View Full Version : San Diego - Locations and Film

19-Oct-2010, 15:13
I may be in San Diego in February 2011 and am interested in location for landscape photography. Ocean or desert locations are fine. I've searched the forum and have found some good suggestions, but most are dated. I'll be there to visit friends, so I don't have a lot of time, but will have at least one free day to photograph.

I'd also like to purchase film while there (I'll call the dealer ahead of time to make sure they have some in stock). I'm looking for 4x5 Velvia 50 and 4x5 Provia F100; any size box is fine. I don't know the city, so it will have to be easy to find and park.


Robert Hall
19-Oct-2010, 15:31

I always like Balboa Park and Calumet is over in Escondido.

Jim Noel
20-Oct-2010, 08:26
For film:
Calumet in Escondido
Nelsons on India Street
George's on 30th street

Locations for landscapes:
Balboa Park
Anywhere along the coast
Point Loma
Go east out I-8 for mountains

J D Clark
20-Oct-2010, 09:47
There are some very nice spot on the drive to, and at Palomar Mountain, also. The Palomar Observatory is there, and makes a good subject. For a desert venue, a trip to Anza Borrego is not too long of a drive. Another favorite location of mine is the Elfin Forest Reserve, more in the central part of the county, for rocks/streams.

Last time I was at Calumet in Escondido, they didn't have any useful amount of 4x5 film, despite my requests. If you want the best probability of getting what you need, go to Nelson's, which is near the airport. I haven't been to George's, so I don't know about their supply.

John Clark

20-Oct-2010, 10:28
Point Loma Light House and tide pools - http://www.nps.gov/cabr/
Cedar Creek Falls - http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/california-cedar-creek-falls.html
Old Town SD - http://www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com/
Maritime Museum (Star of India) - http://www.sdmaritime.org/star-of-india/
Skyline shots (my fav) - Go to the ferry on Coronado http://www.goldenstateimages.com/GSI_search.php?srch=san%20diego%20skyline&op=ex

Film Source:
I second Calumet, Nelson's and Geroge's

Slide development:
Chrome Digital - 2345 KETTNER BLVD http://chromedigital.com/

Have your exposed film mailed back home if you are not developing it in SD, saves the hassel with TSA. It's a great city enjoy.

Hugo Zhang
20-Oct-2010, 10:49
Glider Port and Terry Pine Park.

20-Oct-2010, 10:57
Palomar Observatory

I have a good friend who is a docent there. I don't know why I didn't think of that one.

20-Oct-2010, 10:58
Thanks for all the tips everyone!! I haven't been to San Diego since 1984 or so. I'll bet the city has changed somewhat.

Does anyone know how the economy is doing there? I'm looking to move next summer/fall ... just not sure where yet.

20-Oct-2010, 11:25
Glider Port and Terry Pine Park.

That should be Torrey Pines, I believe. http://www.torreypine.org/

Hugo Zhang
20-Oct-2010, 11:27
That should be Torrey Pines, I believe. http://www.torreypine.org/

You are right. :)

20-Oct-2010, 11:32
Does anyone know how the economy is doing there?

unemployment rate - just under 9%
sales tax rate - over 9%
gasoline prices - over $3/gallon and rising

other than that, it's fine. just bring $... lot$ of $$$$.

20-Oct-2010, 11:38

The economy in San Diego is usually pretty "strong." Cost of living is pretty high as compared to most places. I assume you're military - your BAH will be about the same if I'm not mistaken. (I was out at Pearl..)

My favorite locations are Crystal Pier (Sunrise or sunset), Imperial Beach Pier at sunset, Scripps pier is really popular, too. I'd go along with everyone else on their recommendations, too. The big addition I'd add is the San Diego cliche skyline from Coronado. (Also, it's not an island as some may refer to it as. It's as much an island as San Francisco is.)

Best of luck and if you need someone to go shooting with, hit me up.


Robert Oliver
20-Oct-2010, 11:50
off the beaten path... Antique Steam Engine Museum in Vista is a pretty cool location for rustic, detail shots of cool old equipment.

David E. Rose
20-Oct-2010, 12:18
If you like architecture, see the Salk Institute in LaJolla.

20-Oct-2010, 13:14

If you know you're going to need film while here, both Calumet (in Escondido, 30 miles north of downtown), and Nelson's will order some in for you. Just call ahead. Give them a date to hold it until, and they hold it. If you don't buy it then they sell it to some rube like me!

Here's some of my in-town faves:
--Point Loma Lighthouse, somewhat cliche but still a lot of cool opportunities there.
--Tide pools, in both Point Loma and La Lolla, check the tide tables.
--Ocean Beach, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Oceanside, and all the great little beach towns.
--El Prado in Balboa Park, touristy, but the devil is in the details. Many, many details to be captured here.

If you have time to venture out of the city:
--Palomar Mountain, of course the observatory, but check out the State Park also.
--Mount Laguna, a stunning piece of the Cleveland National Forest, check out Laguna Meadows.
--Campo Rail Museum, if you like old iron and dilapidated rail equipment.
--Desert Tower, not so much the tower, but the surround rock formations.
--Valley of the Moon, once you're there you'll see why it's referred to as a "Valley of the Moon." Eerie lunar-like landscape.
--Carizzo Badlands, just don't get stuck there. Consider renting a 4-wheeler and take plenty of agua.
--Salton Sea, bizarre place, again so so many details...

When you get here, let us know, as some of us might take day trips to shoot...


20-Oct-2010, 18:36
Lots has already been said, but the Laguna mountains offer some nice views (I-8 to Sunrise Highway near Pine Valley) and the Cabrillo National Monument is awesome. Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach/Point Loma may offer you something, too. La Jolla Cove, perhaps?

Tim Povlick
20-Oct-2010, 20:13
Hi Robert,

If you can arrive late February maybe you could hit some of the flower season in the low desert - Palm Canyon near Borrego Springs. You can check here:
for information.

Nelson's Photo has 4x5 film in stock. I am fairly certain they have the Velvia 50. They even carry Fuji Instant FP-100 in both sizes. You can call ahead and make sure the film you need is in stock or have it ordered in. There are two LF photographers that work there. For development, Chrome Digital a few blocks away has about a 2 hour turn and does pro work.



20-Oct-2010, 22:25
Thanks for all the excellent suggestions!!

I am planning for the late February, so perhaps some of the desert wildflowers will be blooming. I can get the film locally, which means I don't have to order it, then carry it with me, and can even get it processed before I go home. Great. :P

21-Oct-2010, 04:21
Chrome is a great place in my last experience (6 years ago...) Wasn't cheap, though, IIRC.

If you're going to head to the desert, I have to say I like Joshua Tree over Anza-Borrego.