August 25, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 2 Comments
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.
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.
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.
August 6, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 4 Comments
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 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.
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!
July 1, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
South Bay Power Plant At Golden Hour
Bayshore Bikeway enjoys scenery from two large bodies of water; San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. In other words, the trail is a perfect place to go for some golden hour, sunrise or sunset photography. The path goes all the way around the bay and even runs between the ocean and the bay for an eight mile stretch along Silver Strand Beach and Coronado Cays. The peninsula that Coronado and Silver Strand sit on creates the western shore of San Diego Bay and is the reason we have a nice, safe harbor for Navy ships and birds. The bay is a bird watcher’s paradise.
My favorite bird watching area is along the southwest portion of Bayshore Bikeway, between Imperial Beach and Silver Strand. California least terns nest in that area during the summer too so bring a bicycle and you’ll be able to cover the entire bay in a day. The southern area is also a nature preserve, so you are just about guaranteed to see birds, small rodents & reptiles and even some dragonflies if you are lucky. Since the path is only for walkers, cyclists and inline skaters, all the scenery and sites along Bayshore Bikeway are uncrowded and have a feeling of exclusivity about them because only people that use their own power get to see them.
Birds Hunting In South Bay San Diego During Golden Hour
Golden hour is that time of day when the sun is very low in the sky, just about to set. The sun is so low that objects and contours on the earth block some of the sun’s light creating areas of shadow that are still bathed in yellow light. This is what we call, golden hour. It also happens to be the time when a lot of birds and other wildlife go hunting so photographically speaking it is a goldmine. If you have taken some landscape photography but weren’t happy with the result, go back and try the same shot again but wait until sunrise or sunset to do it. You have to pay attention to light if you want to make your photography pop.
June 5, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
The Moon Sets Over Coronado’s Dinosaur Cage
Coronado is a border town for me because I live right on the border between Coronado and Imperial Beach. It really is an ideal location for me because I can grab my bike, be on Bayshore Bikeway in seconds flat and then head to anywhere In South Bay San Diego, all while basking in the warm California sun. Today was a beautiful San Diego day and I took full advantage of it by riding to Border Field State Park, Silver Strand State Beach and Imperial Beach pier. After pedaling almost 30 miles, I was beat by the time I got back home so whatever San Diego had planned for this evening would have to happen without me. I was in for the night.
How lucky for me that around 9:30pm I looked out my window in response to hearing someone screaming out in pain. Some dude managed to crash himself and his bike into the metal bench that sits at the southern edge of San Diego Bay. He was fine and once I stopped laughing at him I noticed the background of the scene, and it was awesome! I tiny sliver, just a thin fingernail of a moon was setting right next to the Dinosaur Cage on Coronado. Of course I grabbed my Nikon camera and ran to the very bench that had been crashed into to take some long exposure, high ISO photos. I shot the scene above for 8 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 3200 which allowed me to pull some much needed detail from the shadows without blowing the moon’s highlights to kingdom come. It was a great way to wrap up a day that saw me riding all over Coronado and Imperial Beach. I’ve been ignoring night photography for a few months so a small event like this that has me leaping out the door to engage in a little night photography is a welcome catalyst for me because it simply reminded me how much fun night photography is. Cheers!
May 24, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 2 Comments
Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glass Exhibit
Chula Vista Nature Center, has an exhibit going until September 5, 2011 titled, “Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glassworks” that I checked out recently, and it was well worth the trip. I had never been to Chula Vista Nature Center before so it was a fun time of going, doing and seeing something new.
Tropical Fish At Chula Vista Nature Center
Chula Vista Nature Center is located at 1000 Gunpowder Point Dr. Chula Vista, CA 91910, at E St. and I-5. This location allows for three very good options to get to the center. You can drive there, take public transportation or ride your bike, via Bayshore Bikeway. However you decide to get there, park in the lot and wait for the free nature center shuttle to pick you up. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes so you’ll never have to wait very long, just be patient and enjoy the view.
Scorpionfish With Modern Glass Art
The Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glassworks exhibit that lead me to Chula Vista Nature Center to begin with was a remarkably simple yet beautiful study in combining brightly colored, organically shaped glass with brightly colored tropical fish. There are a dozen or so aquariums that each contains the work of one artist, along with living tropical fish that compliment the colors and design of the art.
Glass Volcano As Aquatic Art
This exhibit is remarkably simple: Glass is non-reactive, so it makes perfect sense to incorporate some brightly colored glass inside the aquarium, not just as the boring, clear walls we usually see. All of the cool shapes, designs and themes you see in these photos (except for the fish, of course) were hand-made or hand-blown by local, San Diego hot glass artists.
Be sure to take your time as you walk through Chula Vista Nature Center because each display and exhibit holds more than meets the eye. Remember this is a visual place about biology so there is a lot to take in every step of the way. The Art Aquatic exhibit is a very small part of the nature center, which sits on the 316 acre Sweetwater Marsh Wildlife Refuge so don’t think looking at fish is the only thing to do. You can also look at sea turtles, touch sharks and manta rays, see raptors and predatory birds and walk a scenic trail to the San Diego Bay.
Art Aquatic: Sea Life + Glassworks At Chula Vista Nature Center
One can only imagine what the fish think of their fancy aquariums or what they will do when they have to give up their fancy décor but for right now, they seem content and happy with their colorful new homes.
Scorpionfish In A Living Art Exhibit
So, my trip to Chula Vista Nature Center was good, and I found out there is a lot to see there and it is very much worth the $11 price of admission. You can find more information on the Chula Vista Nature Center website or by following them on Twitter. Cheers!
May 20, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Coronado Street Sweeper About To Merge Onto Bayshore Bikeway
I live very close to the international border between the United States and Mexico but I live even closer to the border between Imperial Beach and Coronado, CA. Bayshore Bikeway is the actual, physical border between the two cities for a short stretch near the north end of 7th St. Coronado is such an awesome place that the street sweepers even sweep their portion of the bikeway. Bike paths can sometimes get forgotten by the city after they are built, but Coronado and Imperial Beach both remain committed to maintaining themselves among the most bicycle friendly cities in San Diego. “The Lenny,” Coronado’s street sweeper is seen above merging onto Bayshore Bikeway at 7th St. as a cyclist cruises by. In the background is the Dinosaur Cage while in the midground is a piece of machinery, in the middle of a parts failure. This thing has been dredging South Bay Biological Study Area for the last two months so I have started to ignore it but, while taking this photo I realized the thing had broken down and was being disassembled by a crew.
Yesterday, The Crew Had Been Working On The Dredger
Yesterday I had seen some guys poking at the front of the dredge and they eventually seemed satisfied because the machine went back to dredging.
Coronado, Bayshore Bikeway, A Broken Dredger & The Dinosaur Cage
As the Coronado street sweeper lumbered on by, it became obvious that whatever they tried yesterday had failed because the dredger was undergoing some major repair. The thing has been going for over two months straight so I’m sure a mechanical failure was bound to happen. I can only wonder what sort of things they’ve pulled out of the bay so far, but I’m sure they are things that destroy machinery. I sure didn’t think I’d be taking a photo of a Coronado street sweeper rattling down Bayshore Bikeway past a broken dredge with the Dinosaur Cage and a San Diego City bus in the background when I woke up this morning.
Broken Dredge In South Bay Biological Study Area
With the nose removed, the gear assembly is accessed and ultimately removed. The pieces were removed with the forklift for replacement or repair, the dredge was sealed up and the crew packed up for the day. Tornado Motion Technologies Inc. people have been out here for the last couple months, methodically winding their way through the preserve 6 days a week, doing their part to help keep San Diego’s wildlife areas in great shape. Good job guys! Below is a video shot the previous day that shows the crew working on the front of the dredger, before the mechanical failure.
Trying To Repair The Dredger
April 14, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Least Tern Nesting Area In Coronado
As you may agree as you scroll through this post, I think it’s one of the more erratic and disorganized collection of photographs I’ve presented. Believe it or not there is a method to this madness and a common trait all the photos in this post share: They were all taken on the same day while riding my bike from Chula Vista to Coronado on Bayshore Bikeway.
Marbled Godwits & Tern
Since I’m not really a bird person, trying to figure out what species of bird I’m photographing can be quite the challenge at times, even with internet search engines.
White Egret In San Diego Bay
The white egret you see above was hunting for fish at the extreme southwestern edge of San Diego Bay. As near as I can tell, the fish he likes to eat hang out in the mud at the bottom of the bay. The egrets use their feet to shuffle and shake fish from the mud and gobble them up.
A Wedding About To Begin In Coronado
The photo above was made just as I departed Bayshore Bikeway, heading to Burger Lounge in Coronado. In a tradition that goes way back, a father walks his daughter down the aisle to get married, two or three years prior to her first divorce.
Little Girl On Silver Strand Beach State Park
Of course, just because the majority of marriages end in divorce is no reason not to bring a kid into the world. The most in-charge and powerful position most Americans will hold is that of parent. So what if your boss is dumber than you or you didn’t get all the respect you wanted from the person that sold you your cappuccino this morning? As soon as you get home, it’s YOUR house and YOUR rules, which is the mantra of middle class parents. We all know you didn’t go to college, have no savings or retirement plans, are pissed off about not getting that big promotion at work and wish you would have learned to play the guitar because if you had, listening to your kid complain about whatever kids complain about wouldn’t suck like it does. But you didn’t. You’re just getting by & life didn’t turn out the way you want so you have kids & now you can lord over them with impunity, just like the rest of the world is doing to you.
Street Art On The Ground Of Bayshore Bikeway
For me, the difference between street art and graffiti has everything to do with location and subject matter. Using a spray can to scribble on the side of a building in the dead of night to declare what south of the border, shithole village you’re from or what shithole neighborhood you live in now, is graffiti. Using your imagination to create something unique & original that people will stop to look at, talk about or take photos of is street art, like what you see above.
Yellow Flowers Adorn Bayshore Bikeway
Right now, San Diego is in the midst of our annual yellow flower invasion. Through most of April, on just about every square inch of non-landscaped earth you will see yellow flowers.
The photo on the left is a somewhat hidden memorial for a person named, Donnie. This memorial is against the fence that separates South Bay Salt Works from Bayshore Bikeway. It lies just about due south of the salt works, down the north slope of the path. That’s as specific as I’m going to get, that way you’ll have to work for it a little bit if you’d like to see it in person. Above is an old lady that just happened to be cruising past me. So that’s it! This concludes my post of random things I saw while riding my bike through Coronado, Imperial Beach and Chula Vista on Bayshore Bikeway. If you have not yet explored this path, I hope the photos in the post will encourage you to do so. Below is a video that goes along with the photos in this post, as well as some video of birds and the hidden memorial. Cheers!
April 2, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Kitesurfer With Awesome Kiteboard Graphic Catches Some Air
The winds on Coronado were perfect for kitesurfing at Silver Strand Beach, so I interrupted a leisurely bike ride along Bayshore Bikeway to take some photos. I’ve never tried to kitesurf but I’d like to try.
These guys were kitesurfing on the southern end of Silver Strand beach, right in front of the southern most lifeguard tower. The weather, wind and waves all seemed to be favorable and it was fun to watch and a pleasant addition to to my bike ride.
A Perfect Coronado Day
March 3, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
Imperial Beach Sunset
San Diego Bay is a great place to be during golden hour and sunset. The colors and the view just can’t be beat and talk about a made to order photo-op! All the photos for this post were taken at the southern edge of the Bayshore Bikeway in Imperial Beach.
The Long Shadow Goodnight
For those of you that don’t know, “golden hour” are those final minutes before a sunset or after a sunrise. The sun is very low, right above the horizon so the light from the sun has to travel through many more miles of our polluted atmosphere which helps to give our nearest star’s light a very warm, yellow hue. One of the biggest not-so-secret secrets of landscape photography is to take your shots during golden hour. A word of warning though, golden hour does not actually last for an hour, it only lasts for about ten minutes so you’ll want to plan ahead.
Looking East From Imperial Beach
Bayshore Bikeway is a very popular bike path with pedestrians and every sort of non-car conveyance. As you can see from this map of San Diego bike paths, including Bayshore Bikeway, it circles most of San Diego Bay, with the circle being completed if you decide to take the ferry between downtown San Diego and Coronado.
San Diego Skyline, Coronado Bridge & A Seagull During Golden Hour
Those of you that work in a cubicle in an office under fluorescent lights for forty hours a week need to pay attention to these next sentences: Your job is killing you, your boss is dumber & richer than you and your family doesn’t respect you because you are a human parodic example of some one that has given up on their dreams. In short, the world around you knows you are doing something you hate for money, just like a whore. Your family knows you are being paid money to wake up before sunrise and drive through traffic just so your boss and any of his colleagues can fuck you in the ass, balls deep.
January 14, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
South Bay Power Plant And Salt Works
To be clear, these are two different places. The salt flats in the foreground are part of South Bay Salt Works while the exhaust towers in the background are part of the South Bay Power Plant. The sky is brown at the horizon due to the pollution above Chula Vista and National City.