southern California

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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.┬áPlus 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 ­čÖé 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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This image was taken on my way out of the Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park at early morning just after sunrise. The sunrise was particularly colorful but unfortunately we weren’t able to capture it from the Cactus garden. The sky was starting to explode with color while we were on our way over there and ended up taking pictures somewhere along the side of the road to capture the Joshua Trees as foreground instead.

Its funny to me that all my recent trips and memories of Southern California has been in the winter time. I feel like it’s a totally different experience than if you visited in the summer. I bring that up because I was actually talking to Andrew this morning and we were trying to recall if California had a lot of mosquitos or not. To be honest, I don’t even remember seeing a lot of bugs in general. I’m sure if they did, there would be a lot in the summertime but because we have been there in the winter, I can’t even remember. Can anyone shine some light on this question?

Anyways, I got side tracked. Joshua Tree is an amazing place to visit if you’re ever planning a trip. I hope to go back sometime soon and see more of the park cuz it’s huge. Maybe in the summertime so I can see for myself about the bug situation? LOL. But I know the temperature difference is going to be extreme. While we were there it was super windy and so cold that at times it was difficult to be outside. I imagine it to be the same in the summer but with the heat.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/1250th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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I was so lucky. The first morning of our adventures in Joshua Tree was a beautiful one. We arrived in our airbnb the night before. It was already really dark out so it was difficult to see anything around us. We really had no idea of our surroundings. So Andrew and I woke up super early the next morning (no alarm clock needed due to jet lag) and made our way to the park. Being up before sunrise, it was still dark but it was so fun to watch the sun slowly come up as it revealed the landscape. I honestly think that’s the best way to see any new place. As the sun rises and slowly reveals what’s around you. It’s like a fun surprise and your mind is blown by all the things you missed out on. LOL.

This image was taken along the side of the road. It was not a designated stop but with the sky exploding with color, it was difficult to not want to pull over at every mile. I was literally like a kid in the candy store, pointing in every direction and making mental notes of places I wanted to go back to as Andrew drove around.

While capturing this image and landscapes in general, I remember I wanted to keep my subject in the image a simple as possible. I did not want a lot of plants overcrowding the image but I also made it a point to make sure the Joshua Tree limbs were not touching any other part of the landscape. The separation helps single out the Joshua Tree and making that the focal point of the image.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/25th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultrazoom lens.

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I love La Jolla. Out of all the places that we have visited in San Diego, La Jolla is my favorite place to be. I love the beaches, the views and how photogenic that little part of SoCal is. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it also seems a bit quieter than the neighboring Pacific Beach and just an overall cool place to hang out.

This image was taken after a night of rain. It actually rained a couple of times while we were out there which was so weird because I thought it never rained in southern California? Anyways, Vincent was taking another surf lesson at sunrise so Andrew and I decided to tag along. We figured we could bring Frankie and let him run around on the beach before a lot of people got there and I could also take some early morning shots too. It turned out to such a quiet and beautiful morning of just walking in the sand and flying the drone. But after awhile both Andrew and I got a little hungry. We found a cafe close by that we could walk to but along the way we had to walk across the parking lot. It was like hitting the puddle jacket pot. I also distinctly remember saying out loud “oh snap, reflections ahead”. LOL. Who does that? It must have been my way of warning Andrew that we were going to be in the parking lot for a little while.

But honestly, if I had to pick one place with the best palm trees in San Diego, La Jolla Shores has to be it. There’s nothing special or different about them. The only difference is that there’s a lot of them on area.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/5000th sec at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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First of all, shout out to my friend, Zack for telling me about this spot. I’m so grateful our friendship and that he is such a detailed planner about his photo explorations. He actually left for a 2 week trip to California a week ahead of me which started and ended in San Diego. LOL he would post some amazing images of Southern California and I would immediately message him asking him where that was taken from. Thank you, Zack for telling me about this one!

One of the best things about California in general is all the hills. Obviously northern California is known for all the steep hills and has much more of them but the ones in southern California are just as cool. If I had to guess, we’re looking at the Point Loma Marina with downtown in the background. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I captured this image at sunset which was amazingly beautiful even for a cloudless sky. The warm tones that came in while the sun was dropping was amazing. I especially liked what it did for the buildings in the very back. I remember while I was taking these pictures it was really windy. Maybe because we were on the very top of the hill but in between shots I would run back to the car for shelter. Andrew came with me this time and he just sat in the car the entire time because it was that cold. LOL. I would just wait in the car for 2-3 minutes while the light changed and hopped out when I saw something that interested me. The advantages of being able to park right by your photo location!

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/500th sec at ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm handheld.

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If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for cute, cuddly things. So obviously, I had to spend some time at La Jolla Cove while I was out in San Diego. This image was captured early morning while I was out shooting sunrise with Andrew and Frankie. As soon as I saw the seals, I squealed and yelled out that I had to get closer. Andrew, who is always looking out for me, told me that I can’t get too close but I didn’t listen. I pretty much hopped the wall and walked over to seals as fast as I could. Obviously I didn’t want to disturb them so I threw on my 70-200mm lens and got as close as I could without them noticing.

I love that little guy in the middle. Doesn’t it look like he’s smiling? It’s like a dog pile that I wish I were a part of. There were other seals all along the rocks but this group really made me happy. You know what though, one of my friends told me that there are times when there aren’t any seals here? Is that true? I’m grateful that I’ve never witnessed that. I always look forward to the seals whenever I’m in the area.

One last thing, this Thursday I’ll be a part of a travel writing panel at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. If you’re free, I’d love for you to attend. I’ll be there with my friends, Katie Bianco, author of 100 Things to do in Washington, DC Before you Die and Jennifer Barger who has worked with National Geographic, Traveler, etc as we discuss our experiences about writing and photographing the District. I will be talking about Snap DC.

Click here for the details.

My camera settings for the seal image is F7.1 at 1/200th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.