Exploring Balboa Park...
For spring break this year, we headed down to San Diego to visit family and spent a few days enjoying this beautiful city. We stayed in the quirky and fun Balboa Park Inn, right on the north side of the park, near the zoo. (Unfortunately, the Inn has since closed.) For several days, I was able to venture out to the park's many gardens and monuments and shoot a variety of photos. The lunar eclipse was the highlight of the picture opportunities, but there were many other wonderful ones as well.
If you don't know that much about the park, it has a great website on Balboapark.org. Basically, the 1200-acre locale has been around since 1868, with many popular species of plants introduced early on into the Park’s horticulture. San Diego went on to host the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, and at that point, the Park Commissioners decided on the name Balboa Park, chosen in honor of Spanish-born Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, the first European to spot the Pacific Ocean while on exploration in Panama.
If you're curious about shooting the next eclipse there, here are a few tips. First, the park is open all night, and I did not have any problems with security. I even brought a portable camp chair, blanket etc and nobody looked twice at me. The park was well lit and I never felt unsafe. Next, there was only one other photographer with the same idea. Getting my set-up right where I wanted it was not an issue! Parking in one of the back lots was free and easy, but nothing was super close to where I shot, so I had to do a little schlepping. All in all, I was in the park for about six magical hours. I had never shot a lunar eclipse, and I was pleased with the final results.
Overall, Balboa Park is an amazing urban park that offers visitors a fabulous collection of gardens, museums, historical sites and more to visit in a relatively compact centralized space. I will definitely be back there in the future for my photo opps.