Sunset At Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Sunny Sandiego, that’s what everyone calls it, may not be one of the well-known cities,  but according to me possibly its one of the best cities to live and work in the United States. So when I got an opportunity to travel to Sandiego for a week, I had to make the most of it. 

After thorough research, one of the places in my checklist was the Point Loma Lighthouse. My interest in sunset photography made this the ideal place to take the camera and take some shots of the sunset with the lighthouse in the background. I was also interested to take a time-lapse video. 

The Old Point Loma lighthouse, is an icon occasionally used to represent the entire city of San Diego. (It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the “Old Spanish Lighthouse”; in fact it was built after California was admitted to the United States.]) Perched atop the southern point that creates the entrance of the bay with Coronado, the small, two story lighthouse was completed in 1854 and first lit on November 15, 1855. At 422 feet (129 m) above sea level at the entrance of the bay, the seemingly good location for a lighthouse soon proved to be a poor choice, as fog and cloud within the marine layer often obscured the beam for ocean-going vessels. On March 23, 1891, the lighthouse ceased to be used for its original purpose, as a new lighthouse was built nearer sea level on the same southern point.The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is now partially open to the public and has been refurbished to its historic 1880s interior. It is located within the Cabrillo National Monument, named after Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the first European explorer to see San Diego Bay. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Packed up my camera kit consisting of a  Nikon D5600, with a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. I have used the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens in the past for landscape photography but realized that a wide-angle lens is a must-have to capture the complete story in one frame. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 is not very expensive and ideal for landscape, starscape photography. Along with the lens I also had a newly acquired arsenal photography assistant.

I had left my hotel in San Sorrento valley and had spent the entire day in the Sandiego bay area visiting the USS Midway Museum and the arts festival being held that week. Since it was in June sunset is close to 8:00 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST) which gives enough daylight for anyone to explore around. Took an Uber around 5:00 PM to reach Point Loma. En route got the realization that Point Loma is inside a US naval base and by the time the cab reached the lighthouse, it was already closed for visitors. Considering that my trip was a short one didn’t have the option to come back another day.

Disappointed of not being able to capture the lighthouse I started walking towards the main entrance, which was almost 3 miles from where I was dropped by the cab. Then I had a realization that on my way to the lighthouse I had seen a war memorial and why not try visiting it. After walking a few minutes I reached the war memorial, it was one of those scenes which I had seen in movies like ‘The Rock’ starring Nicholas Cage, where Ed Harris, starring as General Francis X. Hummel goes to pay tribute to his fallen comrades. To my surprise, the place had an amazing view of the Sandiego bay area on one side and the ocean on the other. Disappointment went, I took out my camera along with the tripod and started taking some pictures. Interestingly the place was empty and I loved this part of it since I try to avoid capturing any humans in my pictures and photographs. Once done with the bay side, I moved over to the ocean side of the memorial. The view of the setting sun was amazing. I immediately took out my arsenal intelligent photographic assistant and set it up along with the camera and the tripod to start taking a time-lapse. With the camera being set I sat down on the pavement to watch the amazing sight of the sunset.  Few localities came in to view the sunset along with me, but they were with their cars or bikes.

Once the sunset and I was satisfied with the pictures I had collected I walked towards the entrance of the memorial and booked an Uber to go back to Sandiego city, After a few minutes the Uber guy called me to say that he was not allowed to come inside the Naval base and I would have to walk to him. It was a 3 miles walk and I started walking as fast as possible, but unfortunately, after 10 minutes the driver canceled the trip. Finally, after 45 minutes I reached the checkpoint of the naval base and was able to book a cab again. the complete 45 minutes was a lonely walk with no one around, alone Indian with a DSLR around his neck walking fast across a US naval base, with the fear of getting caught for espionage.

A memorial for all the war heroes is a reminder for everyone, of the price one has to pay for freedom and independence not just as a nation but also of the ideologies and beliefs of the individuals.

My advice to anyone visiting Sandiego, Point Loma lighthouse should be a must-visit place, one must spare 1/2 a day to watch the sunset from there. Be there before the closing time of the museum and ensure that you spend some time in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. It will be an enlightening experience, the numerous people who laid worn their lives may not belong to your nationality but they did pay the price of their life so as others can live and that in itself is worth gaining respect from anyone. Another learning was that public transport in Sandiego is not that great specifically if you want to go around places and enjoy the city and its culture. Would recommend if one can hire a car to go around.

The story doesn’t end here, What you see in the image is different from what the camera sees it as. I had to use some photoshop learnings to make it a visual treat for you, and as I mentioned in my bio, I consider myself a visual artist who shows the image from my viewpoint. Let us keep that story for another day, but to give you a perspective here is a before and after collage. To view the timelapse please visit my instagram (https://www.instagram.com/p/By9tuIUjF_m/) or Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/pg/TwilightPics)

I hope you enjoyed the story and someday will be able to visit Point Loma lighthouse and Rosecrans National Cemetery yourself.

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