I had the good fortune of living in the coastal city of Coronado, California from 2007-2011, courtesy of the US Navy. Photography was reentering my life as I had not taken many photos in over 25 years. I found myself in the land of sunsets, beaches, ocean views, and I loved it. When I found out in 2014 that I would be returning to Coronado, I was a happy camper! I began searching online for photos of Coronado to see what other photographers were shooting, something I often do to get ideas. I found sunset photos, the Hotel Del Coronado, sunsets, the beach, the bridge, the boathouse, and even sunsets! I made a decision right then and there to take photos of Coronado, the city; sure I’d shoot the San Diego skyline, the bridge, boathouse, and yes, the legendary Pacific coast sunsets; but I hoped to capture something different. Let me say upfront, there are many amazing photographers in Coronado who I respect, they shoot everything including the incredible sunsets, and I love checking out their amazing photos! However, I hoped to do something else and wanted to catch another side of Coronado while I was here. The photo at the top of the page was taken at the Fiddler’s Cove Marina when the sun was just starting to burn through the morning fog.
The main marina in Coronado makes for an excellent photo subject just about 24/7 (above left). I hoped to show that there is life in this marina, even at night, because many people live aboard their boats. This was the night of the “super moon” and while this isn’t a spectacular super moon photo compared to others, I think it captures the vibe of this marina at night with the calm waters and reflection of the moon. Since sailing and boating are a major activities in Coronado, it’s not difficult finding sailboats virtually everywhere. The above right photo was taken from Tidelands Park which is a great location to shoot sunrises as well. You might be able to tell by this photo, and the one at the top of this page, I LOVE fog! When it comes to photography, I find that while blue skies are amazing to the naked eye, they just do nothing for me with my camera. I’ve found the trick to shooting fog in Coronado is to have the camera bag ready to go at all times, the fog can appear and disappear quickly here. Unlike the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin where I grew up, the sun can literally burn off solid fog in minutes, and in both of these photos the fog was gone within 10 minutes after snapping these.
Capturing everyday scenes in Coronado has been interesting because common events we do daily are set in front of an incredible backdrop. In the above left photo, a bird dives in to the water for a fish while a guy is relaxing with his hands behind head checking out the view. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up, Coronado is really like this at times! The above right photo was taken at the Spreckel’s Park gazebo after my daughters had their Girl Scout meeting there. The below middle sunrise photo was also taken at Spreckel’s Park, if there is a hub for Coronado, in my opinion it is this park because concerts, flower shows, playtime with the kids, and even craft shows on Sunday mornings happen at this park. Below left are two VW vans that I drive by practically every day, and for over a year I meant to shoot them. There’s nothing fancy here, I just thought it looked cool as a typical street scene with these classic vans. Finally, the shot below on the right is a front yard swing, it could be Anywhere USA, which was the point of this photo; there are many times when Coronado feels like any other small town I’ve visited, I mean that in the best possible way!
Coronado has a rich military history as both the US Army and US Navy maintained a presence here until the late 1930’s. However, it has been the Navy that remained and Coronado has been the major training location for the US Navy SEAL’s for decades. In 2016, Coronado erected a statue honoring all maritime commandos called the “Naked Warrior” sculpted by artist J. Seward Johnson Jr. (below). These ‘naked warriors’ would later evolve in to the Navy SEAL’s of today. For a great book on this, check out The Naked Warriors: The Elite Fighting Force that became the Navy SEAL’s by CDR Francis Fane. While I was shooting this photo, a young man actually slowly passed by the statue on his beach cruiser bike, fist bumped his heart and flashed a peace sign to the statue in respect, this is Coronado. While I love the ocean, beaches, and sunsets, I think there is more to Coronado. While it’s a place of seaside mansions and a major travel desination, if you peel back it’s layers you’ll find a simple coastal village and military town rich in history. Look past the streets filled with tourists and you’ll see swings hanging from trees, VW’s parked on the streets in front of simple cottages, and quiet neighborhoods like most other little towns. Oh, and if you wait till the evening, you might even experience an incredible sunset.