Tag Archives: San Diego

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Summer

Even though summer days can be quite hot here in San Diego, they are my favorite time of the year. I love the extended daylight in the evening, the blue skies and the summer fruit galore: peaches, nectarines, cantaloupes, watermelons, berries…

I wanted to share the great harvest my garden can bring in the summer, but since it’s not summer yet, I have to use pictures from last year’s garden. I planted a couple of raspberry bushes last spring and our first summer harvest was small but delicious.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: summer raspberries

WordPress weekly photo challenge: summer raspberries

The raspberry bushes kept on producing into the fall, even this winter. Today I have tons of raspberry canes in my garden and they’re forming new buds. I can’t wait till we pig out the whole summer!

Of course, Southern California weather is great for growing tomatoes and I usually get quite a lot out of my plants.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: summer cherry tomatoes

WordPress weekly photo challenge: summer cherry tomatoes

Unless I get unwanted visitors like this gross, yet beautiful, insect called a tomato hornworm. It’s about 3 inches long and if left alone, will devour tons of tomatoes and tomato plants, which it turns into green poop. Lovely. Those suckers hang on so hard to the tomato plant, you have to cut the branch off to get rid of them.

Tomato hornworm

Tomato hornworm

Summer is also about blooms and butterflies. Check out this beautiful tiger swallowtail butterfly, as busy as can be, sucking the nectar out of my bougainvillea. He could care less I’m right there to take his picture.

Tiger swallowtail butterfly on bougainvillea

Tiger swallowtail butterfly on bougainvillea

What’s your favorite part about summer? I wrote a list of my summer favorite activities about a year ago. Feel free to share your list too.

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Unfocused

The first thought I had when I read this week’s Wordpress photo challenge was to feature my mind. There’s nothing more unfocused in my life than my mind right now. Scrambled thoughts? Checked. Lack of focus? Checked. Wheels spinning and nothing moving? Checked.

Of course it’d be pretty hard to take a picture of my mind and it might even scare you a bit. The good news is, I’m working on clearing up my mind and turning my many thoughts into action. I’m getting my days organized so I can get the important things done. And it seems to be working, so I’m taking it day by day. My biggest challenge at this point is not only to handle the urgent items, but also the ones that have been sitting on the back burner for so long, they make me my creative side itch. Have you ever had that feeling? It sure feels good to scratch the itch once in a while.

But I digress, and I’ve done a lot of that recently,  so let me get back on track. Unfocused is one thing I’m very good at when I take pictures, especially when I use the macro feature. My camera is VERY good at focusing its macro on everything except the very thing I’m interested in. I’m sure there’s a trick to it but I haven’t figured it out yet.

So I often end up with images that clearly lack focus. And getting rushed by my kids doesn’t help. Last weekend we went to the zoo and I got the opportunity to take pictures of beautiful flowers. At some point, I spotted a butterfly on some lovely purple flowers so I decided to use the macro to capture it. This is how most of my images turned out, with no real focus on anything in the frame.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Unfocused

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Unfocused

Fortunately I managed to take one single image that turned out OK, even though I’m not too crazy about the lighting situation. But at least the subject was in focus. Unlike my kids, who had run away to the exhibit next door and kept calling me to come and see a tiny antelope called dik dik. I’ll admit it was pretty cute. But I still like my butterfly better.

Butterfly on purple flowers

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Sun

Since I live in San Diego, CA, I get to see a lot of sun. More sun than many people in other parts of the world. And even more sun than the people who live by the beach in San Diego and experience the thick marine layer that won’t lift off many days of the year.

Even though it can get pretty hot in the summer (90 degrees and up in the middle of the day is common, 35 degrees and up for those of you outside of the U.S.) and we go through a lot of sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, I can’t complain. It doesn’t as hot as the rest of the Southwest (boiling Arizona, anyone?) and I never experience “lack-of-sunlight” caused depression, i.e. seasonal affective disorder, in the winter.

The weather is the main reason I moved to San Diego 14 years ago and I don’t regret my choice. It’s also a great place to raise little kids, with so many attractions to visit and a wide variety of landscapes. Am I making you want to move here yet? Wait, gas is at least $4.25 a gallon now, always one of the highest prices in the country. How does that sound?

There’s something about the San Diego sunlight that makes for great photos. Maybe it’s the latitude we’re at and the way the sun rays hit us, but our sky is often a gorgeous blue. However, if you want to take great pictures of landscapes, you need to do it early in the morning or from the right angle, or in the winter, when the sun rays aren’t so bright. Otherwise, you get something like this:

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Sun

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Sun

That day I was trying to take a photo of the different types of steam clouds caused by several airplanes in the sky, but no matter how low or high I aimed the camera, I kept getting the sun rays in the lens. The sun was just in the wrong place for me. 

Last year when we went on vacation to Iddylwild, a lovely tiny town in the mountains of Southern California, we got to enjoy several walks in the woods. It was refreshing to see so many large trees, mostly fragrant pine trees, especially since 95% of the trees in the mountains of San Diego County burned down in the wildfires of 2003, and then again in 2008. I took a lot of pictures during our trip, but I like this one especially, showing the imposing height of this pine tree as it hides the sun behind.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Sun behind a pine tree in Idyllwild

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Sun behind a pine tree in Idyllwild

Look at this wonderful tree. Nature stands tall in front of me, and I can only bow in admiration.

The golden eyes – a missed opportunity

In yesterday’s post, I described how the tow truck driver who rescued me and recharged my dying battery had “golden” eyes. I hesitated to ask his permission to take a picture of his eyes, for fear of sounding a little freaky.

Several of you scolded me expressed disappointment for keeping those golden eyes all for myself. You even asked me to find a picture of real golden eyes so I could share my once-in-a-lifetime encounter. So I did what every person would do. I googled “golden eyes.”

Damn, you guys were right! I should have taken a picture of those eyes because finding a REAL set of golden eyes is impossible. Well, except if you’re looking for Bella’s new golden eyes, after her beloved hubby turns her into a her vampire in the Twilight saga. There are tons of those in cyberspace.

Twilight's Bella and her vampire golden eyes

Twilight's Bella and her vampire golden eyes

Honestly, now that I’m looking at this picture, the truck driver’s golden eyes looked a lot like Bella’s. I doubt he was a vampire though, especially since he didn’t mind walking around in San Diego’s super bright daylight, with no sunglasses on. So I went on with my Google search and the closest image I could get was on another WordPress site called Varungenius’s Blog.

Golden eyes

I still think this woman’s eyes look more hazel than golden so I retouched them in Photoshop. Here are the real golden eyes I saw yesterday. Pretty neat, huh?

Real golden eyes

Real golden eyes