Everyone find your place and fasten your seatbelt!  Did I just hear someone shout, “SHOTGUN!!”?  I love road trips – especially when that road trip will take us down the pacific coast to the beautiful city of San Diego!

Climbing out of his boat and onto shore in 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped into history as the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. In addition to telling the story of 16th century exploration, this park is home to a wealth of cultural and natural resources.

That’s right!  We’re visiting the Cabrillo National Monument for a photo shoot today.  I’m so glad you could come along!  It’s been several years since I first came to this beautiful area which offers a wealth of historical discoveries as well as breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego Skyline.

This park offers a historical tribute to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, some of the most amazing coastal tide pools, a historical military site, and of course the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

We couldn’t ask for a better day for a photo shoot.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse stood watch over the entrance to San Diego Bay for 36 years. At dusk on November 15, 1855, the light keeper climbed the winding stairs and lit the light for the first time. What seemed to be a good location 422 feet above sea level, however, had a serious flaw. Fog and low clouds often obscured the light. On March 23, 1891, the light was extinguished and the keeper moved to a new lighthouse location closer to the water at the tip of the Point.

Today, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse still stands watch over San Diego, sentinel to a vanished past.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a reminder of simpler times – of sailing ships and oil lamps and the men and women whom day after day faithfully tended the coastal lights that guided mariners. In 1851, a year after California entered the Union, the U.S. Coastal Survey selected the heights of Point Loma for the location of a navigational aid. The crest seemed like the right location: it stood 422 feet above sea level, overlooking the bay and the ocean, and a lighthouse there could serve as both a harbor light and a coastal beacon.

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Construction began three years later. Workers carved sandstone from the hillside for walls and salvaged floor tiles from the ruins of an old Spanish fort. A rolled tin roof, a brick tower, and an iron and brass housing for the light topped the squat, thick-walled building. By late summer 1854, the work was done. More than a year passed before the lighting apparatus – a five foot tall 3rd order Fresnel lens, the best available technology – arrived from France and was installed. At dusk on November 15, 1855, the keeper climbed the winding stairs and lit the oil lamp for the first time. In clear weather its light was visible at sea for 25 miles. For the next 36 years, except on foggy nights, it welcomed sailors to San Diego harbor.

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Each image is captured from a different perspective to give you an idea of the height of this particular lighthouse.  From every direction the lighthouse sits high above the ocean defeating any idea of creating an image that would include both the lighthouse and the ocean.

Alright everyone, it’s back to the car and on to our next destination!!  I hear there’s a spectacular temple in the area.  Let’s see if we can find it!

~ by photographyfree4all on April 13, 2011.


  1. I sure do like the sound of a road trip, but somehow it seems more appealing on the Pacific Coast, but it’s probably a bit far for me.. lol.. Love your collection of shots, and that sure does look like quite the place…


  2. Great photos, Steve. Lighthouses always seem to be so photogenic.


  3. It is definitely a nice spot here, and you got some nice pictures too…. BUT, I am sorry!: As a Dane I have to correct your story about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo! Many years before him, my Viking ancestors arrived to the American West Coast from Denmark and Norway 😉


  4. I would LOVE to be able to go up to the top of that lighthouse and see the view….


  5. Hey, FS! Thanks for stopping by and jumping into the comment community! Hope to see you again, soon!


  6. They are, Bob! I’m looking for some others to shoot that are nearby! Great to hear from you!


  7. Uh-oh! I’ll trust you on that one, Truels!! 🙂 I glad your back from your travels!


  8. I’m heading over to your blog to check out your recent travels!


  9. It’s pretty spectacular from the hillside, Kuukisu! It’s good to see you back in the comment column! You’ve been missed. 🙂


  10. Sorry it’s been so long… been really busy and will hopefully be making a post tonight myself. Good to be back! 🙂


  11. […] I had never exited the freeway to take a closer look…until this day.  While driving to the Cabrillo National Monument, I determined to return to photograph this […]


  12. Hey…I know how that “busy” time works! I’ll be sure to jump over to your blog to check it out! Thanks, Kuukisu!


  13. Love your point of view in the third image. It seems to invite one to wade through the flowers up to the lighthouse.


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