A Local Outing to Practice Photography

Thinking about Why Photographing is Important to Me

Full Frame
Published in
4 min readMar 15


Natural headlands form a scenic backdrop for this small port. Image by author.

I have made a few photographs in recent years. However, I have missed that activity, and I am starting to brush up on my skills and enjoy the hobby again.

My intention in this practice session was to improve my compositions. Images are straight from my camera, an iPhone 11, with minimal cropping and “auto” adjustments using Apple’s iPhoto app.

The area where I live has many photogenic subjects, including Port San Luis with Harford Pier, a short distance from where I exercise three days a week. Recently, I decided to go there during a break between the storms battering California.

There is ample parking near the pier entrance, where I like to listen to the surf against the rocks and watch the patterns of the frothy waves.

Harford Pier. Image by author.
View of sandy beach to northwest. Image by author.
View to southeast of pier. Image by author.

On this morning, I did not see a lot of wildlife from the pier. Only a few seals were snoozing on their raft. Their occasional barking was a welcome sound that contrasted with the chainsaw of a work crew repairing one section. I saw fewer than a half dozen gulls, a few pigeons, and one possible harlequin duck.

Typically, this landing platform is loaded with seals. Image by author.
The end of the pier offers sweeping views of San Luis Obispo Bay. Image by author.

This historic wooden pier offers a variety of patterns in its construction and flooring.

To the public landing where the harbor patrol keeps its boat. Image by author.
Officers regularly patrol the harbor. Image by author.
My favorite lower landing is often closed when I visit. Image by author.

Scenes that caught my eye included wood patterns underfoot and in building constructions, whether vertical walls or overhead rafters.

A painted red line separates vehicles from pedestrians. Image by author.

The pier provides practical services for commercial fishermen to raise their catch and hobbyists to clean theirs.

All images by author.

The pier houses a half dozen small businesses, including a little restaurant. They have added new outdoor seating as it has become more popular.

Colorful barstools contrast with the gray day. Image by author.
A few plants dress up the eating area. Image by author.

Stored equipment also provides other spots of color.

Few visitors were present due to the uninviting weather that grew cloudier while I was there.

Harford Pier. Image by author.

My summary observations from this practice session —

I enjoyed actively photographing this inviting space for many reasons:

  • The meditative aspect of being fully present.
  • The beauty of the natural scenery.
  • The surprise of spotting an unexpected wild creature.
  • The aesthetics of well-crafted structures.
  • The sense of aliveness that comes from being outdoors.

Gathering photos to share requires a commitment to select and process favored images and decide how and where I want to share them.

I am reassured that my iPhone can be my primary camera going forward; but I need to use it with care.

Publishing a story on Medium offers feedback from members and allows me to preserve my memories in a pleasing, accessible way.

Reviewing my favored photos reaffirms my self-knowledge:

  • My primary photography genre is documentary.
  • Artful esthetics give me pleasure.
  • I enjoy having a wide-ranging curiosity.



Full Frame

: Friend, reader, and photographer with eclectic interests. Loves living on California's central coast. Born and raised in West Virginia.