Photography . . . Travel . . .

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Desert Road Trip - Day 1

I am attending an annual Mortgage Bankers Association conference, which is being held this year in Las Vegas. I thought it might more fun to drive from San Diego rather than fly, since I could take a few scenic detours (and a lot of pictures) along the way.  At Barstow I turned on to I-40, then got off the Interstate at Kelbaker Road so that I could drive through the Mojave National Preserve. I followed Kelbaker Road up to Kelso, where I toured the restored Union Pacific station, then took Kelso-Cima Road to Cima, then from there continued on Cima Road back to I-15 and Las Vegas. It felt good to get off of the Interstate and on to Kelbaker Road, heading north.

After several times pulling over to the side of the road to take pictures like the ones above, I finally got to the restored Union Pacific railroad station in Kelso. I had seen the twin of this station, in Caliente, NV, a few years ago, but it's pretty run down and surrounded by a chain link fence. The National Park Service has done a really nice job of restoring this station, and it now serves as a visitor center. They have even recently restored and reopened the old lunch counter. The sandwiches are actually pretty good.

I think that the old Kelso post office has seen better days.

From Kelso I headed for Cima, then from Cima turned north to link back up with I-15.  Kelso-Cima Road follows the rail line, and a train just happened to come just as I had stopped for some pictures.

Here's a shot looking south towards the Provident Mountains from Kelso-Cima Road. Yes, that is snow. From what the ranger said, I should have been here a few weeks ago, there was a lot more.

The worlds largest Joshua Tree forest is located along Cima Road between Cima and I-15. I passed through there just as the sun was setting.

I arrived at the Mandalay Bay Hotel at about 6:00PM, having left home at 9:30AM. The conference runs through Wednesday evening. On Thursday I'll head for home, but plan to take at least 2 days, with lots of exploration in the desert along the way.

Click here to see lots more pictures from the drive from San Diego to Las Vegas.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Moonlight Beach Sunset

I stopped by Moonlight Beach tonight after I left the office, got there just in time to see the sun set  below the horizon. Here's a shot straight from the camera (no manipulation) of a lady watching the sun set from the surf line.The waves look blurry because the exposure was 0.6 sec. Luckily she didn't move.

I did manipulate this next one a bit, boosting the color saturation some and changing the tint slightly for a cooler look.

I only took a few shots, you can click here to see the others.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

San Diego Zoo

So what do you do when you find yourself at the Zoo, and the longest lens you have is 70mm? Look for things you can get closer to, or maybe wait for something to happen. In this case, it was the Flamingo Feeding Frenzy. I just happened to get there right as the flamingos were getting their lunch. Even with such a short lens I could still get quite a few shots, as the birds were charging all over the place.

You can also get pretty close to the reptiles, luckily they're behind glass.

I did crop this next one a bit.

This guy hangs out by the entrance to the Bus Tour. He's real close to the railing.

Since I couldn't get close up shots of most of the animals with the lens I had, I went looking for other things to shoot.

It was nap time for the pandas (this shot was cropped a bit also).

Moonrise was around 11:30 this morning, here's the moon coming up behind an egret.

I probably spent well over half an hour at the flamingo pool when I first arrived at the Zoo today, and I stopped by again as I was leaving. I wound up staying there for another half hour, at least. I think I arrived just in time for the evening Flamingo Races. These birds really do get excited towards the end of the day.

Click here to see more from my afternoon at the San Diego Zoo.

Wandering Around Point Loma

The storms finally cleared up on Saturday, so after being stuck inside all week I just had to get out for bit. First stop was Point Loma Seafoods for a crab sandwich (forgot to get a picture). Looks like most of the sportfishing fleet is in port.

After lunch I drove out to the Cabrillo National Monument at the end of Point Loma. It was a bit hazy, but still a nice view of the city. Watched several Navy jets landing at NAS North Island.

Also watched an assortment of aircraft taking off.

Here's the old lighthouse.

While I was checking out the lighthouse I saw a Coast Guard helicopter heading out of the Bay at a fairly low altitude. Once he got around the Point and over by the tidepools he dropped down even closer to the surface, obviously looking for something in the surf. He left after a bit, must have been a false alarm. Not a real clear shot, as it was hazy, lots of spray from the waves, and this was shot almost directly into the sun.

Click here for more images from Saturday in Point Loma.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

San Diego East County Backcountry - Pine Valley and Campo

We spent the day on Saturday exploring around the southeastern part of San Diego County, mostly Pine Valley and Campo. Heather and I were joined by Fred, Sheri, James and Laura. Our first stop was for breakfast, at Major's in Pine Valley, on old US 80 (the main east-west route before I-8 was built). When we came back outside we found a couple of Shelby Cobras parked in front.

These things looked fast just sitting there. "Objects in mirror are losing".

Our next stop was the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo. They are running rides on their restored 1932 Model A Railbus on Saturdays in January. The rides don't go very far, about a mile or so east from the depot, then about the same distance west where they drop you off for a visit to the Gaskill Brothers Stone Store Museum.  This railbus was built in Fairmont, MN in 1932. It's 15 feet long, weighs 6,000 lbs. and is powered by a 4-cylinder 40-hp Ford Model A gasoline engine. It has four forward and four reverse gears, and it's really loud in there. The driver mentioned that they found out the hard way that if they run it in 4th gear it doesn't charge the battery, hence they generally don't use past 2nd.

The Stone Store building was constructed in 1885, after an earlier wooden version was raided by banditos in 1875.  

The railway museum has a huge collection of old engines and cars of all types. 

Here's the interior of an old U.S. Mail car.

There is quite a bit to see in Campo. During WWII the area was the site of Camp Lockett, which was both a cavalry training camp and a prisoner of war camp. Italian prisoners built a small shrine to the Virgin Mary that can still be seen nestled in the rocks off of what is now Sheridan Road.

We also stopped at the Motor Transport Museum, which is housed in the site of an old feldspar mill just down the tracks a ways from the railroad depot. Heather and I didn't stay long enough to shoot any pictures, as we needed to get back in time for the Booker T. Jones concert Saturday night. Click here for some images from a previous trip to the Motor Transport Museum.

Click here for more images from our little Saturday road trip.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Balboa Park (San Diego) in Infrared

I'll admit, I'm easily amused. Maybe that's why I like the fisheye lens so much (see the previous post for a link to several shots taken with a fisheye). I don't usually go in for "special effects", but my Pentax K20D has a jpg setting that mimics (more or less) infrared. It's a variation of the black & white settings, along with the colored filters. I used it for a few shots today in Balboa Park. The afternoon sky was partly cloudy, and the sun was bright. Here's the statue of El Cid Campeador (b. 1040), the national hero of Spain. The statue, by Anna Hyatt Huntington, is one of 5, 3 of which are in the U.S., the other 2 are in Spain. 

That shot is straight out of the camera, no editing. I did overexpose some from the meter reading because it was so backlit.

Click here to see more "infrared" images from Balboa Park this afternoon.

San Diego Maritime Museum

The San Diego Maritime Museum is a great deal - for $19.00 you get admission for a whole year. They've got several ships, including the Star of India, the ferry Berkeley, the HMS Surprise, a Russian submarine and a US submarine. It was a particularly nice day in San Diego today, quite warm in fact.

Here's a shot inside the Russian sub, looking into one of the forward torpedo tubes.

On board the Star of India.

Click here to see more images from the Maritime Museum today. Click here to see an earlier trip back in October 2009.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wild Animal Park - SD-DSLR January Group Shoot

The San Diego DSLR Photo Group met at the San Diego Wild Animal Park this morning for our monthly group shoot. It was a perfect day weather wise, getting up to the mid-70's. Lots of animals were out, and there were lots of migratory birds as well.

These little owls weren't migrating, but I liked the lighting on the little one in front. It reminds me of "Captain Kirk" lighting. Anyone who has seen the original Star Trek TV shows remembers how they used to put a thin band of light across Kirk's (William Shatner's) face when he was on the bridge of the ship.

Both the owl and this eagle are up on the walkway into the Condor Ridge exhibit, both are behind chain link fences.

This guy was sitting about 6 feet away from me while we were having lunch. The infrared effect was done in the camera. Everyone else was shooting with big long lenses, I had a 35mm lens on the camera, so I decided to try something different.

There were more than just birds out today.

Click here to see the rest of the gallery from today's trip.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Anza Borrego - Sat Jan 2, 2010 - The Slot, Buttes Pass

Heather and I joined another Xterra owner and his wife for a day of exploring in Anza Borrego on Saturday. We started out on Buttes Pass from Hwy 78, then turned into dead-end Hawk Canyon and followed that to the end, where we took a little hike. After that we continued on Buttes Pass to San Felipe Wash, and followed that west to Borrego Mountain Wash, where we turned south. Borrego Mountain Wash starts out wide and sandy but eventually gets narrow and a bit rocky in spots.

After a while the trail forks, with one fork eventually getting too narrow to drive and the other ending at the base of a drop-off that is designated as one-way, the other way. After checking out the drop-off we went back to the fork and continued up the wash and canyon until the trail became too narrow to drive in. From there we walked through a sandstone canyon known as The Slot.  

We stopped in a shady spot for lunch, then started walking. The trail starts out easily enough, but then gets narrow.

Here's Heather squeezing through a particularly narrow passage in the sandstone.

Here's a relatively wide spot.

It was pretty nice out there on Saturday. The high was about 75F, and there was almost no wind.

Click here for more images from our day in the desert.

About Me

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.