San Diego Skyline at Night

I recently had a chance to venture down to San Diego to photograph the San Diego Skyline from the Coronado side of the bay. There is an area near the Coronado Ferry Landing with restaurants, beach and grassy areas so you can hang out as formal or relaxed as you want.

I was supposed to be meeting a few people I hadn’t met before from a new meetup group I joined. I didn’t know what they looked like and there were a lot of cameras in the area so that was no help 🙂 There was a grassy area next to the Coronado Ferry Landing so I sat down and setup my tripod as low as it would go and starting shooting across the bay as the sun went down.

San Diego Skyline at Sunset

San Diego Skyline at Sunset

When I first got to Coronado there were some nice clouds in the sky, but by the time the sun had set, they were mostly gone.

San Diego Skyline after sunset

San Diego Skyline after sunset

A half hour after the last photo, the reflections really stand out

San Diego Skyline Reflection

San Diego Skyline Reflected in the bay

Turning my camera and tripod to my left, I played with getting the lights as starbursts and their colorful reflections under the pier. I like how the moving people show as a blur

Coronado Ferry Landing

Coronado Ferry Landing – 3.2 second Exposure to capture the people moving as a blur at f 16 to get the starburst

While the last photo shows the effects (starbursts, motion blur), the next tells a better story with the inclusion of the ferry boat. The ferry illustrates the purpose of the pier and why there is a constant flow of people on it.

Coronado Ferry

Coronado Ferry

I was seeing this light string in the background and it wasn’t until I moved further down the pathway, that I realized it was the USS Midway aircraft carrier that is permanently docked by downtown San Diego.

USS Midway at night

USS Midway

As I mentioned, I finally moved from my grassy position to work some different angles. I setup my tripod in a new location not too far from some other photographers and it turned out they were the group I had been looking for. After some conversation about how much water to include when it was so dark outside, I chose this composition.

San Diego Skyline at night

San Diego Skyline

As it was getting darker and darker, I thought the photos I was seeing on the back of my camera were looking too orange. After some conversation with the group around white balance, I decided to manually change the white balance setting on my camera to 2500 Kelvin with the intention of making the sky look more blue than black. It also change the lights from orange to blue, which I really liked.

San Diego Skyline at night

San Diego Skyline with creative use of white balance to make the photo more blue than orange

We decided to move in the opposite direction down toward the Coronado Bridge to get some photos of it. We never really found the perfect angle to get the whole bridge, but we did find a beach with a punch of boats sitting around. I took out my flashlight and light painted one of them. I still had my white balance set to 2500k so it cast a blue color on it.

Coronado Bridge and light painted row boat

Coronado Bridge and light painted row boat

The twin reflections of light are from Petco Park Baseball Stadium. The San Diego Padres were playing so the stadium was lit up very strongly even from across the bay.

San Diego Skyline and Petco Park

San Diego Skyline and Petco Park home of the San Diego Padres

We ended up staying an hour later than originally planned because there was so much to see and experiment with. With an hour+ drive, I didn’t get home to after midnight but it was worth it. 🙂

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