Moonlight Beach

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas is one of these places that I don’t really get. Or rather, I get it, but I would never go to any such places on purpose. Except this time, of course, to see what that place was all about. :-) I mean, Moonlight Beach (State Park), that sounds somewhat enchanting, doesn’t it?

The reality is that this is a small opening/bay/pocket in the coastal cliffs of Encinitas. The beach extends into it (probably artificial), there’s fire pits and a playground and on a weekday late in June, it’s of course teeming with people and there’s the sweet sound of chatting and laughter and shouting and fun at the beach in the air. And smoke, plenty of smoke (my shirt smelt like I’ve been at a Korean Barbecue restaurant for a couple of hours when we came home). The place is not really big, but loud, smoky, crammed with people – and thus, pretty much the opposite of what I’d be seeking in my spare time. :-}

It’s hard to find anything to photograph in such places for me. My photographic eye just doesn’t work well with people and clutter (and noise, and smoke). But then, there it is: a deck on top of the garage next to the lifeguard tower, and luckily there’s no one there when I see it. Getting down low I manage to hide the people down at the beach (who’d otherwise stick into the frame) and with a tight crop I can exclude any clutter:

Observation deck at sunset, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, California. June 2016.
Observation deck at sunset, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, California. June 2016.

To extract an image like this from a place that otherwise easily has the potential to overload my senses really illustrates the core of photography: it is the art of leaving things away! :-)

I walk around a little more, down to the beach. Beyond the cauldron-shaped center of the park, it’s just a narrow strip of sand beneath the bluffs, and the tide is slowly coming in, which will make it even narrower. People begin to line up everywhere with their cameras and phones, waiting for the sunset – it could be a good one because there’s plenty of clouds in the sky from subtropical moisture passing through our area.

I return to a spot a little bit higher up where fewer people are, it’s called “Moonlight Beach Overlook.” Staying back a little bit I find another angle that allows me to avoid most of the clutter, and (hopefully) use the curve of the concrete sidewalk as a design element. Perhaps I should have asked the lady and her daughter to pose for me and, instead of sitting there, get up and stand at the railing? :-)

Moonlight Beach Overlook, Encinitas, California. June 2016.
Moonlight Beach Overlook, Encinitas, California. June 2016.

Both photos are, despite the sun being directly in the frame, single exposures without HDR, blending, or graduated filters on the lens.

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