Category Archives: Out & About

Picture of the Moment—Trash by any other name is still trash

Picture of the Moment

Yesterday,  when I drove Highway 94 to Tecate to get pictures of the Big Border Wall Baby, I passed a CalTrans maintenance dump where they accumulate rocks, crumbled concrete and asphalt, and items discarded at the side of the road by uncaring individuals. The dump had a unique sign:

It's trash day

As my wise old grandmother might say: “Trash by any other name is still trash.”

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Out & About—The bad guys don’t drive bright red cars

Out & About

Some readers might have seen the news over the past couple of weeks about a giant baby in Mexico peering over the border wall into the United States. It’s over in Tecate at coordinates 32°34’46.8″N 116°35’20.6″W or 32.579667, -116.589056

Location of the giant baby at the border wall in Tecate

Border Wall baby

Yes, we already have a border wall here in San Diego County.

Border wall

Border wall

Border wall

Border wall

Some of it, like in the pictures above, is about ten years old. Other sections, like the numbered panels in the picture below, are even older.

Border wall in San Diego County

Border Patrol agents like to park their vehicles in hidden locations on the top of mountain peaks, which, I’m sure, often results in the following conversation:

BP Agent 1: I see movement. 773.
Agent 2: I see it, too.
Agent 3: Copy.
Agent 2: Oh my God.
Agent 1: What is that?
Agent 3: It’s a little baby!
Agent 1: But it’s got YUGE hands!

Border Wall baby

I call it the “Border Wall Baby.” It was created by an anonymous French street artist who goes by JR. It is seventy feet tall and is basically a billboard support by scaffolding on the Mexico side.

Border wall baby

Border Wall baby

Border Wall baby

It will remain until early October, so if you want to see it, you don’t have much time.

JR says that he did not plan the art to coincide with Twitler’s announcement to repeal DACA, a program to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. We have to believe him since Twitler is unpredictable and the scaffolding took six weeks to build.

Border Wall baby

Border Wall baby

The concept came to JR in a dream and is based on an actual baby named Kikito who lives in one of the houses nearby. JR told news reporters, “I wonder, is this kid worrying about what will happen? What does he think? At 1 year old, you don’t see the frontier or which side is better.”

Kikito’s mom weighed in, as well. As JR tells it, “She was so happy, and she told me she hoped the image travels around the world. In her own words, she said it should help people think that they are not criminals; they are not rapists, which is how she feels Mexicans are often being portrayed. He’s just a little kid; he’s 1 year old, that’s why he has no political vision about the wall yet. He’s just looking at anything around him with curiosity.”

I got stopped three times by Border Patrol agents. The first asked me what I was doing. When I told him I was looking for the Border Wall Baby, he gave me explicit directions of how to get there and once I finished, to turn around and come back. To go any father would require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. The second agent asked me what I was doing, and I told him I had just been to take pictures of the Border Wall Baby. He said, “I thought it was something like that because the bad guys don’t drive bright red cars. They try to blend in.” The third one just waved me on by.

My bright red vehicle

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—Classic car show & chili cook-off in Alpine CA

Out & About

One of my favorite places to go in San Diego County is Alpine. It’s a mountain community at an elevation of 1,842 feet above sea level but is not too deep in the mountains. No winding mountain roads with 25 mph speed limits. In fact, Interstate 8 can get you there very quickly at 70 mph. Now that I live in Winter Gardens, I’m a mere 10 miles from Alpine. I can see myself going there often.

Alpine, California

Yesterday I headed to Alpine for the annual classic car show and chili cook-off.

Classic car show in Alpine, California

Classic car show in Alpine, California

Classic car show in Alpine, California

Mr & Mrs Redd were there with all the kids.Classic car show in Alpine, California

This dog is not what you think.
It’s a dog statue. Where do you buy a dog statue like that?
Dog statue

Only 90 years old. What’s the problem?
Classic car show in Alpine, California

My wise old grandmother had a 1960 Chevrolet Impala.
It had chrome everywhere. I hated it because I was the one
who had the privilege of polishing the chrome every weekend.
I don’t miss chrome but I do admit that it’s pretty when it’s shining.
Classic car show in Alpine, California
When you have connections, you can arrange to have your car show number
match the year of your classic car, in this case a 1957 Chevy Bel Air.
Just to the right of the drive-in tray you can see the window sticker.
Classic car show in Alpine, California

Here’s a close-up of the window sticker.
For a mere $2,846 back in 1957,
you could have had this classic car.
You dummy. What did you spend your money on?
What were you thinking?
Classic car show in Alpine, California

When I headed over to the chili cook-off, I saw lots of people
wearing Granite Hills Key Club shirts,
like these four who graciously agreed
to let me take their picture:
Alpine chili cook-off

Back in 1972 I asked my wise old grandmother what I could do to help others. She told me about Key Club at Henrietta M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas. I joined. That was my first experience volunteering and helping out. I followed up Key Club by joining Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity at Texas A&M University, and then continuing my volunteering even unto the present day.

Chili cookoff

Pirate Chili won my vote for best chili and best decorated booth.
It didn’t hurt that their chili came in a free ceramic pirate cup.
I, too, understand incentives (bribes).
Pirate cupPirate chili

I got to enjoy the music of my friends in
The Ideas Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio.
I never get tired of their classic rock ‘n’ roll.
The Ideas Rock 'n' Roll Trio in Alpine, California at the chili cook-off

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—Safari Park birds

Out & About

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the beginning of 2017 I decided to upgrade my camera equipment. I was getting frustrated going to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park but not being able to get to some of the wildlife because their enclosures were too big and, in the case of the birds, enclosed with screen and wire. I knew that a longer lens would take care of both of those problems.

My daily walkaround lens since 2007 was a Tamron 28-300 mm, so I decided to look at the 150-600 mm lenses. They come in three versions: Tamron G2, Sigma Contemporary, and Sigma Sport. At that time they ranged in price from $1,399 to $1,999, so they weren’t cheap.

Online reviews led me to believe that I would be buying the Sigma Sport for $1,999. I decided that real world use would be better than online reviews for that price, and it just so happens that one of our local camera stores specializes in renting all things camera. So I rented the Sigma Contemporary first (the cheapest), then the Sigma Sport (the most expensive), and then the Tamron G2. Rental period was one week each, so I went out each day to places like the railroad tracks, Ramona Grasslands, San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, the beaches, and the mountains to see if I could lug those things around for 10 hours a day, get good pictures, and be ready to do it again the next day without being too tired.

To make a long story short, for handheld pictures, I did not notice any difference in sharpness between the three lenses. The Sigma Sport was very heavy because it is all metal construction. The weight coupled with it getting too hot to handhold after a couple of hours in the San Diego sun coupled with its price dropped the Sigma Sport out of the competition.

The Sigma Contemporary lost out to the Tamron G2 based on one factor: which direction the zoom ring rotated. I discovered that Nikon and Sigma zoom rings rotate clockwise and Tamron and Canon zoom rings rotate clockwise. Remember that I handhold my equipment, not being a fan of tripods and monopods because of their bulkiness and difficulty in using in crowded areas. Zooming from low to high in a counterclockwise manner using the left hand is not natural, thus difficult and, due to the size and weight of these lenses, sometimes painful for someone 62 years old. Additionally, I had been using the Tamron 28-300 for ten years, so I already was quite comfortable with a clockwise rotation.

Lastly, at the end of three weeks, I compared the pictures from the three cameras. I found that the Tamron G2 gave me better blurred backgrounds than the other two lenses when I really wanted to get up close and personal. Following are bird pictures from the Safari Park taken with the Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens on April 26, 2017. I have not cataloged these pictures yet so the only birds I know the name of are the the same ones you know the name of, so we’ll start with those.

Spoonbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Bald eagle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Safari Park opens at 9:00 a.m., and that’s when I go to avoid
the huge afternoon crowds. So I guess this bird was eating breakfast.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

This great white pelican turned its pouch inside out, which makes
it look like something out of a Stephen King movie.
The mallard doesn’t look impressed.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

And now for the unknown birds.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Mama and her little one.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

As I was leaving Safari Park, I saw a hawk soaring
overhead so, of course, I took a picture. Duh.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—Sports Car Club of America racing

Out & About

One of the great things about belonging to a photographic society in a large metroplex is that our membership is huge. With a current membership of 2,181, when we tell an organization that our photographers would like special access to their event, they are only too happy to oblige. That means we often get to go where no one has gone before. Well, no one except the rich, famous, and those with press passes.

One of the more interesting events recently was the road course competition for the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Decades ago when I was really into my Ford Mustangs, I belonged to the SCCA. Most of our events in College Station, Texas, were at the Texas World Speedway just seven miles southeast of town. That’s where I went the fastest in my 1989 Saleen Mustang—151 mph over a 2-mile oval.

The SCCA road course events here in San Diego occur at Qualcomm Stadium, former home of the San Diego cum Los Angeles Chargers. It’s an interesting road course because it takes place in the parking lot, a parking lot that is very uneven and has elevation changes, not usually good signs for cars going relatively fast, through bumpy turns, and sometimes with inexperienced drivers—Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Part of our access to the races included walking around where you normally would not be walking around and taking pictures of cars coming at you fast, sometimes out of control. All you can do is keep firing away and hope that the car takes the turn, applies its brakes, and stays on the course so that you can live another day.

Following are some of my favorite pictures. Smoke usually indicates a sudden, hard application of the brakes or a car that is out of control, often going sideways instead of forward. I had found a spot where there was a significant bump in the course. That bump caused some of the car wheels to leave the ground. Wheels off the ground (The name of my next band) usually isn’t good when you’re trying to control a two- or three-thousand beast.

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

The object is to go fast but stay on the course,
which means not running over the orange cones.
Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

This is the area with the significant bump.
Notice these two cars only have three wheels on the ground.
Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Smoke—drivers hate it but photographers love it.
Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

My heart goes pitter patter when I see Mustangs,
which were the dominant car model at the event.
Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Yes, even a Mustang that is out of control and has run over
at least two cones. Serious penalty points on this one.

When I saw these four tires on the ground with no car around,
the first thing that came to my mind was a Buick 8 or a car named Christine. Stephen King readers will understand.

Sports Car Club of America road course, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California

Coming up next: A visit to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon

Out & About

This past Sunday was the 12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon in Del Mar, California. Dogs at the beach never fail to bring a smile to my face. And after those two sucky songs in yesterday’s Music on Mondays, I think we need some smiles!

The Surf-a-thon takes place at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California.

Dog Beach, Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Not all the dogs were there to surf. Some wanted to play fetch in the water, some wanted to get all wet, some wanted to get all sandy….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Some wanted to go back home….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Some were limited in what they could do….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Of course, most were there to surf, some looking unsure of themselves, some looking quite relaxed….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

There were five categories: small dog, medium dog, large dog, and extra large dog, as well as the freestyle category, which is always a lot of fun because you get dog tandems, dog trios, human/dog tandems, human/human/dog trios, and even an impostor this year.

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Impostor!
12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

My wise old grandmother told me that dogs quite often look like their owners. Who am I to argue?

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Coming up next: Sports Car Club of America auto racing.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—Residents of the Jetty Cats feral colony at the San Diego Jetty

Out & About San Diego

As promised, many pictures of some of the residents of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony.

San Diego jetty

Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Show me some fangs and tongue, baby!
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Zoey the Cool Cat said that I should include pictures of the non-cat residents because, even though they aren’t cats, they are residents.
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

This was one of my favorite cats from this visit.
S/he wouldn’t come to eat anything. Didn’t even move.
Just sat there with its back to me. I felt so ignored.
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Coming up next: Music on Mondays

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post