Balboa Park: El Prado, San Diego, CA

Casa de Balboa archways at Balboa Park, San Diego, California

This weekend, I visited Balboa Park in San Diego, California for the first time. Wow-what a cool spot! I can't wait to go back and spend more time there. I spent most of my morning in the park's El Prado area.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a 1200-acre green space in San Diego, CA. Named for the Spanish explorer Balboa, it contains gardens, promenades, museums, theatres, shops, and the San Diego Zoo. Local artists, animal rescue organizations, horticulturists, and street performers all set up shop on the grounds.

Balboa Park: El Prado

El Prado is a promenade that runs through the center of Balboa Park. Many of the buildings along Balboa Park's El Prado display the Spanish Colonial architectural style. This means lots of plaster walls, red clay roofs, and open arches.

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I was lucky enough to get to borrow the Canon EF 24-105mm F/4 L lens for these shots. It's definitely going on my wish list--I loved how light it was on my camera, and I especially liked the creamy bokeh it produced.

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Flowers at Balboa Park El Prado

There is no shortage of opportunity to shoot flowers at Balboa Park. I loved the squiggly lines on the buds of these flowers at El Prado.

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Dogs at El Prado, Balboa Park

There are tons of cute dogs at Balboa Park. I could have spent all day just getting to know strangers' dogs and photographing them. Maybe I should do a series of the dogs of Balboa Park!

This bulldog was my favorite. He was a total ham for the camera. He even tried to lick my lens!

20120421 balboa park 2 Balboa Park: El Prado, San Diego, CA

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22 Responses to “Balboa Park: El Prado, San Diego, CA”

  1. Nita says:

    Fabulous captures, so many great shots. Have a great week.

    · April 23, 2012 @ 1:27 pm


  2. Carly says:

    I love your images of Balboa park. We were there about a year and a half ago. It is definitely great for photographs. I appreciate that your photos have the exif data attached. I am saving up for the 7d right now. How do you like it? I am hoping for truer colors and greater clarity at a higher ISO. The images of the dog look pretty good especially for an Iso of 800. I’m trying to decide if I go for the 7D, or save longer and go for the Mark III 5D.

    · April 23, 2012 @ 2:55 pm


    • Ashley says:

      Hey Carly, and thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you appreciate the exif–someone requested it once, and I wasn’t sure if anyone else cared :)

      Regarding the 7d, I definitely love it. I upgraded from a t1i, so it was a big jump forwards. I’ve never used a full-frame body, so I’m not sure just how much I’m missing, but I’ll tell you my thoughts on the 7d so far.

      It performs pretty well at ISOs up to 1600 or so. My eventual goal is to take the 7d underwater for macro, where the crop factor will actually be an asset. For wide-angle I’ve used the EF-S 10-22mm, which is a stellar lens for crop bodies and eminently affordable. It really is a great camera, but I did feel a tiny pang of regret when the 5DIII was announced. If it had been available when I was shopping (last fall), it might have made my decision-making a lot harder. That said, I’m definitely not chomping at the bit to upgrade again!

      Good luck with the difficult decision at hand! I really do love the 7d and don’t think you can go wrong with it unless you specifically need the full frame.

      · April 23, 2012 @ 3:22 pm


  3. Nicole says:

    What an amazing place & shots!

    · April 23, 2012 @ 10:42 pm


  4. that is such a gorgeous park!

    i totally love your photos!

    i’m really impressed!

    love your blog.

    · April 24, 2012 @ 9:28 am


  5. Such beautiful shots! That bulldog is definitely a keeper, too.

    · April 24, 2012 @ 9:37 am


  6. Jaymi says:

    oh wow these are such great shots! what an awesome place to be able to shoot! I really love the purple flowers!

    · April 24, 2012 @ 11:04 am


  7. Gina says:

    Oh yes- it’s a lovely location. I would be there everyday if I could. Beautiful captures all around.

    · April 24, 2012 @ 12:51 pm


  8. Elena says:

    These are all stunning photos! The dog is super cute; love that last shot!

    · April 24, 2012 @ 2:17 pm


  9. Susan says:

    What amazing shots!!


    · April 24, 2012 @ 2:42 pm


  10. Such lovely structures! The flowers are beautiful too. Of course, the pooch is adorable. :)

    · April 24, 2012 @ 2:42 pm


  11. momto8blog says:

    beautiful captures!

    · April 24, 2012 @ 3:41 pm


  12. melody says:

    These are beautiful! Love the closeup on the flower and the bulldog. :)

    · April 24, 2012 @ 11:32 pm


  13. I found you through Create with Joy — these pictures are beautiful… I love Balboa park… and when you have LOT of time… the zoo is a great place for pictures too!

    · April 25, 2012 @ 11:28 am


    • Ashley says:

      Thank you! I have been to the zoo before, but not since I was a kid. I’m looking forward to getting back there!

      · April 25, 2012 @ 9:37 pm


  14. Great photos and that looks like a wonderful place to visit

    · April 25, 2012 @ 7:27 pm


  15. Stephani says:

    Beautiful photography. Love that puppy!

    · April 27, 2012 @ 7:42 am


  16. AMANDA says:

    These are rally neat shots! I was just in balboa park a few months ago ( i live in AZ) it is a really neat place with tons of opportunities for photographs! that bulldog really was a natural in front of the camera :)

    · April 27, 2012 @ 11:12 am


  17. Sandy says:

    Your pictures are beautiful and your doggy is just the cutest. So nicely done!!

    · April 27, 2012 @ 11:12 am


  18. Lori says:

    What a beautiful place! Love the bull dog he is adorable, and the angle is perfect!

    Thanks so much for joining and sharing with Foto Friday,

    · April 28, 2012 @ 5:09 am


  19. ahaha!! Adorable dog!!! And cute toes too ;)) Thanks for linking with Love Bug!

    · April 30, 2012 @ 7:21 am


  20. Rene says:

    hi ashley,

    i love the pics of the flowers. the contrast between the dark and light purple and the yellow looks great!

    · May 24, 2012 @ 10:07 am


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