A dramatic sunset from Star of India.

This evening I enjoyed watching the sun set as I rested for a few minutes on the always amazing Star of India. The brilliant sunset behind slanting ropes made for a few dramatic photographs.

San Diego’s beloved, famous tall ship is surrounded by such beauty.

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!

Street musician plays flamethrower bagpipes!

A street musician on San Diego's always dynamic Embarcadero plays bagpipes that shoot flames!
A street musician on San Diego’s always dynamic Embarcadero plays bagpipes that shoot flames!

How crazy is this?

During my afternoon walk near the USS Midway Museum I spotted a street musician playing some bagpipes. But these weren’t ordinary bagpipes. These shot flames!

I meant to ask the performer how his unique flamethrower bagpipes work, but he kept playing and playing, and receiving a steady stream of donations, and I didn’t want to interrupt his performance. I’ll have to ask him a few questions should I see him again!

Very cool!

These flamethrowing bagpipes drew a lot of attention at the base of Navy Pier!
These flamethrower bagpipes drew a lot of attention at the foot of Navy Pier!
An unexpected cool sight during another walk in San Diego!
An unexpected cool sight during another walk in San Diego!

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 new murals at San Diego Automotive Museum.

Visitors to the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park walk under four large temporary murals recently installed above the California State Building's entrance.
Visitors to the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park walk under four large temporary murals recently installed above the 1935 California State Building’s entrance.

The 1935 California State Building in Balboa Park, home to the San Diego Automotive Museum, is slowly being restored to its former glory. Four temporary murals were installed above the entrance several weeks ago. They are based on murals that decorated the building during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.

Much of the California State Building’s original ornamentation no longer exists, including the four original murals. They were created for the exposition by Hollywood set designer Juan Larrinaga. Painted on fiberboard to appear like tilework, they depicted California’s commerce, scenic beauty, agriculture and industry.

Balboa Park’s Committee of 100 will be raising funds to recreate the historic murals with beautiful ceramic tiles. Meanwhile, these four amazing temporary murals will welcome visitors to Balboa Park’s San Diego Automotive Museum.

To learn more about this project, and other work being undertaken by the Committee of 100 to restore and enhance Balboa Park, including the Palisades area where the 1935 California State Building is located, visit their website here.

A depiction of California's commerce originally created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
A depiction of California’s commerce originally created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
California's abundant natural beauty is depicted.
California’s abundant natural beauty is depicted.
A depiction of California's agriculture, which feeds many around the world.
A depiction of California’s agriculture, which feeds many around the world.
The fourth mural from 1935 depicts California's industrial activity.
The fourth mural from 1935 depicts California’s industrial activity.

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Strength and determination in wheelchair rugby.

Today I watched some of the world’s best athletes compete. I headed up to Balboa Park to experience the 28th Annual Best of the West Quad Rugby Tournament in the Municipal Gymnasium. Most people know the sport as wheelchair rugby, or murderball. That last name sounds rather tough, but it’s for a good reason.

The quad rugby players that participated in this tournament are among the best in the world. Some have competed in the Paralympic Games. There were teams from California, Arizona, Texas and Minnesota, and even from London and Australia. The amazing team from Australia was this year’s Best of the West champion.

At the very top level, wheelchair rugby players are unbelievable athletes. They are strong, fast, agile, and can turn and accelerate on a dime. To block opposing players, trap them defensively, or upset an unfolding strategy, players will literally smash their chairs into one another. As if in some sort of crazy demolition derby, the bashing wheelchairs sometimes tip sideways, even turn over. And the players don’t seem fazed in the least. Each is an irresistible force, determined to assist their teammates and find a way through the opposition to score, no matter how.

Here are a few photos that capture a bit of the action.

The composition of one photograph turned out to be exceptionally dynamic, but the image was completely unfocused, so I altered it to appear like a cool oil painting.

You really have to see quad rugby in person to appreciate the heart of these players.

Raw human determination can be unstoppable.

Watching quad rugby is inspirational.

For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.
For an explanation of quad rugby, click this photo and it will expand for easy reading.

The victorious Australian quad rugby team celebrates by joining hands.
The Australian quad rugby team celebrated their championship by forming a circle, joining hands and rocking the gymnasium with a spirited, victorious shout!

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 fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!
People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!

I walked through Middletown yesterday on a mission. I wanted to pay a visit to the locally famous Harper’s Topiary Garden!

What a fantastic, amazing creation! This private front yard on a hillside has been transformed by the residents into a eye-popping landscape of weird animals and delightful designs. I felt as though I’d stepped into a small world touched by magic.

This is one super cool sight that is undeniably extraordinary!

Human imagination coupled with passion can actually turn wildest dreams into reality!

Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I'll bet it's nothing like the Harper's Topiary Garden!
Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I’ll bet it’s nothing like the Harper’s Topiary Garden!
Harper's Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah's Ark and an army of unearthly creatures paralyzed by magic.
Harper’s Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah’s Ark and an army of fantasy creatures paralyzed by magic.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary creatures.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary oddities.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
Harper's Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Harper’s Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Perhaps the garden was inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
Perhaps the garden is inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
A most fantastic topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!
A most amazing topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!

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!

Photos of Extreme Sailing on San Diego Bay!

Super fast GC32 catamarans fly through and above San Diego Bay during an Extreme Sailing Series 2017 race!
Super fast GC32 catamarans fly through and above San Diego Bay during an Extreme Sailing Series race!

Today I headed over to Harbor Island to check out the Extreme Sailing Series races out on San Diego Bay. The exciting Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship takes place over eight weekends, in eight international cities. Elite teams from countries around the world sail identical, super fast GC32 catamarans, which at their highest speed actually fly above the water!

I was amazed at how close some of the action was. A good crowd of people watched a sequence of relatively short races from the shore of Harbor Island, and from the Race Village, while announcers described exactly what was happening out on the water. When the catamarans flew by, many cheered for their favorite team!

The event continues through Sunday. Except for the VIP section, everything is free and open to the public!

I got a few decent photos!

Boy points toward fleet of high-tech foil-equipped catamarans manned by elite level teams. Another wild race is about to begin.
Boy points toward fleet of high-tech foil-equipped catamarans manned by elite level teams. Another wild race is about to begin.
A crowd watches the free Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship event from Harbor Island's festive Race Village.
A crowd watches the Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship event from Harbor Island’s temporary Race Village. Viewing is free!
Some of the best sailors in the world, many who've won Olympic Gold, various world championships, and the America's Cup, vie for supremacy in San Diego.
Some of the best sailors in the world, many who’ve won Olympic Gold, World Championships, and the America’s Cup, vie for supremacy in San Diego.
The Extreme Sailing Series includes stadium racing competition in eight international cities. San Diego is Act 7.
The Extreme Sailing Series includes stadium racing competition in eight international cities. San Diego is Act 7.
The race announcers add character and deep knowledge to an already exciting scene.
The race announcers add spice and sailing knowledge to an already exciting scene.
The SAP Extreme Racing Team out of Denmark seemed ahead of the pack nearly every race. They've already been the winner in 3 cities.
The SAP Extreme Sailing Team out of Denmark seemed ahead of the pack in nearly every race. They’ve already been the winner in 3 cities.
Once the catamarans attain sufficient speed, they become airborne, maintaining control with foils!
Once the catamarans attain sufficient speed, they become airborne, barely maintaining control with foils! Gusts of wind in the sails can really make these racing craft sway!
Lots of people were enjoying the VIP section.
Lots of people were enjoying the VIP section.
The Race Village features many vendors and organizations. US Sailing has a scavenger hunt for kids.
The Race Village features many vendors and participating organizations. US Sailing has a fun scavenger hunt for kids.
Young people compare how different sail arrangements produce speed.
Young people compare how different sail arrangements can produce speed.
A large diagram provides a guide to the amazing GC32. Each team's vessel is exactly alike. Skill and strategy determine victory.
A large diagram provides a guide to the amazing GC32 catamaran. Each team’s vessel is exactly alike. Skill and strategy determine ultimate victory.
Legend beneath the diagram explains various key parts of the GC32, including the J-Foils, which create lift.
Legend beneath the diagram explains various key parts of the GC32, including the J-Foils, which create lift. (Click image to enlarge.)
Our local Team Extreme San Diego was making a great showing! San Diego has produced many of the world's top sailors.
Our local Team Extreme San Diego was making a great showing! San Diego has produced many of the world’s top sailors. (Need I mention Dennis Conner?)
Beautiful sailboats do battle on San Diego Bay, with the downtown skyline providing a picturesque background.
Beautiful sailboats do battle on San Diego Bay, with the downtown skyline providing a picturesque background.
The crew of each vessel is a highly skilled athlete. The action is wild and fast-paced!
The crew of each vessel includes many highly skilled athletes. The action is wild and fast-paced!
A dance upon sparkling water.
A dance upon sparkling water.

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Optical magic at the Bay Overlook.

I took a few photos today at Tuna Harbor Park’s popular Bay Overlook. The sun had fallen low. Sunset colors were rising.

Glass, water, clouds and sunlight created optical magic.

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!