Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Moonbranches (Canon S90)

This image was taken at the San Diego Zoo. After a wonderful day exploring the park, the moon became brighter than the surrounding sky. The gnarly branches nicely highlighted the moon's presence.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Prayer Paper (Canon S90)

Many of the temples that once stood lonely on the Chinese landscape have now been incorporated into cities. At one such smoke-filled temple, pink prayer papers were tacked to the wall. These intriguing papers stood out on the rusted teal-painted metal wall. In a far corner, baby turtles splashed in a trough near the altar. The incense and water sounds masked the bustling city's noise and brought serenity to the worshipers. The shallow depth of field used in this composition helped to capture the magnitude of the pink prayer papers affixed to the temple's wall. Row after row, column after column.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Back-alley Storage (Canon S90)

Walking through China's back-alleys brought interesting surprises. In this street scene discarded items made for an interesting composition and commentary on Chinese life. Throughout villages and metropolises alike, people can be found literally sweeping the streets with brooms. Now that is public works!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stormy Falls

The drive north from Southern California was flawless. The skies were clear, the traffic light, and the perfect mix was playing on the stereo. With so many books and magazine articles highlighting Big Sur and McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, it was hard to imagine that the scenery would live up to the hype in my mind's eye. As we approached the Monterey Bay, looming clouds overtook an otherwise bright sky. A sinking disappointment set in as I realized blue skies would not grace the images I would later produce. However, the clouds did add the right element to many static images. Hiking through the burnt forests of Big Sur presented numerous opportunities. With waterproof boots strapped on, the rain-soaked landscape was exciting to venture into. On occasion we came across fallen gigantic redwoods that were charred on the exterior. The outer centimeter of these immense organisms was burnt, but under the charred flesh the trees were intact. Amazing! McWay Falls, pictured above, is a great sight to see. I arrived in the late morning to "ascending rain." The water droplets ascended the bluff from the ground upwards. The cove surrounding McWay Falls redirected the wind and precipitation up into my camera lens. I packed up and went back later in the day. Perfect! The clouds were right as the sunlight filtered through the western clouds, illuminating the flowing falls.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pastel Evergreen

The battering winds ceased and the rains stopped. The parched desert oasis that is San Diego needed every last drop. May the winds bring rain to all areas of the world riddled by drought.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunset (Canon S90)

On this gloomy and rainy day, may this image bring a little sunshine into your life!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fresh Rice Paper Express (Canon S90)

The large tour bus bounced down the rural road outside Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Since the driver rarely followed the posted speed limit and drove more slowly than allowed by law, the journey allowed exceptional vistas of the lush overgrowth in the areas surrounding Ho Chi Minh City. The bus slowed, pulled onto a gravel road, and took us to a hut used by a family selling souvenirs and freshly made rice paper. Many have eaten Vietnamese spring rolls filled with tender vegetables highlighted by the crunchy rice paper exterior, but few have seen the paper made by hand. The lady making the rice paper quickly crafted it in "easy" 4 steps. First she dipped what looked like half of a ping pong ball on a stick into the rice slurry and scooped just enough into a spreader. The spreader was then used to pour the slurry and spread it in a circular formation onto a cloth tray used for steaming. Perfect distribution is key because the mixture began cooking instantly, and after covering for 10 seconds, the rice paper was done. Then the lady used a long stick to remove the rice paper and place it on bamboo cooling racks (shown above). No one step sounds all that difficult, but it is the precision that makes each step in the process a hindrance. Without perfect distribution and timing, the rice paper would be ruined. By the way, this all took place in an dark hut!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tall Dusk (Canon S90)

Dusk fell across the coast with the sun's rays keeping the southern skies illuminated just a little bit longer. These tall plants called to be silhouetted against the blue sky.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Immense Gratitude to Military

Thank you to all the men and women of the United States' armed services. Thank you for serving our country with valor!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Scala a Spirale

After a long day's trek through Rome and the Vatican, I leaned on an iron banister to take a short break. This action brought my eye perfectly in line for this to capture this angle of three people descending a spiral staircase.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One, two, three...Family Portrait

The morning was crisp, the sun was bright, and the family was right! Today I photographed a great family at the beach. High tide was in, so we were up on the bluffs shooting down at the Pacific's crashing waves.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall is Coming, Fall is Coming

Fall has arrived in "America's Finest City."

Roof Detail

The western-setting sun slowly lowered on the horizon gently casting slight shadows and warmth upon this roof detail. The simple wood roof detail is inspiring in its paint color and pattern. Simplicity is often a virtue in this complex world. Hopefully architects will revitalize old architectural styles and merge them with new building practices. Today, much of the commercial design is relatively simple, but interestingly lacks detail. Sure glass exteriors with metal accents can be beautiful, but that type of building facade appears to have become the norm. It seems that for high-rise buildings design is more of an afterthought to the engineering elements focused on constructing one of the tallest buildings. The engineering in extremely tall buildings is to be applauded, but what if architects harked back to a time when individuality reigned supreme; when the tallest was sought, but not at the expense of constructing a beautifully unique and masterpiece? Would our skylines and neighborhoods look vastly different? Would construction methods change? These thoughts come to mind when admiring both the architecture of decades past and the contemporary construction projects currently underway.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ha Long Bay Peak

This limestone peak, carved by eroding winds and water, stood out among the thousands. Lush foliage curiously clings to the rock's edge and thrives. Can you find the small peak-roofed house at the water's edge? Each day was marked by overcast skies, but an overcast afternoon cruising on Ha Long Bay is a wonderful way to spend the day. The turquoise water, greenery, and stark cliffs were amazing sights to see.

Coffee Tea Shack...WiFi? (Canon S90)

Walking through a small Chinese village outside of Shanghai brought me to an interesting grouping of signs in a back-alley. This local retailer has a wonderful array of goods to barter, including WiFi. The merchant has done well to stay up with the times and even offers "WiFi," which is interesting because of current Chinese government policy. The Chinese government limited Apple Computer from selling the iPhone in China because the phone only contained WiFi hardware and not the government approved Wireless Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Evening Pathway (Canon S90)

As the sun fell on the horizon, this roadside park was awash in the warm glow of Shanghai's setting sun. The Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) building is one of the most simple high-rise office building in Shanghai, but one of my favorites. The aesthetics are simple, modern and sleek. The Shanghai waterfront bustles with activity at all hours of the day or night. Construction cranes sway, demolition debris are hauled, and welders light up unlit dark buildings with their molten sparks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

40,000 Feet Mid-Flight (Canon S90)

This photograph was taken west of Prince of Whales Island, Alaska and south of Juneau with 11 hours of flight time remaining. Beef tenderloin with carrots and mashed parsinips brought a taste of grandma's kitched to the dark skies over the ocean. This is not your parents' airline experience of late; this airline food could be served in any quality restaurant on land. The warmly illuminated cabin's lights dimmed after dinner and transformed the cabin into a tranquil blue glowing capsule in the north Pacific Ocean. Time for some sleep with classical music flowing through the provided noise-cancellation headset.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Purple Potato Macro (Canon S90)

The macro function on the Canon S90 works pretty well. The camera focuses extremely close at the widest focal length, but once the lens is zoomed at all, a longer working distance is required. The Canon S90 has an option for the center of the screen to be magnified. Once AF-Point Zoom is is activated the focusing area is magnified, thus assisting in achieving sharp macro shots! Just like all the other great Canon compacts, the S90's macro function is activated by pressing a dedicated button inside the back scroll-wheel. Overall, the Canon S90 handles beautifully. The camera is perfect for my needs; just small enough for a pocket and enough resolving power as well. (This image was captured at a whopping 6.0mm, at f/2.5 with an ISO of 80.)

Agave Tip (Canon S90)

Purple Pebble Path (Canon S90)

To Go Neon (Canon S90)

This image is being shared to show the IS capability of the Canon S90. This image was taken after the sun set at f/2, ISO 80, and 0.30 second exposure. The composition is nothing to call home about, but I thought you might like to see how the camera handles with a low ISO handheld at night. We all know that cameras today can achieve high ISOs with relatively lower noise than last generation cameras. I could have taken this at ISO 800 and a faster shutter, but for me, there still is too much noise at the higher ISOs.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Corner Office (Canon S90)

With the fall foliage and stark architecture, this building speaks for itself.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dripping Silhouette (Canon S90)

The silhouetted statue pictured above is located at University of California at San Diego. The falling water splashing river rocks below instills calm on the surrounding courtyard. Another beautiful day here in San Diego, California.

Friday, October 9, 2009

First Snapshots - Canon S90

My new Canon S90 just arrived. I picked up the camera, dashed home, "patiently" waited 30 minutes to put a little juice into the battery, and started snapping. The camera is great. Sure "great" is a pretty generic term, but it is sums up the Canon S90 very well. The camera is nice to handle, saturates the blues and red hues well, has good image stabilization, and works quickly. Plus the menu system looks, and functions better than any other point and shoot that I have owned. More writing to come about the camera, and more photographs too!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pompeiian Bricks

Blue sky, ancient red brick, and bright sun. There could not have been a better day to visit Pompeii. Most people focus on the destruction inflicted by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, but the strength of ancient construction is fascinating. This red brick wall endured a volcanic eruption and the eroding forces of time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Headless Berliner

Berlin was once a city marked by endless war, as displayed by this headless, limbless, and bullet riddled statue.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cool Blue Trevi

A cool blue evening fell upon the Trevi Fountain in Rome as a pleasant breeze gave respite from the barely tolerable warm wet air of summer. Romans and foreigners alike enjoyed the Trevi Fountain this fine evening in August. Italy is a country crisscrossed by aqueducts (modern and ancient) and the Trevi Fountain marks the end of the Acqua Vergine, an aqueduct with roots dating back to 19 BCE. Designed by Nicola Salvi and completed in 1762, the Trevi Fountain unites the community like so many Roman fountains. An art historian told our group that the Trevi Fountain's land was acquired by eminent domain (not fact-checked) and that the site was once a private residence. On this issue the world can agree that government intervention, along with skilled artisans and designers, brought beauty and enjoyment to countless millions!

Friday, October 2, 2009


This image encapsulates the impermanence of life. The crab exoskeleton and kelp stipe with pneumatocysts will one day erode into earthly nutrients just as the rock beach will turn to sand in years to come. Sand beaches seem to be the most common type of beach, so it is quite a nice surprise to stumble across a beach made up of large pebbles.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Benvenuto a Venezia

The snaking canals of Venice lead into the turquoise water of the surrounding lagoon. The waterfront residences and restaurants line the intersecting arterial canals. With each canal comes a new discovery and historic building. The glorious Grand Canal is best seen by motor boat, but many choose the timeless elegance of the gondola. Try speeding down the canal with windswept hair, sun bathed skin, and cool saltwater misting over the bow the next time you are in Venezia. The private boat ride is well worth the euros!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Capitol Tulips

Monolithic edifices dominate Washington, but during Spring, pastel-colored foliage brighten the city. The rich hues of new growth symbolize the hope we all have for our nation. Let freedom ring!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Poppy Patch

This "Golden State" may have become famous for the gold rush of the late 1840s, but the California countryside was golden long before James Marshall found gold in the river at Sutter's mill in January 1848. California attained statehood September 9, 1850 when President Fillmore signed the bill granting California's admission to the Union. The Golden State became an economic engine fueled by mining, farming, cattle, business, service industries, and enterprising individuals who saw opportunity and grasped it. Mineral gold may be behind the "Golden State" moniker, but the glorious glimmering California Poppies marked California's vistas centuries before the Forty-niners disembarked ships that traveled around Cape Horn, transcontinental transits from the East Coast of the United States, and from countless countries worldwide to find gold. The California Poppy, or Eschscholzia californica, is a golden flower that rises individually from a singular stalk and blossoms fan-like golden blooms in April annually. In 1903 the California Poppy became the state flower.

Orange Bug Glow

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ornate Balboa

Gemstones are not formed over night and neither was the jewel of San Diego, Balboa Park. In 1868, a 1,400-acre mesa elevated above Downtown San Diego ("New Town" at the time) was set aside for public use as a park and recreation area. Starting in 1892, San Diego City planners traded 32 acres of park-land to Kate Sessions in return for 100 planted trees annually. This action is one of the reasons that Balboa Park today is lush in the arid climate of Southern California. The first master plan was established in 1903 and construction commenced for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. The Exposition was held to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, an extreme engineering feat, even by today's standards. Many buildings were fabricated for this festival and were designed with great Spanish influence. The area surrounding the Botanical Building and the lily pond is one of the best spots in all of Balboa Park. Today El Prado, the main entrance into Balboa Park, looks much like it did in 1915. Spreckels Pavilion, the world's largest outdoor pipe organ, was built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. The organ contains over 4,510 pipes in 73 ranks. The Spreckels Organ Society holds free Sunday afternoon concerts and puts on the Summer Organ Festival, a free concert every Monday during the summer months. To boost the local economy during the depression, the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition was held in Balboa Park. More buildings were erected in other locations throughout the park. Balboa Park evolved from an elevated bluff to a city-center filled with museums (Photographic Arts, History, Air & Space, Automotive, Sports, Railroad, Museum of Man, and Veterans), performing arts centers (Old Globe, Civic Youth Ballet, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Junior Theatre, and Hitchcock Puppet Theater), and gardens (Lily Pond, Botanical Building, Parker Memorial Rose Garden, Old Cactus Garden, Palm Canyon, Zoro Garden, Floral Association, and Bay Fig Tree). In 2009, Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre jewel of San Diego, 141 years in the making. Please visit History of Balboa Park. for a detailed history of the park from inception to present-day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Capitol Moonrise

The sun fell in the afternoon sky and Thomas Crawford's Statue of Freedom watched the moon rise high above the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. The 15,000-pound, 19'6" tall Statue of Freedom stands watch over the nation's capital from her 288-foot perch. Despite the bitter cold (with windchill that would send most San Diegans scrambling for cover), the city was awash with a warm glow. More on the Statue of Freedom from the Architect of the Capitol.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bay Breeze

A week of relatively hot weather (90+ degrees) finally eased. The palms gently swayed in the offshore breeze carried by the Pacific. Low-lying coastal clouds captured the warmth of Del Mar's setting sun. The enveloping evening orange glow faded and transformed into pink, magenta, and soft iridescence.

Golden Gate

Imposing. Monolithic. Glorious. Wonderful viewing opportunities await at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. The grounds are excellent for a casual walk or to take in European masterpiece sculptures and paintings. The Legion of Honor is off the beaten path in San Francisco and is an underrated gem in the city. The $25 cab fare from Union Square is well worth it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


One of the many trails connecting Big Sur to the California coast was made possible by hand excavation in the early 20th century. This 120-foot tunnel was bored by hand to connect CA Highway 1 with a coastal dock for timber boats. The dock must have been treacherous to embark. Jagged golden rock riddled by ocean currents and salt air threatened approaching vessels; a disheartening for any mariner. The California coast abounds with opportunities.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Freeway Weeds?

Wildflowers sprout annually in California. This purple lupine bloomed in March and brought beauty to Interstate 805 for a few weeks. Beauty and color pop up in the most unlikely of places, including freeway off-ramps. So often we are caught up in the bustle of life. Take a breath, slow down, and who knows, you might catch a glimpse of nature that will brighten your day too! Take care.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Symmetrical Reflection

Construction commenced on the United States Capitol in 1793. Since then the building has been expanded, stonework changed, and history made. Visiting the Capitol and surrounding grounds instills pride in the patriotic. The United States Capitol is wonderful to visit for a lunch-time walk or for hours enjoying tours and the visitor center.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. is set among the Tidal Basin and surrounded by Cherry Blossoms in April. This monument for our third president is wonderful to visit during the day and night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

King Cruises

The signs along the waterfront in San Francisco prove to be interesting subjects. This boat sign is located at Pier 43 1/2. Normally San Francisco's spring/summer sky is mottled with low-lying fog, however this glorious June afternoon proved to be flawless.