Laguna Beach, California Sunset Photos

I’ve become a beach bum. If you know me, you might be surprised to read that statement, as I have been like the living embodiment of Cartman when it comes to the hippie lifestyle (don’t let them fool you: beach bums are a subset of the hippie movement). However, unlike your typical beach bum who obsesses over their rad dreadlocks and spends 6.75 hours per day playing frisbee, I am addicted to chasing the sunset.

More specifically, I am addicted to chasing the sunset with my camera. I’ve had made countless runs to the beach when the afternoon light looked promising in the hopes of catching something special, and have often walked away wet, sandy, and–on rare occasion–with some good photos.

For a couple of months, pretty much every time I went out, I walked away skunked. The sky is a cruel siren, and so many times it looked like something epic was brewing, and then the cloud cover thickened at the last minute and the sky turned grey. This was the exact scenario many times during May and June, when the reputation of “May Grey” and “June Gloom” proved true.

Now that we are turning the corner on the weather with things starting to improve again, I figured I ought to process and share a few photos from my backlog, so I can start focusing on new sunset photos. Hope you enjoy these shots!

I’ve already written a post on the Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach, which I think is one of the coolest things to photograph in Laguna. It’s just so unique, and adds a lot to what could otherwise be a garden variety oceanscape.

This is a shot from Treasure Island Park, looking back at what I suspect is the nicest hotel in Laguna Beach: the Montage.

Yep, another Victoria Beach shot. This is my favorite beach in Laguna; not only does it have great visuals, but it’s hard to find so there often are very few people down here. I ventured out a bit too far into the water to get this shot, and my shorts ended up getting totally soaked. Not the first time that’s happened, nor the last…

If Victoria Beach is my favorite beach, then Treasure Island Park is my favorite park in Laguna Beach. It’s a public park, but since it’s located behind the swanky Montage, they put a lot of work into maintaining it, and plant some of the most beautiful flowers anywhere in the area. There are also some absolutely gorgeous multi-colored rabbits here that I’m pretty sure are a domestic breed that found their way into the area.

There’s nothing epic about this shot, but I really liked the mood it conveyed for some reason…

Another Victoria Beach. One thing I’ve learned a lot about since I started photographing the ocean is the tide. I still get hit by it a lot (mostly because I test its limits), but I’m getting better.

We’ll conclude with a dusk shot as the sunset fades over the north side of Laguna. In the lower right corner here you can vaguely see the Pirate Tower, and on the left corner is Newport Beach in the distance.

These photos were all taken by me with my Nikon D810 and Nikon D750Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 Lens, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens, and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR Lens. I also used my MeFoto travel tripod.

If you’re planning a California road trip or vacation, check out my California category of posts for other things to see and do. For photo licensing inquires, please contact me.

Your Thoughts…

Have you been to Table Rock Beach? What do you think of it? Have another favorite secluded beach in Southern California? Interested in visiting this beach? Have any questions or other thoughts? Please share below in the comments!

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21 replies
  1. Chris
    Chris says:

    I am looking to print 2 images that are 24×36 on metal. Do you offer your images to be purchased to print and if so would the quality of the image be really clear in a 24×36?

    Reply
  2. Caren Villaroman
    Caren Villaroman says:

    These pictures are beautiful!! We’ll visit Laguna beach next week and your posts are very helpful. I enjoyed reading them. Thank you..

    Reply
  3. Michael Greiner
    Michael Greiner says:

    I took a detour out to Victoria Beach one evening during my Disneyland Trip last week and it did not disappoint. I was able to find it easily enough thanks to the directions in your Pirate Tower post. I was able to get some really good shots of Pirate Tower as well as the same little atoll as in your photo above. I too was pretty much up to my waste in crashing waves soaking my shorts, socks, shoes and all. I was in a mad dash too catch the sunset after fighting traffic to get there, so there was no time to worry about trying to avoid getting anything soaked in any way. Totally worth it though.

    Reply
    • Tom Bricker
      Tom Bricker says:

      Great to hear that you made it down to Victoria Beach! It sucks that you got soaked, but it sounds like the shots were worth it. If you have them posted online somewhere, I’d love to see them.

      Reply
      • Michael Greiner
        Michael Greiner says:

        I am only just starting the process of managing all of my 1000 plus photos from the trip but I worked on a few real quick so you could take a look. Honestly, I am a little embarrassed to show them to you as I am a huge admirer of your photography work and I am still very much a beginner (been at it for just over a year now but have become pretty much obsessed with it!). Post production is still my biggest struggle but I am improving at it slow but sure… Any tips or feedback would be great! I will be uploading lots of shots from the trip over the next week or so if you are interested in checking back for that as well. Here is the link:

        https://www.flickr.com/photos/134677114@N02/albums/72157657739801379

        Reply
        • Tom Bricker
          Tom Bricker says:

          Don’t be embarrassed–you have some good stuff there, especially with the fireworks. The colors on the Victoria Beach shots look off to me, but otherwise, good work!

        • Michael Greiner
          Michael Greiner says:

          Thanks! I appreciate the kind words. That was actually my first attempt ever at photographing fireworks so I was pleased with the results. I agree on the colors of Victoria Beach… I had a very uninteresting sky that evening and I tried to make up for it a bit too much in Lightroom, which made the results look a bit unnatural. I am going to try and do some work with the pirate tower photos in photoshop so I can do layers. Hopefully that will lead to some better results. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Glad to see a new post!! Love the pics, absolutely beautiful. I was in Laguna Beach in May and you’re right — every time I thought I’d get an “epic” sunset pic, the clouds rolled in at the last minute and wrecked the scene. Ugh! Looking forward to more California posts!!

    Reply
  5. David
    David says:

    Love your photography. How do you keep the colors true to the actual sunset colors. I find my iPhone six particularly does not keep the true colors of the original sunset.

    Reply
    • Tom Bricker
      Tom Bricker says:

      The iPhone simply does not have a good enough sensor to capture the dynamic range of a sunset. I’m using a professional caliber DLSR, which makes a difference. 🙂

      Reply
  6. KCmike
    KCmike says:

    You could do a post on California beaches each week for me. The coast out West is so dramatic and downright gorgeous in so many areas. You’ve captured them beautifully. Do you ever find yourself unsafe on the beaches of SoCal? I personally never have had an issue but was wondering since you’ve been out there for awhile now if you’ve had any issues.

    Reply
    • Tom Bricker
      Tom Bricker says:

      Early on there were some times where, in hindsight, I realized what I was doing was a bit dangerous. Most of those times I was going out on rocks to get views back at the shore, and at that time I didn’t have knowledge of the tide. Now I’m a little more comfortable with the tide–but I also don’t go out on rocks off the shore nearly as often.

      Reply
  7. Laura B.
    Laura B. says:

    The shot you call “nothing epic”??? I thought that was one of the best shots! I love the wave cresting on the left-hand side. I keep finding myself drawn back to that photo, and lots of little details.

    Reply
    • Tom Bricker
      Tom Bricker says:

      The theoretical best version of that photo actually has a couple in it, watching the sunset. Unfortunately, the man kept looking back and they quickly moved, so I never got a photo of them “enjoying the moment.”

      It was like he was agitated people were photographing the sunset…

      Reply
  8. Patricia
    Patricia says:

    Stunning, Tom. Both the beauty of the beaches and the sunsets, but your capturing their beauty the way you do. Gorgeous!

    Reply

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