Encountering life up close at MOPA.

An extremely powerful exhibition of portrait photography is now on view at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

Encounter: Photographs by Jed Fielding features numerous street portraits that make you feel the strangers you see have somehow become your friends. Because that’s the very personal way Jed Fielding approaches his subjects.

The photographs are full of life, smiles, eye contact, playfulness, emotion, sincerity, vulnerability, pride, sadness, freedom. Kids at play in Naples, Italy are pleased to stop for a moment and shyly grin. A mixture of more subtle emotions appear openly in the faces of those who’ve grown older.

I was particularly moved by photos Jed Fielding took of blind children in Mexico City. As his camera shutter clicked, small hands were doing their own seeing. In one photograph fingers reached up to feel the lens.

In those portraits of blind children, more than the others, not a soul wears a mask. Every expression is unaffected, absolutely genuine.

It’s an authentic connection between people that makes these photos so powerful. So alive.

Encounter: Photographs by Jed Fielding is on display at MOPA through September 25, 2022.

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 missed Red Shoe Day? Donate online!

It’s Red Shoe Day in San Diego!

Volunteers hanging out at busy intersections this morning were collecting donations for the Ronald McDonald House, which helps sick kids who are being treated at local hospitals, providing a nearby place for their families to stay!

Did you miss an opportunity to place some money in a red shoe this morning? Well, you can donate online. Do it here!

Thank you!

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!

Huge fun coming to downtown’s Children’s Park!

Whoa! Check it out!

Look at the huge multi-level playground structure that’s being built for Children’s Park in downtown San Diego! The park is undergoing a major redesign, which will make it more . . . children friendly!

Children’s Park is located north of Harbor Drive, adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade. That circular pool with its unique fountain between Front Street and 1st Avenue is part of it. The two-acre city park, with its many shady trees, is a very short walk from both The New Children’s Museum and the San Diego Convention Center.

The park has often been used as a convenient offsite location during Comic-Con. Evidently not this year!

You might remember how, years ago, Children’s Park was filled with numerous large rounded mounds that unfortunately concealed drug and other illegal activity. Those mounds were removed in phases.

Now this important downtown open space is being completely revitalized, with the addition of a playground, an interactive water feature, and a new vendor building.

If you’d like to learn more about the project, you can visit this web page.

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!

Kids make silly critters at Natural History Museum!

Kids always have lots of fun at the San Diego Natural History Museum! They can check out cool dinosaurs and even living animals. And they can make silly critters out of recycled materials!

The creative activity takes place inside the NAT’s Nature Lab, which is open on Saturdays from 10 to 2. The Nature Lab also hosts school children during field trips to the museum and Balboa Park. It has a natural history library, too!

Have you ever poked your nose into this cool Nature Lab, which is located on the first level of the museum? I did last Saturday!

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!

Giant ants interact with curious kids!

Three enormous ants interacted with excited children today in San Diego.

The strange human-size ants were first spotted carrying large bread crumbs about the green lawn of Liberty Station’s North Promenade.

The onlooking kids quickly understood the silent, methodical ants had a plan. They were carrying the crumbs and dropping them on the grass to form lines!

Lots of kids promptly assisted them!

Ants was the name of this very unique, super fun interactive outdoor performance, a part of La Jolla Playhouse’s 2022 Without Walls Festival at Liberty Station.

The three giant ants came from Polyglot Theatre in Australia!

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!

Wonderful sculpture at San Ysidro Health in Chula Vista.

Does anyone out there know anything about this wonderful bronze sculpture of children playing in a tree? It’s located on Third Avenue in Chula Vista, near the entrance to the San Ysidro Health medical building.

As I walked past the beautiful artwork on Saturday I took these photos. I looked for a plaque or any indication of the artist and history. Perhaps I missed it, but I all saw was the sign near its base indicating the sculpture is monitored at all times.

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!

Dr. Seuss’s fun Boids and Beasties exhibit!

There’s a fun exhibit just inside the entrance of the Geisel Library at UC San Diego. It’s titled Dr. Seuss’s Boids & Beasties!

I stumbled upon these displays of original Dr. Seuss drawings, sketches and writings during my visit to UCSD in La Jolla today. The artwork and documents come from the university’s large Seuss collection. La Jolla is where Theodor Seuss Geisel, the legendary children’s book author, lived for much of his life.

I asked about the exhibition at the library’s nearby front desk, and was told it’s semi-permanent. So next time you’re on or near the campus, you might want to check out these fantastical Boids and Beasties!

Just a sample…

Dr. Seuss is known and beloved worldwide. The exhibit includes some of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s early work as an advertising and commercial artist.
Dragon sketch, circa 1915, one of the earlies known Geisel drawings.
Geisel artwork used for advertising Flit bug spray.
Letter by Dr. Seuss describes how listening to a ship’s engine inspired the rhymes in his first published children’s book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
Pencil sketch for You’re Only Old Once!
Rough sketch for two pages of The Sneetches.

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!

A special message from Santa Claus for San Diego!

I’ve just been contacted by Santa Claus. He has an important message for all of San Diego!

Merry Christmas, San Diego.

I hope you have a safe and dry Christmas Day with family and loved ones. Omicron is worse than getting coal in your stocking. Get vaccinated and wear a mask.

Santa hopes the pandemic will end and we all can return to “December Nights in the Park” next year.

Santa held his COVID-19 Vaccination Card during 2021 “Taste of December Nights.” (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
After “Taste of December Nights,” Santa went to visit the Nativity scenes at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
A week later, a well-dressed Chihuahua sporting a stylish Mohawk posed with Santa at Harry’s Coffee Shop in La Jolla. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
This cute little girl came to visit Santa while he was eating breakfast at Harry’s. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
… and this little guy was impressed with Santa’s baseball card. We want the Padres to win the World Series in 2022. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

Be good to one another. Have fun. Laugh and be joyous, but also remember the meaning of the season.

Your friend,

Santa Claus

Santa Claus sightings around San Diego!

Santa Claus parachutes from a helicopter onto the deck of the USS Midway!

Two days until Christmas!

Over the years, Santa Claus has been sighted countless times around San Diego. And I’ve captured (or received) some fun photographs of jolly old Saint Nick!

I’ve seen Santa jumping from a helicopter, flying above San Diego Bay using a water jetpack, in holiday parades, and, of course, magically granting Christmas wishes to good boys and girls.

Please enjoy this happy collection of Santa photos!

Santa and Mrs. Claus read a joyful story during Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.
Santa and Mrs. Claus ride a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, during the Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon.
Jolly old Santa makes somebody laugh in front of Balboa Park’s Federal Building. Are those two guys naughty or nice?
Surfing Santa arrives at Seaport Village by flying a water jetpack.
Multiple bearded Santas at the Over-the-Line tournament on Fiesta Island. They encourage everyone to eat healthy! (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa and Mrs. Claus smile for a photo during a Toys for Tots charity event on Navy Pier.
There’s Santa once again at Seaport Village! Looks like I took this photo during the summer of the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego.
Mrs. Claus poses with Santa during Christmas on the Prado. But he doesn’t appear like the real Santa to me.
Santa Claus waves from a fire truck during the North Park Toyland Parade.
Social Distance Santa waves at passing cars during Taste of December Nights in 2020. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa in Balboa Park once again. Like everyone else in San Diego, he must love the place.
And there’s Santa again! He’s now at the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A smiling Santa Claus helps warm an elf nose during Christmas on the Prado. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa Claus brings joy to the brightly lit Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Christmas magic during December Nights in Balboa Park!

I wish everyone Happy Holidays!

I plan to take a little time off from blogging this week and next, just to relax and enjoy the season. But I’ll continue to walk, weather permitting, and take photos!

When I return in the New Year, be ready for many more Cool San Diego Sights!

Take care!


My Wish For You beckons in Imperial Beach.

Travel down Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach with perceptive eyes and you might discover My Wish For You. The long mural on an alley wall is located just west of Florida Street. It was created by Imperial Beach artist Michelle Lubin and installed in 2018.

According to a sign at the mural, My Wish For You was inspired by the love of the artist’s daughter for all things, including butterflies, ladybugs, dandelions, flowers, sticks, leaves and rocks. Do you see and love these things, too?

These simple things, so easily taken for granted, are among the infinite wonders all around us.

The beautiful mural is a project of the Imperial Beach Arts Bureau.

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