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!

Gaslamp shop windows anticipate Comic-Con!

Is it too early to get excited about Comic-Con returning full force to San Diego?

Of course not!

It’s been two years since the crazy, wonderful, international phenomenon known as Comic-Con filled the Convention Center and streets and hotels of San Diego!

As I walked down Fifth Avenue through the Gaslamp Quarter this morning, looking right and left for interesting material, I remembered that the big pop culture celebration is less than two months away now.

I’m starting to get fired up!

As usual, I’m taking Comic-Con week off from work. I’ll be walking randomly around downtown (where I live) making fun discoveries and photographing the endless cool sights!

Pretty soon the Comic-Con trolley wraps should be appearing! My eyes are peeled!

Not much to see yet, but these shop windows anticipate the big event…

UPDATE!

I spotted Sailor Moon a week or two later!

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!

Loving life at the 2022 Escondido Street Festival!

A huge crowd turned out today for the 2022 Escondido Street Festival along Grand Avenue!

After a two years’ absence during the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event in downtown Escondido is back bigger and better than ever!

In addition to numerous vendors lining several blocks of Grand Avenue, I observed a fun art show, tons of food, and multiple stages featuring diverse entertainment. I listened to both rock and roll and mariachi music! I saw colorful baile folklórico dancing!

Folks working to improve the Escondido community were also out greeting people. That first photo is of a smile from Love Esco, an organization that cares for neighbors through simple acts of kindness and tangible means of love.

A also got a smile from the Escondido Education Foundation, but I declined their offer of a free Escondido poster. (I got enough stuff already!) The foundation is a community driven fundraising organization which provides funding for essential resources, and programs that empower teachers, inspire learning, and promote innovation and academic excellence in EUSD.

Also, thanks to the Helen’s Book Mark used bookstore for the amazing deal on half a dozen books! If you haven’t seen their cool mural on the back side of the store, click 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!

Honorary Tom Hom Avenue in downtown San Diego.

At the intersection of Market Street and Third Avenue in downtown San Diego, you might spot an unusual street sign.

Third Avenue where it runs through the Asian Pacific Historic District is now also called Honorary Tom Hom Avenue.

I noticed the sign the other day while driving down Market Street, so I walked through the neighborhood this evening in order to take a few photographs.

I’ve learned the street sign made its first appearance this February during a public ceremony with many dignitaries.

Tom Hom was a civic leader who worked hard to achieve his successes. In 1963, he was the first person of color to be elected to the San Diego City Council. He later would be elected the city’s deputy mayor, and then only the second Asian American elected to the California State Legislature!

As a politician, Tom Hom used his influence to help get San Diego Stadium built. He also supported the gentrification of the run-down but historic Gaslamp Quarter.

This Wikipedia article details his rich life, including how his family came to California in 1909 on the steam liner SS Manchuria, and how his father named him after Thomas Edison!

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 new stained glass panels in Vista!

Check out this amazing new public artwork!

Many additional stained glass panels have appeared in Vista along South Santa Fe Avenue in the past couple years.

It was the summer of 2020 when I last explored the Paseo Santa Fe street improvement project and found an early set of panels along the sidewalk. (You can see those photographs and learn a little more about the project here.)

The panels are numerous now. They show various aspects of life in Vista, California. Many of the small scenes depict local plants or agriculture.

To the best of my knowledge, the artist creating all of these beautiful mosaics is still Buddy Smith.

Given the direction of my walk last weekend, I probably didn’t find every finished panel. But I hope you enjoy looking at these…

UPDATE!

I’ve learned from Buddy, the artist, that there are now 28 finished panels! Super cool!

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!

Vistacado Festival Parade mural celebrates Vista history!

A nostalgic mural in downtown Vista, California depicts an annual community parade held in the 1930’s to 1950’s.

One recently restored end of the fun Vistacado Festival Parade mural, painted in 2005 by artist Clayton Parker, decorates the exterior of Barrel & Stave Pour House, near the corner of Main Street and Indiana Avenue.

The parade seems to proceed around the building. There are cool old cars, a marching band, cheerleaders, young baseball players, dignitaries, and even walking avocado mascots!

I smiled when I saw the mural includes an image of Pepper Tree Frosty, which I blogged about yesterday here!

This parade artwork is actually one small part of a much, much longer historical mural that runs 564 feet along Vistacado Lane between North Indiana and Michigan Avenue. The entire stretch of artwork has been recognized as Guinness World Record longest continuous mural!

I glimpsed the very long, somewhat faded artwork down Vistacado Lane during my walk yesterday, and in retrospect I should have photographed all of it. I’ll hopefully remember to do that on my next visit to Vista.

I learned all about the longer mural when I read this article. It explains how the original artist, Clayton Parker, restored the portion that I happened to photograph, back in 2020.

UPDATE!

I later returned to Vista to photograph the entire length of the world record historical mural. You can see those photos 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!

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!

The many colors of a living city.

The life of any city is endlessly complex and interesting. The colors one encounters reflect this truth.

Early in the morning I walked around downtown San Diego–primarily through Little Italy and the Columbia District. Then in the evening I walked down Broadway.

My camera found these colors…

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 River once flowed beside Old Town.

San Diego history buffs know that the San Diego River, where it approaches the Pacific Ocean, is not located where it flowed originally.

A cobblestone filled channel in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is a visual reminder that the river once flowed directly next to our city’s birthplace.

In 1853, to prevent flooding in Old Town and the build-up of sediment in San Diego Bay, the Derby Dike was built, diverting the river into False Bay–today’s Mission Bay.

A sign by a footbridge over the modest cobblestone channel shows where the San Diego River was originally located in relation to the park and nearby Taylor Street. You can find this sign in the beautiful outdoor Iipay – Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok Land of the First People, at the northwest corner of the State Park.

Long before the arrival of explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542, and the establishment of the nearby Spanish Presidio in 1769, the Native American Kumeyaay lived here on the banks of the life-sustaining river in a village called Kosa’aay. They called the river ha wenow.

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!

Downtown’s Jacarandas begin their Spring bloom!

Do you know why there are so many Jacaranda trees in San Diego? A century ago, horticulturist Kate Sessions, the Mother of Balboa Park, planted hundreds of these colorful trees in the heart of our city. They are native to South America.

Twice a year–in Spring and Autumn–the striking lilac-blue blooms appear along city streets, adding their unique hue to sunny San Diego. Of course, they’re very messy trees, and you don’t want to park under them when the sticky flowers are dropping!

In 2000, Jacaranda mimosifolia was designated the official non-native tree of San Diego.

I walked from Cortez Hill to Little Italy this morning, and these photos represent a little of what I saw!

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!

Get a Free Tree in front of your home or building!

Looking back west toward downtown. Many jacaranda trees line San Diego's streets. A man waits at a bus stop.

Would you like to have a beautiful, shady “street tree” planted in front of your home or building in San Diego?

There’s a city program called Free Tree SD that will plant a tree in the public right-of-way between your sidewalk and street, if arborists determine its a good spot with plenty of soil, and you promise to water the new tree for several years.

I just learned about this green program and thought some of you might be interested. Learn all the details on the City of San Diego website 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!