My favorite holiday. I did not really make plans for Independence Day. Instead, I people-watched, sun-bathed, grilled-out, and experimented with fireworks (night) photography.
I have been frequenting different surf spots around San Diego. The OB Pier seems to be one of the most popular spots, so it is usually pretty crowded with wave-snatchers. Today, it was a great place to surf, but I wouldn't say it is one of the best surfing spots. Call me a snob.
Surfing is so fun!
Yeah, so I don't know how to surf...yet. But, I took a few photos yesterday of some guys who do. They were competing in the Pi Beta Phi Surf Classic, which raises money for First Book, a literacy program. Right on!
How can a place be so beautiful? Living in San Diego so far has been a bit of an uphill battle (and that's a long story, and the story is not even really over, so I will blog about that in the future). But anyway, while I am having this uphill battle, the view is just great. It is breathtaking.
I am amazed on the daily by how captivating this place is. My former favorite place to explore was Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach, but now, after having spent some time in Windensea in La Jolla, I just cannot decide. Windensea is a somewhat secluded beach in San Diego with sandy spots for lying in the sun, but also with a rocky coastline. There are stairs built into the hills that lead you down to the giant rocks lining the Pacific. It is a great surf spot for the more advanced bros, and it is an awesome place to go when you are trying to ditch the San Diego beach crowd.
Yesterday, I took this shot with my iPhone of a bunch of teenage girls jumping into a dangerous spot next to where Rome and I were sunbathing. I took several images, and then I spotted these two little boys helping each other climb up some nearby structures.
Not to toot my own horn, but this is one of the best photos I believe I have ever taken.
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
San Diego is amazing. It is beautiful, of course, but there is so much more to it. For starters, it is ripe with people. There is every kind of person. There is "Slowmo," a man who roller-skates in slow motion down the boardwalk everyday to the sound of classical music blasting from his Walkman. He used to be a neurologist, but he found that life to be empty, so now he is Slowmo.
There is "Reverend" Guy, a friend of mine who got his minister license online so he could officiate a ceremony between two friends. The title "Reverend" just stuck, even though on any given day, you can find him frequenting strip clubs where "[he hangs] out on the back patio with the girls when they get bored with dancing."
There is Sage, the Jesus lover I met last Wednesday at the OB Farmer's Market. Sage literally giggles when he talks about how much Jesus loves him, and he is quick to tell everyone that Jesus loves them too by showing them the messages inscribed on his hands: one saying "Jesus" and on the other, "Loves You."
The people I have become the most intrigued by, however, are the homeless. You can find a homeless person on every street. Some of them play the game well, like the people I spoke of in my last blog entry who hang out in coffee shops, but some of them you will find have given up. They are the ones sleeping in the middle of the sidewalks who have stopped showering, even though there are free outdoor beach showers all over San Diego. Those who are good at being homeless, you would never know are homeless. The travel light, and they don't just "panhandle" (beg). They offer up a trade or a craft. Some wash windows, others sell flowers.
This morning I met Jeff, who calls himself a homeless traveler. At his side was a small pile of flowers made out of palm tree branches. He said he learned how to make them from a crazy homeless guy he met in Joshua Tree. We talked a little about his life while he made flowers and bummed cigarettes from people walking by.
He said he spend the majority of his adult life taking care of his father until he died a few years ago, and shortly after, his mother also died. He wanted to be a botanist then. Now, he is a homeless traveler, making just enough money to get to the next place. During our conversation, he pointed to the backpack sitting at his feet, with a blanket attached at the bottom and a yoga mat rolled up and buckled at its side, telling me how blessed he was that most everything he owns he got for free. He was reluctant to let me take a photo of him, but he obliged.
I hang out in coffee shops a lot. Like, a LOT. I would say I spend about one fourth of my time sitting in cafés, using their internet providers while I sip on the house coffee of the day. I have inquired a nasty caffeine addiction because of this, but that is another story.
As much as I love the ma and pa coffee businesses, I will admit I go to Starbucks more often than any other café. I have a gold card, ok? I get free cups of coffee all the time. The benefits have me hooked. Don't judge me.
The Starbucks stores in San Diego have this one little problem: the homeless. Honestly, I do not mind homeless people, as long as they are out there hustling and not just begging for change, good for them. We are all doing the same thing, really. And when you are homeless, I can imagine it would be difficult to regularly feel like a normal person. So what do they do in San Diego? They buy one tall cup of coffee and sit in Starbucks a few hours a day. They park their shopping carts full of every item they own outside (no one bothers these), and they sit inside and relax while they slowly sip their coffees. When they run out, it is only a 50 cent refill. It is genius really.
I would say about 25% of the clients at this particular Starbucks at the corner of Mission and Grand are homeless people. Then again, there could be more. You never really know what kind of battle someone is fighting, and I am not one to judge. But I am one to people watch, and I have got to say I have found the Mecca of people-watching. Score.
As anyone who has been keeping up with me can tell, I have been on a 6-month hiatus from photography. Well, wait.. honestly, I could never totally stop taking photos. There is this awesome thing called the iPhone. It takes lovely photos (around 8 megapixels), and I have been using it to document my adventures through Instagram. But the SLR, the Canon, my baby, my life, I had to put down for awhile. During this time, I was collecting my thoughts I guess, planning what to do next.
So now, here I am in sunny San Diego. I have my camera by my side. My business, Croweded Elevator Photography, is back on Groupon, and hopefully ready to take-off again. I am shooting surf lessons at Pacific Surf School full-time. I am participating in photo challenges. I am working on my photos-to-canvas project. I am busy, but happy. I'll keep you posted.
Here is a photo from the Instagram silhouette project from this past weekend. Maybe I'll join this volleyball group next Sunday.
Long long story short, I have moved to San Diego, California. The freezing cold life just wasn't for me. AND, living in a 1976 RV during the winter was/is a really terrible idea.
The trip here was adventurous, to say the least. Maggie Mae (that's the RV's name) broke down about 23 times or so, but alas, she made it the 1,000 miles before she breathed her last breath. She got to see the Grand Canyon before she died too, so she lived a full life I'd say.
So, now I am here, living the beach life until further notice. It is warm. It is sunny. The people watching is ridiculous. I have an amazing job shooting surf lessons, so my office is on the beach. Life is good.
I've recently taken up hiking. I'm not good at it. I moreso have been climbing big hills.
That little tiny person is Rome. I would like to say she is in awe in this photo, but I think she was just adjusting her hat.
I need some snowshoes.