Dragonflies In Otay Valley Regional Park

August 25, 2011 by ·  

Blue Dragonfly In Otay Valley Park

Dragonfly In Otay Valley Regional Park

    If you like dragonflies then you will want to ride your bike through Otay Valley Regional Park, in Chula Vista between Beyer Boulevard and Interstate 805. That area of the park holds a couple lakes with cattail filled shores and lots of dragonflies. I would very much recommend you take the time to just watch a dragonfly as at flies around. They have what seems like an impossible way of flying; they are able to stop and hover on a dime and can even fly backwards. This makes photographing them in flight very difficult because they are impossible to anticipate. The autofocus on my camera could not keep up at all, so I switched to manual focus which was difficult but yielded better photos. My only advice would be to use a small aperture, so you focal range will be as wide as possible.

Blue Dragonfly In Otay Valley Park

Airborne Dragonflies Are Not Easy To Photograph

    I was amazed at the bright blue color of this particular dragonfly, but it just wouldn’t land. I tracked this one and several others for the better part of an hour and none of them ever landed. That’s why there are only two photos in this post, because these two were the best I was able to do. Dragonflies zip around at all angles and have an instant stop and reverse move that will get you every time.


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West Edge Of Otay Valley Regional Park

    But I digress; Otay Valley Regional Park is a dragonfly lover’s paradise right now, so head out to west Chula Vista with your bike and enjoy the park. There are bathrooms and drinking fountains on the west side of Beyer Boulevard so you don’t need to brink anything other than your camera. You can walk this park, but it is 100 percent bike friendly so that is what I recommend. I entered the park via the southeast edge of Bayshore Bikeway, near Swiss Park (see map above). It’s a great little oasis in the middle of Chula Vista.

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Hares Of Coronado

August 25, 2011 by ·  

Hare Black-tailed Jackrabbit on Coronado

Coronado Hare or Black-tailed Jackrabbit

    Silver Strand is the ribbon of land that connects Coronado to the continental United States. It is the reason Coronado is a peninsula, not an island and it is also the reason Coronado is home to a collection of wild hares. They live on the bay side of Silver Strand State Beach, amongst the bushes between the marina and Navy housing. I had never seen a hare before so I didn’t know that’s what it was when I took these photos; I just thought it was a weird looking, freakishly large, 2 foot tall rabbit. My curiosity lead to some internet research which lead to me now knowing the difference between a rabbit and a hare.

Hare Black-tailed Jackrabbit on Coronado

Hare On Silver Strand State Beach

    It really boils down to size and cuteness. Hares are bigger and look like they mean business. They have muscle definition, even while sitting and their head has a very pronounced snout. Their ears and tail are large, with black tips and their eyes are alert, with a defined iris and pupil. At 2 feet tall hares are over 1/3 my height which is, unnerving. Basically, a hare is a mammal that looks like it’s ready for action and when you see it up close, realize it’s so big it could probably jump high enough to kick you right in the stomach. “Cute” is not the first word that comes to mind when you see a hare, I’d say “built” would be more appropriate.

Rabbit On Coronado

    Coronado also has a rabbit population, one member of which you see above. Isn’t it just oh-so-cute?!? It looks like a powder puff with big adorable dolls eyes. It really doesn’t look like a hare any more than a housecat looks like a bobcat; a rabbit is cute & fluffy while a hare looks large and in charge. So, don’t neglect the bay side of Silver Strand State Beach when you visit Coronado or you’ll miss out on some great boating and wildlife experiences. Cheers!

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Coastal Wetlands Restoration In South Bay San Diego

August 20, 2011 by ·  

Funnel Weaver Spider Hololena sp. Araneae: Agelenidae

Funnel Weaver Spider Hololena sp. Araneae: Agelenidae

    As I rode my bike along Bayshore Bikeway, examining the progress of the coastal restoration in the nature preserve that lies along the southern edge of Silver Strand between Imperial Beach and Coronado, I happened across the web of what I believe is a funnel weaver spider (Hololena sp. Araneae: Agelenidae).  It was seated in a small hole in the side of a berm, its web spun out horizontally, waiting for lunch to be served.  I don’t have a problem with spiders; I just don’t like to be near them.  I also don’t have a macro lens; I just have a telephoto.  Convenient for me isn’t it?

Coastal Restoration & Dredging Begins

    There has been coastal restoration in the form of dredging going on for 5 months and just the other day the levees that separated San Diego Bay proper from the South Bay Biological Study Area were breached by the restoration team.  This means if you walk or ride along Bayshore Bikeway at the north end of 7th St. in Imperial Beach, all the water in the nature preserve will ebb and flow with the tides from fresh Pacific Ocean water!  I think it will probably turn the intersection of Imperial Beach and Silver Strand into a bird watching Mecca.

Funnel Weaver Spider Hololena sp. Araneae: Agelenidae

Spider Waiting For Lunch

    It was a bright, cloudless day but the arachnid was in a shaded burrow so I used the on-camera flash to light the spider up.  I had no idea that a spider’s eyes reflect light like cat eyes do but, they do.  All other members of a coastal wetland sanctuary food chain benefit from being in the sanctuary, not just the birds and not just the wetlands.

Funnel Weaver Spider Hololena sp. Araneae: Agelenidae

Funnel Weaver Spider

    That’s why, in a post where I’m talking about ocean water and birds there are spider pictures; they’re all connected and it was while walking around the preserve I found this spider, which lead to the train of thought that lead to the theme and tone of this post.  Deep isn’t it?

Sunrise Imperial Beach Bayshore Bikeway San Diego High Tide

Mouseover To See High & Low Tide before Restoration

    Move your mouse over the photo above to see the difference between high & low tide in the preserve before the restoration began.  If you want to see the amazing work that’s been done in the 5 months since the photos above were taken, you’ll just have to get on your bike, ride Bayshore Bikeway towards Imperial Beach and see for yourself. That blue stripe in the background is the Coronado Bridge which you can bike to using the trail.  Along the way you’ll pass the nature preserve, Silver Strand State Beach and Hotel Del Coronado.  See? If you are a lover of nature, biking, skating, running, the beach, hotels, Coronado or Imperial Beach, this outing has something for you.  Don’t forget to bring your camera so you can include photos when you blog about your fun time.  Cheers!

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Imperial Beach Amputee

August 18, 2011 by ·  

Imperial Beach Amputee Woman With Amputated Arm

A Woman With An Amputated Arm

    Somewhere between acrotomophilia, sexual attraction to amputees and apotemnophilia, the desire to become an amputee, live people that like to collect and look at amputee photography.  I suppose I could have guessed there are specific names for those activities and loads of people that engage in them but, until I included the above photo of an Imperial Beach amputee in a blog post, never acknowledged any of it.

    The photo above was taken by me and posted with my Imperial Beach 4th of July Fireworks article.  The woman and her amputated arm grabbed my attention for a number of reasons; her leathery beach skin, her green star sheriff tattoo or her wild dress by themselves were cause enough to snap a photo, but it was the way her amputated arm contrasted with her other good arm that made it gold for me.  I cropped her legs at the knees to enhance the amputated feel of the photo.

    This morning, a month and a half later, I posted my amputee photo on Twitpic and then tweeted about it, trying to give it some new life because even though I like the photo, I did feel it was out of place in the 4th of July post.  In the course of doing this, I found my photo on a Flickr stream that seems to be for people that like to look at, feel sexually attracted to or want to become an amputee.  My photo has hit the acrotomophilia & apotemnophilia big time! Cheers!

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How To Have Fun At Comic-Con

August 15, 2011 by ·  

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Disney Girls At Comic-Con

    There are people that wear costumes to Comic-Con because it is their job. They are paid to be there and their costumes are provided for them. I don’t count this as cosplay, but I do think it’s awesome that people are able to land paying gigs like this thanks to Comic-Con. As the Disney princesses above prepared for some photos, someone actually had to go ask the guy in the background to please move somewhere else. I’m sure it was a great view but, move along there, Chuck-O!

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    Comic-Con is used by some women as a mid-summer’s night’s Halloween. For them it’s not about what the costume represents, it’s about dressing in a manner that is considered normal on some planet in some far flung science fiction galaxy. On this planet, tits on display get attention and at earthling Comic-Cons they are proudly displayed for photographers.

    The 2 people above came to Comic-Con together as a couple of warriors from “Mortal Combat.” When someone would ask for a photo they would strike a street fighter pose until a crowd formed and the impatient photographers began requesting shots of “just her.” I think the look on his face says it all. Above on the right Power Girl reminds the photographers where her eyes are. Someone in the crowd pointed at her chest and said, “That’s where my eyes are!”

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Vegeta Dragon Ball Z at Comic-con 2011

    The point of the game is to have fun. It doesn’t matter if you’re in costume or not, just have fun with it. It’s a given that Comic-Con is a place of imagination and play, so cut loose and explore the venue. The patio area outside the Sail Pavilion is a very popular place to rest, hang out and most importantly, to sit down. There is practically nowhere to sit in the exhibit hall; I would recommend heading upstairs for some fresh air and a view of San Diego Bay.

    In the end, Comic-Con is as big a deal as you allow it to be. All the things that can ruin your trip apply to everyone else and the same thing goes for the good stuff. Sore feet, missed panels, lines, oddly located hotels, and overpriced food aren’t the stuff of memories; they’re the stuff of blog posts explaining how to have a better time next year. At Comic-Con, you only make mistakes once and it brings an unbelievable amount of joy to offer guidance to a newbie that heads off a mistake you have personally made. Everyone there is trying to have a good time and everyone there wants you to have a good time so share what you know, tweet about what you see and when you get home, blog about your successes and failures.

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Sucker Punch At Comic-Con

    Look, we all know that in the future the lines of Hall H will be formed atop portable moving sidewalks, themselves covered in lush, green, peppermint scented turf, changes to panel locations, times and guest lists will be as live as a stock market ticker and there will be a new gold standard for what sexy cosplay is that is not Princess Leia in a gold slave girl bikini. One day SWAG will be distributed from booths in a line-free manner that my mind cannot even invent right now and there will probably be a shrine at future Comic-Con dedicated to the demise of Princess Leia in a gold slave girl bikini as the gold standard for what sexy female cosplay is. Until that time we are all in this together so spread to love, help some people out and take lots of pictures while you’re at Comic-Con. Cheers!

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How To Photograph Celebrities At Comic-Con

August 14, 2011 by ·  

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The Cast Of Fox TV’s “Fringe”

     You don’t have to stand in lines at San Diego Comic-Con to see celebrities and you don’t need to use a flash when you take their picture either. What you do need are comfortable shoes and patience. I very much prefer a spontaneous style of human photography over posed and static, smiling portraits. Leonardo Da Vinci did such a great job with the Mona Lisa that photographers have forced every woman in the world since then to stop what they are doing, look at the camera and smile in a way that says something without talking. I prefer the moments that happen before and after the party starts, like cast of the Fox TV show “Fringe working out seating assignments just before a signing.

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Adam Hughes

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David Finch

     I don’t collect SWAG or autographs and I prefer to watch movies at home on DVD so movie screenings aren’t my thing either. I collect photographs at Comic-Con, mostly for use on my blog here. What that means is that I spend my time on the move, constantly. It’s exhausting, and on Saturday this year my body forced me to rest for about an hour, which was torture for my mind because it hates not to be in charge.

Emilia-Clarke comic-con signing

Emilia Clarke

dr-who-matt-smith at comic-con

Matt Smith - Dr. Who

     I don’t live under a rock but I don’t command a starship either so I really have to pay attention to the crowd and Twitter to find out where things are happening and who people are. Many of the photos I take, successfully or not, were taken not because I knew the subject but because of the stir around them grabbing my attention. Comic-Con is a crowded and noisy place so it’s not exactly easy to notice every single thing happening right in front of you, which is why the photo of Matt Smith of “Dr. Who” is mostly of the back of his head. I don’t watch Dr. Who so I didn’t know who he was. He had a clamor of people and a film crew following him around, but I lost a few precious seconds trying to figure out who he was or if he was famous, so I missed what would have been a great shot. Shoot first and ask questions later, especially at Comic-Con.

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Kit Harington and R.R. Martin, Writer – “Game of Thrones”

     The celebs do have the ability to put themselves in a bubble, which is a big help for me. Take Kit Harington and R.R. Martin for example, pictured above during a signing for “Game Of Thrones.” There were hundreds of people clamoring in front of them but they managed to ignore all of them, and that’s when I took the shot.

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Danny Devito at San Diego Comic-Con

     I have some ideas that should bring a whole new level of excitement to my photos and posts during Comic-Con next year. Since I roam around the entire time, I think I’d like to be a roving line reporter, bringing updates for all the lines with video, photos and tweets. Since I never have an agenda during Comic-Con, I think it would be an amazing story to embed myself with people that live their lives by the panel and screening schedules. I think the world is finally ready to see the seedy underworld Comic-Con, don’t you? I think back door deals, black market SWAG vouchers and organized line cutters are just the tip of the iceberg, just wait and see. Cheers!

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How To Use WordPress To Kill Facebook

August 13, 2011 by ·  

Matt Mullenweg WordPress Founder at WordCamp San Diego 2011

Matt Mullenweg – The Man Who Killed Facebook

        Shortly after WordCamp San Diego 2011, I had an epiphany:  WordPress is going to kill Facebook, ease the world’s pain in the aftermath and then play a utopian role in building a better internet society.

        Think about what drove you to Facebook in the first place: You wanted to have an online presence, for whatever reason, but you didn’t know how to do it.  Facebook quickly and easily solved that problem.  You didn’t need to learn how to cook because Facebook had a 24 hour all you can eat buffet on every internet connected device in the world.

        Guess what?  There is something better out there on all those same devices and it’s called, WordPress.  This blog, The World Is Raw is powered by WordPress, has been since day 1.  WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), but to you and me it’s the core of a website and the platform for a blog.  Remember how you didn’t know anything about Facebook at first, but little by little you learned how to do stuff and before you knew it you were a pro?  Put the same amount of effort into WordPress and you will realize you not only have what you need to build a Facebook life raft, you also have the materials to build your own beautiful internet kingdom.

        You must realize that Facebook will end and the free ride of being an internet coach potato will be over.  From now on, when you present yourself online you must also account for yourself and your privacy and you must use WordPress to do it.

        Here’s how:

        1. If you have money, take $225 and use around $180 to purchase a two year lease on a domain and the rest to buy an accompanying dedicated IP.  Don’t skimp, spend the entire $225.  I went with Bluehost.com, and I have never had any issues at all, my site is always up.

        a. Download and install WordPress.

        b. Navigate to and read this First Steps with WordPress page on WordPress.org and start building something beautiful!

        2. If you don’t have money, navigate to and read this Getting Starting page on WordPress.com.

        a. Sign up for a free WordPress.com hosted blog and start building something beautiful!

        There are some things, terms and websites to pay attention to here:

        If you pay for a domain you are “self-hosted” and you will get all your information and support from WordPress.org. If you don’t pay for your domain you are “WordPress hosted” and will get your information and support from WordPress.com

        It really is just that easy.  Before you know it, you’ll have everything you had on Facebook and more.  You friends and family will too because after following your lead they will be empowered with the tools to build their own internet kingdoms, and you will be able to help them do it.  You will be able to help your friends and family build an internet community from the ground up and you won’t even realize you’re doing it because WordPress is silently doing all the heavy lifting for you.  Because of the inclusive, open-source nature of WordPress, people reaching out to you and your community will be able to do so without having to sign up for some third party’s website, they can leave a comment on your very own blog or shoot you an email via your own website’s comment form!  Once you see what WordPress can do for you, starting right now, including giving your friends and family democratic and unobstructed access to your beautiful website or blog I think you’ll realize you are not preparing to survive the fall of Facebook, you are simply moving on to bigger and better things in the form of you, your audience and WordPress.  Cheers!

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Silver Strand Campfire Program On Coronado

August 6, 2011 by ·  

Silver Strand State Beach Campfire Program

Golden Hour Approaches

        Silver Strand State Beach Campfire Program is something I stumbled across yesterday as I strolled along the beach. It turned out to be exactly what the name implies. About 45 minutes before sunset, Park Ranger Heather lit the fire and assembled people into the waiting rows of chairs. This is an educational type thing with a different topic each week. Think of it as a neat, free way to enjoy a sunset campfire and learn something on Coronado’s southern most beach.

Silver Strand State Beach Campfire Program

Silver Strand Beach Campfire Program About To Begin

        The whole thing just sort of happened out of thin air, because earlier I wondered why all those empty chairs were around a barren campfire. What the triangle dinner bell is to a ranch, a campfire is to the beach; people just come running. Once the fire was going and the people were seated I saw it was a good set up for a sunset photo which had me wanting to stick around. Once the sun set, it got chilly so bring a hoodie. The first five minutes of my bike ride home, until my blood got pumping, were not pleasant. I hadn’t planned to stay until sunset, so it goes to show that you need to be prepared and think ahead even in sunny San Diego and even when you are just a few miles from home.

Silver Strand State Beach Campfire Program

Golden Hour At Silver Strand

        I am lucky enough to have Silver Strand State Beach as my backyard, which is just about the greatest thing anyone can say. If you were to look at Coronado on a map and imagine it as a balloon, Silver Strand is the string of land that hangs below. I recommend riding a bicycle to get there because you won’t have to pay an entry fee and the massive length of the park is much more fun to navigate with a bike. So, jump onto Bayshore Bikeway and join in the fun!

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Coronado Sandman Street Art

August 2, 2011 by ·  

Coronado-Sandman

Coronado Sandman At Spreckels Park

        There is a man that decorates the land of Coronado with sand; Coronado Sandman. I met him at on a Sunday afternoon, just before the start of a free Rockola concert in Spreckels Park. Sometimes I see his work as I cruise around on my bike and I’ve seen videos of him on the net but I’d never even seen him in person, not even from afar. I guess it was meant to be because I was looking for something interesting to photograph when I ran into him creating some street art with, wait for it: Dirt. A spoon is not a fork, so if you are expecting one but receive the other you’ll probably ask why, which is what I did. It turned out that white sand doesn’t pop very well on the gray of concrete & cement so he opted for dirt, which is darker for these pieces of art. I joked with him saying that he couldn’t be Coronado Sandman if he didn’t have any sand, man.

Coronado Sandman Creating Street Art

        That turned out to be my segue to chatting with him for a few minutes so he told me all about his recent history and a few of his philosophies on life. He wrapped up with a one liner and a question. He said, “There are three people in the world, God, the Devil and Coronado Sandman. Do you know who you friend is?” I answered him very specifically and then he told me I was right. So, I have that going for me, which is nice.

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Coronado Concert – Rockola In Spreckels Park

August 1, 2011 by ·  

Rockola-Concert-Spreckels-Park-Coronado

Rockola At Spreckels Park

        I always knew Coronado was a great place with great people but since I don’t live there, I’ve never been able to say exactly why it’s so great. Yeah, I know tourist guidebooks will give you the dictionary definition of what makes Coronado awesome but I’m talking about other, intangible things that just make you feel good for some reason. Yesterday, I got to experience that intangible thing and its energetic buzz. Spreckels Park was the specific location and Rockola was the specific band that absolutely rocked the house for a free two hour sunset concert under the beautiful Coronado sky.

Coronado Rocking Out In Spreckels Park

        It was more or less impossible for me to concentrate on taking photos so the video mode on my camera got a workout as I cruised around the park, trying to rock out and hold the camera steady at the same time. There is a rule that many people abide by when they dance: Dance like no one’s watching. In that spirit, that’s how I edited the video above. I just found the good parts with great soundtracks, stitched them together and pressed play. As of right now, no one can ever say people on Coronado don’t know how to have a good time!

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Dancing In Spreckels Park

        It was such a good time that I wished I had left my camera at home (not really) because as a person whose parents raised him properly on a diet of classic rock ‘n roll, it was a straight up transport back to a time before digital, before blogs and before me. High school students fortunate enough to see the Beatles last concert in 1966 are in their 60’s now, yet it’s that crowd’s music, 45 years later that packed Spreckels Park with families, in some cases, four generations of a family, all enjoying the same great time together. So, my challenge to all who read this is simple: Do whatever you have to do so you can visit Coronado, and then try to find a reason to leave when you’re here. Cheers!

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