Ben Lavender At Spanish Village In Balboa Park

May 6, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

    I am fortunate enough to have cousins that always know what there is to do in San Diego so when I was bored yesterday I gave them a call. Before I knew it we were enjoying delicious burgers from Hodad’s followed by a movie in their art and dog filled home. After that we headed up to Balboa Park for a showing of artists sponsored by the San Diego Sculptors Guild.


Benjamin Lavender Sculptures Always Make A Statement

    Benjamin Lavender, the sculptor responsible for the piece above and many others at the show was our reason for going to this celebration of sculpture. I’d seen his work at a show at the Oceanside Museum of Art last year and was very impressed by his work.


Golden Art In Balboa Park

    Even the art on the wall found a way to be off the wall. There is an amazing amount of talent contained within these artists and most of the pieces are most obviously labors of love. We are very lucky to be living in a time and place where artists are allowed to create whatever their minds have whipped up.


Ornate Victorian & Steampunk Flavored Sculpture

    The Steampunk styled viewing contraption above is a great example of what an artist can do with some welding equipment and forty pounds of metal. I am happy with my medium of photography; sculpting with metal has never been a creative outlet for me.


Larger Pieces Shown In The San Diego Setting Sun

    Since we live in San Diego, we get to enjoy an outdoor showcase of beautiful sculptures in lovely Balboa Park. This show was in the Spanish Village area of the park, so it was a very quick and easy outing for a pleasant Saturday afternoon.

ken-and-chris-callaway become part of the sculpture

Ken & Chris Callaway Turn Up Ace Of Spades

    As the sun began to set our attention shifted from fine art to fine food. Our burger filled lunch was quickly wearing off and so, after seeing all the sculptures in the wonderful garden we took our leave. Dinner would turn out to be some great Mexican food from Don Panchos, my neighborhood taco shop. It was a good day, just what I needed. Cheers!

Balboa Park Has A Secret Hummingbird Sanctuary

August 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Hummingbird Feeders In Balboa Park

Hidden Hummingbird Sanctuary In Balboa Park

        This trip to Balboa Park actually had a purpose, and that was to find a supposed hidden hummingbird sanctuary on Old Globe Way. I found it, right where it was supposed to be, around the back (north side) of the The San Diego Museum Of Art building. Up in the trees are a bunch of hummingbird feeders with brightly colored nectar. Unfortunately, there were no hummingbirds at the feeder, so after I do a little research to find out when hummingbirds are the most active, a return trip by me will have to made.

Hummingbird Feeders In Balboa Park

Hummingbird Feeders Sans Hummingbirds

        Without any hummingbirds at the feeders, I felt like I found a buried treasure chest that did not contain any treasure. That’s OK because I was in Balboa Park, and there is always a lot to see and photograph. This clutch of hummingbird feeders is very close to the Botanical Garden building, so I headed there next.

Lily Pads In Balboa Park

Water Lilies In Front Of The Botanical Garden Building

        The water lilies and lotus flowers are in full bloom right now and there are a lot of them. Hundreds of people, tourists and natives alike pose for photos in front of the reflecting pool, in front of the botanical garden building.

Lotus Flowers In Balboa Park

Lotus Flowers In Balboa Park

        If flowers and flower gardens are your thing, then you need to plan a trip to Balboa Park. There are 13 flower gardens, and most of them are very grand.

People In Balboa Park

People Enjoying Balboa Park

        There are fish in the pools in front of the botanical building, and that is what the children above were looking at. Beyond them is another group of girls enjoying Balboa Park. There really is something for everyone, and there are restaurants for when you get hungry.

Kids At Balboa Park Fountain

Playing Around The Fountain

Balboa Park Gardens

June 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Balboa Park Flowers

Flowers In Balboa Park

        Across the street from Nate’s Point Off Leash Dog Park is where I happened to be when I took the photo above. You’ll find the dog park on the west side of Cabrillo Bridge.

Alacazar Garden In Balboa Park

Above Alacazar Garden

        You will want to, over time, visit all the gardens in Balboa Park. I’ve been to all of them but I don’t have a large collection of photos taken inside them. I’m not sure why, but I plan on fixing that ASAP.

Alacazar Garden In Balboa Park

Inside Alacazar Garden – Balboa Park

        I think a series of posts or one big post that have to do with the gardens of Balboa Park is on the agenda now, so stay tuned. Subscribe to my feed or follow me on twitter to to be notified when I post something new.

Balboa Park Security Guards

May 16, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Very Secret Balboa Park Fountain

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.

Balboa Park Has A Secret Fountain

May 12, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

Desert Garden In Balboa Park

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.

Rose Garden In Balboa Park

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.

Rose Garden In Balboa Park

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 & Memorial Center In Balboa Park

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.

Secret Fountain In Balboa Park

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.

Number 7 Bus Stop In Balboa Park

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 In Balboa Park

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

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.

Secret Fountain In Balboa Park

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.

Secret Fountain In Balboa Park

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

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.

Cactus In Balboa Park

May 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Cactus In Balboa Park

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.

Balboa Park And The Loch Ness Monster

March 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Honey Bee In Balboa Park, San Diego

Honey Bee In Balboa Park

        Balboa Park is a 1200 acre park, between downtown San Diego and the San Diego Zoo, and it is just awesome. There are 15 museums 13 places to eat and 20 gardens so you need several visits to properly explore the park. For me it’s all about the outside things like the trees, plants, shrubs, flowers, trails, gardens bugs and people. They don’t allow cameras in the museums, so… Yeah, I usually stick to the outside stuff. Balboa Park really is grand, and the very mature trees are huge, the gardens are all different, vibrant, colorful and attract lots of docile bees and butterflies. People perform, sing and play music on the main thoroughfare, and there are helpful maps to guide you and there is even a live theater venue called, The Old Globe Theater.
        The problem I have is that I haven’t been able to capture any of that grandness with my camera. 4 years I’ve been taken pictures in Balboa Park, yet I don’t have any show-stopping shots. Come to think of it, I don’t have enough decent shots to even HAVE a show that would feature Balboa Park. So, this post will be me critiquing shots I took inside the park on March 16th, 2010. They are images that had potential in the viewfinder, but have mistakes made at the moment of capture, so they are not great shots. I’m going to explain what went wrong and how it can be fixed the next time. My D5000 was not to blame, I had setting wrong or composed improperly, and I’ll explain with my photos.

Cello Playing In Balboa Park, San Diego

Playing The Cello

        Musicians playing in Balboa Park are the pleasant, ever-changing chorus of sound that gives you one more reason to stop and listen while you are in the park.
        The shot above is blurry and the background is distracting. Also, the shot would look better from a more frontal point of view so the classic and powerful cello shape can be seen. The composition and background can be fixed by moving to a different location. The blurriness of the pic is not because of a bad focus, it’s from camera shake. I was all the way at 450mm, but my shutter was 1/80th, and I was hand-holding the camera. When you are not using a tripod, you shutter speed should not be any slower than your lens mm focal length. In my case at 450mm I should have used a shutter speed of 1/450 or faster.

Park Bench Dedication, Terry Lee Stone

Park Bench Dedication, Terry Lee Stone

        There are many concrete benches in Balboa Park and all or most of them have these brass plates with tombstone style inscriptions.
        This shot just does not tell a story. If you know the inscribed person then this might be nice to have but it does not invoke emotion because there is no context. You can’t tell that the plate is on a bench in a beautiful park overlooking a wooden bridge and staircase that descends to the Palm Canyon Trail. It’s just an inscription on some mildly interesting texture and color. A better position that shows off the bench AND it’s location would be a much better choice next time.

Raven In Balboa Park, San Diego

Blackbird On The Bowling Green

        The crows and ravens in San Diego are definitely at the top of the food chain, right below people.
        This shot had potential because I did some things right. I was almost at eye level with the bird, which is good and the exposure (1/250, f/11, 200 ISO) is about spot on too. What I’m not liking about the image (besides the color of the grass) is that there is no scale at all. You can’t tell that this bird happened to be HUGE! A better shot would be with the bird in the frame with something else, preferably smaller than the bird, like flowers or another animal. This blackbird was abnormally large, but the photo lacks anything to convey a message about the size.

Alcazar Garden In Balboa Park, San Diego

Alcazar Garden

        Situated between the Art Institute and Mingei Museum and modeled after the Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain, there are 7000 annuals planted every year in this garden.
        I like the composition and depth of field in this shot, and the exposure is about right. The subject is just too busy. It’s such a mass of green stems and since the flowers are not fully in bloom, there is not enough purple to break up the green. Do you know what I mean, jellybean?

Balboa Park Fountain, San Diego

Balboa Park’s Fountain

        This shot just has too many distracting things in it. The light bulbs that run through the center, light poles and signs break up and distract from the people and the fountain.
        So, I am still searching for that great Balboa Park shot. There has to be a single, great shot that anyone who looks at it would know they are looking at Balboa Park, and want to go there. *sigh* Someday.

Balboa Park And Random Photography

November 2, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Bee On A Cactus Flower, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

Flower, Shadow, Sunlight, Bee, Blue Sky

        Balboa Park is not exactly a spooky Halloween place, at least during the day. What seemed to me to be a unique combination of sunlight, flower and insect prompted the pic above.

cactuspuffs in Balboa Park, CA, San Diego

Cactus Needles Backlit By The Sun

        Wow! Cactus needles backlit by the sun. No one has ever done that before! I’m not kidding, you are seeing a marvel of modern photography!

Orb Spider, Balboa Park, San Deigo, CA

This Is A Great Shot Of A Waiting Orb Spider

        This spider was milling about about The House Of Poland in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA.

Steam Powered Giraffe In Balboa Park

June 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Steam Powered Giraffe

Steam Powered Giraffe

        What happens when you HAVE to do something you enjoy, but you don’t want to do it? Being forced to do what you enjoy should be, by definition, impossible. Oh, but it is NOT impossible! Elaborate this point in your own head. Do it. Do it now!

Minstrels From The Back

What A Difference Shooting From Behind Makes!

        These face-painted space travelers named, “Steam Powered Giraffe” only managed to rapture the audience in front of them. From the rear, they had no color, super-powers or faces. They were reduced to mere people wearing worn out shoes on a hot day, carrying heavy objects and counting on charity from strangers to refill their water bottles. They enjoyed the front while I enjoyed to back. Only one of us can be right so, I’m right!