Golden hour photos in Balboa Park.

Last Friday, before joining a small group at dusk searching for bats by the lily pond, I walked around Balboa Park and captured a series of photos.

The golden hour before sunset is indeed magical.

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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Beautiful flowers in Old Town San Diego.

Cheerful flowers decorate the back of a wooden chair at Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town San Diego.
Cheerful flowers decorate the back of a wooden chair at Fiesta de Reyes in Old Town San Diego.

Look at all the beautiful flowers!

I found these while walking randomly around Old Town San Diego State Historic Park on Sunday!

Red geraniums flourish at the rear of San Diego House.
Red geraniums flourish at the rear of San Diego House.
A bee visits a prickly pear blossom near the Old Town Blacksmith Shop.
A bee visits a prickly pear blossom near the Old Town Blacksmith Shop.
Painted flowers decorate a panel in the entry to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.
Bouquet of flowers painted on a panel in the entry to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant.
Visitors enjoy the lush, sunny courtyard of Casa de Estudillo.
Visitors enjoy the lush, sunny courtyard of Casa de Estudillo.
Beautiful pottery with floral designs can be found throughout Old Town.
Beautiful pottery with floral designs can be found throughout Old Town.
A red hibiscus behind the Fiesta de Reyes stage where visitors can watch colorful Mexican baile folklórico dancing.
A red hibiscus behind the Fiesta de Reyes stage where visitors can watch colorful Mexican baile folklórico dancing.
Flowery design on one bench by the Fiesta de Reyes stage.
Flowery design on one bench by the Fiesta de Reyes stage.
Wouldn't you like to sit on this bench?
Wouldn’t you like to sit on this bench?
Yellow blooms near the Racine and Laramie Tobacconist building.
Yellow blooms near the Racine and Laramie Tobacconist building.
Blue Buddha among flowers outside the entrance to Gum Saan.
Blue Buddha among flowers outside the entrance to Gum Saan.
Many flowers fill a garden that few visitors see behind La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
Many flowers fill a garden that few visitors see behind La Casa de Machado y Stewart.
A tree has beautiful blooms near the historic Mason Street Schoolhouse.
A tree has beautiful blooms near the historic Mason Street Schoolhouse.
Flowers adorn pottery at El Centro Artesano.
Flowers adorn pottery at El Centro Artesano.
A bag with floral design at Old Town Market.
A bag with floral design at Old Town Market.
There seem to be flowers everywhere you turn in Old Town San Diego!
There seem to be flowers everywhere you turn in Old Town San Diego!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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A beautiful walk along Big Laguna Trail.

Stepping from the Penny Pines parking area on Sunrise Highway to the Nobel Canyon trailhead.
Stepping from the Penny Pines parking area on Sunrise Highway to the Nobel Canyon trailhead.

This morning I went on a walk in the Laguna Mountains. The pine-covered Lagunas, about an hour’s drive east of downtown San Diego, reach just over 6000 feet in elevation.

After parking at the Penny Pines area on Sunrise Highway, I began west down the Noble Canyon Trail, then turned south onto Big Laguna Trail.

A morning walk in the mountains is so quiet and beautiful.

Come along with me! In these photos we’ll be heading a couple miles or so to Big Laguna Lake, a temporary body of water that appears in the winter and lingers until summer.

During my walk I saw many broken trees and stumps, victims over the years of bark beetles and periodic wildfires. At first the air was very chilly, but as the sun slowly rose its warmth felt good on my face. I heard plenty of birdsong, knocking woodpeckers, and the soft mountain breeze in branches. I smelled new green grass and the towering pine trees.

My eyes noted many signs of early spring.

Part of a posted Map of Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Big Laguna Lake forms during rainy season in Laguna Meadow.
Part of a posted Map of Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. Big Laguna Lake forms during rainy season in Laguna Meadow.
Horses share the path with hikers and mountain bikers.
Horses sometimes share the trail with hikers and mountain bikers.
Many fallen tree limbs and trunks were along the trail. Victims of wildfires, beetles, and violent mountain storms.
Many fallen tree limbs and trunks were along the trail. Victims of wildfires, beetles, and violent mountain storms.
We've turned left onto Big Laguna Trail. Many of the hiking trails on Mount Laguna connect to the famous Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.
We’ve turned left onto Big Laguna Trail. Many of the hiking trails on Mount Laguna connect to the famous Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.
A swinging gate on the trail. Sometimes cattle are herded up in these mountains.
A swinging gate on the trail. Sometimes cattle are herded up in these mountains.
A beautiful early morning. The sun is still low and obscured by clouds and hills.
A beautiful early morning. The sun is still low and obscured by clouds and hills.
I saw a few small flowers along the trail scattered by spring's fingers.
I saw a few small flowers along the trail scattered by spring’s fingers.
Jumbled sawn trunks often appear like abstract works of art.
The jumbled broken trunks often appeared like abstract works of art.
Inner beauty exposed.
Inner beauty exposed.
Wild, delicate beauty.
Wild and delicate.

Moving forward.
Moving forward.
A tale of many seasons.
A tale of many seasons.
Winter's remnant.
Winter’s remnant.
Many elements.
Many elements.
About to enter the edge of Laguna Meadow.
I’m about to enter the edge of Laguna Meadow. Around here a small group of Red-winged Blackbirds were jumping about tree branches and cheerfully talking to each other.

Some collected rain and snowmelt have formed a small green pond.
Some collected rain and snowmelt have formed a small green pond in the meadow.

I spy Big Laguna Lake ahead.
I spy Big Laguna Lake ahead.
Turning my camera to the right, looking backward a bit.
Turning my camera to the right, looking backward a bit.

A friendly mountain biker approaches.
A friendly mountain biker approaches.
Like a silver dream on the mountain.
Like a silver dream on the mountain.

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!

Photos of 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival!

People descend along a path into the beautiful Lower Garden during the 2018 Japanese Friendship Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival.
People descend along a path into the beautiful Lower Garden during the Japanese Friendship Garden’s 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival.

I took many photos today at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park. After the morning drizzle subsided, I headed up to the Japanese Friendship Garden where I knew there would be lots of fun, food and breathtaking natural beauty.

Not quite as many blooms as last year–this winter has been drier than average–but still an absolutely wonderful event. Thank you JFG!

Come along with me as we visit the festival…

The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, as wonderful as ever.
The 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is just as wonderful as ever.
Outside the garden, steps from the entrance is a plaque. It's a replica of one in Yokohoma, sister city of San Diego. The left half contains the theme song of the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee.
Outside the garden, a short distance from the entrance is a plaque. It’s a replica of another plaque in Yokohoma, sister city of San Diego. The left half contains the theme song of the Yokohama-San Diego Friendship Committee.
Sheet music and lyrics for San Diego, The Beautiful.
Sheet music and lyrics for San Diego, The Beautiful.

If you’d like to hear San Diego, The Beautiful, click here!

The festival had many exhibitors in the courtyard near the JFG office.
The festival had many exhibitors in the courtyard near the JFG office.
Smiling young ladies were showing visitors how to fold bits of pink paper into cherry blossoms!
Smiling young ladies were showing visitors how to fold bits of pink paper into cherry blossoms!
A poster explains Cherry Trees at the JFG. Most in the garden are Pink Cloud cherry trees. They have recently acquired three more types--Taiwan Flowering, Okame and First Lady.
A poster explains Cherry Trees at the JFG. Most in the garden are Pink Cloud cherry trees. They have recently acquired three more types–Taiwan Flowering, Okame and First Lady.
Cherry blossoms in Japanese culture represent the transience and beauty of life.
Cherry blossoms in Japanese culture represent the transience and beauty of life.

The transience of cherry blossoms inspired a very short story, which I titled A Short Bloom. To read it, click here!

This part of the poster explains the six stages of bloom for cherry blossoms, from green bud to full, glorious bloom.
This part of the poster explains the six stages of bloom for cherry blossoms, from green bud to full, glorious bloom.
Vendors showcasing crafts and artwork at the festival included Tum Tum Arts.
Vendors showcasing crafts and gifts at the festival included Tum Tum Arts.
Some cool artwork by Jed Henry on display at one table.
Some cool Japanese artwork by Jed Henry on display at one table.
I learned a bit about making Washi Dolls from one nice lady at the festival.
I learned a bit about making Washi Dolls from one nice lady at the festival. Her mother makes these.
Japanese crafts include the making of beautiful dolls with washi paper.
Japanese crafts include the making of beautiful dolls with washi paper.
The game of go is played near the Japanese Friendship Garden's koi pond. Funny--by sheer coincidence I watched A Beautiful Mind last night. This mental game bookends the touching film.
The game of go is played near the Japanese Friendship Garden’s koi pond. Funny–by sheer coincidence I watched A Beautiful Mind last night. This mental game–more complicated than chess–begins and ends that inspiring film.
More art by the koi pond--some colorful handmade cards.
More art by the koi pond–some colorful handmade cards.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate to enter the Lower Garden, where many flowering cherry trees await.
People head through the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate to enter the Lower Garden, where many flowering cherry trees await.
A master gardener at work pruning on the Sunday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
A master gardener hard at work by the path. He’s pruning some greenery on the Sunday of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
A beautiful stream runs past many clouds of pink.
Now we are in the Lower Garden. In mid-March, the beautiful stream runs past many delicate clouds of pink.
A bit like heaven, perhaps.
A bit like heaven, perhaps.
People stand on the waterfall bridge looking toward the Inamori Pavilion.
People stand on the waterfall bridge gazing toward the Inamori Pavilion.
Walking past an ornamental Japanese lantern to the pavilion, where lots of food awaits!
Walking past an ornamental Japanese lantern to the pavilion, where I knew there would be a lot of food!
Checking out a big selection of Japanese food, including fried squid leg and shrimp tempura.
Checking out a big selection of Japanese food, including fried squid leg and shrimp tempura.
Getting ready to flip some healthy Japanese savory pancakes, or okonomiyaki.
Getting ready to flip some healthy Japanese savory pancakes, or okonomiyaki.
These guys pushing the huge drum would perform later in the day.
These friendly guys pushing the huge drum would perform later in the day.
These guys hold up a sweet fish-shaped taiyaki. Yum! I had one last year, too!
These cool ladies held up a sweet fish-shaped taiyaki. Yum! I had one last year, too!
Every year, the Cherry Blossom Festival promises lots of fun, good food and exquisite natural beauty!
Every year, the Cherry Blossom Festival promises lots of fun, good food and exquisite natural beauty!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Photos of winter along San Diego River.

Temperatures are dropping. It’s starting to feel a bit more like winter. Nights in downtown are chilly. Our first storm is coming.

This morning I left home while it was still dark and headed to a stretch of the San Diego River in Mission Valley. After the sun rose, I walked along the river from Qualcomm Way to Mission Center Road.

Ducks were feeding. The slanting morning light brightened yellow leaves. Farther to the east, a thin layer of fog hovered above smooth water. You can see it in the beautiful photograph that I saved for last.

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!

Wishing you all a beautiful New Year!

The world contains unending beauty. As the years roll on, much comes and goes, but beauty remains.

So now I’d like to close out another blogging year by wishing you all a Beautiful New Year!

Where did I head today to harvest some stunning photos? To the amazing Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, of course!

Come with me…

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!

Happy New Year!

History and holidays at Coronado Rotary Plaza.

Rotary Plaza in Coronado includes several interesting features, including a clock, fountain and community Christmas tree.
Rotary Plaza in Coronado includes several interesting features, including a clock, fountain and community Christmas tree.

During my recent walk through Coronado, I paused for a bit at Rotary Plaza to check out the old clock, pleasant fountain and community Christmas tree. I read a few plaques near each of these features and learned a little about the history of the place. I’ve never seen the very tall star pine lit at night during the holidays, but I bet it’s quite a sight!

Coronado Rotary Plaza (sometimes called Rotary Park) is located on Orange Avenue at Isabella Avenue.

A handsome old clock and bench await passersby in Coronado Rotary Park.
A handsome Rotary International clock and peaceful bench await passersby in Coronado Rotary Park.
Plaque on the clock reads Presented to Coronado by the Rotary Club of Coronado for Rotary International's Centennial, February 23, 2005.
Plaque on the Electric Time clock reads Presented to Coronado by the Rotary Club of Coronado for Rotary International’s Centennial, February 23, 2005.
The bubbling Jim Vernetti Fountain in Coronado's Rotary Plaza, dedicated 2009.
The bubbling Jim Vernetti Fountain in Coronado’s Rotary Plaza, dedicated 2009.
A Hanukkah menorah stands in Rotary Plaza during the holiday season. (The trunk of the large Coronado star pine Christmas tree is in the background.)
A Hanukkah menorah stands in Rotary Plaza during the holiday season. (The trunk of the large Coronado star pine Christmas tree is in the background.)
Walking along Orange Avenue toward Rotary Plaza and the high Coronado Rotary Club Christmas Tree, which is lit at night.
Walking along Orange Avenue toward Rotary Plaza and the high Coronado Rotary Club Christmas Tree, which is lit at night.
In May, 1936, the Rotary Club planted this starpine for the citizens of Coronado. This tree given by Emily T. Thompson in memory of her husband Charles.
In May, 1936, the Rotary Club planted this starpine for the citizens of Coronado. This tree given by Emily T. Thompson in memory of her husband Charles.

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!