Immediately after my power dropped out and cellphone stopped working Thursday, I jumped in my car with my cameras and went to survey the city. This is what I saw:

   Soon after the power dropped out, a man carted an air compressor through North Park.

   A salon in North Park shut its doors and posted a notice to customers.

   Traffic almost immediately ground to a stop on Interstate 5 near downtown.

   Within downtown, the scene was no better, as cars tried to get out of the area.

   Officers attempted to direct traffic, at times shouting at motorists who were inattentive.

   Al Kazzazi kept his store open to sell bottles of water and food at BB’s Sandwich Club in downtown San Diego.

   Outside City Hall, Kyle Heiskala, an 18-year-old intern for Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, tries to pry open an elevator that someone was stuck in.

   At Fire Station One, Lightner and Council Representative Mel Millstein receive an update from Fire Chief Javier Mainar.

   At Fire Station One, City Councilman Carl DeMaio and his staff helped pass information through his district. They made calls to all of the senior living centers to make sure they knew the latest directives from the city.

   At Indigo Café and Catering, diners ate in the last shreds of the daylight.

   The bartender at Indigo Café poured drinks by flashlight.

   Downtown San Diego was illuminated mostly by headlights on cars and bikes.

   Buildings with little or no light loomed large and eerily over the city.

   A ‘Blackout Party’ in North Park was lit by a bonfire.

   People wandered the streets of North Park with flashlights and even glowing hula hoops.

   Revelers enjoyed drinks by candlelight at Stout Public House in downtown San Diego.

   Building personnel keep watch outside a high-rise in downtown San Diego.

Want more on the blackout? Four big questions that are still unanswered and our roundup in Friday’s Morning Report.

Clarification: A caption on this post previously called the air compressor in the first photo a generator. It has been updated.

I’m a photojournalist at You can contact me directly at or 619.550.5664.

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Sam Hodgson is a freelance photojournalist and contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can contact him at and check out his work...

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