Last week I headed to La Jolla with Greg to spend a day photographing birds, seals, and lighthouses. The day started with the two of us sitting on cliffs above the Pacific Ocean watching California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) wake up in the soft pre-sunrise light.
There are few better ways to start a day.
Soon after that picture was taken, the pelicans began to fly over to the cliffs Greg and I had set up on (illusion warning: we weren’t alone — a half dozen or so other photographers were also there, including the awesomely skilled and friendly Maxis Gamez). Greg and I stayed there for around three hours, and in that time dozens of pelicans flew up and landed only a few yards from us. They didn’t seem to mind our presence, and just sat their grooming themselves, resting, and doing other birdy things.
Here are my highlights from the day:
I don’t typically do bird photography, but if there are more places like the La Jolla cliffs I could see myself doing lots more.
I’d appreciate any and all comments on these pictures. This was functionally my first bird photography shoot, and I’d love to improve.
To see more pictures from the day, head to my Birds: Pelicans and gulls gallery (and wait for my next few blog posts).
La Jolla Cove Cliffs: This location doesn’t have an official name as far as I can tell, but it’s accessed from a small parking lot on the right side of Coast Blvd. in La Jolla (San Diego, CA), just after Coast Blvd. branches off from Prospect Place. The best I can do for you is give you GPS coordinates: N32.84936 W117.27038. Parking at the location is highly limited (and has a 2-hour max during the day), but it’s a short walk from other parking areas in La Jolla and the lot was virtually empty when I got there half an hour before sunrise on a weekday. The cliffs are accessed from a stairway that descends from the parking lot; be careful to stay well back from the edge, as the cliffs are steep and venturing too far forward will scare the birds away and prevent them from landing. The cliffs are within walking distance of beautiful seaside La Jolla, with much to see and do. I don’t know how often pelicans are there, but I’ve heard they’re only there during a short period in the winter.