Views From The Balboa Park California Tower
My Photo club had an outing at Balboa Park, taking us to the first observation deck in the California Tower, which is connected to the San Diego Museum of Man. Below is a set of images, with more explanation below.
As always, clicking on any of these images will launch the slideshow.
The California Tower was opened in 1915, but was closed in 1935. Recent improvements, particularly safety, has allowed guided access to the bottom observation deck. There are two smaller observation decks above, but those have not been improved with safety features added. They remain closed to the public, but I don’t think the view is incredibly different.
Tickets can be purchased through the Museum of Man website. You should arrive early, and there is security that will look at your gear. We were able to arrange a special “photo tour” provided that we buy out the entire show. This wasn’t too tough.
One of the challenges we found is that the tops of the buildings in the park are not too attractive. Piping, duct work, and cabling appears to run on many of the flat-topped buildings. Compositions were tough. In addition, much of the shooting was from narrow angles. My El Prado images were very tight for this reason.
To me, the most enjoyable image was made of the Old Globe through the North lookout. It was really surprising how close you were to the top. A hawk nest sits on the top of the Globe facing South. The nest is not currently active, and it appears that the recent human traffic has sent the hawk elsewhere to live.
The weather was clear and warm. With the time change, the sun was higher than preferred. It would be great to come again, with the final 4:20 PM tour timed closer to sunset, perhaps late Fall or early Winter. Overall, it was enjoyable to hang out with friends and make images from a perspective I’ve never experienced in Balboa Park.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the images!
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.