Los Peñasquitos Lagoon between winter storms.

Debris has been washed by the ocean under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach.
Debris has been washed by the ocean under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach.

This morning, the day after a severe winter storm, I visited Torrey Pines State Beach and the ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Arriving at high tide, I found myself astonished by the incredible power of nature. Turbulent waves were crashing onto the pedestrian walkway under the North Torrey Pines Road bridge.

I spent some time exploring near the state park’s North Parking Lot and its entrance. I then headed north along a path at the edge of sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I took many photographs, striving to capture nature’s awesome power and beauty.

And more winter storms are on the way!

Please read the photo captions to learn a bit more about this special place.

A lifeguard keeps an eye on wild surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.
A lifeguard keeps an eye on wild surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.
The friendly lifeguard said that waves can wash over the walkway during high tide at this time of the year.
The friendly lifeguard said that waves can wash over the walkway during high tide at this time of the year.
The bridge over the lagoon inlet during a very high tide. The storm-disturbed water appeared very muddy.
The bridge over the lagoon inlet during a very high tide. The storm-disturbed water appeared very muddy.
An information sign was pushed over by high winds from yesterday's storm. The power of nature is displayed.
An information sign was pushed over by high winds from yesterday’s storm. The power of nature is displayed.
Open to the Ocean. Over time, the lagoon mouth has filled in and reopened, changed shape and relocated many times.
Open to the Ocean. Over time, the lagoon mouth has filled in and reopened, changed shape and relocated many times.
Across the lagoon to the south rises beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of the endangered Torrey pine, rarest pine tree in North America.
Across the lagoon to the south rises beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of the endangered Torrey pine, rarest pine tree in North America.
Looking west along Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Light shines on a sheet of water swollen by high tide.
Looking west along Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Light shines on a sheet of water swollen by high tide.
This coastal marsh in San Diego's North County is a special place where wildlife is abundant.
This coastal marsh in San Diego’s North County is a special place where wildlife is abundant.
The sandy beaches, sand dunes, sandstone cliffs and bluffs, provides the habitat for the Coastal Strand plant community.
The sandy beaches, sand dunes, sandstone cliffs and bluffs, provides the habitat for the Coastal Strand plant community.
A cheerful yellow bush sunflower.
A cheerful yellow bush sunflower.
Looking across the wetland toward the train bridge near the beach.
Looking across the wetland toward the train bridge near the beach.
Life in the Lagoon. Birds are the most commonly seen animals in the lagoon. Ample food and nesting materials allow many to live here year-round.
Life in the Lagoon. Birds are the most commonly seen animals in the lagoon. Ample food and nesting materials allow many to live here year-round.
A great egret stands in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, patiently watching for fish in the water.
A great egret stands in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, patiently watching for fish in the water.
People walk west from Carmel Valley Road into the North Beach Lot of Torrey Pines State Beach.
People walk west from Carmel Valley Road into the North Beach Lot of Torrey Pines State Beach.
Sign includes map of the San Diego Trans County Trail, which runs east from the ocean along Peñasquitos Creek, through Los Peñasquitos Canyon.
Sign includes map of the San Diego Trans County Trail, which runs east from the ocean along Peñasquitos Creek, through Los Peñasquitos Canyon.
Closed lifeguard Tower 5 at Torrey Pines State Beach is splashed by wild winter waves during high tide.
Closed lifeguard Tower 5 at Torrey Pines State Beach is splashed by wild winter waves during high tide.
Gazing down at powerful Pacific Ocean surf on a winter day between storms.
Gazing down at incoming Pacific Ocean surf on a winter day between storms.
Coaster train moves along tracks north of Torrey Pines State Beach, heading atop scenic sandstone cliffs into Del Mar.
Coaster train moves along tracks north of Torrey Pines State Beach, heading atop scenic sandstone cliffs into Del Mar.
A line of bicyclists head down Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar toward Torrey Pines State Beach.
A line of bicyclists head down Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar toward Torrey Pines State Beach.
Ocean waves crash toward the North Torrey Pines Road bridge over the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.
Ocean waves crash toward the North Torrey Pines Road bridge over the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.
Mud and debris under the bridge. The result of a strong winter storm and the mighty ocean.
Mud and debris under the bridge. The result of a strong winter storm and the mighty ocean.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Orchid Society adds beauty to Balboa Park.

A beautiful orchid, like a butterfly.
A beautiful orchid, like a butterfly.

Who doesn’t love orchids?

When I noticed the San Diego County Orchid Society was having their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park today, I headed directly to the Casa del Prado. That’s where tables overflowing with colorful, jewel-like blooms awaited the public.

I know next to nothing about orchids. All I know is they affect me in a mysterious way. Like any beautiful thing. Their exquisite forms seem to have sprouted from some perfect, generative, magical place.

Of course, you and I also sprout from that same place.

The San Diego County Orchid Society had their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park's Casa del Prado this weekend!
The San Diego County Orchid Society had their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado this weekend!
Orchid lovers around San Diego submitted their entries in the hopes of winning Best of Show.
Orchid lovers around San Diego submitted their entries in the hopes of winning Best of 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!

Do you love Balboa Park, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Morning in the garden at Waterfront Park.

Another morning. Early sunlight illuminated the beautiful garden on the north side of Waterfront Park.

Near the center of the garden rose Niki de Saint Phalle’s shining Serpent Tree. It seemed to have sprung forth at the dawn of Creation.

Here are photos from a quiet stroll through the garden…

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!

Glimpses of nature’s beauty after a storm.

This morning I walked a short stretch of the San Diego River Trail in Mission Valley, just south of Hazard Center.

Trees and leaves were still dripping with moisture from our last storm.

My camera caught a few glimpses of nature’s awesome 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!

Sand sculpture murals show San Diego history!

Two bas-relief sand sculpture panels by renowned artist Charles R. Faust in the lobby of 2550 Fifth Avenue in San Diego.
Two bas-relief sand sculpture panels by renowned artist Charles R. Faust in the lobby of 2550 Fifth Avenue in San Diego.

Two amazing works of art can be viewed inside an office building in Bankers Hill. The small murals–sculptures made of sand that appear as bas-relief panels–decorate a wall in the lobby of 5th & Laurel, the building best known as the home of Mister A’s restaurant.

Commissioned by the now defunct Great American First Savings Bank to celebrate their Centennial in 1985, the two panels depict important San Diego landmarks and aspects of local history.

The two sand cast panels were created by Charles R. Faust (1922 – 2000), a prolific artist who for many years worked as the director of architectural design at the San Diego Zoo. His invention of moated animal enclosures in the mid-1950’s revolutionized how the world famous zoo and their Wild Animal Park near Escondido exhibited animals. He also designed the San Diego Zoo’s huge walk-in aviary–the first of its kind in the world.

After retiring from that job, Charles opened Faust Sand Casting in Ocean Beach with his son. Over his creative lifetime the art of Charles Faust would also include fine drawings, watercolors and oil paintings, many of which depicted life in the Old West, a theme he loved.

His sand sculpture murals have added beauty to many locations around San Diego. I photographed a couple of these murals in the past for Cool San Diego Sights, without realizing at the time they were created by Charles Faust. You can spot them here and here!

Yesterday morning I spoke to a security guard in the lobby of 5th & Laurel, and he said these two “sand art” panels were moved from a suite in the building where there used to be a bank. I believe they were in Suite 120, once the home of Pacific Premier Bank, and the future home of an upscale Italian restaurant. But I’m not sure about the exact history of these particular panels. If you know anything more about them, please leave a comment!

(Please note these photographs make the panels seem more yellowish than they are in reality, due to the indoor lighting and my modest camera.)

The left panel depicts early San Diego history, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ranchos.
The panel on the left. It depicts early San Diego history, including Mission San Diego de Alcalá and the ranchos.
A friar outside the Spanish mission. The man on horseback might be a soldier from the old presidio.
A friar outside the Spanish mission. The man on horseback might be a soldier from the old presidio.
The bells of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, first Spanish mission in California.
The bells of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, first Spanish mission in Alta California.
Scenes from the Old West in San Diego.
Scenes from the Old West in San Diego, including an old wagon and a ride on a bucking horse.
A rancher or vaquero, and a herd of cattle.
A rancher or vaquero, and a herd of cattle.
The right panel depicts more San Diego landmarks. Images include Balboa Park, a streetcar, Coronado ferry, naval ship, farm and Victorian houses.
The panel on the right. It depicts many later San Diego landmarks. Images include Balboa Park, a streetcar, Coronado ferry, naval ship, farm and Victorian houses.
GREAT AMERICAN CENTENNIAL - 100 YEARS - 1885-1985
GREAT AMERICAN CENTENNIAL – 100 YEARS – 1885-1985
A sailboat and birds share San Diego Bay with a pre-bridge Coronado ferry and an old Navy warship.
A sailboat and birds share San Diego Bay with a pre-bridge Coronado ferry and an early 20th century Navy warship. In the upper right corner I spy a tiny Old Point Loma Lighthouse!
I recognize the Cabrillo Bridge and the California Building and Tower.
I recognize the Cabrillo Bridge and the California Building and Tower of Balboa Park.
I think I recognize the Long-Waterman House of Bankers Hill on the left. The house on the right might be a south view of the Britt-Scripps House, but I'm not certain.
I think I recognize the historic Long-Waterman House of Bankers Hill. The house to the right of it might be a south view of the Britt-Scripps House, but it appears a bit different.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Lines, curves, contrasts and mysteries.

A mazelike X by artist Bob Matheny. His works of Almost Anonymous, mind-teasing art can now be absorbed at the San Diego History Museum.
A mazelike X by artist Bob Matheny. His works of Almost Anonymous, mind-teasing art can now be absorbed at the San Diego History Museum.

I took these unusual photographs yesterday during my afternoon walk through Balboa Park.

Each image seemed uniquely interesting to me for one reason or another. My eyes were drawn to lines, curves, contrasts and mysteries.

The passage of time glimpsed underfoot. Contrasted modes of decay.
The passage of time glimpsed underfoot. Contrasted modes of decay.
An elemental drama. Trees battle sky.
An elemental drama. Trees battle sky.
In one photo nature subdues architecture.
In one photo nature subdues architecture.
The iconic California Tower is swallowed by vertical distance.
The iconic California Tower is swallowed by vertical distance.
Looking through an arch of the California Quadrangle toward the original Administration Building, first building completed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Looking through an arch of the California Quadrangle toward the original Administration Building, the first building completed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Simple lines and curves, a small place in the park to rest.
Simple lines and curves: a small place in the park to rest.
Eyes are drawn in every direction in a nook beside the San Diego Museum of Art.
Eyes are pulled in every direction in a nook beside the San Diego Museum of Art.
Wild beauty is aesthetically arranged at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Wild beauty is aesthetically arranged at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, where reflection becomes meditation.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, where reflection becomes meditation.

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!

Magic windows appear in Balboa Park!

Visitors to Balboa Park see a magical landscape from a window-like balcony high in the California Tower.
Visitors to Balboa Park see a magical landscape from a window-like balcony high up in the California Tower.

Visit Balboa Park and you’ll discover many magic windows. They appear wherever you turn.

I looked through many magic windows today…

Windows at the Japanese Friendship Garden look out at the Karesansui Dry Stone Garden, where magic gradually appears for those who are still.
Windows at the Japanese Friendship Garden look out at the Karesansui Dry Stone Garden, where magic gradually appears for those who are still.
A bamboo kakei spills droplets of magic into a liquid window.
A bamboo kakei spills droplets of magic into a liquid window.
A rock window has been opened and polished, revealing the Earth's inner magic at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building.
A rock window has been opened and polished, revealing the Earth’s inner magic at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building.
Small windows to magical creativity delight the eye at the San Diego History Center. A current exhibition concerns the art of Bob Matheny.
Small windows to magical creativity delight the eye at the San Diego History Center. A current exhibition concerns the art of Bob Matheny.
Good Question, Bob Matheny, wood and enamel paint, 1967. True magic will forever remain a mystery.
Good Question, Bob Matheny, wood and enamel paint, 1967. True magic will forever remain a mystery.
A feathered subject in a magically rippling window appears for a photographer in Balboa Park.
A feathered subject in a magically rippling window appears for a photographer in Balboa Park.
A window to nature's magic at the Botanical Building.
A delicate window to nature’s magic at the Botanical Building.
Looking up toward a lath skylight full of green magic.
Looking up toward a lath skylight full of green magic.
The magical qualities of song become visible for a few minutes near the House of Ukraine at the International Cottages.
The magical qualities of song become visible for a few minutes near the House of Ukraine at the International Cottages.
This small window-like scene at the House of China contains a fantastic, magical vision carved from cork!
This small window-like scene inside the House of China contains a fantastic, magical vision carved from cork!
A magic window at the House of Charm looks forward into the future. The Mingei International Museum is undergoing a major renovation and expansion.
A magic window at Balboa Park’s House of Charm looks forward into the future. The Mingei International Museum is undergoing a major renovation and expansion.
One of many fine sculptures in the Plaza de Panama, and a window of the San Diego Museum of Art. Beyond that window are galleries full of magic.
One of many fine sculptures in the Plaza de Panama, and a window of the San Diego Museum of Art. Beyond that window are galleries full of magic.
Reflections join magically together in two very different rear windows of the San Diego Museum of Art.
Cloud reflections join magically together in two very different rear windows at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Deep inside one magic Balboa Park lamp one can find the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
Beyond this magic lamp’s window one can see the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
Window panes contain old magic at the Old Globe Theatre.
Window panes contain old magic performed at the Old Globe Theatre.
Another window into the future. This advanced art student is phenomenal. I didn't get his name. I am certain he will achieve great magic.
Another window into the future. This advanced art student is phenomenal. I didn’t get his name. I am one hundred percent certain he will produce great magic.
Nature's magic on Balboa Park's West Mesa, in a window formed by my camera's lens.
Nature’s magic on Balboa Park’s West Mesa, in a window formed by my camera’s lens.
A portal to the magic sky opens in a wall at the Spanish Village Art Center.
A portal to the magic sky opens in a wall at the Spanish Village Art Center.

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, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!