Los Peñasquitos Lagoon between winter storms.

Debris has been washed by the ocean under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach.
Debris has been washed by the ocean under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach.

This morning, the day after a severe winter storm, I visited Torrey Pines State Beach and the ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Arriving at high tide, I found myself astonished by the incredible power of nature. Turbulent waves were crashing onto the pedestrian walkway under the North Torrey Pines Road bridge.

I spent some time exploring near the state park’s North Parking Lot and its entrance. I then headed north along a path at the edge of sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I took many photographs, striving to capture nature’s awesome power and beauty.

And more winter storms are on the way!

Please read the photo captions to learn a bit more about this special place.

A lifeguard keeps an eye on wild surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.
A lifeguard keeps an eye on wild surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.
The friendly lifeguard said that waves can wash over the walkway during high tide at this time of the year.
The friendly lifeguard said that waves can wash over the walkway during high tide at this time of the year.
The bridge over the lagoon inlet during a very high tide. The storm-disturbed water appeared very muddy.
The bridge over the lagoon inlet during a very high tide. The storm-disturbed water appeared very muddy.
An information sign was pushed over by high winds from yesterday's storm. The power of nature is displayed.
An information sign was pushed over by high winds from yesterday’s storm. The power of nature is displayed.
Open to the Ocean. Over time, the lagoon mouth has filled in and reopened, changed shape and relocated many times.
Open to the Ocean. Over time, the lagoon mouth has filled in and reopened, changed shape and relocated many times.
Across the lagoon to the south rises beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of the endangered Torrey pine, rarest pine tree in North America.
Across the lagoon to the south rises beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of the endangered Torrey pine, rarest pine tree in North America.
Looking west along Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Light shines on a sheet of water swollen by high tide.
Looking west along Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Light shines on a sheet of water swollen by high tide.
This coastal marsh in San Diego's North County is a special place where wildlife is abundant.
This coastal marsh in San Diego’s North County is a special place where wildlife is abundant.
The sandy beaches, sand dunes, sandstone cliffs and bluffs, provides the habitat for the Coastal Strand plant community.
The sandy beaches, sand dunes, sandstone cliffs and bluffs, provides the habitat for the Coastal Strand plant community.
A cheerful yellow bush sunflower.
A cheerful yellow bush sunflower.
Looking across the wetland toward the train bridge near the beach.
Looking across the wetland toward the train bridge near the beach.
Life in the Lagoon. Birds are the most commonly seen animals in the lagoon. Ample food and nesting materials allow many to live here year-round.
Life in the Lagoon. Birds are the most commonly seen animals in the lagoon. Ample food and nesting materials allow many to live here year-round.
A great egret stands in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, patiently watching for fish in the water.
A great egret stands in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, patiently watching for fish in the water.
People walk west from Carmel Valley Road into the North Beach Lot of Torrey Pines State Beach.
People walk west from Carmel Valley Road into the North Beach Lot of Torrey Pines State Beach.
Sign includes map of the San Diego Trans County Trail, which runs east from the ocean along Peñasquitos Creek, through Los Peñasquitos Canyon.
Sign includes map of the San Diego Trans County Trail, which runs east from the ocean along Peñasquitos Creek, through Los Peñasquitos Canyon.
Closed lifeguard Tower 5 at Torrey Pines State Beach is splashed by wild winter waves during high tide.
Closed lifeguard Tower 5 at Torrey Pines State Beach is splashed by wild winter waves during high tide.
Gazing down at powerful Pacific Ocean surf on a winter day between storms.
Gazing down at incoming Pacific Ocean surf on a winter day between storms.
Coaster train moves along tracks north of Torrey Pines State Beach, heading atop scenic sandstone cliffs into Del Mar.
Coaster train moves along tracks north of Torrey Pines State Beach, heading atop scenic sandstone cliffs into Del Mar.
A line of bicyclists head down Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar toward Torrey Pines State Beach.
A line of bicyclists head down Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar toward Torrey Pines State Beach.
Ocean waves crash toward the North Torrey Pines Road bridge over the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.
Ocean waves crash toward the North Torrey Pines Road bridge over the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.
Mud and debris under the bridge. The result of a strong winter storm and the mighty ocean.
Mud and debris under the bridge. The result of a strong winter storm and the mighty ocean.

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Liquid Harmony mural at Encanto trolley station.

All sorts of public art can be enjoyed at trolley stations around San Diego. In my opinion, the most wonderful example is found at the 62nd Street/Encanto station.

Those who take the Orange Line trolley ride pass by a wildly imaginative, dreamlike vision. A 400 foot mural on the long wall of the south platform takes its inspiration from nearby Chollas Creak. The mural is titled Liquid Harmony.

In 2010 local artists Maxx Moses, Miguel Godoy and Todd Stands were commissioned by the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation to paint the mural. What resulted was completely amazing!

Last weekend I walked along the south platform of the 62nd Street/Encanto trolley station and took photos of the mural. Amid swirls of color I found many birds, insects and plants, and the flowing, ever-present, life-giving water.

I also saw the hands and heart of those who make this neighborhood in San Diego their home.

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!

Glimpses of nature’s beauty after a storm.

This morning I walked a short stretch of the San Diego River Trail in Mission Valley, just south of Hazard Center.

Trees and leaves were still dripping with moisture from our last storm.

My camera caught a few glimpses of nature’s awesome beauty.

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!

Across the gray water into a dream…

Taking the ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado is like crossing into a dream. It’s a journey to a magical place. The island is like a small, carefree paradise.

I had a variety of photos from my ferry ride and walk yesterday, so I thought I’d try converting a few into oil paintings! I cropped selected images then used the Oilify artistic filter that comes with the GIMP graphics editor.

It was a beautiful misty winter day.

Those are sea lions lying on a buoy in the bay!

The words etched in the sand near the Coronado Ferry Landing? I’ll let you decide.

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!

Birds flock along the sand in Coronado.

Today I enjoyed a short walk in Coronado. I strolled along the edge of San Diego Bay, from the Coronado Ferry Landing to Tidelands Park, then turned around and made my way back. The overcast winter day was chilly and even a few raindrops fell.

I was in the mood to walk slowly, while gazing across the gray water.

As I began south, a flock of seagulls stood preening on a strip of wet sand below the rocks near the Coronado Island Marriott Resort. From time to time gulls stretched their wings. Some would suddenly launch into the sky. I paused to watch and take photos.

When I reached Tidelands Park, I spotted a great blue heron and a few shorebirds that I believe were marbled godwits.

I took a few random photos of this scenic stretch of the Bayshore Bikeway as I made my way back to catch the ferry. San Diego’s skyline beckoned in the distance.

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!

Changing light at Tuna Harbor.

The following series of photos represents a span of time from about 45 minutes before sunset to about 10 minutes after sunset. I took these shots this evening.

I lifted my camera periodically as I sat on a bench beside Tuna Harbor, on San Diego’s beautiful Embarcadero.

It was interesting to watch how the light would subtly change.

Our world’s inexorable journey through space and time gradually transformed Tuna Harbor’s fishing boats, the water and the sky, and various downtown buildings.

I took these photos as I sat working on a new short story. I’m pretty sure it will be titled Light at the Edges.

I hope the story will be finished to my satisfaction in the near future. When the words feel right, I’ll publish them here.

Visual complexity at Cesar Chavez Park pier.

During a recent walk out onto the pier at Cesar Chavez Park, my eyes were dazzled by the surrounding complexity.

The cranes of nearby barges and distant shipyards . . . the curving San Diego-Coronado Bridge . . . the various structures, rails and benches on the pier . . . all of these elements combined with reflections and shadows to create interesting geometric patterns.

I cropped and altered the contrast of many photos to make them even more visually abstract and thought-provoking.

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!