November 29, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · 3 Comments
Hotel Del Coronado Christmas Fireworks
Hotel Del Coronado is the best neighbor to have in all of San Diego. It is the hub, the center of the wheel around which everything else revolves. Most of the amazing things you’ve heard about San Diego are on Coronado. If you have just landed at San Diego International Airport the first thing you should do, regardless of where you are staying is cross the Coronado Bridge, walk through The Del and then walk along the beach. You won’t believe your eyes and your remaining four senses will struggle to force your brain to accept what is really happening; you are having the best time of your life and Coronado is the best place you have ever been.
Last night, there was a full moon so Hotel Del Coronado threw a Christmas party that was free and open to the public. The party was all things Christmas and culminated with a fireworks show. Yes, The Del rang in Christmas under a full moon with fireworks on the beach.
Sandcastle On The Beach Of Coronado
Merry Christmas is what I say during the Christmas season. What is written on the sand castle above is something I don’t say and will not write on my blog. I’m taking a stand on this one and drawing a line in the sand. Basically my take on the whole politically correct thing is this; if you are not a politician looking for votes but still try or want to be politically correct then you are fucking GAY! That being said I want all the people that are dreaming of a white Christmas to realize that you don’t have to include OR exclude others from your holiday. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you get to say whatever you want; it means sometimes you have to hear things you don’t want to hear. In America you can wish a group of people a Merry Christmas, even if that group is in a synagogue, a mosque or surrounding a sandcastle on a beach in California. No one has a problem with saying Merry Christmas, but there are people that have a problem with hearing it. God bless the former and God damn the latter for attempting to water down the most sacred event in all of Christendom and America’s favorite season. Merry Christmas!
Fireworks On Coronado
So far I’ve gushed about Coronado and bitched about political correctness so now I’d like to talk about photography and what I was actually doing during this awesome Christmas party. I was making friends with the fireworks crew!
They let me photograph the fireworks from their command station so I was something like 30 yards from the show with a completely unobstructed view of the fireworks and Hotel Del Coronado. The reason being this close was a treat was because I was packing my 8 mm fish-eye lens. The photo above shows the crew on the right, The Del on the left, fireworks up top as well as a full moon and Mexico in the background; just a typical night from my neighbor, Hotel Del Coronado.
4 Seconds Of Coronado Fireworks
Earlier this year there was a fireworks show that went completely haywire. I’m referring to The Bungle in the Bay that was our annual 4th of July celebration here in San Diego. I was embedded with that fireworks crew as well, but I didn’t get any photos of the event because all the pyrotechnics exploded at the same time. I know that sounds cool and people that were far enough away got some great video of the debacle but for me and the crew I was with it was a little different. We were running for our lives! Don’t get me wrong, it was very exciting but I have no photos from the night so it was ultimately very disappointing for me.
Mouseover For Fish-eye vs. Human-eye
I’m going to wrap up this erratic and disorganized post with an image that takes advantage the IMG Mouseover plugin for WordPress. The photo above is a lens corrected version of the original photo. If you hover your mouse over the image above you will see the original, as it looked through my 8 mm fish-eye lens. There are good and bad things about both photos, but the bullet point I want you to notice is that I was really, REALLY fucking close to the fireworks yet I managed to have to entire explosion, plus The Del and the full moon in the frame. That is the joy of a wide angle lens at Christmas.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
November 26, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
Ice Skating In Front Of Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado is the place to be in San Diego during the Christmas season. I have many posts and photos of The Del that will help convince you if for some reason you are a doubting Thomas. For the better part of a decade The Del has upped the ante by installing an ice rink on their beach during the Christmas season for their annual Skating By The Sea event. You heard me; there is an ice rink on the beach in Coronado, during Christmas. How do you like them apples? Hopefully you like them sunny, warm and within throwing distance of the Pacific Ocean. I live in a place where I can swim in the ocean, walk up the beach, go ice skating and then have a drink as I watch the sunset.
In the interest of full disclosure, the alcohol prices at The Del are very expensive so I would bring my own flask if I were you. No, you can’t take swigs from it whilst skating nor can you drink on the beach but you can take bathroom breaks. Welcome to California!
People Enjoy Skating By The Sea
Skating by the Sea has become unbelievably popular; probably more anticipated than the Christmas decorations of The Del itself. Who would have ever thought that installing an ice rink on the beach would draw such a crowd? Not me, that’s for sure! There are two skate sessions everyday during the week and each session lasts three hours and costs $25. On holiday days and on the weekends there is an added matinee session that lasts two hours and will set you back $20. Those are the adult prices; skate rental is included in that price but children are not. A child, as far as Hotel Del Coronado is concerned is 10 years or younger and they are welcome to skate with the adults for either a regular session or the matinee for $20 and $15 respectively.
Children Are Welcome To Skate Too
When you are walking or skating around Hotel Del Coronado, you really start to get a sense of just how great a place San Diego is. San Diego receives more visitors per year than the entire state of Hawaii. I’ve lived in both places and San Diego is better than Hawaii in every way except one; the ocean here is too cold! Yeah, even the surfers wear wetsuits out here so I would recommend activities that keep you near or on the water, not necessarily IN the water.
The Sun Sets On Coronado
The skate sessions are well timed and basically give you the options of skating until the sun goes down or skating under the moonlight. What looks like a nuclear blast in the photo above is our nuclear powered sun as it prepares to dive into the Pacific. I’ve been skating in a lot of places but this rink is by far the most unique and has the best view. Thanks to The Del, you can go ice skating on a San Diego beach; how cool is that? It’s very, VERY cool and it makes for a wonderful experience that you won’t soon forget. Below is a video I produced at the ice rink last year. Cheers!
November 25, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · 3 Comments
Hotel Del Coronado Lobby and Christmas Tree
I live right down the street from Hotel Del Coronado. You have no idea how fortunate a person I am to be able to say that. Residents of Coronado know what I mean and visitors to San Diego have a slight idea what I mean, but no one else does. The Christmas season is a quintessential holiday; it involves all five senses. As a person from Denver, I want the rest of the Christmas celebrating world to know exactly what I mean.
In Denver, during Christmas you can stand outside with your eyes closed, breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth and KNOW that you are in Denver during Christmas. After that breath, when you open your eyes you’ll see that what you felt on your skin was the sun, touching you before it touched anyone else. That is the joy of Denver, the Mile High city during the Christmas season.
Outside Hotel Del Coronado
Coronado does suffer from Christmas envy, though no one on the island knows it. It’s not a problem, it just it was it is. Coronado is a quintessential San Diego beach community; all five senses are dominated by the ocean and fish tacos every day of the year. Again, this is not a bad thing but it is NOT a Christmas experience. Palm trees are not pine trees, white sand is not white snow and rolling bluffs are not the Rocky Mountains. When you dream about a white Christmas and roasting chestnuts on an open fire, you are dreaming about Colorado and my beloved mile high city of Denver.
Christmas 2012 in the Lobby of Hotel Del Coronado
This brings me back around to Hotel Del Coronado during Christmas. The Del has been doing Christmas for 125 years and over 100 of those years have involved electricity and decorating trees with electric lights. Yeah, it is the resident expert in San Diego when it comes to lighting up a Christmas tree and launching off the Christmas season.
Vintage Santa Claus Inside Hotel Del Coronado
It’s not just the lobby and roof of The Del that get decorated; every square inch of the place gets the treatment. The Victorian Era was a very beautiful if not cluttered time to make a statement and it was right in the middle of this era that The Del was built. The unsinkable Molly Brown was a Denver socialite that survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Her house in Denver is a museum and my dad used to be a tour guide there. I bring this up because during a tour of the Molly Brown house, you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Victorian Era, including the fact that it was very stylish to pack every flat surface in the house with knick knacks. If the term “flaunt it if you got it” existed back then, this is how it was done.
Fish-Eye View Of Hotel Del Coronado – Christmas 2012
Please allow me to talk about photography for a minute or two. I was packing an 8 mm fish-eye lens when I visited The Del on this particular day. I’ve had the thing for almost a year and it has become my permanent accessory. I find it very ironic that wide angle lenses like this are referred to as “fish-eye” because it is the best way to get a human-eye view from a photograph. Besides that, it forces the photographer to physically move closer to their subjects; this is abnormal because for 150 years photographers have been backing away from their subjects just to fit them all in the frame. You don’t have to do that with a fish-eye lens. For the photo above, I was standing right in front of a 25 foot tree yet it doesn’t even come close to filling the frame. I’m telling you now that a fish-eye lens allows you to photograph the world the way you see it rather than the way your camera or lens allows it.
The Incinerator Tower of The Del
And so this concludes my third annual Christmas pilgrimage to Hotel Del Coronado. Shortly after the New Year my 7 year San Diego anniversary will be presenting itself. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing bad to say about Denver, it’s people or the Broncos but, San Diego has the best weather in America. You all know that I’ve been around the world and back again so please believe me; San Diego is a great place to live and Coronado is the best part of San Diego. I like all four seasons, but I love living here because I get to skip the shitty ones. It rained a few times back in January and that was all the winter I had to endure; it’s been in the 70’s and mostly sunny ever since. Yes, this is the life I lead. You can have this life too if you just remember that you can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead. Merry Christmas!
December 9, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
First View Of Christmas Tree & Lobby Of Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado at Christmas has a very unique feeling on all five senses; it is a quintessential Christmas experience. I was so impressed with The Del’s Christmas lights last year that it helped add to my pre-Christmas excitement THIS year! This year, the theme for the tree is “Silver Bells” and it is beautiful. As soon as you walk into the lobby, you are greeted by décor that would make Queen Victoria proud.
Grand Staircase and Elevator Inside The Del
The lobby of The Del is massive, large enough to hold a Christmas tree that’s a good 15 feet tall. I think Christmas invokes thought of the past because Christmas, fun as it may be as an adult, is nothing compared to the pure awesomeness that it is to children. When you are inside The Del, you can see right away that the architecture is different than any other hotel you’ve ever seen. It’s one of those amazing things from the past that has survived 123 years & counting. I think seeing the distant past like this makes us think of our own past and childhood and that’s what makes being at Hotel Del Coronado at Christmas so fun and so special.
Decorations and Annual Hotel Del Coronado Christmas Ornament
The decorations on the lobby Christmas tree are worth a good look from you. It has a very dense assortment of ornaments, in keeping with the Victorian way of having a beautifully cluttered eye for interior design. It is beautifully decorated and there is even an annual Hotel Del Coronado Christmas tree ornament available in the gift shop.
Asleep In The Lobby Of The Del
Above is the foyer that separates the lobby and the main entry. If you walk out those double doors and take a left you’ll be on the southern end of Orange Ave., the main thoroughfare of Coronado. If you take a right after exiting the doors, you’ll be able to wonder through the grounds of The Del, past the Skate by the Sea ice rink and eventually end up on the beach and the vast Pacific Ocean. When you are all done, head on back and have a quick nap in one of the comfy chairs, just like the gentleman above. Below is a video that shows the ice rink, the exterior lights of The Del and a glorious Coronado sunset. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
December 8, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
Golden Hour Ice Skating At Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado at Christmas is just about as Christmas as San Diego gets. If you would like a quintessential Christmas in San Diego, The Del is where to go, especially with the addition of their annual ice rink. Skating By The Sea literally allows you to ice skate right next to The Del, the beach and the sea, with great views of Point Loma and California sunsets. The rink is in place until the New Year, so get down here soon! The photo above shows the glorious Hotel Del Coronado bathed in golden hour sunlight as ice skaters enjoy a sunset session of fun in the sun… And skating!
A Lucky Couple Has The Ice To Themselves
A little planning and patience can go a long way, so let me prepare you for something; the 3 hour skate sessions cost $25. That price is absolutely the best deal in town and I urge everyone to head down and check it out sooner rather than later because if you play your cards right you can take you wife, husband, lover, mate or friend to the Hotel Del Coronado and ice skate, all by yourselves as the sun sets behind Point Loma, a clear blue ocean and a thick blue sky.
Christmas Lights On The Del
Once the sun goes down the lights turn on for the visual side of The Del during Christmas. 3 hours is a long time so don’t think you have to spend that entire time skating; you can skate for a while, then hop off the ice for something hot at the rink-side coffee bar that includes chairs that circle wood burning fireplace heaters. You may get on & off the ice as you please during your 3 hour session so pace yourself, explore The Del and notice all the little details of the hotel. The lobby is decked out for Christmas as well, so be sure to walk through there and you can also check out my photos of The Del during Christmas last year.
Zamboni Machine And A Coronado Sunset
You don’t have to be a registered guest to ice skate or explore the grounds, shop in the stores, eat in the restaurants or walk through the lobby of The Del. I’m telling you, a 3 hour $25 ice skating session will change your view of life and help you realize just how fortunate you are to live in or visit Coronado, CA. Below is a video that shows what a scenic, great time it is to Skate By The Sea. Cheers!
December 26, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Christmas Lights As Seen Through The Eyes Of A Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10
Every photo and video in this post was taken or filmed with a Sony Bloggie MHS-TS10 at night during the 2010 Christmas season. Bloggie seems to have a max ISO of 1600. I was ultimately impressed with what this camera can do, especially the video capabilities, with the exception of the slow focusing in low light. Seriously, at full zoom it wouldn’t focus at all until I zoomed out, waited for the focus at then slowly zooming back in. It was very frustrating.
Christmas Video Shot With A Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS10
So what are my impressions of the Sony Bloggie Touch? It takes FOREVER to focus in low light, but it records some damn fine video and photos. It fits in my pocket and powers up in less than two seconds so it is just about always ready to go. Use the photos and the video in this post as your guide. I didn’t include daytime photos in this post because every camera takes great photos with lots of light but only great DSLR’s and video cameras can do the same at night.
December 26, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Christmas Party At Macaroni Grill
At work, there is one thing employees tend to look forward to and that is the company Christmas party. Ours was at Macaroni Grill and I had chicken parmigiana with angel hair pasta. I personally very much appreciate when employers do thinks like this for their employees because it really does help to make me feel welcome and part of the team.
December 25, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
The Griswolds In La Mesa
If you don’t know who the Griswolds are then you should just turn around and walk away from my blog. Seriously, get your ass out of here until you can appreciate what I’m saying… Go watch the “Vacation” movies!
December 25, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Christmas Eve Mass At La Mesa Christ Lutheran Church
Christ Lutheran Church of La Mesa held a Christmas Eve mass, as all Christians do, but this particular mass spilled out to the front of the church. With candles in hand, these worshipers sang songs and then enjoyed hot chocolate and cider.
It’s hard to say why these parishioners lit candles and sang songs out in front of their church instead of inside their church. Some sort of projection of faith would be my best guess, while acting on an impulse to play with fire is a distant second best guess.
And The Choir Says Amen
For all you photographers out there, this paragraph is for you. I used a Nikon D5000 at 3200 ISO for all the shots in this post. Cranking up the ISO allowed me to keep the shutter speed at 1/30th the entire time. This is a shutter speed right on the cusp of being able to use without a tripod so I made sure to hold my breath and take my time every time I made a photo.
Let me just come right out and say that I am so glad the large sensors on actual DSLR’s enable me to leave my tripod at home. Those of you that have read my ABOUT ME page know that I hate carrying gear around, so being able to leave the BIGGEST piece of gear (my tripod) at home means I get to do the happy dance.
Low light photography tends to be lumped into the slow shutter speed box, so I’m here to say , “Ney!” Don’t be scared to up your ISO. I know there’s noise in these photos, but so what? Did you become a photographer to fight the noise of the world or to make great photography? For me, being a photographer is all about telling a story in spite of bad lighting, noise, motion or anything else. Great photographs transcend the digital pixels they are imprinted on.
Wait A Minute, He Kinda Looks Like A Baby
And so ends this very random collection of photos taken during the Christmas Eve mass at Christ Lutheran Church. Merry Christmas!
December 12, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
Hotel Del Coronado During Christmas 2010
Hotel Del Coronado is the most famous hotel in San Diego, with tourists and locals constantly walking in and around the hotel property, especially at Christmas. I suppose The Del is San Diego’s version of Rockefeller Center, a place where anyone can come on by and fill themselves with Christmas spirit while taking in one of the best beach locations on the planet.
Looking West From Hotel Del Coronado
A fairly heavy fog bank rolled in as I was taking these photos so instead of seeing Point Loma in the distance of the photo above, we see only the dark blue smudge of swiftly moving fog. This spot has been mentally noted for some blue hour photography in the near future, as well as to get some shots of the ice rink (The Del has it’s own ice rink at Christmas) and some better shots of the pool.
Once it became clear that the fog was in charge, I went into the main hotel lobby where Hotel Del Coronado’s world famous Christmas tree cheerfully stands watch every year. The hotel opened in 1888 during the Victorian Era, so the Christmas decor is accordingly Victorian. This is one of those places to understand they saying, “They don’t make them like this anymore.”
The Lobby Of Hotel Del Coronado During Christmas 2010
That concludes this brief tour of The famous Hotel Del Coronado, in Coronado CA. It is on just about every list and included in every book and video about places that people absolutely must see before they die, so don’t skip this by or ignore it all together. Once you see the hotel in person, you’ll understand why.