We’ve had some great sunrises and sunsets lately, thanks to weather patterns in Southern California that provide high clouds and open horizons to let the light reach the undersides of the clouds just at the edge of each day. A few days ago I was photographing the full moon over waves in one of the more picturesque areas of coastal La Jolla. As dawn approached, the high thin clouds caught hold of the sun and the sky exploded with warm colors. The light changed rapidly; the two photos I kept were taken only 5 minutes apart but show very different color bias, with deeper reds and some purple as the sun first appeared followed shortly by more oranges and yellows as the rays of the sun passed through different parts of the atmosphere on their crash course into the clouds. Cheers, and thanks for looking!
One of my favorite times to photograph in La Jolla is when night is just transitioning to dawn. Sunrise is till 45 minutes or an hour away. In December it can be chilly at this hour, but it is also quiet and, usually, still. The only people I see are early morning runners, dog walkers and occasional delivery trucks stopping at the restaurants. Sea lions bark, wave brush over the sand, gulls call and pelicans fly by close overhead. Sunlight was not really even visible to my eye when I took this image, just a hint of blue on the horizon, but my camera was able to record vivid pre-dawn colors with a 30 second exposure. Cheers and thanks for looking!
Pre-dawn color is splashed across the clouds as small waves break over Hospital Point’s distinctive sandstone reefs. A very long exposure makes the water look silky and blurred as it breaks over the rocks and flows back out to sea. Cheers and thanks for looking!
Each winter I try to add fresh and appealing images to my San Diego and La Jolla portfolios. I spent Thanksgiving morning on the rocks at Hospital Point. It was truly a sunrise for which to be thankful. I made two fine photographs which will look great printed at 24″ x 36″ and framed on the wall. This is the first one: while small waves appear blurred over the rocks, a lone surfer contemplates things before heading out into the water. Cheers and thanks for looking!
SIO Pier Sunset with Sun Framed Within the Pier Pilings
Occasionally the setting sun will be perfectly framed within the pilings the Scripps Institution of Oceanography research pier. This is what the perfect solar alignment through the SIO Pier pilings looks like — it is a spectacular sight! Contact me to inquire about a print for your home or office of this iconic San Diego icon, captured at the peak moment of a rare celestial event. This image is available up to 54″ high x 36″ wide, presented on canvas, metal and traditional photographic substrates. Cheers, and thanks for looking!
Cute Harbor Seal Photo, La Jolla, California.
This is the third of three images I had that were Highly Commended in this year’s Windland Smith Rice photography competition.*
This is one of the famous or, depending on your political position, notorious Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi) the reside at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, California. Some people really hate these seals and feel their presence on the beach has robbed people of the use of small cove and want to see the seals gone, forcefully or otherwise. Others love the seals and don’t want to see them bothered at all. I don’t really care either way, I just like to shoot photos of them. I’ve been photographing (and diving with) these seals since their colony first began forming in the ’90s. There are certain times of day when the light angles and water movement really work well here for photography. On this day, one of the more charismatic seals was moving about at the water’s edge and paused for a moment with its flippers raised, looking at me. I got off a series of photos and this was the most appealing of the group.
* I was fortunate to have three of my photographs receive Highly Honored recognition in this years Windland Smith Rice photography competition sponsored by Nature’s Best Photography. The first was a photo of photographer Garry McCarthy working in the Virgin River Narrows in Zion National Park. The second was a composition of the Giants Marbles in Joshua Tree National Park. 21,000 images were entered in the competition, 500 made it to the final round of judging and 131 were winners or highly honored and appeared in the most recent issue of Nature’s Best Photography magazine. I am crossing my fingers that one of mine will also be featured as part of the competition’s six-month exhibition next year at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
It is for views like this that I run. I’ve been running for 35 years and will keep running until my body can’t do it anymore. I estimate that I have run at least 32,000 miles (1.25 times around the Earth!) and it is views like this that keep me fired up for more. I have probably run the trails in Torrey Pines State Reserve (north of La Jolla, California) 1500 times or more during my life. The other night during my run I enjoyed one of the finest sunsets I have ever seen there. Clearing storm, golden light, clouds, wet sand. I had my iPhone strapped to my arm but I had no “real camera”. There was no one else on the beach and it appeared I had two miles of spectacular low tide beach all to myself which in San Diego is a virtual impossibility. I spent the last 30 minutes of the day composing panoramas of the golden waning light shining on the cliffs and breaking storm clouds with my iPhone. That night I fed a stack of 45 individual iPhone images to Photoshop. Photoshop cranked away all night making a panorama and the following morning the first image below is the result. I’ve checked it at full resolution and the quality is really impressive. Thanks for looking and keep on running!
Click any of the images to see them larger. In their full resolution form, all of these panoramas are quite large, made from 20-45 individual iPhone photos that are stitched together in Photoshop. Sizes range up to 10,000 pixels in length and 3800 pixels in height. In the images that include waves, there are stitching errors in the waves which are largely unavoidable. However, in the images that face away from the ocean there are few if any stitching errors and in my estimation the images are clean enough to print up to 30″ or more in length .
La Jolla’s Mount Soledad Cross is a 29-foot Latin cross made of concrete standing atop Mt. Soledad, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The current Mt. Soledad Cross was built in 1954, but a previous cross stood on the spot since 1913. The Mount Soledad Cross has been the subject of much litigation. Supporters of the cross consider it an important war memorial, while opponents feel it violates the separation of church and state. Currently, the cross and the land on which it stands are owned by the nonprofit Mount Soledad Memorial Association. My hunch is that the cross will remain standing for years to come.
See more Mount Soledad Cross photos.
Below is the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier, the pier that supports the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. The original wooden Scripps Pier was built in 1915 and was replaced by the modern cement pier in 1988. On the hill behind the pier can be seen many of the buildings that make up Scripps Institute of Oceanography. To the left (north) is the southern edge of Black’s Beach, while if one walked along the beach to the right (south) one would come to La Jolla Shores Beach in a few minutes. When I was in grad school I worked in the Norpax building on the far left above the sandstone bluff. Some of the greatest minds in all of science work on this hill, wearing flip-flops as their laser brains study climate change and deep ocean phenomena, and go surfing at the pier at lunch. It’s brutal living in Southern California.
SIO Pier. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography research pier is 1090 feet long and was built of reinforced concrete in 1988, replacing the original wooden pier built in 1915. The Scripps Pier is home to a variety of sensing equipment above and below water that collects various oceanographic data. The Scripps research diving facility is located at the foot of the pier. Fresh seawater is pumped from the pier to the many tanks and facilities of SIO, including the Birch Aquarium. The Scripps Pier is named in honor of Ellen Browning Scripps, the most significant donor and benefactor of the Institution.
Image ID: 22293
Location: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, USA
Scripps Pier solstice, surfer’s view from among the waves, sunset aligned perfectly with the pier. Research pier at Scripps Institution of Oceanography SIO, sunset.
Image ID: 30150
Location: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, USA
Earth Shadow is an atmospheric phenomenon most easily seen on a cloudless morning with a relatively clear horizon. But you have to get up early to see it, since it occurs before sunrise! Have you ever seen those layers of blue, purple and pink along the horizon just before sunrise or just after sunset? The darker sky, lowest on the horizon, is actually the shadow of the Earth cast upon the atmosphere, while the lighter sky above is the atmosphere as it is lit by the sun. As dawn nears, the shadowed portion of the sky is squeezed down on the horizon and disappears. The pink in the upper “layer” is the result of the sun passing at a highly oblique angle through the dust-filled atmosphere to the east (or west at sunset), colored by the particulate suspended in the air. I made a couple of photographs illustrating earth shadow recently while doing some early morning photography in La Jolla along with an older one from some years ago in Morro Bay:
By the way, earth shadow occurs after sunset as well. But I’m usually slaving away at the grill or watching my daughters’ volleyball practices so I rarely photograph end-of-day earth shadow…