Christmas at Hudson Gardens

December 25, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Hudson Gardens Purple Tree At Christmas

Hudson Gardens At Christmas

    Last night was Christmas Eve 2014 so I went to Hudson Gardens to check out their Christmas lights. After a few years photographing the lights at Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, freezing my ass off taking photos of lights in Historic Downtown Littleton and in Downtown Denver, I am a connoisseur of Christmas lights.

Hudson Gardens Christmas Lights On The Lake

Christmas Lights On The Lake

    This is the part where I ensure that Hudson Gardens will never retweet me or pay me to take photos of their place. I rode my bike along the South Platte River Trail to get there, locked it up on the west side of the gardens and then found myself unable to enter. I had a preprinted ticket in my pocket but the only way in was through the east side of the gardens, where the cars park. I wasn’t going to walk all the way around, so I just hopped the fence and went on about my business. I’m not saying you should sneak into Hudson Gardens in this manner, I’m just saying that I entered in this manner; with an $11 ticket in hand. I’m also saying that they should make their Christmas light show more bike trail accessible.

Reindeer At Hudson Gardens At Christmas

Reindeer At Hudson Gardens

    After I made my semi illegal entry into a venue I legally paid to enter, I just started taking photos. I was just being myself, making one lap with my camera in hand and then doing a second lap with my camera on a tripod. I think I may have the show Californication on the brain because it seemed to me that is was being chatted up and flirted with by more than one woman whilst I was trying to do my business of taking photos.

Christmas Trees At Hudson Gardens

Christmas Trees At Hudson Gardens

    Before I get ahead of myself by saying that I was recognized from my website let me say one thing; I was recognized by people that know me from my website. That doesn’t happen all the time; usually it’s only colleagues that recognize me when I’m covering a convention or an event. On this night I was just walking around taking photos, trying to keep my hands from sticking to my aluminum tripod in the freezing cold so it was neat to be recognized by a few people.

Christmas Lake At Hudson Gardens

The Lake At Hudson Gardens

    After consorting with my fans and posing for a few pictures I turned my attention back to the lights and my freezing hands. My particular style of photography is very tactile; I need to be able to feel buttons and turn dials in an uninhibited way so I never wear gloves whilst shooting. This was much easier to do when I was living on the beach in San Diego.

Santa at Hudson Gardens At Christmas

Santa At Hudson Gardens

    Anyway, I did a few laps and then headed home. As I write this, I’m enjoying Christmas Day with my family, waiting for an epic storm that will give Denver a white Christmas. It should be a blast. Cheers!

Ice Skating At Skyline Park

December 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Skyline Park Ice Skate Rink 16th Street Mall Denver

Southwest Airlines Rink At Skyline Park

    Skyline Park is in Downtown Denver, on the 16th Street Mall. It is three blocks long, half a block wide and is the venue for many different events and activities throughout the year. When it is not a host for special occasions, it is a nice place to take a break from your daily grind or from shopping at the mall. Right now, during the Christmas season it is home to an ice skating rink that is free and open to the public. I learned how to ice skate when I was young but in 1995 I discovered inline skating so almost 20 years ago I gave up the ice for the road. I’ve only ice skated a few times since the 1990s so I was excited, albeit a little nervous to try out this rink. So, on an unseasonably warm yet windy day, I headed out to ice skate in the middle of Downtown Denver.

Skyline Park Ice Skate Skating Rink 16th Street Mall Denver

Skating At Christmas On The 16th Street Mall In Denver

    I ended up making two trips to Skyline Park that day; once to skate and again to take photos. After I left for the second time I headed over to take photos of the Christmas Lights on the Denver City and County building so it was a very enjoyable day. After all these years I’ve managed to hold on to my ice skates so I brought them with me which saved the $2 skate rental fee. I just showed up, laced up my skates and hit the ice. I skated for about an hour, until my ankles started begging for mercy. I did fall down one time but I swear it wasn’t my fault; as I rounded one end of the rink a very strong gust of wind pushed against me, taking away my forward momentum and causing me to crumple to the ground.

Skyline Park Ice Skating Rink 16th Street Mall Denver D&F Tower

D&F Tower And Southwest Airlines Skate Rink

    The Southwest Airlines sponsored rink will be in place until the middle of February so you still have plenty of time to head down there for some winter sports fun. The rink is on Arapahoe Street just off the 16th Street Mall, right in the middle of all the action and very near the light rail. Having photographed the beachside ice rink at Hotel Del Coronado the last couple years I’ve become a fan of outdoor rinks in unique locations. This rink, sitting amongst the skyscrapers of Denver certainly qualifies as one of the most unique places in the country to have a skate. Cheers!

Denver City and County Building Christmas lights

December 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Denver City And County Building Christmas Lights 2013

Denver City And County Building Christmas Lights

    The Christmas season has officially arrived in Denver and mercifully, the winter weather has not. If the weather psychics are correct that’ll all be changing over the next few days but yesterday it was sunny and warm enough that I didn’t need a jacket or a beanie until after the sun went down. I arrived in Downtown Denver and Civic Center Park about an hour before sunset with two specific things on my agenda; to ice skate in Skyline Park and to photograph the Christmas lights at the Denver City and County Building. I was able to do both and even though I skated before I went to the City and County building, the photos from the ice rink will be in my next post. I really like how Denver embraces Christmas because it doesn’t conform to what the rest of the country does at this time of year which is to blend every December celebration into one big holiday. Denver decorates its buildings and holds a parade to celebrate Christmas, not some generic collection of holidays. I love Denver!

Denver City and County Building Christmas Lights Straight Up 2013

Under The Christmas Lights In Denver

    As it turned out, I arrived much earlier than I needed to. I incorrectly assumed the lights would be turned on at sunset, but they were not turned on until almost an hour and half after sunset. My original plan was the go directly to Skyline Park to ice skate, then go to the City and County building to take photos, go back to the ice rink to take night photos and then jump on the light rail to head back home. I wanted to make photographing the ice rink the last thing I did because it’s very close to the light rail while the City and County building is not. Alas, my journey ultimately consisted of skating, going to Civic Center Park to wait for the lights, going back to the ice rink, returning to Civic Center with the now lit Christmas lights and then going back to the light rail to head home.

Denver City and County Building Christmas Lights Up Close 2013

Christmas Lights In Denver

    There are a lot of people taking a lot of photos of everything these days so it’s becoming more and more difficult to be original. Instagram and iPhones have the general population believing they take good photos and that their photos are adding something to the ethosphere, but they’re not. It’s cool that people are sharing where they’ve been in a way that’s more accessible than a traditional slide show but you need to remember that just because you can drive a car doesn’t mean you can be a mechanic.

Denver City And County Building Christmas Lights Full View 2013

Denver City And County Building At Christmas

    Either way, I had a great time spending and afternoon and an evening in Downtown Denver. Civic Center Park, The 16th Street Mall and everything in between was my playground for the first time in almost a decade. I am so glad to be back in Denver that I may just have to run for mayor. Below is a video version of this post. Cheers!

Historic Downtown Littleton Christmas lights

December 2, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Downtown Littleton Main Street Christmas Lights

Main Street Christmas Lights In Littleton

    I have been away from Denver and Colorado for eight years so I am very anxious to see some familiar places. There really is no place like home and Denver in all its Mile High glory will always be my home, no matter how much time I spend away. Fortunately for me, it is the Christmas season so the entire metro area has decked their halls with decorations and their trees with lights. I grew up in Littleton, a suburb southwest of Denver, so heading to their Downtown Main Street District to see the Christmas cheer was at the top of my to-do list. It’s not a huge area but it is a very traditional American main street and all the businesses are local. I found out that there is a Historic Downtown Littleton Merchants Association (HDLM pronounced “Hoodlum”) that meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 8am in the Town Hall Arts Center. It always makes me happy to be in a community that retains its identity by supporting local businesses instead of replacing everything with a Wal-Mart. The photo above shows a westward view of Historic Downtown Littleton and the Christmas lights on Main Street.

Downtown Littleton Christmas Tree Main Street

Christmas Tree In Littleton

    On this particular day I was not in downtown Littleton to shop, I was there to see the Christmas lights. One of the best things about this area is that it is very pedestrian and bicycle friendly so I was able to ride my bike up the South Platte River Trail directly into downtown and lock my bike right on Main Street. There are bike racks all up and down the street as well as at the nearby light rail station so bike parking is not a problem. The Denver metro area has done a great job of ensuring that alternate forms of travel such as biking, skating, taking the bus or riding light rail have been able to grow and have kept pace with new roads for cars. As such, I am enjoying every sunny day I can out on the trails before winter finally drops the temperature too low to comfortably bike around. I rode and took the photos for this post yesterday, the first day of December and it was almost 60 degrees before the sun set!

Downtown Littleton Christmas Tree Plaza

Christmas Trees In Historic Downtown Littleton

    At the west end of Downtown Littleton is what I suppose you would call the official Christmas tree for the city. It is in a grassy area at the intersection of Main Street and Santa Fe Drive. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving there is a candlelight walk along Main Street that ends with Santa Claus and a contest winning child turning on the lights and officially starting the Christmas season. It is so good to be back in Denver, amongst evergreen trees and mountains; even the soon to come snow will add some joy to a season that I have not been able to properly enjoy for eight years. A California Christmas with decorated palm trees on the beach just isn’t the same as a Colorado blue spruce after a light dusting of snow. Cheers!

Hotel Del Coronado Christmas Fireworks

November 29, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

hotel-del-coronado-christmas-fireworks-2012

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.

sand-castle-at-hotel-del-coronado

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!

hotel-del-coronado-fireworks-show-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.

hotel-del-coronado-christmas-fireworks-beach

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.

Christmas Fireworks On Coronado

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!

Skating by the sea at Hotel Del Coronado 2012

November 26, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Skating by the sea Hotel Del Coronado 2012

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!

Skating by the sea Hotel Del Coronado 2012

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.

Skating by the sea Hotel Del Coronado 2012

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.

Skating by the sea Hotel Del Coronado 2012

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!

Hotel Del Coronado is a California Christmas

November 25, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Hotel Del Coronado lobby and Christmas tree 2012 as seen with an 8 mm fish-eye lens

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.

Hotel Del Coronado with Christmas decorations 2012

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 is 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.

Hotel Del Coronado lobby and Christmas tree 2012

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 during Christmas 2012

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.

Hotel Del Coronado lobby and Christmas tree 2012 as seen with an 8 mm fish-eye lens

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.

Hotel Del Coronado Incinerator Tower At Christmas 2012

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!

Christmas 2011 At Hotel Del Coronado

December 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

hotel-del-coronado-lobby-at-christmas

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.

hotel-del-coronado-lobby-christmas-tree

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.

hotel-del-coronado-christmas-tree-ornaments-2011

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.

sleeping-in-hotel-del-coronado-christmas-lobby

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!

Skating by the sea at Hotel Del Coronado 2011

December 8, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

hotel-del-coronado-christmas-lights-ice-rink

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!

ice-skating-hotel-del-coronado-at-sunset

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.

hotel-del-coronado-christmas-lights-ice-rink

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.

hotel-del-zamboni-machine-at-sunset

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!

Company Christmas Party

December 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Macaroni Grill

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.

Griswold Family Christmas In La Mesa

December 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Christmas Lights La Mesa

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!

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa

December 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

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.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

        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.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

And The Choir Says Amen

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

        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.

Lutheran Christmas In La Mesa 2010

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!

Angelique: Living Music Box

December 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Angelique Living Music Box

Angelique: The Living Music Box

Angelique Living Music Box

Angelique Living Music Box

        Zoe Tantrum is the artist responsible for creating this living music box. If you like these photos, be sure to check out my earlier post which has more photos of Angelique: Living Music Box as well as photos of La Mesa, CA during their annual Christmas festival.

Hotel Del Coronado At Christmas 2010

December 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Hotel Del Coronado With Christmas Lights

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.

Hotel Del Coronado With Christmas Lights

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.

Inside Hotel Del Coronado At Christmas

Hotel Del Coronado With Christmas Lights

        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.”

Inside Hotel Del Coronado At Christmas

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.

Christmas In The Village – La Mesa, CA 2010

December 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Angelique Living Music Box Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Angelique – The Living Music Box At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across “Christmas in the Village” on La Mesa Blvd. last night. Tonight (December 11, 2010) is the final night of this 2 day, free event so grab your kids and bring your appetites on down to La Mesa tonight for some Victorian Era decor, fun and food. The photo above shows Zoe Tantrum performing as Angelique: The Living Music Box. This was something I’ve never seen before and was the highlight of the time I spent spent wandering around.

Food And Rides At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Food And Rides At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        I’ve lived 5 minutes away from the pizza joint above, but I’ve never eaten there, which is amazing considering the amount of pizza I’ve eaten since moving to La Mesa. During the Christmas festivities however, San Filippo’s Pizza is serving pizza by the slice for $2. I practically dove through the door when I saw that sign because I was very cold, I had been craving a slice of pepperoni pizza and I wanted to try out the place. They had run out of pepperoni slices when I entered though, and there was a several minute wait that I just didn’t want to hang around for, so I have a reason to return tonight so I can FINALLY sample San Filippo’s Pizza.

Dancing At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Dancing In The Village

        The troupe above were dancing and performing to Christian songs and I would say they seemed to be having the most fun of anyone else there.

Children At Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Entertaining The Children

        There are about a half dozen “sit-down” things to watch like musical bands, puppet shows, buskers, etc. All of it is free and it’s fun for the whole family. Bring your appetites as well because all the restaurants are open late.

Angelique Living Music Box Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Zoe Tantrum As Angelique – The Living Music Box

        Watching this performer was memorizing, like watching a whirling dervish. Oddly simple, totally original, yet requiring years of patient practice to look beautiful and graceful.

Bucket Brothers Christmas In The Village La Mesa 2010

Bucket Brothers At Christmas In The Village – La Mesa

        The Bucket Brothers are a comedy drumming sensation that will make you laugh and will probably have you singing along before you leave. So come down the Christmas in the Village in La Mesa tonight for all the Christmas cheer yo want and all the food you can eat. Below is a video of Angelique – The Living Music Box. Cheers!