Fire In Otay Mesa

April 28, 2010 by ·  

Fire In Otay Mesa

Follow The Smoke

        Heading home from work today, we saw a plume of dark smoke, on the south side of I-905 and decided to go investigate the source.

Fire And Firefighters In Otay Mesa April 29, 2010.

Authority Figures Control The Situation

        After jumping off the highway, we missed every single light on the way to the fire, so we missed the actual fire. It seems that it was a shed or detached garage that went up in smoke.

Fire And Firefighters In Otay Mesa

Firefighters Doing What They Do (After A Fire)

        Anyways, steering wildly off my homeward-bound course was a welcome diversion from my usual, uneventful ride home. Nothing photo-worthy happened after that. The bulls (San Diego trolley guards) were out in force at the Palomar station, and were rude, grabby and scared of my camera, but that’s nothing new.

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The Anatomy Of A Ticket Vending Machine

April 27, 2010 by ·  

Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) At San Diego Trolley Station

The Inside Of A Ticket Vending Machine

        I’ve always wondered what the inside of San Diego trolley ticket vending machines looked like, and now I know. I took this photo last weekend, on my way to an SDKA go-kart race and even though it is not very interesting, I’m sure a lot of San Diego commuters will appreciate it.

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Roadrunner In San Diego

April 26, 2010 by ·  

Roadrunner In The Road

Roadrunner

        I’ve seen roadrunners run around the road in Otay Mesa for two years, but never got a photo of one until today. There are at least three that look like this one, and another one that is bigger and is mostly blue. I haven’t seen the blue roadrunner for quite awhile. They seem to spend most of their time hunting for lizards, singing and running down the road.

Roadrunner In The Road

A Roadrunner Stares Back

        A roadrunner can really look weird when you happen to see them facing dead at you. Without their beaks to give a sense of depth, they almost have a dog snout. Well, this roadrunner snapshot made me laugh, so into the blog it goes.

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A Day At The Docks 2010

April 23, 2010 by ·  

A Day At The Docks 2010

San Diego’s Day At The Docks 2010

        I didn’t spend much time at this event, held last Sunday in San Diego Bay, but I did stick around long enough to book a $2 ticket for a boat ride around the bay. It was fun, and the weather, even though hazy was a perfect temperature.

Seals In San Diego Bay

Seals Living In San Diego Bay

        If this platform, adjacent to the Point Loma Submarine Base serves a purpose other than to allow seals to sunbathe, I couldn’t imagine what it could be. They have seabird neighbors, and boat riders like me to keep them company, so I don’t suppose it’s a bad life.

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San Diego Zoo Safari Park

April 22, 2010 by ·  

Tiger At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Tigers

        Since this was my first trip to The Wild Animal Park since the 1970’s, it was all new to me. We spent 8 hours there and saw less than half the park. Next time I go, it will be on a two day weekend pass, and I’ll rent a Segway as well, even though a two hour rental is $80, I think it’ll be worth it in time saved and energy conserved because I was dragging ass after walking around and mostly standing all day.

Giraffes At At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Giraffes

        Giraffes have a prehensile tongue, so they can control it like we control a finger. For this photo they just used their tongue like a tongue.

Cheetah At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

You, My Friend Are A Cheetah

        Cheetahs are the fastest land animal on the planet, and probably the solar system. Regardless of speed, I think all cats, wild and domestic, share the trait of the upside-down V mouth. Noticing the angle of the upside down V is something I’ve enjoyed doing since childhood.

Rhinoceros At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The Thinker And The Stinker

        The horn of a rhinoceros is made out of keratin, which is this same thing our hair and fingernails are made of. This rhino seems to lead a splendid life of leisure.

Lions At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Lions Are The King Of The Jungle

        If you find yourself needing to flee from a lion, I would suggest climbing a tree. It seems that lions CAN climb trees, but they don’t ALWAYS climb trees. These are better odds then staying on the ground where ALL the lions will eat you every time.

Giraffes At San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park

A Few More Giraffes

        I try to keep repetition to a minimum on my posts, but this post does have a couple of the same animals. Besides, giraffes are cool, as are the other animal repeats you are about to see.

Tiger At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

2010 Is The Year Of The Tiger

        Tigers are my favorite cat, and favorite year on the Chinese lunar calendar. The tigers were WAY far a away from the viewing area, so I was at 450mm, and I was shooting through a chain-link fence that I wanted to make disappear, so I used my smallest available f/stop, which was f/5.6.

Elephant At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Elephant

        This elephant was the only one I had a clear shot of of the four or so that were walking around. The background is distracting, but the curve of his trunk in this photo is what spoke to me so it found a place in this post.

Lion At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The Lion Says Goodnight

        And so ends the trilogy of posts from my day at The San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. I’m going to put out a fourth, “special feature” post with photos that did not quite make the grade for one reason or another, but would have been rad if I had gotten it right. To view the first post, featuring butterflies, click here, and for the second post full of birds, click here. Cheers!

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Birds Of San Diego Zoo Safari Park

April 21, 2010 by ·  

Victoria Crowned Pigeon at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Victoria Crowned Pigeon

        This colorful post consists of birds I photographed while on safari at San Diego Zoo Safari Park this past weekend. I feel pretty confident about my identification of all the birds in these photos except for the one above and the one below. If anyone knows for sure what kind of birds they are, let me know.
        UPDATE: The top photo is a Victoria Crowned Pigeon & the black bird below is a Boat Tailed Grackle.

Boat Tailed Grackle at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Boat Tailed Grackle

        This photo was snapped while my companion and I ate our gourmet lunch. Even though I had money specifically for what I knew would be overpriced food, it really didn’t help ease the sting of the price tag. The problem is that when I got to places like The Wild Animal Park, the San Diego Zoo or to street festival events, I really look forward to eating while I’m there. So, just for you curious types that would like to what I ate, where I ate it and what I paid for it: I ate at the Mombasa Island Cooker where I enjoyed (out on the covered terrace of course) a gourmet western cheeseburger, garlic fries and a glass of merlot, for which I paid $16.

Lorikeet at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Lorikeet

        The lorikeet exhibit was one of the more interactive and “touchable” things to do at The Wild Animal Park. You can wander through the exhibit and most of the lorikeets will come up to you, much like pigeons do at parks and bus stations. If you have $3 to spend, you may purchase cups of nectar that you can hold out in your hand, which entices the lorikeets to land on you, walk down your arm and drink.

African Crowned Crane at San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park

African Crowned Crane

        There are a lot of these African crowned cranes in the park, and they seem to like to travel in pairs. Photographically speaking, subjects that have both black AND white in them make proper exposure very difficult. In the photo above, the highlights are a bit blown out, in order to accommodate the deep black feathers.

Shoebill at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Shoebill

        The shoebills in The Wild Animal Park were the only birds that I found to be a little bit scary. For starters, the top of their head came up to about my chin and their bill is about the size of an encyclopedia. (An “encyclopedia” is a large book full of facts compiled by learned individuals that people used to use as a reference to write reports or settle arguments. An encyclopedia should NOT be compared to the graffiti-on-the-wall WIKIPEDIA, which is an online dumping ground of psuedo-facts written by anyone with at least monkey-level typing skills.) Anyway, a bird that can stand on tippy-toes and look me in the eye with a blunt instrument for a beak gets respect, and a healthy dose of fear out of me.

Black Crowned Night Heron at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Black Crowned Night Heron

        According to this website, the black crowned night heron is a local (San Diego) bird that happens to fly into the Wild Animal Park to hunt and hang out. I’m not sure about any effects this has on the non-native animals that are actually brought into the park, but I watched this heron snatch this baby bird from a nest and then eat it. It actually caused quite a ruckus from the people watching as well as the momma bird that tried, in vain to get her baby back.

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Butterfly Jungle At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

April 20, 2010 by ·  

Zebra Longwing Butterfly (Heliconius charitonia) at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonia)

        San Diego Zoo Safari Park, in Encondito, CA just wrapped up a special “Butterfly Jungle” exhibit this past weekend. The entire park, including the butterfly jungle was a great experience and took up an entire Saturday as well as a few days to sort and select my favorite pics from that day. I found that I had too many keepers for one blog post. I’m going to split that exhausting day into three posts: Butterflies, birds and mammals, in that order.
        This post will feature butterflies. These pics were snapped at 1/500th or faster, and most were at full 450mm zoom. That means the ISO was pretty high (1600-3200 ISO) so there is a bit of noise. Since I know next to nothing about what makes a butterfly tick, I won’t sully their wonderful colors or elegant, nectar slurping lives with any more of my words except to say, “Enjoy.”

Orange Barred Tiger Butterfly (Dryadula Phaetusa) at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Orange-Barred Tiger (Dryadula phaetusa)

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly(Papilio cresphontes) at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

Malachite Butterfly (Siproeta stelenes) at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Malachite (Siproeta stelenes)

Paper Kite Butterfly (Idea leuconoe) at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Paper Kite Butterfly (Idea leuconoe)”

Malachite Butterfly (Siproeta stelenes) & Blue Morpho Butterfly (Morpho peleides) at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) & Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides)

Postman Butterfly (Heliconius Melpomene) at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Postman (Heliconius melpomene)

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Go-Kart Race At Qualcomm Stadium April 18, 2010

April 19, 2010 by ·  

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium April 18, 2010

San Diego Karting Association (SDKA) Race At Qualcomm Stadium

        This post will be short and sweet. I attended the SDKA (San Diego Karting Association) race at Qualcomm Stadium on April 18, 2010. Actually, I just stuck around for a couple of the qualifying heats, but it still amazes me every time I go. This is the fourth SDKA race I have attending & photographed since accidentally discovering the club back in August 2009.

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium April 18, 2010

Rounding The Clubhouse Turn

        With this being my fourth attended SDKA race, I feel much more confident now dialing in focus and managing my shutter speed than I did a mere 8 months ago. The problem is that I now feel my go-kart photos are starting to all look alike, even if they are sharper now than they were when I started. I would like my next SDKA photo-shoot in May 2010 to be more interesting and dynamic than what I have produced so far. Does anyone have any suggestions to help me accomplish that?

SDKA San Diego Karting Association Race At Qualcomm Stadium April 18, 2010

Kids Race Go-Karts Too

        Ok sports fans, that’s it for this post. To all you SDKA racers, I’ll see you next month, and I promise my photos will not be more of the same. They will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

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Riding The Trolley In San Diego

April 18, 2010 by ·  

Gorilla at Wild Animal Park in San Diego, CA

I Don’t Want To Ride The Trolley

        This gorilla, as photographed by me at the Wild Animal Park this weekend has a very distinct look. He has the look of a person that is about to start their commute on San Diego’s public transit system. SDMTS has a new commercial that, for some reason highlights the travel of a hot, young couple that have never been on the trolley or a bus before. People that only ride the trolley to Padres games, Chargers games and special events in downtown San Diego. Events that get extra trolley service added, to ensure that sports or Earth Day fans will feel they get their $5 worth out of a day pass. I think SDMTS should film a commercial showing people that have to use the trolley to get to and from work on a daily basis. The gorilla above, with his scowl should star in that commercial.
        Those of us that have the special event of “going to work” on the trolley or bus get less than nothing. We have experienced a 40% reduction in service, yet fair weather baseball fans get special, added shuttle service, via the trolley to PETCO Park. Chargers game on Sunday? No problem. SDMTS adds special trolley service from downtown to Qualcomm Stadium on a SINGLE trolley on game days. Do you have to commute to work on a non game day? Tough shit, non-sports fan. Going to work on weekdays is less important to SDMTS than going football or baseball games on the weekend.
        Allow me to dust off an old gem by reminding everyone of this video I shot back in September, 2009. In it you will see a public commuter have his head crushed under the knee of a trolley security guard, and then the guards turn on me for filming it. I should have worn a Chargers jersey I guess, and then I would have been given preferential treatment, instead of being treated like an average commuter.

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Seaport Village At Sunset

April 16, 2010 by ·  

Seaport Village Sunset

Sunset At Seaport Village, CA

        Last Saturday, just before Buskers After Dark started in Seaport Village, the sun set on the boardwalk, and I was there. Being able to walk from where stood to take this pic to the Gaslamp District in a just few minutes, having the sunset following me the entire way is just one of the things that make San Diego a great place to live.

Rock Balance In Seaport Village, CA

Balancing Rocks

        One of the quieter activities taking place while the sun was setting included what you see above. This man was intently balancing rocks on the edge of the boardwalk. There was no gimmick here other than pure skill and patience. I’m not kidding about this… There were no wires, magnets, Velcro or bubble gum to help hold the rocks in place, just balance.

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Amaryllis Sex

April 14, 2010 by ·  

Amaryllis Sex

Amaryllis Tries To Start A Family

        What was, on March 13, 2010 just an amaryllis bulb has grown into a 6 flower metropolis, with an additional two under construction. The pic above is a macro shot of the reproductive area of one of them. The high ISO I used (3200) enabled me to use a a very fast shutter speed, which then enabled me to handhold the camera while using the full 450mm of my lens. I remain impressed with the very low amount of high ISO noise my D5000 produces.
        Something that I an really enjoying about my D5000 is that because it is a Nikon DX camera, it’s sensor size gives me a 1.5x crop factor, so my 70-300mm (non-DX) lens is attached, it is a 105-450mm for me. Same for my 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. It is a 75mm when attached to the D5000. Ken Rockwell wrote a great article explaining crop factor, and it is well worth reading. His entire site is actually very informative. Knowing how a lens is going to act on your camera before you buy it can save you some possible buyers remorse later. Full stats for the pic are: 450mm, 1/500th, f/5.6, 3200 ISO

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Buskers After Dark At Seaport Village 2010

April 11, 2010 by ·  

Murrugun the Mystic at Spring Busker Festival

Murrugun The Mystic Amazes The Crowd

        The Spring Busker Festival rolled into San Diego’s Seaport Village this weekend, and it was quite a show. A “Busker” is a street performer of just about any sort… Jugglers, dancers, fire-breathers, comedians, etc. They perform because they love to perform. These people are the epitome of “follow your dream” because they are brave enough to take a stab at doing what they love for a living, rather than rotting under fluorescent lights for 40 hours a week.
        For the photo above I had meant to focus on Murrugun The Mystic, but in my haste to capture the fireball, accidentally focused on the crowd behind him instead. I think the faces on the crowd says it all. This performance was amazing and everyone there had a great time. The vignetting on the right and left side are actually the heads of the people standing in front of me. This pic was snapped at 1/100th, f/1.8, 400 ISO.

Calypso Tumblers at Spring Busker Festival

Calypso Tumblers Warming Up The Crowd

        These are just two of a troupe of about 10 or so dancers that were more flexible than any Olympic gymnast I’ve ever seen. Shot at 1/60th, f/1.8, 2000 ISO.

Project Dynamite at Spring Busker Festival.

Project Dynamite Explodes Onto The Scene

        The dynamic duo from Project Dynamite (Alex Clark & David Kaplan) pulled several people from the audience to help them out, and the two pictured above happened to be my favorite. Their immediate stage names were Berta and McLovin, and they tried their best to steal the show. Berta was kind enough to let a couple people do a motorboat between her breasts, and even helped a shy McLovin get in on that action. After being tied up in chains, Project Dynamite escaped and removed their clothes in 35 seconds. The pic above was snapped at 1/30th, f/1.8, 1600 ISO. The video below shows them escaping and undressing.

Murrugun the Mystic at Spring Busker Festival.

Murrugun The Mystic With His Money And A Honey

        When Murrugun finished swallowing swords and blowing fireballs 20 feet into the air, it was time to collect his dues. He must have left his collection hat at home so he went for the next best thing… He allowed tippers to staple money to his body! I would like to repeat that: Murrugun The Mystic allowed people to staple money to his body. $5 bought onlookers the privilege of stapling cash onto his nipple, while $20 earned you the right to staple a greenback right onto his forehead. While others stapled, I snapped this pic at 1/100th, f/1.8, 1600 ISO.

Project Dynamite at Spring Busker Festival.

Project Dynamite With A New Assistant

        After they escaped from the chains and their clothes, Project Dynamite found a new volunteer. Her job turned out to be torch bearer, or more specifically, torch thrower. After stacking 15 folding chairs and balancing on top of them, the assistant tossed six torches up to the performers, where they (the torches) were set aflame and juggled. It was quite a thing to see. Vital stats from the pic above are 1/60th, f/1.8, 1600 ISO.

Project Dynamite at Spring Busker Festival.

And Then There Was Fire

        This was the finale for Buskers After Dark, 2010 in Seaport Village, San Diego. Project Dynamite, stripped down to their skivvies juggled torches between one another while balancing 10 feet in the air on a stack of folding chairs. I bet next year will be even better!

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Amaryllis Cracks

April 10, 2010 by ·  

Amaryllis Cracks

Amaryllis Begins To Bloom

        After just under a month in the soil, my amaryllis bulb is starting to bloom. It has really shot up in the last week or so, so you’ll want to make sure to see my previous posts that document the planting and growth of the amaryllis. My first post, on March 13, 2010 shows an unimpressive bulb, moments after being planted. A little over two weeks later was my next post, with a photo that shows what seemed like very little progress in the growth of this plant. Eight days after THAT was my third post, and these photos really show that plants, like people can have growth spurts too. I was really surprised by how tall the amaryllis had become. Now, a mere 4 days after that, the flowers have all cracked out of their buds and are starting to bloom.

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Missed The Wildflowers

April 8, 2010 by ·  

Oak Canyon Trail, San Diego, CA

Oak Canyon Trail

        As a Denver transplant, nature is something that I hold very near and dear. The wildflowers of Colorado are (in my opinion) the show to see at this time of year because you have over a mile of elevation between Denver’s foothills and the Rocky Mountain’s treeline to see flowers you won’t find anywhere else. The alpine flowers are small, robust and barely hint at what color they are, while the city-level flowers are huge, fragrant and colorful.

Hunting Wildflowers

Hunting Wildflowers

        Yesterday I tried, in vain to find some wildflowers in East County San Diego, along the Oak Canyon Trail. Apparently, I’m just about a week late, because there were hardly any flowers at all. It was still a fun trip and I think my photographic companion and I would still call it a success.

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Amaryllis Rockets And Discovery Docks

April 6, 2010 by ·  

Amaryllis

Amaryllis Shoots Up Like A Rocket

        Back on March 13, 2010, I planted the amaryllis bulb my parents gave me for Christmas, and it is absolutely rocketing into space now. I am using a rocket analogy right now, on this Tuesday night because in a couple hours, the space shuttle Discovery is going to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) and I will be watching it live on NASA TV. As my parents’ ward for 18 years, I moved up the California coast and up to the Mile High City as a direct result of what the space shuttle program was doing.

Amaryllis

Amaryllis Orbits The Earth

        Tomorrow morning (April 7, 2010) will be unique for me because when I look into my San Diego sky at 5:23am, I’ll see the ISS streak across the sky, after watching the space shuttle slowly dock on NASA TV. Then I’ll go to work, but why let that ruin it? If any of you loyal readers would like to know when the ISS will be visible to you, then you should follow TWISST on twitter.

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Get To The Chopper!

April 6, 2010 by ·  

Helicopter

Helicopter

        Just a shot of a chopper, flying past Seaport Village last Saturday. I haven’t taken a decent shot for a few days, so I just wanted to post something.

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Seaport Village

April 3, 2010 by ·  

Seaport Village

Pier Cafe In Seaport Village

        Next Saturday, April 10, 2010 is the Spring Busker Festival in Seaport Village, San Diego. With that in mind, I headed down to Seaport Village THIS weekend in order to scope out where the festival would be so I can be sure to have the best photographic vantage point on the day of the festival.

Seaport Village Busker

A Busker Practices

        Fire touching bare flesh is only one of the many weird and crazy things I hope to see at the Spring Busker Festival in Seaport Village. This particular Busker was entertaining a crowd of people by juggling knives and spinning a flaming ball of fire all around, including wrapping it around his leg.

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UFO Flying Over San Diego

April 3, 2010 by ·  

Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in San Diego, CA

UFO Shines A Light On La Mesa, CA

        This is my third close encounter I’ve experienced during my 36 years of life. The first was in 1994, just North of the Straits of Malacca, in the Indian Ocean. I didn’t get any photos of that encounter so you’ll just have to believe me when I say that it was an amazing experience for a 19 year old sailor, 8800 miles from home. The second encounter was during June of 2009. I have a photo and blog post of that encounter that you should read. This time, I have 2 images, both taken with my Nikon D5000 at 3200 ISO.

Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in San Diego, CA

Why Do Aliens Come To America?

        Just a little camera info for you readers about these images: They were both shot with my Nikon D5000 at 1/4 of a second, f/1.8, 3200 ISO. They were also shot hand-held (no tripod), through the glass of my bedroom window, which explains the noise and general low quality of the images.

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