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Lunar Eclipse – December 2011

December 2011 Lunar Eclipse from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, CAClick image for a larger view

Many of you are probably already aware that we had a full lunar eclipse early this morning. The eclipse started at 4:45 am (Pacific Time) with the earth set to cast its full shadow over the face of the moon starting at 6:05 am on the morning of December 10, 2011. The eclipse would coincide nicely with the moonset, which meant it would be in the perfect position to catch it over the Pacific Ocean.

Having previously visited Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for sunset photos, I knew of a perfect Torrey Pine tree that I could place in the foreground for a great accent to the eclipse. With the park over an hour's drive from my home, plus another 45 minutes to hike in, I had no choice but to wake up at 2:30 in the morning and make the long haul with tired eyes.

To be completely honest, the eclipse wasn't as spectacular as the news stories predicted - the moon didn't turn a blood red color and it didn't look abnormally large - and my pictures aren't quite as dramatic as I had envisioned, but regardless, it was well worth the effort. And since the next full lunar eclipse isn't for another 3 years, I figured I better at least go see it. Besides, the breathtaking walk along an empty beach in moonlight as I made my way to the park was reward enough.

December 2011 Lunar Eclipse from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, CAClick image for a larger view

Update:
I also wanted to share a photo from one of my photographer friends, Corey Sandler, based here in Southern California. He set up on the beach in Laguna to photograph the eclipse and wrote about his experience over at his blog. Check it out here. And be sure to browse through his site. He's a superb event and portrait photographer offering his services throughout Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Lunar Eclipse by Corey Sandler

Back to Torrey Pines

I went out to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve a couple of times last week to meet students for private photography lessons. The first day was gloomy and overcast, so I opted to take advantage of the diffused light for capturing the beautiful rocks beneath my feet. The second time out had some decent light, though. It was very high tide on both occasions - I thought we were going to get swept out to sea at one point the way the waves were almost making it to the cliffs!

Each time I was able to snap a few pictures myself while my student took their shots. Here's what I got...

If you've been thinking about private photography lessons, drop me a line for a price quote! Learn more about private lessons here!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

This past Saturday, I decided to check out Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in Del Mar, CA. I'd never been there before and I'd only seen a few pictures of it online, so I didn't really know what to expect. But with gorgeous weather prevailing and some free time on my hands, I figured it would be a perfect time to visit a new location for potential photo ops.

After spending the whole day there, hiking/running about 5 miles of its trails and then taking pictures through sunset, I can safely say that Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve will be one of my most frequented parks from here on out. In fact, I'd say it's going to give my favorite place to shoot in Southern California, Crystal Cove State Park, a run for its money.

Home to America's rarest pine tree (the Torrey Pine, which is only found in this park and on Santa Rosa Island off the California coast), Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve has some of the most unique geology and flora of any park I've visited. As I ran through the winding, narrow trails, I felt like I was transported to someplace further north - where pine forest meets the ocean. The eroded hillsides and cliffs at the edge of the water are reminiscent of San Onofre State Park, but even more beautiful.

Wildflowers were already blooming and I'm sure this place will absolutely explode with color in the next few weeks. It was quite crowded through the first half of the day, but what do you expect when you combine such a beautiful day with such a gorgeous park? The sunset turned out to be fantastic - just as I predicted. Some great clouds drifted in just in time to give the sunset some color. I also found a Torrey Pine tree with limbs shaped in such a way that they were just begging to be photographed. I took several similar shots of it but couldn't decide which was my favorite.

Here are the rest of my shots from the day:

Well, there you have it. My pictures from my first encounter with Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. I hope you enjoyed them and expect to see more where those came from.