Breaking Photography Rules: Balboa Pier

There are "rules" in photography regarding the optimal time of day for landscape/outdoor photographs. In a nutshell the best times to shoot are either in the early morning or late evening when the angle of the sun is low. This is true. The quality of light is better at that time and the colors are nicer. But what are you supposed to do if for whatever reasons those times are inconvenient? I've often stayed home just because I couldn't get to where I wanted at the "right" time of day.

Recently I took a chance and went out at the wrong time anyway. The heck with it. I've been wanting to visit the piers in Newport Beach for some time now since they're only about an hour away. I set out for Balboa Pier with no expectations and considered it more like a scouting trip. I was in the mood to take a little road trip and figured worst case scenario I would become familiar with the area and come back later.

Basic facts: Driving access is easy and the surrounding neighborhoods range from normal beach town to exceedingly upscale. The pier is on a peninsula so be prepared for weekend beach traffic. Thanks to traffic (I know, I know, I should have gotten out earlier. I'm trying to make friends with mornings but we are barely on speaking terms at this point) I got there at noon. The pier has a very convenient parking lot right next to it (not free but reasonable) and after circling for a short amount of time I scored a parking spot. Given the weather and the fact that it was a Saturday, finding easy parking was a huge win. There are also clean public restrooms in that same area. A+ for facilities as far as I'm concerned. On the pier is a Ruby's Diner: average food at above average prices. I'd recommend checking out one of the many restaurants on shore instead.

Bright light made it a prime opportunity for wave shots and thanks to a tropical storm off the coast of Mexico the waves did not disappoint. The time of day also enhanced the blues and greens in the water and allowed me to shoot at very high shutter speeds.


It was also a good time of day to shoot under the pier but it took some patience to get this shot with no people. By the way, have you noticed that every pier is different? This is most apparent when you're underneath it.

Balboa PierI'm glad I didn't let the "rules" keep me from taking this trip and having some fun. It was an excellent day and I was very pleased both with the location and the images I got. I will definitely go back there again! Don't let the rules keep you from doing something you enjoy. Get out there and break some rules.

P.S. Click here if you're looking for wave photographs or wave canvas prints for sale!