May 31, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Joshua Trees In The National Park
Even though I have not traveled much in the last ten years, I like to look at the laundry list of places I have been with pride and nostalgia. I have traveled to 5 continents, 18 countries and 17 American states. With any luck at all, those numbers will grow as will my understanding of the world. On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend 2010, I traveled with my cousins to Joshua Tree National Park.
Joshua Tree National Park looks like the set of a motion picture where the story takes place on a planet that is not planet Earth. Earlier I mentioned the number of places I have been on this planet, not to brag, but for some perspective. Joshua Tree National Park is not like traveling on Earth, it’s like going the surface of an unknown moon of an unknown planet. The only familiar things are what you carry with you and the people you travel with.
Skull Rock and The Hall Of Horrors can not be seen anywhere else. You must go to Joshua Tree National Park to see them, and countless other geologic, animalistic and aquatic features. Check out the Joshua Tree website and plan your trip today. A few major things to know: Bring your own water, firewood and DEFINITELY bring your camera.
Located about 175 miles from San Diego, 140 miles from Los Angeles and 215 miles from Las Vegas, Joshua Tree National Park is an easy and interesting place to go for anyone in the southwest United States.
Flowers Reside Here Too
For this journey, I had my trusty Nikon D5000 and two Nikkor lenses. Between these two lenses I covered the photographic spectrum from 18 to 200mm, and I ended up using every single bit of that distance. The one thing that I am lacking with this rig is macro capability; At 200mm, I have to be at least 3 feet away from my subject. Not a big deal, but it is something to consider when shooting flowers and bugs.
Hummingbird In Joshua Tree National Park
The hummingbird you see above had one of the loudest wing beats I have ever heard. It almost sounded like a helicopter in the distance, or a very large bumblebee very near by. Either way, it landed and stood still long enough for me to take a single photo.
Rocks And Joshua Trees
Aside from all the things to see in Joshua Tree National Park, there are a lot of rocks to climb. Seriously, this place is a rock climber’s dream. There are rock formations that that can be stared at for hours or climbed upon for days.
An Insect On A Thorny Plant
For me, one of the best things about going to a National Park, or any outdoor/wilderness setting in general is being able to see the way non-humans live and go about their lives. Since animals do not have to compete with us for life inside a park, we are able (if we quiet our minds and take the time to just look & listen) to physically and personally see just how connected every living thing is. The photo above helps to illustrate how every plant and animal has a reason for being, and that reason is not to be subjugated by people.
I saw a lot of lizards during my time in the park, but they are very fast and always seemed to be running away from me towards the cover of the nearest shrub or crack in the rocks. The specimen above was sunning on a rock, and stood still while I approached and photographed him.
That will bring this post to a close, but stay tuned for another post in the next day or so that will feature some amazing things I saw just north of Joshua Tree National Park. I won’t give it away, but historic Route 66, the town and volcanic crater of Amboy, Roy’s Cafe, shoes and immortalizing myself with rocks are all on the menu. Cheers!
Joshua Tree National Park
May 27, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
General Labor In La Mesa, CA
These guys have been digging, drilling and filling for a few days now and even though I have no idea what the Hell they are doing, it is still interesting to watch.
Using A Jackhammer
Whew! The Ball Is Safe
Across the street from the construction is the Christ Lutheran Church, which also contains a school. A rubber ball made it over the security fence of the school and rolled down the street where it came to rest at the entrance to a storm drain. Luckily for the students, the ball is slightly larger than the drain, so this good Samaritan lady was able to retrieve the ball for the children.
Jackhammer Through Concrete
The ground level of this gas station is no match for the relentless beat of a jackhammer. One man with a jackhammer and another with a heavy steel bar equals one hole in the ground. The short video below helps to illustrate this point.
May 26, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Fire Hydrant Water Fountain
I heard it before I saw it. Thousands of gallons of water shooting into the air, splashing onto the ground and flowing down the street.
Broken Fire Hydrant Creates A Water Fountain
It turned out that some one knocked over a fire hydrant so a 25 foot water fountain ensued. The La Mesa fire department arrived on the scene and shut down the water. Good job guys!
La Mesa Community Service Officer – First On Scene
Firefighters On The Scene
Through an access near the edge of the street, the firefighters used a T shaped tool turn a subterranean valve that stopped the flow of water. The 1 minute video below was shot with my Nikon D5000.
May 20, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Welcome To San Diego
Today I took a trip from East County San Diego to downtown San Diego and back again, and since I lived to tell the tale, I have a few photographs to share. I had hoped to get some more photos showing the progress of building the Bridge To Nowhere, but there was just nothing interesting about it today. So, I wandered around the San Diego Convention Center and the western fringes of The Gaslamp District as a result. The photo above will be taken again, by me at night in the very near future, and it will be awesome.
One Man Eats While Another Steers The Boat
After walking past the very heart of downtown San Diego, I crossed Harbor Dr. and took a look across the San Diego Bay. The dynamic duo you see above caught my eye. The man eating looks irritated, while the other man has the rudder between his legs.
San Diego Convention Center Art
After crossing Harbor Dr., and looking out on San Diego Bay, I had to walk back through the San Diego Convention Center, and that is when I snapped the photo above. At the time, and even in post, the buildings on the sides added a frame that I believe make the photo better. What I did not see at the time was the person on the balcony of the right hand building.
La Mesa Trolley Station
As I debarked the Orange Line trolley, on the final leg of my journey back home, I saw this man, asleep on the grass next to the station. Above, you see the photo as it was framed in my camera. Below, is the same photo, cropped in the way I thought most powerful. What do you think? Which presentation best shows what this man is all about?
La Mesa Trolley Station Redux
The photo above is a crop from the wider shot above it. Is the power of the photo in the detail of the environment of the detail of the subject?
May 20, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Calliope Hummingbird (Immature Male)
The two hummingbirds in this post were captured two very different ways, or in particular, with two very different shutter speeds. The one above, made possible by the VR (Vibration Reduction) on my lens was snapped at 1/20th of a second. When I too took this shot, I was sitting on a flight of stairs, with my elbows resting on top of my knees, in a sort of human tripod stance. I held my breath (as I do before I take EVERY shot) and pressed the shutter release button.
Hummingbird Drinks In Balboa Park
For the shot above, the technique was a little different. This hummingbird, which I first showed in this post here, just came swooping in towards a fountain and and grabbed droplets of water out of the air. Action would have to be frozen, so the shutter speed was dialed up to 1/1250th and over the following 23 seconds, I snapped 22 photos. The one above is my favorite.
May 19, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Construction And New Street Lights
Above we have a new building, hidden under a veil going up at the intersection of Park Blvd. & Island Ave. in downtown San Diego. I’m sure it won’t be long until the veil is lifted and we will see San Diego’s newest condo high-rise. The photo above shows the entire building including workers at the bottom installing a brand new traffic light. Below is a close up of the light installation, and below that is the street corner as viewed with google maps, when construction first began. Once construction is completed, I’ll take another photo. I like those before and after photos, so I think it’s neat when I get to do one of my own.
May 16, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Unauthorized Balboa Park Fountain Photography
Today I had a run in with security guards inside of Balboa Park in San Diego. I was taking photos of the defunct fountain, surrounded by yellow flowers you see above when a security guard drove up in a truck and asked me for my ID. I said I would not show him my ID, which angered him, so he called for back-up. His back-up was another Balboa Park security guard that also asked for my ID. I refused to give him my ID as well, so he said, “then I’m gonna treat you like a criminal.” The video below was shot during the altercation.
Despite the camera being aimed at the guards’ crotch for most of the time, there are a few audio highlights of from this 4 minute video.
At about the 1:20 mark, the first guard implies that I have something to hide because I won’t show him my ID. He then says that people over the age of eighteen are required to have ID at all times. I then ask him if citizens over the age of eighteen are required to show ID to a non-peace officer at any given time just because he says. The guard doesn’t answer my question, he merely states that the only difference between what he does and a peace officer does is location. He also states he can arrest me, and cite me. When I point out that it would be a citizen’s arrest he said, it would NOT be because there are city and municipal codes that allow “us” to arrest people.
Just before the 3 minute mark, when I point out that I may want to see the guard’s ID, and that if he doesn’t show me that I may arrest HIM, he says I’m being a “pain in the ass” and that it’ll be easier for me if I just give him my ID.
At the 3:15 mark, the other security guard shows up, and he was just a comical person on a power trip. He starts out by driving his truck over the curb and onto the flowers. This guy then speaks with a voice of authority, using long, unnecessary pauses and hand gestures for emphasis. He tells me to relax, follow his instructions, and give him my ID. I refuse so he says he’s going to treat me like a criminal. He also says to turn off my camera, remove it from my body and place it on the ground. I did turn the camera off, but I swear it was an accident… I forgot I was shooting video, so the remaining 5 minutes of the altercation, including the arrival of the cops was not captured.
So there you have it. Just one more example of non-peace officer security guards that think they are cops, yet they called the cops when I wouldn’t show my ID. So remember, be polite, stand your ground and don’t buy in to what a security guard tells you. Just from this 4 minute video we hear Balboa Park security guards make the following claims: 1. They can arrest people that don’t show ID, because special municipal and state codes allow them to do so. 2. They will “treat you like a criminal” if you don’t show ID. 3. If you have a camera, they will want you to place it on the ground. Pathetic.
May 14, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Yellow Flowers Invade San Diego
It seems to me that San Diego Has had a lot of rain in 2010. There have a been a few really big storms, and at least a handful of rainy days. For San Diego, that is a lot. Denver leads the nation for actual sunny days, but San Diego has so little rain that it seems like it’s sunny every day here. Anyway, all this water have brought yellow flowers to life all over San Diego county. The above shot is just a quick example of what San Diego residents have been seeing for over a month.
May 12, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Desert Garden In Balboa Park
In a post from back in March, I talked about how I was having difficulty getting really good and UNIQUE photos while inside Balboa Park. In particular, the unique part has really been kicking my ass. It seems that all the photos out there are taken in the part of the park that is on the west side of Park Blvd. Well, there is a sliver of Balboa Park that runs the whole length of the park, from the San Diego Zoo to the north to President’s Way to the south on the EAST side of Park Blvd. There is even a small bit of the park to the south of the Naval Medical Center. I decided I would concentrate on this eastern most part of the park on this day, and I’m glad I did because I found a fountain I’d never seen before and saw some wildlife too. I was pleased with the photowalk.
The photo above shows the Desert Garden, at the end of the footbridge that crosses Park Blvd. Use this map of Balboa Park for reference.
The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
For the photo above, we are looking north, the pedestrian bridge and the southern end of the Desert garden are in the background.
Roses In Balboa Park
The Rose Garden is two circular areas, with the center of one being a fountain, while the other (pictured above) has a vine and flower covered gazebo for a centerpiece.
Veterans Museum And Memorial Center
When you see this statue you are very close to the southeastern tip of Balboa Park. Just keep wandering past the Veterans Memorial and you will see a secret fountain… I never knew it was here until now. It seems that the official title for this area of the park is Administrative Courtyard.
Fountain Inside Administrative Courtyard
This area with the fountain is wide open to the west, so the setting sun makes for some great lighting, should you happen to be here during golden hour.
Abandoned Bus Stop
I can only guess that once upon a time, the number 7 SDMTS bus ran up through here. The number 7 still runs through Balboa Park, but it stays on Park Blvd, which is 250 yards away from this old, abandoned bus stop.
Rabbit, Behind The Bus Stop
There was wildlife around this fountain, including a rabbit with flea covered ears. It felt like I was at a watering hole in Africa, except this journey was right in my own backyard, and I never knew it until today.
Blackbird In Balboa Park
There were a couple of these birds calling to each other or to the world in general. There were a lot of birds.
Sunlight And Shade As Golden Hour Approaches
This area is going to be my new launch off point my trips into Balboa Park for the time being. I usually start at the pedestrian bridge, but this new location is much more zen.
The Statue Surrounded By His Fountain
There are spiderwebs on the statue in the center of the fountain. That is amazing to me how a spider was able to somehow make his or her way to the primo spot at the primo watering hole in the area.
Hummingbird Drinks In Balboa Park
The shot above presented itself just as I was about to leave. It is my favorite one for the session, and since I am very happy with the other photos as well, it was a good day. It felt good to get some shots from Balboa Park that I like, and that are unique.
May 8, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut ·
A Cactus In Balboa Park
Just a quick post featuring a cactus in the Old World Garden of Balboa Park, in San Diego. It was broad daylight when I took this pic, but my camera settings seemed to give it a long exposure, nighttime look to it that I thought looked cool. I have a couple other post with photos from Balboa Park, so you should check them out. One post has a great pic of a bee on a flower, and can be seen here.