La Jolla Shores is a righteous beach: good swimming, okay surfing (I’m told), and excellent Southern California sights. As mid-twentieth-century architecture has grown on me, I’ve even come to appreciate the homes and UC buildings overlooking the beach—but what must it have been like to visit here 100 years ago?
A study in the contradictions of California and the importance of federal lands: In the foreground is Coronado, home of resorts and Navy SEALs. This is the developed, modern California. The cliffs in the background are Cabrillo National Monument, where the first Europeans reached the West Coast in 1542. I imagine that the peninsula would be equally carpeted with homes if not for the presence of the monument. I appreciate the contrast.
Time zones are a source of confusion and consternation (seriously, they’re insane to deal with). Jet lag can be surprisingly disruptive. There are some temporal challenges to transcontinental (not to mention intercontinental) travel.
But sometimes the time zones align and travel makes waking at dawn trivial. To get a view of the San Diego skyline with the perfect mix of lighting and color, and with minimal sleep deprivation, was a treat.
Toaster glow sunlight was the result of through marine-layer haze coating San Diego every evening. I couldn’t help but notice the three abnormally large ships in this image: In the distance, two Navy aircraft carriers are the essence of industrial, practical form. Moored in the foreground is a truly massive sailing yacht that is 100% style. Look at how it dwarfs even the ostentatious motorboats beside it. Quite the contrast.
Though they’re not necessarily explicitly surreal, I found these three images buried on the memory card from my most recent trip to San Diego. I thought that they might make a sort of “disparate triptych.”
To begin: The field beneath my hotel room had the odd stubbiness of coastal California grass, and seeing a formally dressed person isolated in that setting was strange.
I don’t remember taking this image—my finger must have been on the shutter as I swung from one composition to another at night. I like the striations.
And this last shot, of my seatmate during the transcontinental flight home, is the least surreal. Lots of pleasing pinks and light refracted from optical surfaces.
Traveling back to California for the first time since I left in 2013, I realized I had forgotten the little but important differences: the streets are crowded with cars instead of trucks and the air is saturated with a different set of volatile organic compounds.
From another perspective and at another time, this photograph captures the same Omni hotel and Petco Park from one of my earliest Decaseconds posts, almost four years ago. How odd to be back again.
I’ve always enjoyed photographs where I can contrast the stark geometries of man-made objects with the stochastic curves of most natural forms. (You can see the theme again in Part I.) In this case, I love the hexagonal cross-section and rough texture of the concrete in comparison with the smooth, vibrant waves.
San Diego’s Civic Center, as I’ve shown previously, is a pretty surreal place. There’s certainly a feeling that you’re supposed to be in the nexus of the city’s of law and justice, but literally just around the corner, the buildings are plastered with signs for race tracks and the curbs and lined with homeless folks. I liked the way this image showed the broad sidewalks mostly abandoned, with only traces of waking life here and there.
La Jolla Shores is one of my favorite beaches in the country (as I’ve posted before) in large part due to the incredible variety it presents. The northern end of the beach abuts Scripps and all manner of salt-encrusted concrete constructions; the southern end is home to the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and often has beach weddings. On the beach itself, swimmers stay on the southern end, while surfers dominate the northern half. Behind all of this is a little park, lined by palms, and if you go there in the evening, the smell of families barbequing is absolutely intoxicating.
I’ve already posted a few shots from inside the Westgate Hotel, but very few of the view outside. The civic center area of downtown San Diego has a strange claustrophobia to it that I’ve not felt in cities like Chicago or New York, despite their narrower streets. As the morning light first started to battle past the towers, I was feeling this constriction most poignantly.
This shot is a single-RAW HDR, derived from a shot I took almost randomly when I was last in San Diego. I loved the muscles of the horse contrasted with the regular pattern on the palm behind it. Still, I’m a little disappointed by how much clutter is in the shot. It’s surprisingly difficult to get “clean” shots in an area like Show Park.
My last trip to La Jolla, CA gave me a chance to shoot from the summit of Mt. Soledad. I’m continually astonished by the degree to which nature has been remodeled by the folks who settled California.
My time at San Diego’s Westgate hotel really was delightful. As I described previously, the environs are beautifully refined by the standards of West Coast lodging. Every wall was clad in these wonderfully-texted wallpapers, and every door used (instead of a keycard) the most fascinating electronic keys. It all felt Byzantine and sophisticated and antique.