My September 2020 Photo of the Month is SDRP22, taken near Lake Hodges during a cloudy morning in San Dieguito River Park.
September was a difficult month. COVID shows few signs of abating. Heat, fire, and the associated smoke blanketed the State all month. It was enough to wonder what the point of getting out was.
At the end of the month, we began to get cooler temperatures (this week’s heat wave notwithstanding) and San Diego’s familiar marine layer began its return.
This image was created at a high point near the Piedras Pintadas area of San Dieguito River Park. This area overlooks Lake Hodges Northwest of the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood of San Diego.
I realize people are caught up in coastal sunset images, but I have learned over the years to enjoy and appreciate Southern California’s onshore flow. The marine layer is negative space in this photograph. That is a feature, not a shortcoming.
Some people may be tempted to use a polarizer in a photograph like this. After all, people feel it is always necessary to “remove reflections” in an image. I feel that would be a mistake. You lose tonal contrast with the foreground without the gray reflection. The rock outcroppings are less dramatic. The bottom two-thirds of the photograph blend too much together.
In this photograph, Lake Hodges is both beautiful and a good way to organize the composition. It is the marine layer’s companion, as it reflects much of the onshore flow. The lake also sets up the foreground with the foothills and visible portion of Bernardo Mountain.
SDRP22 is the best composition I made on this trip, and I am happy it is September’s Photo of the Month.
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the image.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.