Bright green leaves form patterns of beauty.

Here are some amazing photos that I captured today at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. During my slow walk into the Lower Garden, I halted beneath a tree and looked up at the leaves. Sunshine was beaming through, illuminating the many layers of green.

The complex patterns of leaves appear to me like swirling three-dimensional fractals. The patterns are strangely magical. They are beautiful.

Later in the afternoon, I ventured over to the International Cottages and enjoyed some colorful Philippine folk dancing. You can see those joyful photos on my special Beautiful Balboa Park blog by clicking 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!

To read a few short stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Do you enjoy beautiful things? Please visit my other photography blog, which I’ve named A Small World Full of Beauty.

Rain creates magic in a very special garden.

Raindrops on leaves at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
Raindrops on leaves at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

During today’s spring rain, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park shined with magic. Every leaf was enchanted. Every part of the garden was blessed with a profound and mysterious beauty.

Rain nourishes life: every life.

A spring storm creates unexpected beauty.
A spring storm creates unexpected natural beauty.
Wet, bright green leaves.
Wet, very bright green leaves.
Budding spheres of red magic open mysteriously.
Budding spheres of red.  Like magic they open mysteriously.
Water in the grooves of a beautifully marbled stone by the garden path.
Water in the grooves of a beautifully marbled stone by the garden path.
Droplets on a fern, like a curtain of beaded diamonds.
Droplets shining on a fern, like a curtain of beaded diamonds.
Sunlight through magical layers of green.
Sunlight through dreamy, magical layers of green.
More simple beauty at the always wonderful Japanese Friendship Garden.
Simple beauty at the always wonderful Japanese Friendship Garden.
Fragile blooms encrusted with crystal-like rain.
Fragile blooms encrusted with crystal-like rain.
Smooth forms of beaded water on a sloping leaf.
Smooth forms of beaded water on a sloping leaf.
One photograph of beauty in a special garden, on a rainy day in San Diego.
Another photograph of beauty in a special garden, on a rainy May day in San Diego.

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? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

More short stories about light and darkness.

My writing blog Short Stories by Richard continues to grow. It now features 17 short works of fiction.

Many of the stories concern magic–or elements in life that seem to be magic. Most of the pieces contain both light and darkness.

I already posted a summary of my first six short stories here.

These are the next eleven–click the links to read:

One Strange, Shimmering Dream follows one man’s fantastic pursuit.

A Small Fountain in Green Park is about love and cherished moments in our brief life.

Irresistible Gravity is about futility and self-questioning.

A Dance in the Lightning takes a dangerous peek at ultimate reality.

Waterfall Tears interprets a moment of grieving.

An Old Man on a Bus contains unexpected defiance.

Dew on the Grass is about keen perception.

How to Paint Angels tells a story of despair, then sudden miraculous inspiration.

Final Real Magic is about youth and the uncertain nature of magic.

The Piano Player Sat Down produces a bit of strange, musical magic.

The Child and the Koi is a short fable about opposing primal powers.

Thank you for following my blog! Today I’m going to a Mariachi Festival in San Diego’s South Bay. Photos should be coming later!

Have a fine Sunday and keep on smiling!

Richard

Bright orange sunset casts magic on buildings.

A blazing orange and yellow sunset behind palm trees on San Diego's Embarcadero.
A blazing orange and yellow sunset behind palm trees on San Diego’s Embarcadero.

I saw magic this evening. The spell was cast as the sun neared the horizon. I lingered a few moments near Pacific Highway downtown, spellbound.

Golden light on the rippling sculptural facade of the Marriott building at Lane Field. The cool public art conceals hotel parking levels. It's titled California Rain and was created by artist David Franklin.
Golden light on the rippling sculptural facade of the Marriott building at Lane Field. The cool public art conceals hotel parking levels. It’s titled California Rain and was created by artist David Franklin.
Sunset flames becomes glowing embers in the dark windows of several downtown skyscrapers.
The sunset’s orange flames have become glowing embers in the dark windows of several downtown skyscrapers.
Reflected sunset in many different glass windows behind the Santa Fe Depot.
Reflected sunset in many different glass windows behind the Santa Fe Depot.
One stately dome of the Santa Fe Depot seems enveloped by magical panels of glowing color.
Dome of the Santa Fe Depot seems enveloped by magical panels of molten color.

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 rainbow and sunlight on St. Joseph Cathedral.

Early morning sunshine brightens the east side of St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego.
Early morning sunshine brightens the east side of St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego.

Yesterday morning, just before I walked down from the top of Cortez Hill, I saw an incredible sight.  My eyes discerned a very faint rainbow to the west–even though only a few wispy clouds were in the blue sky.

To my surprise, the rainbow arched downward to touch the gleaming cross atop St. Joseph Cathedral. Amazed by the sight, I walked along Beech Street to take photos of bright morning sunlight on the cathedral itself.

The rainbow is so faint in my zoomed, cropped photo that I must confess I changed the contrast and brightness a million different ways and debated whether it even merited a blog post. I’ve decided it does.

Cool San Diego Sights might be a tad philosophical at times, but it intentionally avoids supporting any particular religious (or political) view. Because a sense of wonder and a love for beauty are shared by many. And because there’s enough bitter debate in this old world.

Whatever one might believe, seeing the rainbow above the shining gold was something wonderful to behold.

Sunlight on the high cathedral tower.
Sunlight on the high cathedral tower.
A very faint rainbow ends at the golden cross atop St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego. Photo taken the morning of February 20, 2017 from Cortez Hill--the corner of Cedar Street and Seventh Avenue, to be exact.
A faint rainbow ends at the golden cross atop St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown San Diego. Photograph taken the morning of February 20, 2017 from Cortez Hill–the corner of Cedar Street and Seventh Avenue, to be exact.  Brightness and contrast were altered to bring out the rainbow.
A beautiful morning provides inspiration.
A beautiful morning and early sunlight provide inspiration.

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!

Amazing morning clouds above the El Cortez.

Amazing, brightly glowing clouds filled the sky this morning above San Diego's beautiful Cortez Hill neighborhood.
Amazing, brightly glowing clouds filled the sky this morning above San Diego’s beautiful Cortez Hill neighborhood.

The first thing I noticed upon stepping outside this morning was the amazing sky above Cortez Hill. The clouds were glowing and so beautiful and complex that I almost got a kink in my neck.

I took lots of photos as I walked. As it turns out, my most incredible images all seem to include the handsome El Cortez building–so the subject of this blog post became obvious!

A crescent moon is just visible to the left of the historic El Cortez sign.
A crescent moon is just visible to the left of the landmark El Cortez sign.
A street lamp is still on. Another fantastic morning in downtown San Diego for a pleasant walk.
A street lamp is still on. Another fantastic morning in downtown San Diego for a pleasant walk.
Amazing clouds paint the blue sky above the landmark El Cortez and other nearby, more modern high-rises!
Amazing clouds paint the blue sky above the historic El Cortez and other nearby, more modern high-rises!

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!

San Diego buildings, shining in a sunlit fog.

Early morning sunlight reflects from a building's windows in Mission Valley, casting heavenly beams of light through lifting fog.
Early morning sunlight reflects from a building’s shining windows in Mission Valley, casting heavenly beams of light through a slight fog.

It was very foggy this morning in downtown San Diego. I had my camera out as I walked from the top of Cortez Hill to the Civic Center trolley station. By the time I reached Mission Valley, the fog had mostly dissipated. I was very fortunate to capture that almost heavenly first photo!  Those slanting beams are exactly as they appeared to the eye!

A bird flies past Cortez Blu, which rises into a foggy downtown San Diego sky.
A bird flies past Cortez Blu, which rises into a foggy downtown San Diego sky.
Vantage Pointe in downtown San Diego rises into a fog illuminated by the rising sun.
Vantage Pointe in downtown San Diego rises into a fog illuminated by the rising sun.
Fog and sunlight create a magical morning photo of skyscrapers on B Street in the heart of San Diego.
Fog and sunlight create a magical morning photo of skyscrapers on B Street in the heart of San Diego.
Beautiful light on tall ghostly buildings.
Beautiful light on tall ghostly buildings.

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!