Call your boss now and tell him you’ll be out sick on 25 August 2011.
Open 364 days a year from 0900 to 1700, the Cabrillo National Monument is a photographer’s paradise. One may photograph: cretaceous fossils on craggy sea cliffs; all manner of beasties in tide pools; coastal sage flora and fauna; birds at the hidden drip; WWII military installations; the imposing statue of Cabrillo; incredible vistas of San Diego; and, the Monument’s marquee attraction, the tower of the old Point Loma Light Station.
But, for 363 days a year, the tower is closed and you may NOT photograph exciting features like the spiral stairs, the Fresnel lens, or the nonpareil view that stretches from the mountains, to the Coronado Islands, to Los Angeles! The unfortunate closure is understandable because the stairs to the top, over 400 feet above sea level, were not designed for Disneyland and are not crowd friendly. The space inside the tower borders on claustrophobic and some find it difficult to climb the ladder for the final part of the ascent to the top.
Fortunately, twice each year the tower is manned by volunteers so that togs may lug their cameras to the apex to capture breathtaking panoramas and get a close-up of the lens. Founder’s day, August 25th, is the day for this rare opportunity with the next not until November!
My Money Suggestion is to bring ALL your photo equipment to take advantage of the day’s multiple photographic opportunities, including rangers and volunteers dressed in period costumes. However, take just your camera with one lens up into the tower because you will have only about 10 minutes on the catwalk and you can’t waste them messing with your equipment! Your chances of getting a clear shot of the stairs are infinitesimal because of the constant crowds, yet I suggest a zoom lens because of the possibility. And, once to the top, a wide range of shots present themselves.
The tower doesn’t open until 1000, but IF the Marine layer is lifting quickly, have a bottle of water and be in line early because there is always, always, a long wait. It’s only $5.00 a carload to enter the Monument. Bring your lunch and spend the entire day photographing –after all, you are much too ill to be at work!