Lighting Changes – Sailboats on San Diego Bay

I wanted to share some captures I took of sailboats on San Diego Bay last October. What the pictures show is a change in look of the same subject matter in the same location by the lighting in the sky.

These pictures were all taken from an area near downtown looking across the bay at Coronado Island. There is always some type of craft movement in the bay be it small sailboats, larger yachts, military air carriers or cruise ships. This particular day I was focused on sailboats and the sky. I noticed the cloud structures were changing as the day went from morning to afternoon. There was a remnant of a tropical storm coming from the Baja of Mexico just south of San Diego.

San Diego Bay Sailboat

In this first capture, the sun is out and the fluffy clouds from that system make a great backdrop.

San Diego Bay Sailboats 2

This shot was taken within about an hour of the first one. The sun is still out, but notice the change in the clouds. There is a high level of gray coming in on top of the fluffy clouds.

San Diego Bay Sailboats 3

I added this shot for a couple of reasons. The first reason was I love the look of this restaurant sitting on peers jutting out into the bay and the second reason is because at this point it was lunch time. I want to point out that this shot was taken very shortly after the last shot and notice the change in color of the bay. The sun was beginning to go under the approaching high level clouds…see the difference .

In the time I took for lunch and came back to capturing some sailboats, the last capture is what I took.

San Diego Bay Sailboats 4

Same area as the first shots, but see the difference in the color of the bay? It goes from a deep blue to more of a gray color. Even in the sails, the brilliant white of the sails is subdued. I thought this would be a great example of how important lighting is to the final outcome of a picture when shooting outdoors. There are subject matters that look better in indirect lighting and some landscapes look better with horizontal lighting (sunrise or sunset timeframes).


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27 thoughts on “Lighting Changes – Sailboats on San Diego Bay

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thanks Brad…kind of a weather geek especially living in a climate like Southern California where the weather doesn’t change much, so when it does it’s very noticeable! Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

  1. Felipe Adan Lerma

    Incredible what changing light helps happen! Really enjoyed your talk-through too, Kirt – I might’ve noticed a few of the things, but not registered them as you did. I think being there was important too. I have a few through-the-day shots in spots of Vermont a few days here & there, and I think looking at the pics without the memory of how the sun felt, the breezes, it’s hard to grasp the changes; or know what one might like to crop or work from. Very fascinating! 😊 ps- loved the reference to lunch, ain’t it important, the basic stuff, while we’re out art hunting for shots? ❤️

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Actually very few Diane. The climate is so temperate and actual storms are far and few between. San Diego gets rain in the winter, but it’s what I call a polite rain….no heavy winds….very rare to have thunder and lightening, etc. The tropical storm I mentioned just generated those high clouds and heavy humidity. The punch of a storm coming up the Baja dies as it hits the much cooler ocean waters off Southern California. It took some adjustment for my wife and I having grown up with the storms of the midwest and then the summer monsoons storms of Colorado.

      1. Diane Henders

        It’s funny you should say that – since we’ve moved to Vancouver Island, I’ve often remarked on the same thing. The winds and rains seem so soft and gentle here. In the past two and a half years we’ve only had one bad storm; and ferocious storms were weekly occurrences where we used to live in Calgary. We’re definitely getting spoiled! 🙂

  2. tiffanyarpdaleo

    Lovely photos of my home town Kirt! I love how the lighting changes by the minute. My husband worked in that restaurant back in the ’80s & ’90s believe me, it’s seen some stuff!

  3. Gillian Morris

    I love clouds.. they do make a good background in your photos. it’s amazing what a few minutes or hours makes to the colours in a photograph

  4. Pingback: © Felipe Adan Lerma – All Rights Reserved – Blogging at WordPress Since 2011 :)

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