GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Sounds for a Sunday

Posted by George J Janczyn on April 11, 2010

And just to leave you in the mood:


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Friday spot check: Windansea

Posted by George J Janczyn on April 2, 2010

Today was a calm, sunny morning in La Jolla, with just a handful of surfers sampling the waves. There was a moderate NW swell along with some energy from the south — the blend made for shifty peaks and double waves, but it was rideable. When I began shooting at around 7:30am, the tide was just ready to start coming in (low tide was about 6:40am) and there were waves to be had before things got swampy.

Click here to see the entire Friday Spot Check series.


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Friday spot check: Tourmaline

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 27, 2010

Tourmaline is a good place to take a break from the more vigorous surfing action at some of San Diego’s other popular spots. You see a good slow ride, sometimes in more ways than one. Today’s morning surfing session includes a group of kids and parents participating in the annual Alex Szekely Memorial Ikidarod, where teams of kids harnessed to a plastic container with a passenger compete in a race. This year, Tourmaline was the starting point for a race to the Mission Beach jetty, several miles down the coast. Ikidarod mimics the sled dog racing sport of Iditarod. Alex Szekely was a prominent local resident who died of melanoma at the age of 43 (a field at Torrey Pines Elementary School was named the Alex Szekely Family Memorial Sports Complex in 2003).

The early morning waves were fun too. Tourmaline is almost always good for a relaxed longboard session. I left out music this time, just the sights and sounds. And I know I’m posting this on Saturday…it takes time to edit a 3-hour shooting session down to under 10 minutes and get it uploaded to YouTube!

Click here to see the entire Friday Spot Check series.


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New water videos

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 22, 2010

From Surfrider Foundation and The Story of Stuff, respectively:



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Friday spot check: Ocean Beach north jetty

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 19, 2010

The Ocean Beach north jetty is, in my opinion, one of the more interesting breaks in the San Diego area. It definitely has its own peculiar character, although being at the mouth of the San Diego River, the shifting sandbar will cause the break to vary.

My other choice for most interesting would be Big Rock in La Jolla, with its reef creating a crazy, sucking takeoff and drop, then race to make the very hollow tube section, followed by a sweeping cutback to stay with the shoulder.

But at the OB jetty, when it’s breaking, you often get a long, hollow, fast-peeling tube that is a challenge to make (if only you could go 60 MPH) where even a smaller wave can throw a solid punch–if it hits you the right way it’ll knock you right off your board.

At the jetty often you’ll get just part of a long wave that breaks up into sections…which helps moderate the sometimes crowded situation because it allows 3 or 4 surfers to get a piece of the wave without infringing on the others’ space. Sometimes there are some jetty-specific peaks if you hang out right next to the rocks.

The downside of shooting video at the jetty is that it breaks so far out, especially at lower tides. My video camera has 20x optical zoom, but at maximum zoom it barely gets acceptable shots (I’m still looking for a relatively inexpensive HD camcorder with over 30x optical zoom AND a viewfinder, but so far there is no such thing, short of a $3,000+ professional camera).

Here’s what it looked like Wednesday morning:


Or click here to see a larger screen version.

Click here to see the entire Friday Spot Check series.


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Surfing South Mission Beach at the jetty

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 16, 2010

Is the swimming caution about the waves or the pollution?



Posted in Surfing, Videos | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Friday spot check: La Jolla Shores

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 12, 2010

A sunny calm Friday morning at the Shores with waves just the right size for bringing out a longboard and perfecting those noserides. Bonus romance at the end.

Click here to see the entire Friday Spot Check series.


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San Vicente Dam Raise Project tour

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 11, 2010

As promised, here are some new photos and video from the San Vicente Dam Raise Project. I didn’t hear a single joke from staffers about what kind of salary increase (raise) they would like, either.

As reported earlier, excavation of the foundation and the hillsides adjacent to the dam, removal of concrete from the top and the face of the dam, and other work to prepare for raising the height of the dam by 117 feet is expected to be completed this summer. Completion of the entire project has been pushed back from the original estimate which was late 2012, with work now expected to be complete in mid-2014. All that prep work on the face of the dam is to make a good bonding surface for the new concrete that will be added.

For complete information, see the official project website:

(click images to enlarge)

View on approach, cut in hill next to dam hints at the new height Tank at hilltop is for surge control associated with the Second Aqueduct pipeline
Overall scene from the viewing area Water blasting the dam’s face
Construction detail Work at the top


(you can get slightly better video quality by selecting the YouTube 480p button at bottom once it starts playing)

Posted in Environment, Land use, Videos, Water | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Adobe Falls open space views

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 6, 2010

Fresh pictures from the area. My digital camera (Nikon D5000) has 720p video, but only manual controls and even on a tripod with vibration control turned on it is impossible to get smooth pans and zooms, so it looks pretty amateurish, but overall some nice shots anyway. Enjoy.

Most of the still photos in the video also in this Flickr slideshow.

March 19, 2010: Back in November, I reported that the Fire Department told me the fire at Adobe Falls was probably caused by transients. The video also has a caption to that effect. Today, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a man was charged with arson in the case. Click here for the full story.

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Makers of camcorders must be armchair photographers

Posted by George J Janczyn on February 16, 2010

Test high def camera: only the smallest of hands will be able to finger the controls easily (holding it with one hand, my fingers and thumb almost completely encircle it)

Today I went to the Ocean Beach north jetty to test an HD camcorder (Sony HDR-XR150, built-in hard drive with 25x optical zoom) by filming some surfing action. My own camcorder (Sony DCR-TRV103, Hi-8 cassette tape with 20x optical zoom) doesn’t do badly for standard definition–that’s what I’ve been using for all the surfing videos I’ve posted here–but I wanted to see what can be done with a high def camera.

Alas, the test camcorder’s LCD display completely washed out in the sunlight, making it extremely difficult to follow the action. Since the camera has no optical viewfinder I had to jerry-rig a cardboard hood in order to see the LCD images at all. The resulting video looks very shaky, partly because I could hardly see what I was shooting, but despite built-in image stabilization and being on a tripod, this camera just didn’t perform to my expectations when it came to shooting action, especially at a distance.

My standard definition dinosaur--my hand can grasp about half of it

My experience reinforces my earlier opinion that a camcorder without an optical viewfinder is of no use for serious photography. I don’t know why manufacturers insist on omitting this critical component; I can only surmise they haven’t tried shooting action in bright sunlight themselves. Either that, or they just don’t care. Another thing most HD camcorders seem to lack is adequate optical zoom–this test model was unusual with 25x, but most consumer HD camcorders offer only 10x optical. Strangely, many standard definition camcorders have well over 25x optical. In any case, I don’t think the camera is worth the $700 asking price. As for other makes and models, I’ve looked all over without luck for an HD camcorder with an optical viewfinder and at least 25x optical zoom. If you know of one, please let me know where you found it!

Otherwise, it was a nice day at OB…the waves just kept coming, one after the other. Combined with the long paddle to get out, it made for a good workout (a fun one, though) for everyone.



Here’s video shot with the high-def camera. Although wide-angle shots with slow panning came out okay, the action sequences reveal the camera’s weakness. Keep in mind I was using a tripod here:



March 17: For comparison, here’s video I shot with my old camcorder. Its zoom isn’t as powerful and it isn’t high def, but the overall quality is much more satisfying to me.


Posted in Surfing, Technology, Videos | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »