Dramatic evening clouds above Balboa Park!

Bright, dramatic clouds crowned Balboa Park this evening!

I took this series of photographs before sunset, as I walked through San Diego’s world-famous park.

The first photo you see below was taken in front of the Casa del Prado Theater. I then headed west down El Prado, aiming my camera right and left, as the distant California Tower came ever closer.

I finally passed through the California Quadrangle and headed over the Cabrillo Bridge, before making my way home.

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!

Stunning mosaic at North Island Credit Union.

A colorful, truly stunning mosaic greets visitors arriving at the North Island Credit Union building in Kearny Mesa!

The large circular mosaic in the entrance plaza was created in 2008 and is titled Icons of San Diego. It was designed by artist Wick Alexander and installed using the LithoMosaic process.

The artwork pays tribute to iconic sights in San Diego, including the Coronado Bay Bridge, Balboa Park’s California Tower, the Santa Fe Depot and the Hotel del Coronado. Kids make a sandcastle on the beach, a surfer rides a wave, and hot air balloons float overhead!

If you’d like to read about the making of this very fine public art, click here!

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!

Balboa Park celebrates anniversary of 19th Amendment.

The California Tower in Balboa Park is lit purple and gold to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
The California Tower in Balboa Park is lit purple and gold to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

This week the California Tower in Balboa Park will be lit purple and gold at night. It’s part of a nationwide celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees women the right to vote.

The Forward Into Light campaign has asked that monuments across the nation be lit up to mark this important anniversary, which officially takes place tomorrow. The 19th Amendment was certified on August 26, 1920.

In addition to the California Tower, every night this week the San Diego Convention Center’s sails and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument will be turned purple and gold.

This morning I walked from downtown up to Balboa Park to see the tower just before sunrise. The California Building’s elaborate facade was illuminated with soft purple light, and a golden Museum of Us was splashed upon the tower. The Museum of Us is the new name for the Museum of Man, which occupies the iconic building that was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

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!

Oil paintings of the iconic California Tower.

The California Tower in Balboa Park is probably the most iconic sight in all of San Diego. I’ve photographed it many, many times.

Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the 198 feet tall bell tower, a combination of various architectural styles, rises from the similarly ornate California Building, which is presently home to the Museum of Man. The California Tower invites those who love beauty to come visit one of the most amazing public parks in the entire world.

I’ve taken so many photos of the California Tower over the years, from different angles and during different occasions, that I thought I might have a little fun. Using the GIMP graphic software’s Oilify filter, I’ve transformed some of my images into digital oil paintings!

Here they are!

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!

Lots of big, exciting news in Balboa Park!

New structures are finally rising on the southwest end of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
New structures are finally rising on the southwest end of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

The decade is off to an exciting start in Balboa Park! I discovered lots of big news during my afternoon walk!

After years of delay, new structures on the southwest side of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages are finally rising! Three structures on this side and two on the International Cottage’s northeast side will provide future homes for nine nations or cultural units: Mexico, India, Colombia, Lebanon, Palestine, Peru, Panama, Turkey and the Philippines.

If you want to see photos of the big groundbreaking event that took place over three years ago, click here!

A new Community Christmas Tree was recently planted! It replaced the diseased, old, misshapen tree that Balboa Park stopped decorating many years ago.

I learned from a friendly lady who works for the Balboa Park Conservancy that the new tree was planted around Christmas. It will be allowed to grow and become established before being decked with lights and ornaments. Look for it during future Holiday Seasons!

Balboa Park has a healthy new Community Christmas Tree!
Balboa Park has a healthy new Community Christmas Tree!

Here’s an old photo of that misshapen tree, which was finally removed:

Finally, the scaffolding has been removed from the California Tower! The iconic building’s Seismic Retrofitting Project is almost complete!

I was informed by two Museum of Man employees that the tower will reopen to the public on February 15!

The scaffolding is now off the California Tower. It soon will reopen to the public!
The scaffolding is now off the California Tower. It soon will reopen to the public!

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!

Bells of Peace ring on a special Veterans Day!

The historic California Tower rises into the blue sky above San Diego's beautiful Balboa Park.
The historic California Tower rises into the blue sky above San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.

This morning, at 11:00 am, the carillon bells of Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower chimed twenty-one times. These symbolic Bells of Peace marked the centennial of Armistice Day.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, exactly one hundred years ago, World War I finally came to an end.

In the United States, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday that honors American veterans who’ve served their country in war and in peace. So this morning, when the clock struck eleven, on what might be called the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, a special ceremony accompanied the ringing Bells of Peace. Flags were presented and voices lifted in front of the Museum of Man.

These photographs relive that ceremony…

Bells of Peace rang out for the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day! A special ceremony was held in front of the Museum of Man.
Bells of Peace rang out for the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day! A special ceremony was held in front of the San Diego Museum of Man.

People gather for a symbolic, emotionally powerful event.
People gather for a symbolic, emotionally powerful event.

Gina Seashore, who plays the carillon inside the California Tower, addresses those who have gathered for the Veterans Day ceremony.
Gina Seashore, who plays the carillon inside the California Tower, addresses those who have gathered for the Veterans Day ceremony.

The patriotic Color Guard, from Ramona High School's NJROTC, moves forward as the ceremony begins.
The patriotic Color Guard, from Ramona High School’s NJROTC, moves forward as the short ceremony begins.

Flags advance to the front of the Museum of Man.
Flags advance to the front of the Museum of Man.

A trio sings the National Anthem.
A trio sings the National Anthem.

After the carillon bells ring twenty-one times, Taps is played.
After the carillon bells ring twenty-one times, Taps is played.

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!

100th Anniversary of Armistice Day in Balboa Park.

Marines march west down El Prado toward the California Tower during the 2015 Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park.
Marines march west down El Prado toward the California Tower during the 2015 Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park.

This Sunday will be the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.

Armistice Day marks the end of World War One. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the horrifying “war to end all wars” finally ended. (In 1954, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in the United States.)

On Sunday in Balboa Park something special will take place to honor the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day.

The carillon inside the California Tower will chime at 11:00 am not the usual 11 times, but 21 times. After it chimes 21 times, Taps will be played. An hour later, at noon, the carillon bells will play a medley of WWI songs.

A variety of events in Balboa Park are also planned for Veterans Day weekend.

Several I’ve noted are:

Friday, beginning at 5 pm, at the San Diego Museum of Art. Free admission to the museum, where visitors can see the fantastic Artists at War: American Posters of World War I exhibition. Enjoy artwork and presentations by local veterans groups, the Air and Space Museum, a performance by Westwind Brass, and a screening of the 1938 classic The Dawn Patrol.

Saturday, 3 pm – 4 pm, at the Veterans Museum. A free preview by the San Diego Opera of their upcoming production of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which concerns a brief, miraculous “unofficial armistice” that occurred in the trenches during World War One.

Sunday, 11 am – 5:30 pm, at the Balboa Park Carousel. A free ride will be provided to all veterans, active military and their families, courtesy of the Friends of Balboa Park. In addition, the Historical Unit of Southern California will have a special WWI commemoration at eleven o’clock.

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!

Glowing clouds at day’s end in Balboa Park.

Glowing orange clouds at day's end, and the California Tower in silhouette. Photo taken from Plaza de Panama in San Diego's Balboa Park.
Glowing orange clouds at day’s end, and the California Tower in silhouette. Photo taken from Plaza de Panama in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Days are rapidly becoming shorter. My evening walks after work have magically changed. Bright sunshine has become twilight. Clouds glow like embers as darkness descends.

Here are two photographs I took this evening during a short stroll through the heart of Balboa Park.

A dramatic end to an October day. Photo of iconic California Tower in San Diego's Balboa Park as night falls.
A dramatic end to an October day. Photo of iconic California Tower in San Diego’s Balboa Park as night falls.

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Painting the 1915 Centennial Mural in Balboa Park.

Local artists put the finishing touches on the 20 foot long 1915 Centennial Mural in Balboa Park.
Local artists put the finishing touches on the 20 foot long 1915 Centennial Mural in Balboa Park.

My Sunday walk around Balboa Park took me through the Spanish Village Art Center. Not only were local artists painting live Flamenco dancers, but they were completing a fantastic 20 foot mural celebrating Balboa Park’s centennial. (Today I was also introduced by a couple of super friendly people, including a resident artist, to the history of Spanish Village. I will blog about that shortly, after a little additional research…and when I have the time!)

I hope you enjoy my photographs of this awesome mural. Titled “1915 Balboa Park”, it’s an imaginative composite of historical images painted by eleven talented artists. Each image occupies a 2 by 6 foot panel, and depicts locations from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, and people in early 20th century dress.

Spanish Village is home to some of San Diego’s very finest artists. Wherever you turn, you’ll find painters, potters, sculptors, photographers, glassblowers, you name it! It’s fun to just stroll through the colorful courtyard and visit the charming studios. If you want to purchase fine artwork for yourself or as a gift, this is an excellent place to go!

This weekend the public could watch as artists painted a historical mural in Spanish Village.
This weekend the public could watch as artists painted a historical mural in Spanish Village.

Spanish Village is like San Diego sunlight passed through a prism, with rainbow splashes everywhere.
Spanish Village is like San Diego sunlight passed through a prism, with rainbow splashes everywhere.

Bios of artists Carol Foster, Joan Boyer, Joan Nies, Laurie Carlock, Don Knapp, Michelle Gonzalez, Sonia Rumzi, Linda Lepeirs, Lucy Wang, Edward Juarez, Dot Renshaw.
Bios of artists Carol Foster, Joan Boyer, Joan Nies, Laurie Carlock, Don Knapp, Michelle Gonzalez, Sonia Rumzi, Linda Lepeirs, Lucy Wang, Edward Juarez, Dot Renshaw.

Ladies in period dresses occupy the left part of the cool mural.
Ladies in period dresses occupy the left part of the cool mural.

Now we're working our photographic way to the right, along the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. A hundred years ago there was a lake beneath the historic bridge! (Where Highway 163 is today.)
Now we’re working our photographic way to the right, along the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. A hundred years ago there was an artificial lake beneath the bridge! (Where Highway 163 is today.)

Bright color and shades of gray are fused together to depict the California Building with its iconic bell tower.
Two different styles (one with bright colors, the other with shades of gray) are fused together to depict the California Building with its iconic bell tower.

There were many lush gardens around Balboa Park a hundred years ago, planted specifically for the Panama-California Exposition.
There were many lush gardens around Balboa Park a hundred years ago, planted specifically for the Panama-California Exposition.

Artist studies the right end of the 20 foot long mural. That golden tree looks like it could be transplanted right into Spanish Village!
An artist studies the right end of the 20 foot long mural. That golden tree looks like it could be transplanted right into Spanish Village!

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Young and old dream at Centennial Railway Garden.

Young and old together dream in a small outdoor nook in Balboa Park.
Young and old together dream in a small outdoor nook in Balboa Park.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park has erected a cool little exhibit on their outdoor rear patio called the Centennial Railway Garden. To commemorate the hundred year anniversary of Balboa Park, a detailed layout features streetcars traveling among 3D-printed reproductions of several buildings in the park. The scenes date from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Visitors young and old can dream they’ve traveled back in time as they take control of the fun model train action with their smart phone! (Technology has changed somewhat in the last hundred years!)

Go check out the Centennial Railway Garden and have a lot of fun!

Volunteer at San Diego Model Railroad Museum walks past 3D-printed model of the historic California Building with its bell tower.
Volunteer at San Diego Model Railroad Museum walks past 3D-printed model of the historic California Building with its bell tower.

Putting a model of a streetcar on the tracks. A hundred years ago, John D. Spreckels' Class 1 streetcars provided transportation around San Diego.
Putting a model of a streetcar on the tracks. A hundred years ago, John D. Spreckels’ Class 1 streetcars provided transportation around San Diego.

This small replica of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is part of special exhibit that commemorates Balboa Park's centennial.
This small replica of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is part of special exhibit that commemorates Balboa Park’s centennial.

The Centennial Railway Garden also includes a model of Balboa Park's Botanical Building and nearby reflecting pool!
The Centennial Railway Garden also includes a model of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building and nearby reflecting pool!

Getting the streetcars ready early one weekend morning before many visitors arrive at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Getting the streetcars ready early one weekend morning before many visitors arrive at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

The very cool Centennial Railway Garden is a place in Balboa Park where dreams from the past come alive.
The very cool Centennial Railway Garden is a place in Balboa Park where dreams from the past come alive.

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