Or “The View from the Lighthouse Steps”. The old Lighthouse on Point Loma stands, appropriately, high above the bay and the city. What you see in the foreground is the water catchment and the cistern that kept the lighthouse supplied in all but the driest season. What you see in the sky, is enough water to fill the cistern several times over. The storm was still passing there to the east and south over and behind the city. It had cleared the Point about 40 minutes before…but another came through before dark. Several inches of rain over several days. That is pretty significant for San Diego and southern California in this dry year.
What attracts me in this image is the crystal clarity of the geometric rain washed foreground, contrasted with the geometry of the city fading into those amazing clouds. It is quite possibly the most successful shot I have taken from Point Loma, and, over the years of visiting in early March for the San Diego Birding Festival, I have taken many.
Sony NEX 3NL with 16-50mm zoom. 24mm equivalent. ISO 200 @ 1/800th @ f13. Processed for HDR effect in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
One of the things I like about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is that it is always changing and improving. Even the name changed since my last visit some years ago. It used to be the San Diego Wild Animal Park. This year the Tiger and Condor exhibit areas were closed for improvement. That is just another reason to get back there!
An addition since my last visit is the intimate “walk through” experience at the Lemur exhibit. It is one thing to see the Lemurs through the wires of the display, and quite another to right inside. Most of the day the Lemurs are resting in their nests, but if you catch them in a period of activity, as we happened to late in the afternoon of our visit, it is really an experience. They gamble and play all around you…leaping, running, chasing…paying you no attention, intent on Lemar business, often right at your feet, or within a long arm’s reach. You can photograph them with a cell phone camera and come away with frame filling shots!
I present just two of the many action sequences I photographed in maybe 20 minutes inside the enclosure (see how careful I am to avoid the word “cage”
And a bit of amorous action.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. Various focal lengths in shutter priority mode. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
Again. Such a treat. Such a bold initiative on the part of the Zoo. I love it!
Part of the mother and baby seal bond is learning to recognize each other’s breath…the unique smell of mother and child. When you see these kissing shots, that is actually what is going on. They are sniffing each other’s breath…memorizing the smell. I think that makes the action just that much more wonderful.
Taken at The Children’s Pool in La Jolla California. When we were there the volunteers on the stairs told us they are averaging 1 to 3 births a day.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 600mm equivalent. ISO 1250 @ 1/1000th @ f6.7. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
I have mixed feelings about zoo photography and zoos in general. I enjoy both, when they are well done, but it is a guilty pleasure. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly the San Diego Wild Animal Park) is certainly well done…one of the best places for non-zoo-looking zoo photography, and one of the zoos I enjoy most. Most of the animals have ample space…in natural settings…and many are free to roam in mixed enclosures covering up to 100 acres.
We had a great day there yesterday. Excellent light and cool enough so most of the animals were more active than usual. This large male lion actually seems interested in what he might find while exploring his enclosure.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 264mm equivalent. ISO 800 @ 1/800th @ f5.6. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
We drove up to the Scripps Park area of La Jolla yesterday in the pouring rain. It had let up by the time we found parking and started walking up the coast to the rocks where the Sea Lions congregate…and it stayed more or less dry as we walked back down to Children’s Pool where the Harbor Seals are birthing and feeding young on the beach. It was not the best light for photography, but with Brant’s Cormorant and Brown Pelicans in breeding plumage, and many Anna’s Hummingbirds and Song Sparrows working the bushes along the cliff-top, as well as the Sea Lions and Seals, I brought back enough images so it took me every spare moment all afternoon and into the evening to process them.
The weather did keep the numbers of Sunday Morning tourists down, so I was able, for the first time, to go down the stairs at the Children’s Pool and get this close-up portrait of a Harbor Seal. It was taken at just under 500mm equivalent with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and the 75-300mm zoom. ISO 1600 @ 1/1000th @ f6.4. I would rather of used a lower ISO, but I am still practicing hand-holding the long zoom and needed the shutter speed.
Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
On every trip to San Diego, I attempt to get out to Cabrillo National Monument at least once. It is a beautiful place, with an interesting lighthouse, great tide-pools and sea-side cliffs…and decent birding as well. The California Towhees at Cabrillo are the tamest I have ever seen. On a hot day, there are lizards too! And always the view out over San Diego Harbor and the city, and the sea stretching away to the west…whether it is fog shrouded or clear…whether the sky is solid blue or there are masses of clould.
Yesterday we drove to Cabrillo in heavy rain, and got there between stroms. We had just time to get into the Visitor Center were we waited out the last, and heaviest, rain of the morning. Coming out of the VC we had fresh washed landscape and amazing skies. Great stuff. Cabrillo as I have rarely seen it.
This shot, however is from the tide pool area a little later. One of the attractions of Point Loma is the soaring Pelicans as they ride the up-draft from the sea cliffs. They are, relatively speakng, easy birds-in-flight subjects and I am always tempted to try. As my equipment has developed year to year so has my success rate…Pelicans are pretty easy with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 that I am currently learning to use, even at 600mm equivalent. Good practice!
Camera as above. I got the flight-shot settings I am trying from another Olympus user on a forum…9 spot, continuous focus, 4 frames per second continuous shooting. Still learning, but I am happy with many of my Pelican shots. 600mm equivalent. ISO 200 @ 1/1600th @ f11. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
And for the Sunday Thought: Birds-in-flight are always a challenge, but, as I say, soaring Pelicans are about as easy as it gets. They are still in the air with locked wings, their flight pattern is predictable, and, at least on the cliff-tops at Cabrillo, they are close. Great practice birds because you have some chance of success on every attempt, and because, given the bird, the results can be spectacular when you do succeed. And really…those are ideal conditions for learning. Swallows can come later
I have a feeling that in the spirit it is much the same. Kindness, for some of us more than others, is always a challenge. The easy kindnesses are great practice…great practice for the times when real self-sacrifice is called for. The smile (with eye-contact) is maybe the Pelican in flight of the spiritul. You have some chance of success on every attempt, and when you succeed the results can be spectacular. It is easy to distain the easy stuff…but if we don’t do the easy stuff whenever we get a chance…we simply will never be ready for the hard stuff when it comes. Smiles and Pelicans today…Swallows and who knows what some day soon.
Bird of Paradise flower that is. One of the treats of my yearly San Diego trip is always the Bird of Paradise plants in full bloom. They are just so outrageously vivid. I like the flower, and I like the individual parts of the flower. This close-up turns the contrasting colors and shapes into an abstract composition.
Sony NEX 3NL with 16-50mm zoom. Macro mode. ISO 200 @ 1/200th @ f7.1. 75mm equivalent. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. Cropped for composition.
Isn’t that the name of a move? No? It should be (or maybe a band).
Anyway, every yearly late February/early March trip to San Diego, I go a little crazy with the flowers. Bogenvelia, Bird of Paridise, Hibiscus, Pepper Tree, and all the annuals planted around buildings! I mean! Perhaps I can be forgiven since at home I am enduring the next to last month of winter (which, to be honest, has its own charms): it has been along time since I saw flowers in any quantity, and it is still weeks away from the first crocus in the yard (sometime after the feet of snow and ice melts). Flowers in February are, so to speak, a sight for sore eyes. At least for me.
In 11 years, it has only once before been totally rainy during a San Diego Birding Festival, but this is a strong second. California certainly needs the rain, and I will not begrudge them a drop. I just took my umbrella out yesterday morning for some wet flower shots. This Hibiscus is growing on the grounds of the Comfort Inn where I am staying. I mean, is that red or what? (And you can count on Bird of Paradise to follow!)
Sony NEX 3NL with 16-50mm zoom. Macro Mode. ISO 320 @ 1/160th @ f5. 45mm equivalent. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.
So, honestly, I will never get tired of watching Long-tailed Curlews feed. It is so absolutely impossible. That long decurved bill is very efficient at probing deeply into the mud at the water’s edge for the tiny crabs it feeds on. The bill clamps down…kind of like catching a fly with chopsticks…and the bird draws the crustacean out. Fine…but then the food is suspended several inches from its destination, way down there in that long bill. The Curlew literally flips the crab, still alive, of course, up its bill and catches it in its mouth. The physics of the maneuver seems unlikly, but it apparently works. This is not the first photo I have taken of it (and Curlews have not gone extinct yet.
Olympus OM-D E-M10. 75-300mm zoom. 600mm equivalent. Shutter prefered. ISO 1000 @ 1/1000th @ f7.1. Processed in Snapseed on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. Cropped slightly.
If anyone is wondering…my posts this week are going to be late. I am on West Coast Time, in San Diego for the San Diego Birding Festival. This shot was in the San Diego River Channel near the Mission Bay Convention Center.
Rockport Massachusetts, on the tip of Cape Anne, north of Gloucester, is such just about your archetypal picturesque New England fishing village: there are postcard views just about where ever you look. This is one of the fishing piers and lobster boat basins just of the main street. It would have been easy to drive right by it, but we were looking for ducks in any likely spot, so we turned in. How could anyone resist taking a photo here?
Sony NEX 3NL with 16-50mm zoom. 24mm equivalent. ISO 200 @ 1/250th @ f16. Processed for HDR effect in Snapseed and Photo Editor by dev.macgyver on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. Because the lens distortions were distracting (at least to me), I used Perspective correction in Photo Editor to pull the buildings on the side back up straight.