Cliffs at La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is a righteous beach: good swimming, okay surfing (I’m told), and excellent Southern California sights. As mid-twentieth-century architecture has grown on me, I’ve even come to appreciate the homes and UC buildings overlooking the beach—but what must it have been like to visit here 100 years ago?

Cliffs at La Jolla Shores

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Marine Layer San Diego

Like many East Coasters, I hadn’t heard of the marine layer until my first visit to the West Coast. The odd, damped mornings in coastal cities seem so at odds with the view of California in popular culture. Even sunny San Diego is matte and dull under a blanket of morning clouds.

Marine Layer San Diego

Coronado to Cabrillo

A study in the contradictions of California and the importance of federal lands: In the foreground is Coronado, home of resorts and Navy SEALs. This is the developed, modern California. The cliffs in the background are Cabrillo National Monument, where the first Europeans reached the West Coast in 1542. I imagine that the peninsula would be equally carpeted with homes if not for the presence of the monument. I appreciate the contrast.

Coronado to Cabrillo//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

San Diego Morning

Time zones are a source of confusion and consternation (seriously, they’re insane to deal with). Jet lag can be surprisingly disruptive. There are some temporal challenges to transcontinental (not to mention intercontinental) travel.

But sometimes the time zones align and travel makes waking at dawn trivial. To get a view of the San Diego skyline with the perfect mix of lighting and color, and with minimal sleep deprivation, was a treat.

San Diego Morning

Yachtset

Toaster glow sunlight was the result of through marine-layer haze coating San Diego every evening. I couldn’t help but notice the three abnormally large ships in this image: In the distance, two Navy aircraft carriers are the essence of industrial, practical form. Moored in the foreground is a truly massive sailing yacht that is 100% style. Look at how it dwarfs even the ostentatious motorboats beside it. Quite the contrast.

Yachtset

San Diego Surreal Trio

Though they’re not necessarily explicitly surreal, I found these three images buried on the memory card from my most recent trip to San Diego. I thought that they might make a sort of “disparate triptych.”

To begin: The field beneath my hotel room had the odd stubbiness of coastal California grass, and seeing a formally dressed person isolated in that setting was strange.

San Diego Surreal I

I don’t remember taking this image—my finger must have been on the shutter as I swung from one composition to another at night. I like the striations.

San Diego Surreal II

And this last shot, of my seatmate during the transcontinental flight home, is the least surreal. Lots of pleasing pinks and light refracted from optical surfaces.

San Diego Surreal III