Category Archives: Wildlife

How to photograph Pismo Beach

Legendary California sunsets, spectacular nature, and a diverse beach community define Pismo Beach, a family friendly community located on the Central Coast of California. Once known as the Clam Capital of the World, Pismo Beach preserves the spirit of the golden days, when daydreamers and thrill seekers met to surf the impressive waves and relax at the beach or in their hippie vans.

You can still encounter this rare breed of aging super hippies who stubbornly refuse to grow up. While observing them pass through life with a remarkable ease, I sometimes wish I could peel off my hard working skin and join them in their endless summer.

I enjoy sitting on the pier and romanticizing the bum lifestyle, but when the sun sets, it is time for me to wake up and work my camera to capture the beauty of Pismo Beach.

Pismo SB Pier

How to photograph Crystal Cove State Park

Clinging to the cliffs between lavish Orange County residences and the Coastal Highway, Crystal Cove State Park is a pristine refuge for naturalists and a godsend to photographers. It offers a wide range of outdoor water sports activities, ranging from fishing to diving, surfing, and kite flying. Miles of backcountry trails and several campsites provide a sense of nature and open space that make it easy to forget the proximity to the yachts of Newport Beach and the villas of Laguna Beach.

The weather conditions that attract wealthy Orange County residents to this area make Crystal Cove State Park a year-round pleasant destination. Dramatic Southern California sunsets, rugged cliffs, tidepools, and an unspoiled mountainous backcountry wilderness area will give you a chance to deploy your full creativity on this beautiful landscape and to walk home with fond memories and a full memory (card).

Crystal Cove Sunset

How to photograph La Jolla

La Jolla is an upscale beach community within the city limits of San Diego. Although development has mostly tamed its rugged landscape, the charming and tasteful integration of man and nature somehow seems to work well in La Jolla. Officials have reserved some of the beaches for seals and others for people and they seem to stick to the arrangement; seals keep their distance and people stay behind fences and lines.

Tasteful Spanish style buildings nestle along the cliffs and manmade parks complement nature’s beautiful work. La Jolla is a pleasant community but it shares the fate of overcrowding with most other beautiful beach communities in Southern California. People pack into the small town like sardines into a can, making your job as a travel photographer challenging. At the same time, people often present interesting opportunities.

La Jolla

How to photograph Morro Bay

Morro Bay is a delightful fishing town with a sheltered harbor. At the entrance of the harbor towers Morro Rock, a volcanic granite dome and Morro Bay’s most prominent feature.

I used to bypass Morro Bay on my travels after I first moved to California. From a distance, it did not seem to offer much and the three smoke stacks of the local power plant are still an eyesore to me. Since then I have come to appreciate Morro Bay. The fishing boats, the sea life, and the dramatic sunsets that backlight an equally dramatic landscape have won me over. I love coming to Morro Bay and I am never short on excuses for another stop at Morro Bay. After all, it is conveniently located at the confluence of Highways 1 and 101.

Do not miss Morro Bay, a fantastic family destination with countless photography choices.

Morro Bay Marina

Hearst Park Otters and San Simeon Seals

The drive along scenic Highway 1 is one of my favorite pastime activities in summer. The drive in itself is immensely satisfying, even without stopping, yet each stop reveals something special. San Simeon is one of those stops that does not always reveal its beauty at first glance, but does fascinate countless visitors who dare to take a second look.

Learn about the enchanting wildlife viewing spot that brings you close to the majestic elephant seals, allowing you to observe and photograph them in their natural habitat. Discover the otters dancing with seagulls beneath the pier in Hearst Park.

San Simeon is famous for nearby Hearst Castle SHP. Many visitors see the Castle, but miss the real stars of San Simeon, the sea mammals.
San Simeon Pier

Montana de Oro State Park

Montana de Oro State Park is California’s largest coastal state park. Despite the 1 million visitors each year, you will be able to find solitude on the nearly 50 miles of trails. Diverse coastal landscapes, spectacular wildlife viewing, and outdoor sports activities make this park so popular.

Montana de Oro’s sweeping views of rugged coastal landscapes, dunes, and the chance to photograph wild animals make it very attractive for photographers. Unspoiled coastal landscapes are becoming increasingly harder to find, which makes the park such a treasure. The constant pressure from Sacramento’s budget threatens this jewel of the Central California Coast.

Sand Spit - Montana de Oro

Tule Elk Reserve and Pierce Point Ranch

The majestic Tule Elk, a subspecies of elk native to California, living at Point Reyes now number over 400 animals, making it the largest herd in California. After becoming nearly extinct just a few decades ago, this is one of the biggest success stories of conservation.

You have a very good chance of spotting these magnificent creatures, while hiking along the windswept Tomales Point Trail, north of historic Pierce Point Ranch, a former buttery dairy. The elk are friendly and used to hikers, making them easy subjects. The Tule Elk Reserve is thus one of the best wildlife photography spots in California.
Tule Elk Bull

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Wild Animal Park recently changed its name to San Diego Zoo Safari Park, since it “reflects the experience the Park has to offer” in a better way. In my opinion, neither of these glorious titles accurately describes the park. The Safari Park is actually a breeding enclosure for the Zoo that double […]

How to photograph Santa Cruz Natural Bridges State Beach

The Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz compresses numerous coastal attractions into a small, protected area. Here you can visit one of California’s Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries, watch migrating whales, spot a sea otter, discover amphibian life in the tide pools, view wildflowers or just take in the spectacular cliffs of the California coastline.

Natural Bridges State Beach is easy to photograph and a pleasure to explore. The visitor center offers a free map and valuable information about the park. The beach is easily accessible and the coastal climate is pleasant, even on hot days. The park is also a Mecca for beach lovers. It bustles with beachgoers and BBQ parties on warm days. Bring your bathing suit if you are up for a little refreshment.
Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz, CA

How to photograph Shell Beach

The affluent beach community of Shell Beach, north of Pismo Beach provides a convenient scenic stop along Highway 101. The sunsets here are more vivid than elsewhere, the air is fresher and the water cleaner.

Gorgeous ocean-view hotels, seaside restaurants, and large residences occupy the small space between Highway 101 and the cliffs of the Pacific Coast. Below these cliffs, tide pools reveal an intriguing variety of amphibian life.

Nearby, at Pelican Point and Shelter Cove, you will find a colony of Pelicans and have superb views of the sea and Pismo Beach.
Sunset at the tide pools of Shell Beach

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