A love for walking in the city.

I love to walk in the city.

Why?

An amazing new world awaits around every corner.

I took these photos while walking downtown the past few mornings.

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!

Walk under an enormous, historic tree!

Would you like to walk beneath the branches of one of the most impressive and beloved trees in San Diego?

I remember when I was a boy, people used to walk right up to the trunk of the huge Moreton Bay Fig tree in Balboa Park–that enormous tree just north of the Natural History Museum. Kids would even climb about its limbs. But over the years too many feet compacted the soil above the tree’s root system, threatening to kill it. So the historic tree, planted just before the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, was fenced off to the public.

But there are plans that will allow people to approach this mighty tree once again!

A raised platform is to be built at the base of the Moreton Bay Fig. The structure will not interfere with the tree’s root system, which has been carefully mapped. Once the project is complete, the public will be able to more fully appreciate the beauty and majesty of this amazing 78 feet tall tree.

The Friends of Balboa Park, an organization whose mission is to preserve Balboa Park’s legacy for future generations, is raising money to construct the platform, and they could use a few more donations.

If you’d like to learn more about this cool project, and perhaps help out the Friends of Balboa Park, visit their website here!

Sign in Balboa Park describes Ficus macrophylla, the Moreton Bay Fig.
An old photograph from my blog of a sign in Balboa Park. It describes this particular Ficus macrophylla, or Moreton Bay Fig. The enormous tree is listed as a co-champion with the Santa Barbara Fig in the California Department of Forestry Registry of Big Trees.

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 sunset along the Embarcadero!

After taking an amazing sunset photo from the top floor of the Manchester Grand Hyatt (see previous post), I headed down the elevator and walked up the Embarcadero.

The sunset across San Diego Bay became even more dramatic as I passed Tuna Harbor, Ruocco Park and the USS Midway. I took one last photograph when I finally arrived at Broadway Pier.

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 Shell appears in San Diego’s skyline!

The San Diego Symphony’s new outdoor summer stage, The Shell, is rapidly taking shape in San Diego’s gleaming skyline!

During my harbor tour today I saw that most of The Shell’s white canvas has been attached to its steel frame. With a little imagination it’s easy to see how San Diego seen across the bay will be more amazing than ever.

Once all the canvas is up, and the cranes disappear, The Shell will almost certainly become an iconic new landmark on our bayfront!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

See amazing birds of prey at Hawk Watch!

A spectacular event is held every winter in Ramona, California. On Saturdays, during January and February, the public can freely enjoy an educational program called Hawk Watch.

Those who go to Hawk Watch will see birds of prey up close and in the wild. The setting is the wide, beautiful Ramona Grasslands.

Hawk Watch is an event organized by the Wildlife Research Institute. WRI, in a cooperative effort with The Nature Conservancy and San Diego County, now protects 7,000 acres of Ramona grassland. This grassland is an important natural refuge where native wildlife can not only survive, but thrive.

Hawk Watch features live raptors and a fascinating educational talk by biologists. The owls are introduced during the talk by representatives of Project Wildlife, which provides wildlife rescue in San Diego County. The talk is followed by demonstrations by falconry experts.

Afterward, all of the ambassador raptors can be viewed by the public up close!

Today I went to Hawk Watch!

The event is held on Ramona’s private Begent Ranch, which features all sorts of cool artwork, including colorful sculptures arranged about a large dirt parking lot. After walking through a barn and looking at a variety of educational exhibits, I set up my lawn chair with other visitors at the edge of the scenic grasslands.

As we were introduced to different species of hawks, falcons and owls, and learned about their special characteristics and adaptations, we could watch wild raptors and some ravens circling in the distance above the grasslands. Birds of prey that can be spotted in the blue skies of Ramona include hawks, kites, kestrels, golden eagles, and recently bald eagles!

The event has become so beloved that visitors today came from as far away as India, China and Israel. For two hours, everyone, including many families with children, sat enchanted by all that was seen and learned. Many of the visitors had high powered photographic equipment and binoculars. I made due with my little old camera.

Here are some photos. I’m afraid they’re just adequate. I couldn’t really record the falconry demonstrations very well, which included the clever use of a drone, but they were fantastic.

I know I’ll be going to Hawk Watch again. You can learn more about this amazing event and the work of the Wildlife Research Institute at their website here.

One last thing. The photo you’re about to see is a painting of WRI Director and Wildlife Biologist, co-founder of Hawk Watch, Dave Bittner. He tragically passed away about a month ago doing something he loved: tending to a camera near a golden eagle’s high cliff nest.

I was told Hawk Watch will live on.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Amazing chromatic ceramics dazzle the eye!

Check out the latest exhibition at Balboa Park’s always amazing Japanese Friendship Garden!

The Chromatic Ceramic Collection: John Conrad features unique ceramic creations whose shining colors dance and change depending on the angle from which they are viewed!

These refractive pieces, which include patterned discs and vases in different shapes, have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. As you move about the garden’s Exhibit Hall, you seem to the find the end of many rainbows.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden’s website: “Culminating over 60 years of research and experiments, artist John Conrad developed the spectacular finish that is seen on the Chromatic Collection…The chromatic finish is a combination of metallic flake and silica, which is then adhered onto porcelain using modern plasma technology…”

I was struck during my visit on Sunday how these brilliant ceramics resemble in many respects the holographic paintings of Tom Liguori, another local innovator whose work can be seen here.

I’ve included photographs of a few radiant discs to provide an idea of what you’ll experience. The vases, if anything, are even more beautiful.

Visionary artists continue to find new ways to express and combine form, light and color. It seems the potential for beauty is infinite.

The Chromatic Ceramic Collection: John Conrad can be viewed through April 26, 2020 at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

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!

Isn’t it Amazing art captures nature’s beauty.

Prairie Dogs on Alert, watercolor by artist Jami Wright.
Prairie Dogs on Alert, watercolor by artist Jami Wright.

Artwork depicting nature’s awesome beauty can now be enjoyed inside the Visitor Center at Mission Trails Regional Park. The exhibition is appropriately titled: Isn’t it Amazing.

Dozens of pieces by award-winning artists Pat Dispenziere, Elaine Harvey, Otto Kruse, Victoria Alexander Marquez and Jami Wright are displayed on several walls of the Visitor Center. Through the use of watercolor, mixed media and photography, the artists have framed and realized scenes of natural beauty.

This morning, after finishing an extraordinary wildlife tracking walk (which I’ll blog about shortly), I stepped into the Visitor Center to admire the artwork. I took a few photos to provide a small taste.

Are you in San Diego? Do you appreciate excellent art? All of these pieces are available for purchase!

And guess what? Take home some collectible artwork and a portion of the sale will benefit the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation!

Isn’t it Amazing is open free to the public and runs through February 14, 2020.

Colorful artwork depicting nature's beauty on display in the art gallery at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
Colorful artwork depicting nature’s beauty on display in the art gallery at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
High Valley, watercolor by artist Pat Dispenziere.
High Valley, watercolor by artist Pat Dispenziere.
Smith Rock, Central Oregon, watercolor by artist Jami Wright.
Smith Rock, Central Oregon, watercolor by artist Jami Wright.
Dances With Waves, watercolor by artist Elaine Harvey.
Dances With Waves, watercolor by artist Elaine Harvey.
Sycamore Sun, watercolor by artist Elaine Harvey.
Sycamore Sun, watercolor by artist Elaine Harvey.
In the Forest Deep, watercolor by artist Jami Wright.
In the Forest Deep, watercolor by artist Jami Wright.
SC12 #12, mixed media by artist Victoria Alexander Marquez.
SC12 #12, mixed media by artist Victoria Alexander Marquez.
Seldom Seen, watercolor by artist Elaine Harvey.
Seldom Seen, watercolor by artist Elaine Harvey.

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!