La Tour, Laguna Beach

Let me just preface this post by saying that La Tour is a very tricky landmark to photograph. I had seen photos of it for years and thought to myself, “this is in Laguna Beach, and I’ve never seen it before! This needs to happen.” So one day I finally sat down and looked into where it was and to my surprise, it was literally right next to Treasure Island Beach (where I always go to take photos in Laguna.) Erin had mentioned wanting to try landscape photography, so the two of us decided to take a crack at it.

First of all, I am terrible at researching things. (I won’t mention the time my friend Audrey and I were going to take photos of Three Arch Bay and it wasn’t until an hour before we were getting ready to leave that I discovered Three Arch Bay is in a gated community with no public access unless you want to go for a swim in the ocean.) So needless to say, I looked at La Tour on Google Maps (satellite view) and thought “North. Good.” I won’t go into great detail, but half of the trip involved me leading the two of us in a big circle and thinking out loud, “I’m glad we left at least two hours before sunset!”

After we finally figured out that the best beach access was a hike off the main road through a sloped, San-Francisco style neighborhood down to the sand, we finally arrived at La Tour… only to discover that there was this giant, hideous obstruction planted directly in front of it. I thought to myself, “that wasn’t in any of the pictures I saw.”

It was high tide, and there were quite a few people milling about so I did my best to take photos of the tower and this ridiculous… thing… I honestly don’t even know what it was, while the waves would sweep in and I would grab my tripod and extricate myself as quickly as possible to ensure self-preservation.

Thankfully, Erin saved the day. She comes over to me while I’m dodging another wave and says, “follow me.” I pick up my tripod by the legs and throw the camera strap around my neck and follow her to discover a narrow passageway back behind said obstruction. On the other side was a short staircase on top of a pile of rocks where the high tide was splashing about… and completely avoiding the stairs. No one else in sight, perfect view of La Tour, just as the sun is going down.

Nailed it.

Both of us somehow managed to set up our tripods on this tiny little 4 x 5 square of stairs and attached our shutter releases and had a field day. I couldn’t believe how perfect our luck was (okay, maybe it’s also the fact that Erin is a lot more observant than I am.) Not long after the sun went down, the waves decided to stop being nice to us, and we moved our camera equipment out of the way just in time.

It was a fun day! I like how the pictures turned out, but I really want to go back again and give it another shot. I would have liked to have a few more shots with my NDF before sunset to get a shot with both the glow and the smooth water (all my running in circles cut into that time) and by the time the sun went down the sky was hazy so my best slow shutter shot didn’t get that beautiful glow on the water. Oh well… next time!