The Digital Photo Guy

San Diego Photo Ops

by on Dec.26, 2010, under Composition, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos

Wild Animal Park Workshop
Pin-Up Shoot – Sock Hop Theme
Flash Photography in a Flash
Palomar College – Spring 2011
Spring Desert Wildflowers, late March 2011

Photography In & Around San Diego

As my students know, I drive an RV to photo workshops. The RV is my on-site digital darkroom where I teach Photoshop Elements as part of the workshop.

Here’s Arbey (RV, get it?) in early evening light at Joshua Tree NP. Notice the moon just above and to the left of the rock. I keep telling myself I need to substitute a larger moon into this photo.

Anyway, I belong to a forum of similar RV owners. They plan to meet (Rally in RV jargon) in San Diego in May 2011. In a moment of weakness, I volunteered to teach a digital photography class at the rally. Since these rally attendees are more snapshooters than photographers, I thought a guide to San Diego area photo opportunities might be useful to them. And, what better way to develop such a list than through Monday Morning Tips?

San Diego Through a Lens

Like any large metropolitan area, San Diego is an eclectic collection of communities and points of interest. Though most people immediately think of sunny weather and beaches when they hear “San Diego”, there’s much more to the city and its namesake county. Alas, like many people, I’m a creature of habit that tends to stay within my own comfort zone. For me, that’s North San Diego County and the mountains and deserts. Also, because this series of MMTs is being written for those who are, essentially, tourists, I’ve decided to focus (no pun intended) on the top tourist attractions.

The San Diego Zoo

After the weather and beaches, San Diego’s biggest attractions are undeniably the Zoo and Wild Animal Park. We’ll start with the Zoo because it’s within the City of San Diego while Wild Animal Park is further out. Zoo info can be found HERE.

Since the entry fee is $40 per adult ($160 for 2 adults for both the Zoo and Wild Animal Park), it’s cheaper to buy an annual membership for $99 (currently $89, good for 1 year). With a membership, you can visit as many times as you want during the year while a day pass is only good for that day. Of course, this depends on your level of interest in animals and plants. We’ll cover more about the Zoo in future MMTs.

The first thing you see upon entering the Zoo is the flamingo pond where I saw this guy posing. When photographing animals, try to isolate just one in a frame unless they’re interacting. This photo was less than perfect because the bird in front blocks my subject. Otherwise, notice how his eye is perfectly in focus and in the upper left Rule of Thirds quadrant.

The Beaches

I’m not much of a beach denizen so I can only tell you about a few beaches. It’s not hard to find the beaches, just drive west until you come to a large body of salty water. There may or may not be a wide, sandy area before you get to the water.

My favorite beaches for photography are, in no particular order, Oceanside Beach & Pier, Carlsbad State Beach, Swami’s (Encinitas), Torrey Pines State Reserve, Del Mar, Mission Beach and Coronado. Parking is almost always an issue at the beaches, especially if you’re driving a truck with an apartment on the back.

When post processing photos, keep in mind that it’s not necessary to fit everything into “normal” sizes. The world isn’t 4×6 or 8×10. Here, a long narrow crop emphasizes the Oceanside Pier and the clouds behind.

Upcoming Photoshoots

Over the next few months, I’ll be shooting the Coronado Bay Bridge, Hotel Del, San Diego Mission, Balboa Park and other points of interest around San Diego with tips for tourists. If you’d like to join me, keep an eye on this site.

Workshops and Webinars

Wild Animal Park Workshop Rescheduled Due to Wild Weather, Sat, Jan 8

The WAP Photoshoot Workshop on Sat, Dec 18 has been rescheduled to Sat, Jan 8 from 9AM until 1PM. This is one of my most popular “hands-on” workshops. Learn how to get your camera under control by watching and listening to my demonstrations. Then, try it on your own camera with me by your side. Have a question? No problem, I’m right there to help. Register HERE. (You DO NOT need a PayPal account to pay via PayPal, just a credit card)

Sock Hop Theme Pin-Up Shoot – Sun, Jan 16, 2011

On Sunday, January 16, 2011, I’ll be photographing 3 cute models for a Sock Hop Pin-Up shoot. There’s no formal instruction but you’ll have the opportunity to work with me and a few other experienced photographers. There are 3 spots left. If you’d like to join me, send me an e-mail. There will be a $25 fee plus an $8 entrance fee for the venue. The $25 goes to the models for their time, makeup and accessories.

Flash in a Flash, Sat, Feb 26, 2011, 10AM-1PM

If your flash baffles and scares you, this workshop is for you. Learn to take control of your external flash (aka, Speedlite, Speedlight, strobe, etc) and make great flash photos that don’t scream, “This deer-in-the-headlights look created with FLASH!” Learn what all the knobs, dials, switches and menus do on the back of your expensive flash. Register HERE.

Palomar College – Spring 2011 Schedule Posted

Palomar College has posted my Spring 2011 classes. I’ll be teaching both Digital SLR for New dSLR Owners (Feb 1 & 3) and Beginning Adobe Photoshop Elements (Mar 1 & 3) via webinar so you can learn from the comfort of your own home computer. Back by popular demand is the my popular Hands-On Photoshoot (Apr 2) at Kit Carson Park in Escondido.

Spring Desert Wildflower Workshop, late March 2011

One of my perennial favorites, spring is a magical time in the desert when everything comes to life. Get down low for amazing macros of flowers. Get up high for gorgeous sunsets and landscapes. Make beautiful photos from almost every vantage point in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. More details as conditions in the desert firm up and I can better predict the spring bloom.

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