San Diego Neighborhood Signs
These images are a continuation of my series on San Diego neighborhood signs. The first shot of the series was “The Boulevard” on El Cajon Blvd and can be seen is this post. There are several of these signs that either are prominently featured on an island divider or span the entire street. A complete list of signs in San Diego can be found here. So that makes four down and one more to go for a certain project I have in mind.
How to get this type of shot
Patients and timing are critical in getting a successful shot. For both the Gaslamp and Northpark signs I wanted to include the activity of the city represented by the streaking car head and tail lights. These light streaks not only serve as leading lines into the image, but also add a dynamic element of activity in a cityscape. To get both incoming and outgoing cars, I had to time my shots with the traffic signals so that cars were going in and out of the frame during the exposure. This took several tries to get the most pleasing streaks.
Shooting at the right time of day is also key. For the Gaslamp shot I wanted to feature the downtown buildings so I shot slightly after sunset so that some light remained in the sky which also served to light up the surrounding buildings with natural light. Some neighborhoods are more photogenic than others and those signs surrounded by strip malls are best shot at night when the signs light up and the rest of the city falls into darkness. The Boulevard and Northpark shots are examples of this.
Encinitas is home to the world famous surf spot Swami’s, so I wanted to capture this photo during sunset with blue skies and clouds in the scene to get the “Sunny California” vibe. I also framed the shot to include some palm trees to give the image a sense of place for those that are not familiar with the location of Encinitas.