Splashes of color in Balboa Park lily pond.

bright color in balboa park lily pond

One of my favorite places in Balboa Park is the reflecting pool, or lily pond, as some call it. This tranquil body of water lies between El Prado and the enormous wood lath structure which is the Botanical Building.

Flower beds, green grass and families enjoying picnics surround the pond, and colorful lotus flowers grace the surface. All sorts of interesting creatures call it home. In addition of numerous large koi (two can be seen in this photo), and floating turtles craning their heads to gaze at tourists, there are crawdads and a variety of fish that people have dumped into the pond. Years ago a small shark was spotted in the serene water!

An interesting historical fact: during World War II, when Balboa Park was utilized to mobilize American soldiers, the Navy used the reflecting pool to train sailors! You can still see old black-and-white photos of men rowing on the pool when you visit the San Diego History Center, a bit further to the east down El Prado.

These photographs are of the small pond-like section right next to the Botanical Building. This is the best place to watch brightly colored Koi swimming about.

Looking down at bright colors in the reflecting pool.
Looking down at bright colors in the reflecting pool.
Lots of color can be found in this section of the reflecting pool, by the Botanical Building.
Lots of color can be found in this section of the reflecting pool, by the Botanical Building.
Turtle comes out of the water to enjoy a bit of San Diego sunshine!
Turtle comes out of the water to enjoy a bit of San Diego sunshine!
Crowd gazes into small section of Balboa Park reflecting pool.
Crowd gazes into small section of the Balboa Park lily pond.

Lobster traps with ropes and colorful floats.

lobster traps with ropes and colorful floats

I love cool photographs that contain all sorts of color. Visual color and local color. The above pic does both!

These lobster traps are stacked on Tuna Harbor Pier, which stretches into San Diego Bay from the G Street Mole. You can see the tops of downtown skyscrapers jutting at the very top of the picture.

If I were a fisherman, I’d be happy to spend a good chunk of my life enjoying the sights from this wonderful pier!

Aiming my camera through a line of new traps.
Aiming my camera through a line of new traps.
A rainbow of colors inside a steel cage.
A rainbow of colors inside a steel cage.
A lobster trap, rope and float framed by the clear blue sky.
A lobster trap, rope and float framed by the clear blue sky.
Another view, from above.
Another view, from above.
I could post a hundred photos like this!
I could post a hundred photos like this!
Here are some light purple floats dangling in a line.
Here are some light purple floats dangling in a line.
Bricks weigh down traps so they lie at the water's bottom.
Bricks weigh down traps so they lie at the water’s bottom.
Cool pic through a long, complex row of lobster traps.
Cool pic through a long, complex row of lobster traps.
Wall of lobster traps on Tuna Harbor Pier.
Wall of lobster traps on Tuna Harbor Pier.

This last photo was taken from the pier near Seaport Village:

Gazing out at a sailboat on San Diego Bay.
Gazing out at a sailboat on San Diego Bay.

Cool, tangled photo of San Diego Trolley Yard.

cool chaotic photo of trolley yard

Here’s a unique photo that looks really cool!

I snapped this pic of the San Diego Trolley Yard at the 12th and Imperial Transit Center from the bridge above Harbor Drive. This new pedestrian bridge is a great spot for views of gleaming downtown skyscrapers, the Convention Center, Petco Park, the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, and the trolley and train yards.

This cool photograph was taken through a fence, giving the image a cluttered, layered, weirdly tangled appearance. The red trolleys seem to snake their way through a gray complex jumble of curving rails, vertical electrical poles and the grid of the blurred fence. It’s an image that fascinates the eye!

Here’s a less fascinating photo taken another day…

A less tangled photo from the bridge of the nearby train rail yard and tracks.
A less tangled photo from the bridge of the nearby train rail yard and tracks.

Blue sky, white clouds reflect on skyscraper.

blue sky and clouds reflected on skyscraper

This photo turned out pretty good! Wish I could say it was the result of incredible photographic skill! But I must admit to being lucky once in a while…

This dazzling downtown skyscraper, not far from the Santa Fe Depot, reflects the deep blue summer sky and broken white clouds in a truly spectacular way! Look closely, and you can also see the reflection of the One America Plaza building which stands directly across Broadway.

I love that most of the newer skyscrapers in San Diego are a shiny silver or blue or green–like gleaming ocean waves rising above the sandy tan-colored buildings at their feet. The color scheme gives the skyline a watery cool, light and inviting appearance.

Here come two fun pics I took of the same building on a later date…

Reflection on glass skyscraper of America Plaza across Broadway.
Reflection on shiny glass skyscraper of One America Plaza across Broadway.
Three tall buildings reflect from downtown San Diego window.
Three tall buildings near Santa Fe Depot reflect from downtown San Diego window.

Awesome Pokez mural in downtown San Diego.

pokez wall mural 02

Here’s another photo of the fantastic mural shown in my previous post. It provides a wider view. This outstanding example of super cool street art can be found on the outside wall of Pokez, an artsy vegetarian Mexican restaurant in downtown San Diego.

The mural’s design is jam-packed with brilliant color, urban style and symbolism, and feels both organic and futuristic. It reminds me somewhat of the spray-painted “space art” you see occasionally being created by street performers in Seaport Village, the Gaslamp, or Balboa Park.

And here’s yet another pic:

Side view of Pokez in downtown San Diego.
Side view of Pokez in downtown San Diego.

Fantastic street art on wall at Pokez eatery.

pokez wall mural 01

This might be the most awesome street art in downtown San Diego…at least, that I’ve seen. This fantastic, super vibrant mural adorns the east wall of Pokez, a popular vegetarian Mexican restaurant on E Street at 10th Avenue. The riot of neon bright colors is so crisp and exciting one just stands transfixed on the sidewalk, immersed in the rampant creativity.

As I photographed the spray-painted mural, a young lady walked by and commented that she really liked it, too!

A closer view of the colorful street art on Pokez.
A closer view of the colorful street art on Pokez.

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San Diego kids paint beautiful tile benches.

child art tiles on bench 02

Here’s the right side of a tile bench painted by San Diego school kids. Check out my previous post for the left side and a brief explanation.

I love to sit on these fun tile benches near the Maritime Museum of San Diego and gaze out at the water. I have a weakness for this sort of inexcusable, lazy inactivity. Oh, well. Loafing wide-eyed on a sunshiny day is my personal definition of exciting urban living!

One of many benches featuring tiles painted by children.
One of twelve benches featuring tiles painted by school children.

Here are more photos of the colorful benches along this stretch of the Embarcadero…

Celebrating the Big Bay, June 2004. Funded by The Port of San Diego.
Celebrating the Big Bay, June 2004. Funded by The Port of San Diego.
Lots of sun, beach and happiness.
Lots of sun, beach and happiness.
Kid artists contributed to many tile benches along San Diego's waterfront.
Kid artists contributed to tile benches along San Diego’s waterfront.
Many students chose to paint sailboats out on the Pacific Ocean.
Many young students chose to paint sailboats out on the Pacific Ocean.
One of many tiles, painted by one of many hands.
One of many tiles, painted by one of many hands.
Some young artist made a silly fishy face that I really like!
Some young artist made a silly fishy face that I really like!
That big green fish is longer than that sailboat!
That big green fish is longer than that sailboat!
Globs of color add a bit of variety to many fun images.
Globs of color add a bit of variety to many fun images.
Cool artwork produced by a young local student.
Cool artwork produced by a young local student.
Two happy figures seem to jump above flowers.
Two happy figures seem to jump above flowers.
Unique face of warm sun is appropriate in beautiful San Diego.
Unique face of warm sun is appropriate in beautiful San Diego.

Art tiles painted by children decorate San Diego.

child art tiles on bench 01

Along the Embarcadero near the Maritime Museum of San Diego you’ll discover a great walkway at the edge of the bay.

One can look straight down at gentle water lapping wood pilings, see small fish darting below like silver points of light, watch lesser terns wheeling in the sky and diving, see black cormorants hunting underwater like feathered submarines…and gracefully soaring pelicans, and sailboats racing, and a blue sky, and huge ships coming in carrying cars from Asia, and airplanes landing at Lindbergh Field, and a glittering downtown skyline nearby, and the distant lighthouse on Point Loma…

You get the idea. It’s an extremely interesting stroll at any time of the year!

Along the walkway, twelve colorfully tiled benches await those who’d like to sit. The tiles were painted by many local K-6 student artists in 2004, Celebrating the Big Bay, in partnership with the Port of San Diego and the San Diego Children’s Museum.

The benches contain pictures of the ocean, fish, fantastic sea creatures, gulls, whales, ships, mermaids, palm trees, and happy, smiling stick figure people, as envisioned by artistic children with a paint brush.

The above photograph shows the left end of one bench.

Below, someone fishes nearby…

Fishing on the Embarcadero.
Fishing on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
A painted tile in a bench on San Diego's Embarcadero.
A painted tile in a bench on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
A red fish just swimming along in blue bubbles.
A red fish just swimming along in blue bubbles.
A tropical fish with long spotted green fins.
A tropical fish with long spotted green fins.
A very nicely rendered seahorse and colorful flowers.
A very nicely rendered seahorse and colorful flowers.
Beautiful work of art created by a local child.
Beautiful work of art created by a local child.
Creativity is splashed all over these tile benches.
Creativity is splashed all over these tile benches.
Eye-catching abstract design painted by youth.
Eye-catching abstract design painted by youth.
Fantastic tile artwork produced with many colorful painted dots.
Fantastic tile artwork produced with many colorful painted dots.
Here's a green mermaid jumping rope atop the blue ocean!
Here’s a green mermaid jumping rope atop the blue ocean!

Classic figurehead of historic ship Star of India.

Female figure at the bow of San Diego's historic Star of India.
The Greek muse Euterpe graces the bow of San Diego’s historic Star of India.

Here’s the oft-photographed figurehead of San Diego’s famous tall ship Star of India. I learned from a Maritime Museum of San Diego docent that the figurehead represents Euterpe, one of the Muses from Greek mythology. Euterpe was the muse of music. Euterpe was also the original name of the Star of India, when it was built at Ramsey in the Isle of Man in 1863. Her name was changed from Euterpe to Star of India in 1906 by the Alaska Packers’ Association, which had purchased the ship in 1901.

Closer look at Star of India’s classic figurehead.
Closer look at Star of India’s classic figurehead.

Here’s a cool pic with high contrast applied…

Figurehead of tall ship Star of India.
Figurehead of tall ship Star of India.

San Diego loves the beautiful Star of India.

star of india 01

During today’s morning walk I took a couple other photographs which I will share. Here’s a pic of San Diego’s beloved tall ship Star of India! Many visitors don’t realize that this iron-hulled three-masted bark is the oldest active sailing ship in the entire world! If you ever swing by America’s Finest City, you can go onboard and enjoy a memorable glimpse of maritime history.

With clouds of white sails fluttering in the breeze, she remains the queen of The Big Bay! She’s 150 years old and still appears to be in great condition!

Star of India’s California Historical Landmark plaque.
Star of India’s California Historical Landmark plaque.

Bonus pics taken at various later times:

A familiar sight along Harbor Drive on San Diego's Embarcadero.
A familiar sight along Harbor Drive on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Bow of Star of India includes the classic female figurehead.
Bow of Star of India includes a classic female figurehead representing Euterpe. That was this ship’s original name.
Early morning photo of San Diego's Star of India.
Early morning photo of San Diego’s Star of India.
Star of India captain's wheel and tangled Maritime Museum rigging.
Star of India steering wheel.
Beautiful sails and clouds.
Beautiful sails and clouds.
Ticket booth and entrance ramp next to the Star of India.
Maritime Museum of San Diego ticket booth next to the Star of India.
American flag flutters in the breeze at stern of the historic old ship.
American flag flutters in the breeze at stern of the historic old ship.
People out for a stroll by the Star of India.
People out for a stroll on San Diego’s Embarcadero by the Star of India.