san diego

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Another one from my California sunset photo editing spree. I love the way this one turned out and I remember like yesterday how it happened too.

Andrew had made plans to meet up with one of our friends for dinner and asked if I wanted to join them. I distinctly remember saying, “only if we can go shoot sunset first and then meet up with Sean.” He agreed and we ended up bringing our cousin, Vincent, and the cuddle pup, Frankie along. Since they were going to meet up in the Ocean Beach area, we ended up waiting for sunset around the pier.

All of a sudden the sky exploded! I don’t think any of us were expecting all this color and it was amazing. I remember trying to get more water in the foreground by getting close to the sand but since I wasn’t expecting this awesome sunset, I, unfortunately, did not bring my tripod. Some of those shots turned out well but it was this one that really caught my attention. Sometimes the best shots are when you take a step back.

Seriously, everyone on the beach and pier just stopped. It was like someone hit the pause button cuz everyone was just staring at the sky. This guy on the pier was no exception. I do remember there being a lot more people on the pier, but I tried to zoom in and crop the image so there was just that single silhouette.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/100th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I was in a photo editing mood so I went back to earlier this year and found some images from San Diego, California that I’ve never looked at. Somehow I ended up editing all sunset images. I suppose sunsets are a bit better on the west coast than sunrises. LOL

This image was taken during a visit to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. It’s definitely on my must-photograph list when visiting America’s Finest City. Trust me, the place is mind-blowing and on this trip to Salk, I planned to be there to watch the sunset. I did not expect to see some gliders riding by. It was so cool because I did not realize just how close Torrey Pines Gliderport is. I kinda saw them out of the corner of my eye (cuz there was more than one glider out at this time) and then when I finally turned around to see what was really going on, I was mesmerized.

How cool would it be to be on one of those at sunset? I bet the view must be amazing. Perfect for a little GoPro video.

I love how simple this image turned out. I think my favorite part is that you can see a little peek of the sun as it’s going down behind the clouds but I purposely left a little bit of the ground showing in the image just to give it some context. Also, that may or may not be a ship in the background.

My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/2000th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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So to help with my beach withdrawals, I’ve decided to go through some of my San Diego images from earlier this year. I love our annual tradition of going every year to celebrate the new year. I don’t think I could think of a better place for us to hang out for a couple of weeks. Plus Frankie loves running on the beach in the mornings.

This image was taken at sunset in Point Loma. It’s a great place to go to capture the San Diego skyline but what I liked most about this image is that single sailboat just floating by. I tried my best to capture it so it wasn’t hidden behind any palm trees or anything. I wanted it to be seen with so many other sailboats just parked in the harbor. Plus the sunset was just right to add a little bit of pink in the water.

Major shoutouts to Frankie Foto. I’ve never met Frankie in real life but anytime I have any questions about what and where to capture images in San Diego, Frankie’s blog has been an amazing resource. If you ever plan on visiting Southern California, I would definitely recommend reading his blog first.

I’ve also created a blog post about my favorite photo spots in San Diego in case you were interested in checking that out too 🙂 I plan on updating this post every time I visit as I get to know the area better and better.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/400th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Just an early morning view of some surfers at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California. Is it me or if you glance at it real quick, it just looks like some little bits of rice that has fallen down? LOL. This was my only successful attempt of actually getting footage of my cousin, Vincent surfing. All other times he was already in the water and I tried using my drone to find him but with everyone in all black wet suits with white surfboards, it can be really difficult to find the person you’re looking for. It finally worked out that I had my drone ready to go when he was getting into the water and followed him while flying. I told Andrew to also keep a lookout just in case. But I’m so glad I was actually able to find him this time.

While trying to capture him, I had it on video for a majority of the time. But this image was taken in the part of the ocean where it is a bit calmer. You can sit on the board and relax a little bit before swimming out deeper to get the big waves. So while they were taking a break, I took a few pics. I loved the really calm water with the gradient of blues. I purposely waited for a little wave to come up so that it looked more like ocean water and I could highlight Vincent a little more. He’s the guy on the green surfboard kicking up towards the top of the image. The whole time I was editing this image I was channeling my inner Mark Rothko and imagining what he would do. Either way, I love the way it turned out. It just oozes with calmness.

My camera settings for this image is F2.2 at 1/100th sec and ISO 196 with my DJI Mavic Pro.

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Being from the east coast, I love our annual getaways to the west. Sort of like how birds migrate to the south for winter, I like to migrate the west and soak up the California sun and surf. Plus any excuse for a fresh acai bowl, amirite?

To be honest though, San Diego is one of my favorite places to be. I love the vibe of the city, everyone is super friendly and there’s no shortage of things to do. You have the beach life but also a fun downtown area if the city is more of your scene. It’s all of that plus a super dog friendly city. Frankie loves taking his morning walks on the beach, you basically have to drag him off the sand.

This was our second year in a row visiting around the start of the new year, but I have visited many times in the past too. This will definietly not be our last time visiting so keep checking back as I update this guide.

So if you’re heading to San Diego, here are the best places to take pictures:

The Beaches

This past trip we stayed at this beautiful airbnb right at the tip of Mission Beach. It was the perfect place for us because we were able to enjoy the beach in a less crowded environment but still have views of the water.  (If you’ve never stayed at an airbnb, I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re going somewhere for an extended stay. It’s all the comforts of home while you travel.) Morning runs were peaceful on the boardwalk and Mission Bay was right behind us which made it fun to fly the drone for a satisfying perspective of land and water. But if we wanted to check out some of cool restaurants on Pacific Beach, we were just a 15 minute scooter ride away.

One of my favorite parts about Pacific Beach was standing at the end of Crystal Pier. The pier allowed for unique, overhead shots of the wave riders and definietly provided a lot of great photo opportunities. And you can usually find the bubble man around sunset. I love watching the huge bubbles fly in the air and can’t resist trying to pop some if they float in my direction. The kids love them too!

(left) view from Crystal Pier (right) bubble from the bubble man framing a palm tree

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