Bright reflections on waterfront buildings!

Having an amateur photoblog is loads of fun. My eyes are constantly moving about, searching for and anticipating interesting images.

Cool San Diego Sights helps me to perceive what I otherwise might not. Unusual reflections, shadows, hues, angles, spatial relations, minute details: an object’s complex, often momentary essence.

Before sunset today I walked along the Embarcadero, just north of the Broadway Pier. Glass buildings along the waterfront were shining. A jumble of bright reflections produced all sorts of fascinating contrasts.

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!

Searching for bats in Balboa Park!

As evening approaches, people slowly gather by the Balboa Park lily pond to watch for bats. The event was organized by the San Diego Natural History Museum.
As evening approaches, people slowly gather by the Balboa Park lily pond to watch for bats. The event was organized by the San Diego Natural History Museum.

This evening I joined a small group of people by the Lily Pond in Balboa Park searching for bats!

The San Diego Natural History Museum held the dusk event as part of the 2018 City Nature Challenge. The worldwide challenge–which is being held in almost 70 cities– encourages ordinary citizens to use their smartphones to record as many local flora and fauna as they can over a 4-day period. Images are submitted via the iNaturalist APP for identification! (If you want to see San Diego County’s totals thus far, here’s the link.)

Anyway, I arrived at the Lily Pond before sunset and was greeted by a couple of friendly experts representing the San Diego Natural History Museum. I was shown some cool equipment, videos and specimens, then stood by as a super sensitive microphone was turned on in order to detect the high frequency ultrasonic chirp-like noises produced by echolocating bats!

While we waited and the sky darkened, I learned a few fascinating facts. I learned that the bats most common in Balboa Park are the Mexican free-tailed bat, the hoary bat, and the western red bat. I learned some bats are solitary, and feed where insects aren’t abundant enough to support large colonies of bats. I learned bats drink by rapidly skimming above a body of water– which has been observed at the park’s lily pond. I learned some bats can fly as fast as a hundred miles per hour and as high as 10,000 feet! I also learned bats often feed around lights where flying insects gather, often live in the dead fronds of palm trees, and absolutely love hanging out under bridges.

Did we see or detect any bats? None were seen in the darkness, but the microphone did record the acoustic signature of a nearby Mexican free-tail!

When bats fly about and utilize echolocation, a microphone detects the high frequency sound and software produces a sonogram. Different bats can be recognized by their unique acoustic signatures.
When bats fly about and use echolocation, a sensitive microphone detects the high frequency sound and software produces a sonogram. Different bat species can be recognized by their unique acoustic signatures.
Demonstrating a powerful directional microphone, which is mounted on a long pole.
Demonstrating a powerful directional microphone, which is mounted on a long pole.
A friendly volunteer who travels around the county observing and recording bats points to several specimens. The one indicated is a Mexican free-tailed.
A friendly volunteer who travels around the county observing and recording bats points to several preserved specimens. The one indicated is a Mexican free-tailed.
Several people have gathered to learn about bats shortly before dusk. A curious duck listens in.
Several people have gathered to learn about bats shortly before dusk. A curious duck listens in.
Bats often live in the dead clustered fronds of palm trees. I see a passing gull and a nearly full moon above the Casa del Prado.
Bats often live in the dead clustered fronds of palm trees. I see a passing gull and a nearly full moon above the Casa del Prado.
Darkening palm trees above the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Perhaps some bats are hanging out in these.
Darkening palm trees above the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Perhaps some bats are hanging out in these.
Pointing at the cool bat-detecting instrument. As darkness fell, we recorded one Mexican free-tailed bat, but it must have been too chilly this evening for much activity.
Pointing at the cool bat-detecting instrument. As darkness fell, we recorded one Mexican free-tailed bat, but apparently it was too cold this evening for much bat activity.

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!

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Walkers linger by the water at sundown.

I took these photographs this evening.

San Diego Bay had quieted. A thin fog was hanging over Point Loma. A cruise ship was heading out.

A few walkers lingered by the water as daylight gradually faded.

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!

Waning rays of sunlight, magically captured.

One of the metal Wind Palms in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront catches golden light at the end of an October day.
One of the metal Wind Palms in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront catches golden light at the end of an autumn day.

I walked along the Embarcadero late today. As I reached the Hilton San Diego Bayfront the sun was beginning to set. Looking up, I observed that golden rays of waning sunlight had been magically captured by some peculiar palm trees…

Sunset begins behind trees of Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Sunset begins behind the trees of Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Late sunlight on one of the rotating Wind Palms created by artist Ned Kahn in 2008.
Late sunlight on one of the rotating Wind Palms created by artist Ned Kahn in 2008.
People jog along San Diego's Embarcadero as evening approaches.
People walk and jog along San Diego’s Embarcadero as evening approaches.
Waning rays of sunlight, magically captured.
Waning rays of sunlight, magically captured.

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!

Memories of summer on a chilly San Diego morning.

The sounds and sunshine of summer linger on a building in downtown San Diego.
Sunshine and the sounds of summer linger on a building in downtown San Diego.

Yes, San Diego has sunny, temperate weather for most of the year–many say our city has the best weather in the whole wide world. But, you know, these mornings in December can seem a bit chilly. At least to me. So I was thankful to spot some warm art this morning at the corner of Fourth Avenue and C Street.

Memories of summer linger on . . .

Musical notes and birds fly among tropical palm trees. An image on a utility box warms the city as winter nears.
Musical notes and birds fly among palm trees. As winter nears, an image on a utility box warms the heart of the city.

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!

Living metal palm trees rise into San Diego sky.

Seven curving metal palm trees rise into the beautiful San Diego sky in Bayfront Plaza.
Seven curving metal palm trees rise into the beautiful San Diego sky at Bayfront Plaza.

These are photographs of “living metal” under changing skies. Since 2008, seven stainless steel abstract palm trees have stood in front of San Diego’s Bayfront Hilton, moving gently on windy days. I’ve taken many photos of these unique sculptures over the years. They were created by artist Ned Kahn.

Wind Palms, Ned Kahn, 2008. Stainless steel kinetic sculptures in front of Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
Wind Palms, Ned Kahn, 2008. Stainless steel kinetic sculptures in front of Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
People walk beneath unique tree-like art between the San Diego Convention Center and the Hilton hotel.
People walk beneath unique tree-like art between the San Diego Convention Center and the Hilton hotel.
Silvery, sun-reflecting stainless steel ribbon leaves of the Wind Palms move very slightly in the sea breeze.
The silvery, sun-reflecting stainless steel ribbon “leaves” of the Wind Palms move very slightly in the sea breeze.
Looking upward at different geometric patterns. The trees are supposed to rotate in the wind, but I've never seen it.
Looking upward at different geometric patterns. The curving fronds rotate when the wind’s direction changes.
Seagulls circle high above the palm-like kinetic sculptures on a gray, cloudy day.
Seagulls circle high above the palm-like kinetic sculptures on a gray, cloudy day.
Walking along near the Hilton, heading toward the edge of San Diego Bay.
Walking along near the Hilton, heading toward the edge of San Diego Bay.
Shining trees in a cloudless blue sky.
Shining trees in a cloudless blue sky.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy more Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Clouds like a dream, above tall ships and palm trees.

Tall ships under beautifully streaked clouds on a late December day in San Diego.
Like delicate magic . . . beautifully streaked clouds on a late December day.

Did you see the fantastic clouds above San Diego’s Embarcadero today? They seemed to be made out of fragile, swirling dreams. They magically appeared in our blue sky, painted above tall ships and palm trees.

Just in case you didn’t see, here are two cool pics!

Amazing clouds above San Diego's Embarcadero.
Fantastic clouds above tall ships and palm trees on San Diego’s Embarcadero.

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