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!

The corner lit by San Diego’s first gaslamp!

The very first gaslamp that lit downtown San Diego was located in today’s Gaslamp Quarter. But where?

Stand at the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and F Street, and you’ve found the location!

You’ll be standing next to the historic Marston Building. A plaque on this interesting old building reads:

Marston Block, 1881

In 1881, George Marston located his third department store in this two-story Victorian Italian-style building. It remained here until 1896 when it was relocated to a larger building. Until the 1970s, Marston’s was the largest and most successful San Diego-based department store and was purchased by Broadway Stores. The building suffered severe fire damage in 1903, and had to undergo extensive remodeling. The first gaslamp was placed on this corner in 1885, and on March 16, 1886, the first electric arc lamp was illuminated outside this building.

If any of you remember visiting the Marston Department Store as a young child, it was most likely Marston’s final location, in a large four-story, neo-Renaissance building on C Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. That building was demolished years ago. To learn more about George Marston’s various stores in San Diego, click here.

To view a historical black-and-white photo of Marston’s 1881 store–the location of San Diego’s very first gaslamp–click here.

As you can see, things have changed quite a bit in nearly a century and a half!

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Afternoon light and life at Tuna Harbor.

At the Embarcadero’s picturesque Tuna Harbor, photography is easy. Aim your camera in almost any direction and you’ll capture light, life and fascinating complexity.

I walked around Tuna Harbor late this afternoon and pointed my camera at workers loading equipment onto Gutsy Lady 4 (near a cool vintage truck), the usual crowd of commercial fishing boats docked side-by-side, and youth fishing on the pier by Seaport Village.

(In the final photograph you can glimpse three active aircraft carriers in the distance. Docked across San Diego Bay at North Island are the USS Carl Vinson, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt.)

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 shining sculpture dances in Encinitas.

A fantastic kinetic sculpture was recently installed on the Coast Highway in Encinitas. You can see it shining among trees in the small park in front of the Self-Realization Fellowship building, at South Coast Hwy 101 and K Street.

The titanium and stainless steel sculpture is called Orpheus, named after the poet and musician of Greek mythology. Orpheus played his lyre so movingly that even the trees danced. And indeed, the trees near this metallic Orpheus seem to dance with it as the sculpture’s curving arms move quietly in the wind like living limbs.

Orpheus was created by Encinitas artist Jeffery Laudenslager. His peculiar geometric sculpture Fuji San was photographed six years ago here.

Orpheus has been acquired by the Encinitas Friends of the Arts and, according to this article, is the very first piece of public art in the City of Encinitas’ Sculpture Installation Program.

I took these photos last Saturday. By sheer coincidence, I read an article this morning that another similar kinetic sculpture by Jeffery Laudenslager was recently stolen from his driveway, and he is offering a reward to recover it.

Enjoy a few photos of Orpheus, playing its visual music in the sky above Encinitas…

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!

Oil Painters of America comes to Escondido!

What is Left Unsaid, by artist Daniel Gerhartz.

An extraordinary exhibition of oil paintings by some of America’s finest artists opened at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido a couple weeks ago.

Yesterday I headed into the Center’s Museum to check out dozens of superb pieces that were created by members of the Oil Painters of America.

The Oil Painters of America has several thousand members who excel at representational oil painting, an art that has seen some decline in modern times. According to this page of their website: “Oil Painters of America was founded in 1991 by Shirl Smithson primarily to focus attention on the lasting value of fine drawing, color, composition and the appreciation of light…”

Think of those old masters in a fine art museum. Some of the exquisite works I saw yesterday appear to belong right beside them.

Contemporary art can be amazing, other mediums can be fantastic, but if you want to find a profound sense of humanity and subtle emotion in a canvas, this type of painting is hard to beat.

The exhibition is titled the 30th Annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils. The California Center for the Arts, Escondido is privileged to have these works on display. I noticed many of the pieces are for sale.

I loved so many of these fine paintings, it was hard to select a handful to give you an idea of what you’ll see when you enter the museum.

Whatever you do, be sure to pass through the California Center for the Arts’ Museum doors by May 16, 2021, when this fantastic exhibition of traditional oil painting draws to an end.

Taos Light, by artist Huihan Liu.
Considerations, by artist John Michael Carter.
Carpe Diem, by artist Jeff Legg.
Mother, by artist Kathie Odom.
Port Clyde Harbor, by artist Jim Carson.
Saffron In Blue Ridge, by artist Brandon Gonzales.
Into the Sun, by artist Sarah Kidner.

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!

Morning light and rainbow from Cortez Hill!

As I started my day at the top of Cortez Hill, I was greeted by magical morning light reflected from downtown buildings to the west and south.

Then I saw the rainbow!

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!

Perceiving time and space from a pier.

Linger on a pier.

It will seem you are suspended in fluid space and time.

The world all around you is ever changing.

I took these photos late this afternoon from the pier between Seaport Village and Tuna Harbor.

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!

Magical light shines again downtown!

Call me crazy, but I never tire of taking photographs of downtown San Diego right after sunrise. The early light and the reflections are truly magical!

These shining images were captured during my walk to catch the trolley yesterday morning.

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!

Fog at Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

Early this morning, an overnight fog obscured Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

As the rising sun began to brighten the fantastic cacti of the Desert Garden, banks of fog lingered in Florida Canyon and beyond, appearing like ghostly, faraway islands…

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!

Beautiful morning magic on Broadway!

I captured these photographs this morning as the sun was rising. I stood in downtown San Diego, at one magical spot on Broadway.

As I walked past the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse, I had to freeze in my tracks. Because my eyes were spellbound.

The first photos below are of the San Diego Central Courthouse, whose fascinating architecture rises nearby. Light, shadow, beautiful glass windows and soaring gulls combined to cast their spell…

Then I turned my camera east to capture the magical early morning light along Broadway…

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!