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!

More stunning beauty in the Botanical Building.

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is a garden paradise. I love to walk through it, searching right and left for small scenes of stunning beauty.

This afternoon I managed to capture some good photographs.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Please visit my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Walking around the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

The beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the nearby Assistant Keepers Quarters building at Cabrillo National Monument.
The beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the nearby Assistant Keepers Quarters building at Cabrillo National Monument.

I’ve visited Cabrillo National Monument many times over the years. I’ve blogged about it on several occasions. It’s one of the most wonderful places in San Diego.

Today, September 30, is National Public Lands Day, so admission to Cabrillo National Monument was free all day.

I grabbed my camera, jumped into my car and drove this morning to the tip of the Point Loma peninsula. Once again, I wanted to enjoy some amazing views and a pleasant walk above the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Most of my time was spent around the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

To see and learn more about the lighthouse, including its interior and the adjacent museum, and to enjoy other fascinating aspects of Cabrillo National Monument, please feel free to explore Cool San Diego Sights.

The historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a major attraction at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego.
The historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a major attraction at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego.
Visitor to Cabrillo National Monument looks up at the lighthouse.
Visitor to Cabrillo National Monument looks up at the lighthouse.
Built in 1855 at the end of the Point Loma peninsula, above the entrance to San Diego Bay, the old lighthouse used to guide sailors to safety with a powerful fresnel lens.
Built in 1855 at the end of the Point Loma peninsula, above the entrance to San Diego Bay, the old lighthouse used to guide sailors to safety with a powerful fresnel lens.
Walking around the old lighthouse is a wonderful experience, with amazing views in all directions.
Walking around the old lighthouse is a wonderful experience, with amazing views in all directions.
The cluster of trees near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse are rare Torrey pines, which are native to this region.
The cluster of trees near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse are rare Torrey pines, which are native to this region.
Walking along the cliffside trail north of the lighthouse.
Walking along the cliffside trail north of the lighthouse.
Someone sits high above the blue Pacific Ocean enjoying the cool breeze and natural beauty.
Someone sits high above the blue Pacific Ocean enjoying the cool breeze and natural beauty.
South of the lighthouse, people walk toward the gray whale migration overlook.
South of the lighthouse, people walk toward the gray whale migration overlook.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument scan the watery horizon for ships and whales.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument scan the watery horizon for ships and whales.
A park ranger and volunteers were removing non-native plants. Invasive species can crowd out native species.
A park ranger and volunteers were removing non-native plants among dry stalks of California sunflower and buckwheat. Invasive species can crowd out native species.
People approach the handsome lighthouse from the south.
People approach the handsome lighthouse from the south.
Photo of Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the small museum beside it and the large Rain Catchment Basin.
Photo of Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the small museum beside it and the large Rain Catchment Basin.
Visitors to San Diego are strongly encouraged to enjoy some time at Cabrillo National Monument. A very special place.
Visitors to San Diego are strongly encouraged to enjoy some time at Cabrillo National Monument. It’s a very special place, with many paths to walk.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

A plant in Balboa Park now extinct in the wild.

Balboa Park's knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.
Balboa Park’s knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.

I learned something really amazing last Sunday in Balboa Park. I had joined one of Ranger Kim Duclo’s park tours as it was in progress, and I followed the group into the Botanical Building.

Near the center of the Botanical Building, Ranger Kim stopped beside a beautiful green tree and told us it was one of the rarest plants in the entire world!

Deppea splendens was originally discovered in 1973 by botanist Dennis Breedlove. He found it growing in a single spot in Mexico’s southern mountains. Fortunately Dennis gathered some seeds. Because when he returned in 1986, the plants had all been destroyed. The area had been developed into farmland.

Ranger Kim told us that specimens of Deppea splendens now grow in relatively few places–mostly in special havens like Balboa Park. He also said that one day the plant might be reintroduced into the wild, much as the California condor was saved locally from extinction and successfully returned to its natural habitat.

May that day come!

A look at the thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park's lush Botanical Building.
Photo of a thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park’s lush Botanical Building.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. This public domain photograph is from Wikimedia Commons.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. I found this public domain photograph at Wikimedia Commons.
These beautiful green leaves might be reintroduced into the wild one day!
These rare, beautiful leaves might be seen once again in the wild!

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 fascinating photos for you to share and enjoy!

World’s top sand sculptors create fantastic art!

Amazing works of art are being created by the world's top sand sculptors at the 2017 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge in San Diego!
Amazing works of art are being created by the world’s top sand sculptors at the 2017 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge in San Diego!

This morning I headed to the 2017 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge. Here are photographs of ten amazing pieces of art that were being worked on by some of the world’s top sand sculptors. These amazing artists have won numerous sand sculpting championships. It’s easy to see why!

The theme this year is Now and Then. The sculptures all had something to say about the passage of time. I saw youth and old age. I saw glimpses of eternity. I saw essential human beauty: profound, elegant, alive. Carved in mere sand.

If you want to be awestruck, go see these sculptures before time (and a broom) sweeps them away. They’re down on the Broadway Pier inside the Port Pavilion through Labor Day.

Susanne Ruseler, sand artist from the Netherlands, works on a fine sculpture that juxtaposes youth and old age.
Susanne Ruseler, top sand artist from the Netherlands, works on a fine sculpture that juxtaposes youth and old age.
Bringing a profound vision to life using compacted sand and a few simple tools.
Bringing a profound vision to life using compacted sand and a few simple tools.
A careful touch to bring out inner feeling.
A careful touch to bring out inner feeling.
World Master sand sculptor Ilya Filimontsev from Moscow, Russia creates a exquisite work of art. He won the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge in 2016.
Master sand sculptor Ilya Filimontsev from Moscow, Russia creates an exquisite work of art. He won the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge in 2016.
World Master sand sculptor Dan Belcher from St. Louis, Missouri is creating a large, fantastic face.
Master sand sculptor Dan Belcher from St. Louis, Missouri is creating an expressive, fantastic face.
Thoughtful eyes gaze at each other.
Thoughtful eyes gaze at each other.
Abram Waterman is a Sand Master from Prince Edward Island, Canada. His sculpture is amazing, too.
Abram Waterman is a Sand Master from Prince Edward Island, Canada. His sculpture is amazing, too.
Looks like circuits in silicon that have come to life.
Looks like circuits in silicon that have come to life.
Sue McGrew of Tacoma, Washington works on some monumental sand art that represents the continuum of time.
Sue McGrew of Tacoma, Washington works on some monumental sand art that represents the continuum of time.
Sue's sketchbook provides some insight into her piece. The dividing line between past, present and future is an illusion.
Sue’s sketchbook provides some insight into her piece. The dividing line between past, present and future is an illusion.
Numbers representing time whirl in the mind.
Numerals representing time whirl in the mind.
Sand Master Thomas Koet, from Melbourne, Florida, creates amazing artwork that must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
Sand Master Thomas Koet, from Melbourne, Florida, creates amazing artwork that must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
Another fantastic work of art at the 2017 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.
Another fantastic work of art at the 2017 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.
Rusty Croft from Carmel, California is carving an amazing horse's head made of sand.
Rusty Croft from Carmel, California is carving a fantastic horse’s head made of sand.
The horse's interior appears to be made of mechanical parts!
The sand horse’s interior appears to be made of mechanical parts!
Sand Master Fergus Mulvany from Dublin, Ireland is creating a cool sculpture that is abstract and layered.
Sand Master Fergus Mulvany from Dublin, Ireland is creating a cool sculpture that is abstract and layered.
Stepping back with shovel to have a good look.
Stepping back with shovel to have a good look. Fluid links seem to represent the flowing nature of time.
Morgan Rudluff from Santa Cruz, California is creating some great sand art representing campers gazing from a mountaintop into the distance.
Morgan Rudluff from Santa Cruz, California is creating some great sand art. It shows campers gazing from a mountaintop into the far distance. Looks to me like she’s just getting started.
Melineige Beauregard from Montreal, Canada shows what time does to even the most mighty.
Melineige Beauregard from Montreal, Canada demonstrates what time does to even the most mighty.
The most beautiful, amazing sand art on the planet right now can be found in San Diego--through Labor Day!
The most beautiful, amazing sand art on the planet right now can be found in San Diego–through Labor Day!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Festival of Sail tall ships at sunset!

I was lucky to get some amazing photos this evening!

After work I took a walk along the Embarcadero, knowing that most of the visiting tall ships had arrived in San Diego for the 2017 Festival of Sail. What I hadn’t expected was an absolutely glorious sunset.

The following photos concentrate on a cluster of just three ships, including the museum’s Spanish galleon San Salvador, and the Exy and Irving Johnson, the twin brigantine flagships of the Los Angeles Maritime Institute. I walked back and forth along the water as the sun slowly descended into the fiery clouds.

If you’re in San Diego this weekend, make sure to check out the Festival of Sail near the Maritime Museum. You can tour lots of cool tall ships from up and down the West Coast and other historic vessels. And there will be cannon battles on the bay, special harbor tours, kids activities, tons of food and probably some roving pirates! The event runs Friday through Labor Day. As an enthusiastic member of the museum, you can bet I’ll be there!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Natural beauty at the West Coast Shell Show!

Colorful snail shells on display at the West Coast Shell Show.
Colorful snail shells on display at the West Coast Shell Show.

On Sunday I peered into Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado and discovered a surprising exhibition open free to the public. It was the San Diego Shell Club’s amazing West Coast Shell Show!

There were so many beautiful shells covering table after table it blew my mind. Every shell, I noted, was unique and interesting, and many that I saw seemed like exquisite works of art. Nature’s abundant beauty was spread throughout the room. It seemed I had blundered into a vast treasure of spilled jewels.

When I walk along a beach, I like to search the sand for bright or colorful objects washed up by the tide. But I honestly know next to nothing about shells from molluscs on land or in the sea. So I learned a few fascinating facts during my short conversations with a friendly hobbyist and a dealer.

Among other things, I learned some shells are highly prized for their rarity and apparent perfection, and that a few can fetch many thousands of dollars. I also learned there are relatively few serious shell collectors worldwide. But those who have a passion for shells have a hobby that promises new discoveries at every turn and inexhaustible wonder.

The West Coast Shell Show was presented in Balboa Park by the San Diego Shell Club.
The West Coast Shell Show was presented in Balboa Park by the San Diego Shell Club.
Beautiful shells of all types could be enjoyed--and purchased--inside the Casa del Prado over the weekend.
Beautiful shells of all types could be enjoyed–and purchased–inside the Casa del Prado over the weekend.
A variety of different colored abalone shells were on display at the show.
A variety of different colored abalone shells were on display at the show.
A wide variety of beautiful cowry shells, a type of sea snail.
A wide variety of beautiful cowries. They almost look like polished agates to me. The cowry is a type of sea snail.
The story of shells appears to have many chapters and subplots.
The Story of Shells appears to have many chapters and pages.
The many shells seemed to me like exotic jewels, no two exactly alike.
The shells seemed like exotic jewelry or small works of art, no two exactly alike.
One display case showed a large variety of fantastic chitons. These almost look like polished wood!
One display case showed a large collection of fantastic chitons. To me these almost look like varnished wood!
Dr. Wesley M. Farmer had a table full of scientific books, plus lots of unique art he'd created concerning nudibranchs, a type of sea slug. They shed their shells after their larval stage.
Dr. Wesley M. Farmer had a table full of scientific books, plus lots of unique art he’d created concerning nudibranchs, a type of sea slug. They shed their shells after their larval stage.
All sorts of fascinating mollusc art created by Wes Farmer, including specimens made with colored oven bake clay.
All sorts of fascinating mollusc art created by Wes Farmer, including specimens made with colored oven bake clay.
The public could enjoy many amazing sights at the West Coast Shell Show!
The public could enjoy many fantastic displays at the West Coast Shell Show!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!