Oct 10, 2016

The Importance of Wonder

Several large skyscrapers from Los Angeles

I had a different childhood than most kids. Both my parents served in the US Navy, and I spent almost my entire early and formative years overseas.  Whether through AFRTS (armed forces radio television) indoctrination or just plain old childhood observation, I learned that it was important that I never present a myself as a tourist.
Tourists are targets.

At least that is what I remember thinking as a child.

Also, American tourists, in my experience were horrible people.  I would see them in airports and hotels and quite vividly remember being appalled at their behaviour. They were always so very loud and obnoxious. I witnessed their pushy and entitled demeanor and was embarrassed. Whenever I travelled, I would even deliberately hide my accent in an attempt to hide my Americanism from anyone I might encounter just to remove what appeared to me, to be a very embarrassing association. Don't be a tourist, but if you're going to be one especially don't be an American one.

Oct 5, 2016

The Golden Hour

Rich sunset over San Diego Mountains.
The Golden hour makes for Golden Sunsets 

That right there is one hell of a picture wouldn't you say?  Honestly, I am a terrible photographer. Even in this day and age when you would think no-one can take a bad photo, I manage to succeed at just that about 80% of the time. It's quite extraordinary really.

But what I lack in skill I make up for in sheer volume! I take pictures as if the world will end tomorrow and the only surviving account of what happened here will undoubtedly be the photos I've been taking with my Galaxy Note 4.  It adds an element of excitement to the whole thing.  I would say that I have collected somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 thousand photographs, almost all of which are stored in the cloud.

Data charges? Oh don't worry on that account. I scored a Terabyte of free data from Google for being a level 4 Local Guide (you don't want to know) and Flickr gives away another TB to new subscribers. So believe me when I say data storage is not an issue.

The photograph above, was taken a little below Mount Woodson, a quite famous hiking trail in Poway California. The timing of the photograph is what I would like to discuss in more depth however.

Up until a few years ago I had never heard of 'the golden hour' or 'the magic hour' as it is also called. This wondrous phenomenon has captivated me recently I have made deliberate attempts over the last few days to take advantage of the unique light that is produced during such hours. Essentially, the golden hour is a period of time just after sunrise and before sunset, when the Sun's  altitude is particularly low and its light passes through the atmosphere at a certain angle.

Small wooden Buddha statue in golden hour reddish light.
My little Buddha loves the Golden Hour 

Oct 2, 2016

Little Black Mountain

Shrubbery and large rocky mountains extend for miles.

I enjoy the great fortune of being able to hike nearly whenever I choose.  I can walk out the door of my house and be on a hiking trail within minutes.  Seconds, if I move fast enough.  Black Mountain Open Space Park sits just north of this little town of Rancho Peñasquitos, a suburb of San Diego, and its primary denizen, Black Mountain itself, looms over the town and can be seen for dozens of miles. The park hosts many hiking trails and boasts all sorts of hidden treasures like an abandoned arsenic mine and a newly installed 'Trail for all People' that affords natural scenery and hiking for the disabled. 

I've been climbing (Little) Black Mountain for so many years now, I truly have no idea how many times I've reached its summit.  When I was a senior at Mt. Carmel High School, which literally sits at the foot of the mountain, my wrestling Coach demanded that all of us who really wanted 'to succeed' should climb the mountain every Friday before school as a morning workout. Later, I would climb it to prepare for the Pacific Crest Trail. These days I tend explore the parks less prominent, but no less interesting features. 

White guy sweat from hiking takes a selfie
Another Sweaty hiking Selfie

Black Mountain always seems to make its way onto the schedule whenever one of my more active friends comes to visit. The other day, a good friend of mine, LaLoba came back into town after spending the summer in Alaska, and of course, I managed to fit Black Mountain into our otherwise already full day of hiking.