Over and over again photographers preach that you don't need to travel far and wide to find interesting things to photograph...that there's plenty right where you live. I even have a photographer friend who has set herself the task of taking one quality photograph each week for a year - within a half mile mile of her house! Today's photo excursion provided plenty of proof for that school of thought.
Earlier this year Rich and a group of five women worked on a team proctoring tests in the our schools. The team had great chemistry, worked well together, and enjoyed each other's company, so they planned to get together after their testing window was over, and today I was invited to join them for lunch and a photo outing. We went to see a group of mosaic sculptures known as Queen Califia's Magical Circle, which is set in Kit Carson Park in nearby Escondido.
I'd heard of this grouping of sculptures before, and had often thought about taking the short drive to see them, but just never made the time. The French artist, Niki de Saint Phalle has some other sculptures in the city which I have seen, including two right outside the Mengei Museum in Balboa Park, so I figured this group would be fun to see, and great to photograph. And that is so true! The pieces are set into a large, circular "maze-like" structure, which in itself is pretty photogenic. It's made of pieces of black, white, and mirrored tile pieces, and topped with some wonderful mosaic snakes which appear to be "guarding" the perimeter.
The centerpiece of the sculptures is an eleven foot tall golden Queen Califia (a fictional warrior queen of the Island of California) standing atop a most colorful thirteen foot eagle. Also in the central area are eight additional totems which appear to have a basis in both native American and Mexican art.
Luckily, the day was overcast, which made it easy to photograph the sculptures...on a sunny day there's just too much reflection and bright light. The flip side of that is that these look so much better against a bright blue sky, rather than clouds and an overcast background. The problem is I can't have it both ways. At any rate, I had a great time exploring this magical circle and will probably make more photographic trips to visit "the queen."
On the right is a detail from Queen Califia's eagle, and the image on the right is an element from one of the eight totems in the courtyard.
Part of the "sky" that is depicted on the underside of the eagle, just above the golden egg fountain.