the Coronado Bridge spans San Diego Bay, and boats can be seen as tiny dots in Glorietta Bay; to the south one can view Navy ships and much of South Bay; to the southeast rises distant San Miguel Mountain.

Today, after a long walk through Logan Heights and Sherman Heights, I turned east and moved into the Grant Hill neighborhood. There was a short steep climb up J Street to reach Grant Hill Neighborhood Park. It was a beautiful day with little haze, perfect for seeing almost to horizon–even over the Pacific Ocean. These photos resulted.

When I finally completed my exploration and walked back across the grass among the gigantic eucalyptus trees, someone was getting ready to fly a kite. It can be breezy atop Grant Hill!

Approaching Grant Hill Neighborhood Park from the west.

Heading up a walking path, looking at giant eucalyptus trees atop Grant Hill.

Several people were sitting on the park’s grass, enjoying the wide outdoors in the middle of a busy city.

Downtown can be seen when turning back west. That’s J Street, which I climbed.

Downtown San Diego seen from the top of Grant Hill.

Turning a little to the left, there’s the Coronado Bridge!

Coronado Bridge seen from the top of Grant Hill.

A zoom photo shows Glorietta Bay and Coronado Shores buildings.

A zoom photo over Coronado reveals distant Point Loma jutting into the Pacific Ocean.

Walking down the Grant Hill Neighborhood Park path heading east.

San Miguel Mountain seen from Grant Hill.

I turned back west and passed this old tree in an interesting planter.

Grant Hill Neighborhood Park is a beautiful grassy retreat in urban San Diego.

I have numerous photographs on my computer which I need to share!

Stay tuned in the next week or two for blog posts concerning Solana Beach, Cardiff, Escondido, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, and more!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Walking to the end of amazing Scripps Pier!

The long Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, jutting into the Pacific Ocean north of La Jolla Shores, is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The research pier is utilized by scientists and students who strive to learn more about our environment and the diverse life within it.

The public is usually restricted from going onto Scripps Pier, but those who register for a once-a-month tour get the opportunity to walk out to its very end. And that’s what I did today!

The tour–every second Saturday of the month (register here)–begins in front of the historic Scripps Building, then circles around several additional campus buildings until it reaches the foot of the pier. As our group walked along, the knowledgeable tour guide told us about the origin and history of the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and how its environmental and biological research benefits us all.

Then we came to the amazing pier and our sense of wonder grew…

The original wooden pier, built in 1916 with funding from Ellen Browning Scripps, was destroyed in 1983 by an El Niño powered storm. The current modern pier was built in 1988. Today it’s considered one of the world’s largest research piers.

Looking back at the foot of the pier we could see these tank-like water filters.

At the end of Scripps Pier is a pump station. The pier slopes slightly upward as you walk to its end. The reason? So that the freshly pumped seawater, propelled by gravity, will run down a covered trough that stretches along one side of the long pier.

The water, carefully filtered, is then used in the Scripps research labs on shore.

Walking out on the pier high over the beach, looking south toward La Jolla Shores. That’s the Village of La Jolla and La Jolla Cove jutting in the distance.

Now we’re gazing north toward the distant sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines State Beach.

Many surfers were out today! A sunny San Diego day in December.

Looking back toward a portion of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus. (Scripps is a part of UC San Diego.)

We observed lots of guitarfish in the water below. When you’re swimming or surfing, you don’t necessarily see all that marine life beneath you!

Amazing views can be enjoyed from Scripps Pier. Looking down, we saw numerous surfers waiting for that perfect wave on either side of the pier.

We followed our tour guide to a group of container-like structures that were recently placed on Scripps Pier. Together they constitute a mobile facility that will be used for a one year atmospheric study by the U.S. Department of Energy.

A wide variety of scientific instruments, including radar, lidar, sky imagers and radiometers will measure cloud formation, reflectivity and other atmospheric phenomena.

We are approaching the end of Scripps Pier, where that prominent gray structure houses a seawater pump.

All sorts of small boats are kept near the end of the pier, where they can be lowered into the ocean to carry out research.

Notice something shaped like a Christmas tree atop the pump structure ahead? It lights up during the Holiday Season! (As do swags of lights along the length of the pier.)

Lifting a lid from that long trough that channels the pumped seawater gravitationally down the pier’s length. We saw barnacles, mussels and a live crab skittering around! (You can understand why those filters are necessary at the foot of the pier.)

There’s additional filtration near the pump!

I believe this device filters out the larger objects from the pumped seawater, before the water heads down the long trough. You can see some slimy seaweed stuck in it.

From this crane boats can be lowered to the ocean surface. On the left you can see the cage-like entrance to a descending ladder.

Our tour group came upon several people in wetsuits, just back from a dive!

A super friendly graduate student explained how they had dived at an artificial reef off Black’s Beach, to the north, near the Torrey Pines Gliderport. They photographed abundant sea life.

The wet spot is from their boat that was recently lifted!

That’s one long ladder down to the water!

I noticed many instruments on the roof of the pump structure, including antennas and wind gages.

And to one side is the Scripps Osprey Platform! (You can see it near the center of this photograph.)

A plaque on the pump structure. The Scripps Osprey Platform is dedicated to Art Cooley, a scientist who helped save the Osprey, Bald Eagle and Brown Pelican.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Setting up Festival of Trees for December Nights!

Balboa Park is bustling with activity today, as an army of workers and volunteers prepares for December Nights, San Diego’s epic holiday festival that kicks off tomorrow afternoon!

In Room 101 of the Casa de Prado, I saw many smiling people busy decorating Christmas trees for this year’s Festival of Trees!

The Festival of Trees is a 50 year tradition that began in 1972, inaugurated by the San Diego Floral Association. Visitors to the Casa del Prado during December Nights will see dozens of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, sponsored by organizations throughout Balboa Park and San Diego.

It appears to me the Festival of Trees in 2022 will be just as spectacular as ever. It’s always a very popular family attraction during December Nights. Of course, admission is free!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing poinsettia Christmas tree in Balboa Park!

An amazing 15 feet high Christmas tree made of 390 poinsettia plants now stands in Balboa Park!

The Christmas tree was installed at the San Diego History Center on Monday. I saw it today, and it’s impressive!

On a wall near the festive red “tree” is a display explaining San Diego’s historical connection to the poinsettia, the World’s Favorite Holiday Flower.

As many San Diego residents know, Paul Ecke’s famous ranch in Encinitas cultivated and hybridized poinsettias for much of the 20th century, producing different colors and variations that have become popular around the world. At one time, the Ecke Ranch sold nearly 90 percent of the holiday plants in the United States.

Flowers and other nursery plants remain a very important part our local economy. As a matter of fact, the poinsettias in the San Diego History Center’s beautiful Christmas tree were grown by Weidners Gardens in Encinitas.

If you visit Balboa Park for the holiday season, especially during December Nights, be sure to step into the San Diego History Center, which is located inside the Casa de Balboa!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you’d like, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Marvin Gaye’s Silver Cloud at Automotive Museum!

Check this out!

At the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park, visitors can feast their eyes on all sorts of rare and gorgeous cars. Many of the cars are historically important.

I was wandering the floor of the museum today when a friendly docent pointed out an elegant 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Saloon. It was originally owned, he explained, by music legend Marvin Gaye!

According to the San Diego Automotive Museum’s display, this car has chauffeured important musicians and Motown luminaries like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Berry Gordy… Woah!

This super luxurious Silver Cloud has been restored and modernized by West Coast Customs, and its original blue exterior color is now ice pearl white.

Did you ever watch those television shows Pimp My Ride and Street Customs? Then you saw the work of West Coast Customs.

Would you like to drive this amazing, truly one-of-a-kind car?

According to the museum display, you might purchase this piece of history with all of its documentation and pictures by contacting the guys at West Coast Customs!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The Beacon lights up Sherman Heights!

Check out this awesome mural in Sherman Heights!

The super colorful artwork is titled The Beacon. It was painted in 2022 by artist Paul Mericle. His astounding creation decorates a wall at Red Door Interactive, a marketing agency that recently moved to this location.

I took photographs of the mural from the Market Street sidewalk during a stroll through the neighborhood.

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing mural at Verbatim Books in North Park!

Ready to have your mind blown?

A positively amazing mural was painted a year ago in North Park on the side of Verbatim Books. You have to see it to believe it!

The subject matter of this huge mural is books, of course. And famous authors, and classic characters, and timeless stories! (Not to mention dinosaurs, Balboa Park, and the North Park water tower!)

The artist who painted this fantastic 90-foot mural is Armando Hernandez (@elizarraras_art). I met him very briefly last year at the North Park Book Fair. I posted a photo of his Edgar Allan Poe with The Tell-Tale Heart here!

The mural at Verbatim Books is so brilliant and surprising and so alive with colorful detail, it’s like a colossal outdoor bookshelf demanding to be explored!

After filling your eyes, you’ll yearn to enter the secondhand and antiquarian bookstore!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!