July 2012 Throwback

Middle of the month? Time to look back at some old favorite photos from ten years ago, and what surrounded them. It’s the July 2012 throwback, but this one’s pretty short. July in Southern California isn’t exactly high time for photography, after all…

The main event in July in America though is of course July 4th and in 2012, it was a pretty good birthday party — due to a fireworks malfunction, San Diego blew up the entirety of its planned fireworks show… AT ONCE. Bizarre! (the “Big Bay Boom” — WARNING: turn down the volume before you click/play!)

Otherwise, it was a less bizarre time: Barrack Obama was still president. I wasn’t aware of the growing political dysfunction, misrepresentation and societal division, yet. America seemed like a hopeful, progressive country to me. Anyway! We were invited to a friend’s house for a party and I enjoyed getting an insight into some of the food traditions. I remember that I was particularly impressed by this surreal thing called marshmallow salad. :)

I primarily brought the camera to make some still photos and experiment with stop-motion style time lapse sequences, made by simply using the continuous shutter release in burst of 10-20 photos. The views from our friend’s downtown condo would allow us to see the fireworks actually, but I was most intrigued by limiting the views to all the shapes and lines and colors, at night.

Our friend Detlev stayed with us for a few days and among other things, we went for a stroll through Balboa Park, and included the Japanese Friendship Garden. Back then, it had not been extended (it’s much bigger now) but I found all the details and installations really interesting. My favorite photo is this semi-abstract of the original Koi pond:

On an overcast morning at Lake Hodges, I made more photographs for my “Cryptic Writings” series — long exposures of the dead twigs that stick out of the rather shallow water. I actually didn’t expect that I’d be able to make more such photos in July. Here’s one of the two that made it into series:

Photographically, the main event in San Diego County in July are the monsoon storms with their towering thunderstorms building over the deserts and mountains… IF there is an influx of monsoonal moisture. The storms happen mostly during the day, with the most intensive thunderstorms often between late morning and late afternoon. I’m not even sure if I knew back then that this was San Diego’s monsoon season 😅 but on July 13, 2012, I was lucky enough to be in the Laguna Mountains for a monsoon storm, at just the right time to witness some quite surreal clouds building really low over the desert.

In between, Shuwen and I went for another hike at Penasquitos Canyon. This black & white photo of Penasquitos Creek remains one of my all-time favorite photos from this location:

I returned to the Laguna Mountains for more monsoon with a Google+ acquaintance, fellow San Diego photographer John Moore. It’s always hard to time these visits right though and on that day, we had missed the most intense storm by a little bit, but were still treated to some great views towards the desert, where clouds hung low on the slopes, after the rain. (more photos)

I haven’t given up hope for some good monsoon activity yet this year, even though it’s the middle of July already. The desert regions to the east and our mountains could certainly use the rain!

And that’s it for the month of July already. I hope you enjoyed the photos! See you around soon.

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9 thoughts on “July 2012 Throwback”

  1. Nice! The downtown image looks a bit like Horton Plaza in the foreground.
    I hadn’t seen John Moore’s name since the G+ days.

  2. I can imagine marshmallow salad being viewed as surreal! :) I am not a huge fan, but will sample if it is freely available.

  3. Alex,
    Your insertion of photographic art into my over stressed world is a wonderful gift. I really appreciate your skills at photographing the San Diego world. I agree, summer is not the best time of year here but you help make it better.

  4. The Cryptic Writings image is perfect and more interesting than other photos of this type I’ve seen (and made!). The way the reflections fade into nothing and those small highlights on the branches…nice! I like the P. Creek (is that OK?) photo very much, too. I haven’t thought about doing this kind of throwback and just looked at July 2012 – wow, what a time! Now I’m tempted….


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