Photographing California Beaches, San Diego Style

While we were in California, for my son’s Marine Boot Camp graduation,  we took in as much beach time as possible. I love the ocean and surf, and my photography bucket list was to take photos of the sunset over the Pacific and the sunrise over the Atlantic, and I have accomplished them both.

The ocean skies remind me of the midwest and big sky country. With the right lighting the sunsets are amazing and it feels as though you can see to the end of the earth.

Father and Daughter at the Beach

Father and Daughter at Coronado Beach

To achieve the golden oranges of the sky and clouds under expose a half a stop, your subject matter will be dark, but silhouettes against the sky can be very attractive. follow the rule of thirds by placing your horizon in the upper or lower third of the photograph, depending on what is more appealing, the surf or sky. Focal points such as people, a sunburst, or landscape try and place in the 2/3rds of the frame.

Sunset on the Pacific Ocean

Sunset on the Pacific Ocean

The San Diego Pier is one of the most famous photographic landmarks in Southern California. We didn’t have enough time for me to hike and get the photograph I really wanted, but this year I will have another opportunity when my step son graduates from Marine Corps boot camp.

My goal is to duplicate the below images.

Scripps Pier 2 (Giclee Art Print), Martha DeanPier in the ocean at sunset, Oceanside, San Diego County, California, USA by Panoramic Images

My daughter and I could both live at the beach very easily, something soothing about the consistency and rhythm of the waves. Although the water was very cold, my daughter just had to go swimming, hey she’s sixteen, she knows enough to come in when she’s cold. Next day she learned to body surf, and did a pretty good job of it too. She was so proud.

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean, in October

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean, in October, just a little bit chilly

San Diego is a popular location for photographers and there even tutorials and guides to photographing the California coast. I am starting to take trips specifically for photographic purposes and with that quest comes preparation. Such as knowing the time of the sunset and when the lighting is best for certain landmarks, buildings and iconic landscapes. If you take your photography seriously then utilizing such guides is highly recommended.

Tips on Photographing San Diego

PhotoSecrets San Diego: The Best Sights and How To Photograph ThemPhotoSecrets San Diego: A Photographer’s GuidePhotoSecrets San Francisco & Northern California: The Best Sights and How to Photograph ThemThe Photographer’s Guide to the California Coast: Where to Find Perfect Shots and How to

6 thoughts on “Photographing California Beaches, San Diego Style

  1. Thanks for your post. Since I am from So Cal I learned to surf when I was about 14. I spent many days when I should have been in school. Most of the other girls hated the water, and would not even want to get their hair wet, but me I wanted to surf. lol Surfers, the male flavor, spend most of their time sitting in the water waiting for the perfect wave, Now who is the smart one, guess where I was???…hahahaha

    Beautiful pictures!!!!!

    Thanks to your son for serving and for you supporting him

    1. What an era to live in San Diego and the beach scene, surfer heaven north of there, my youngest son is now stationed at Pendleton (Oceanside) as his permanent duty station. Has it rough!

    1. Thanks, I love the beach and ocean, as does my daughter, I’m not brave enough to go in such cold water, but she stayed in for probably 30 minutes. Energy is so wasted on the youth. Oh to bottle it up.

Comments are closed.