The Boulevard – San Diego Night Shooting

Night time shot of the sign in el cajon the boulavard san diego californiaCanon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 67mm, f/22 for 30s at ISO 100


San Diego has these cool neon signs in various locations to signify that you are entering a certain neighborhood. One such sign is on El Cajon Blvd near where it intersects Normal Street and Park Blvd. I hope to amass a collection of these signs which also include the ones in Gaslamp, Hillcrest, and Little Italy among others.

How to get this type of shot

A sturdy tripod is a must for this type of shot. In order to get the nice long streaks from the cars’ headlights and taillights, long exposures are necessary. Patients is also something you must have. I had to time my shots so that cars were flowing in both directions, and this took some time considering it was 9:30pm on a Thursday night when this image was made. This also takes me to the third ingredient for a successful nighttime shot like this, a clear dark black sky. I really wanted a dark sky to maximize contrast between it and the sign. This means shooting well after sunset (7:55pm on this day). Any remaining light in the sky caused by either the setting sun or an overcast sky reflecting the city lights would decrease the impact of this shot.

The final thing to remember during a shot like this is safety. It is dark out and cars are passing by quickly and they are not expecting to see some guy out there with a camera. I was in the center median for this shot and although I would have liked to have been further back and zoomed into the sign to get more telephoto compression, I felt it was not safe to do so since the median narrowed the further back from the sign it got. No shot is worth risking your equipment, and more importantly your safety for.


“The Boulavard” sign in San Diego California on El Cajon Blvd (Coordinates: 32.755253,-117.145289)

30 thoughts on “The Boulevard – San Diego Night Shooting

      • Indeed, Germany is a beautiful country and I hope I can get back there soon. But there are many wonderful places in Europe so I think I will go somewhere else next time. (I’m originally from Hungary, currently I live in Switzerland.) I hope you will enjoy your stay in Germany. I’m looking forward to see your pictures about this area.

      • Agnes, thanks for sharing that about yourself. In that case, I hope to see more of your photos from Switzerland and Hungary. I have briefly visited Switzerland, but have not seen Hungary at all.

    • Thanks for all your comments and sharing your thoughts on my photos. I know metallic prints are all the rage these days, but I have not tried it for myself. Perhaps I should take your suggestion and try it with this shot.

  1. Thank you for stopping by my blog and giving me the opportunity to take in your beautiful photos.I’m really enjoying your body of work and looking forward to many more photographs.

  2. What a wonderful Image, Thank you for sharing the story behind the making of it. I am headed to Le Mans Race next week and while I do not have any experience with slow shutter speed (as i do not have a tripod I hope to get a reasonable one before that.) I am looking forward to making some images like this.

    Thank you for sharing.


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