Piers, Sunsets, Lighthouses in Los Angeles and Orange County

Discussion in 'Travel' started by michaelsmiller, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. I am sure this might have been discussed before but....
    I am looking for some great spots to shoot piers, beach scenes, and sunrises or sunsets(most likely), surfing, and lighthouses if possible while I am in Southern California. I am staying 2 nights in Newport Beach, 1 night in Santa Monica, and 1 night in Hermosa Beach. I am staying with friends so I will have access to a vehicle.
    Is it worth taking a day trip up the PCH or should I just concentrate on one specific area at a time? I was thinking about shooting the Santa Monica Pier area, Huntington Beach area, and maybe Balboa Pier/Newport Pier, or even the Lower Trestles area in San Clemente.
    If you know of any amazing and relatively unique vantage points to shoot these areas I would greatly appreciate your advice and suggestions. Thanks in advance
  2. The only substantial lighthouse in the area is at Point Vicente on Palos Verdes in Los Angeles county. Unfortunately it's not open typically for visits. There is a interpretive center just "west" of the lighthouse that allows sort of distant shots. It's maybe 1/2 hour or so south of Hermosa Beach (if memory serves correctly).
    I have a couple of pictures of the light on pages 4 & 5 of this gallery. Wasn't a great day but we were down there so I shot them. This is mostly from the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor and Palos Verdes area (the fish shots are from the Long Beach aquarium).
    I don't know that Huntington Beach pier is any more or less good for sunsets than Newport/Balboa, they aren't that far apart. Sunsets are going to depend, to some extent on cloud conditions. I've shot sunsets at Huntington Beach some, it's somewhat easier to get to for me. The Orange County beaches, Huntington, Newport and Balboa are closer to Santa Catalina Island and may offer better views of the island than Hermosa Beach or Santa Monica. Surfing activity can vary with conditions but Huntington Beach and the trestles area can be good. You can shoot off the piers as well as from the beaches.
    I've got some Huntington Beach shots in here, lots of Bolsa Chica, a few of Seal Beach pier as well. Some sunset shots at the end of the gallery.
  3. Thanks Craig. I appreciate the tips. Will you tell me more about the lighthouse area in your personal experience. These photos with the lighthouse and cliffs, were those taken from this interpretive center lookout?
    Great work by the way.
  4. Michael,
    I agree with Craig that any of the many piers would be fine places for sunset shots. Santa Monica pier with its Ferris Wheel and neon is larger and possibly has more opportunities for creativity that the others. Sunsets will depend on mother nature and the smog levels.
    Palos Verdes is a beautiful place with its rocky shoreline. Here is a wide angle shot of Pt. Vincente Lighthouse from the interpretive center. It is a also a great place to shoot brown pelicans and red tailed hawks if you are interested.
  5. The perimeter fence of the light station is just about at the palm trees on the cliff top. I believe on the tightly cropped shot I'd walked up to the fence line but it may have been shot from the higher parking lot, zoomed and cropped some. The above shot and the wider shot I've got, those are from the interpretive center. Depending on weather, that's a good place for clouds over the water, birds, can be good for spotting whales - not close enough for pictures but you can at least see the spouting, etc. On really great days, after a snow and cold front, you can see Catalina to the one side and the snow capped mountains surrounding the L.A. Basin to the other, especially from the high points over San Pedro.
    If you drive "north" from Santa Monica on 1 through the Malibu area, there are some pretty beaches, including El Matador, La Piedra, and El Pescador, little pocket beaches, part of the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach which can be good for sunsets as well, but I'm not sure on some of the parking issues, especially at the pocket beaches. There are a number of large state and county beaches as well. You could go to Santa Barbara on a day trip but I don't know that you'd add much to what you can find in the areas your staying.

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