Downtown SLO Photowalk at Dawn [Day 2038]


SLO Downtown Center - Starbucks

Photo-a-Day: Year 6, Day 212 – Total Days: 2,038

I woke up this morning at about 6am and decided to use that to get a jump on the day and do something I’ve wanted to for a while now, which was to do a photowalk of the downtown area before the city had really woken up. So I quickly threw on some clothes, put the wide-angle lens on my Canon, and drove downtown. The near absence of cars, pedestrians, and activity was fun to experience, and it’s easier to feel less self-conscious when there’s no one around to wonder what I’m up to.

When I woke up, I had actually been hoping for some sunrise golden-hour type of directional sunlight, but alas, there was a thick cloud cover that gave everything an overcast look instead. Oh well, that definitely called for a different style, but it was still fun to work with. It really made me feel that a cinematic, letterboxed look would really work so I tried it out and was happy with the results. I even recorded a Photoshop action to automatically apply the black bars so I could easily apply it to all the bonus photos after I had done the first one.

Downtown SLO - Higuera & Morro

One particularly nice thing about doing the photowalk at dawn is that it feels much safer to stop in the middle of the crosswalk to get a photo.

Downtown SLO - chairs in window

Seeing the bar-stools through the window, still overturned and stacked from the prior night, really exemplified the early morning, city still asleep feeling. 

Downtown SLO - Court Street

Court Street is always a favorite photo subject.

SLO Downtown Center

As is the Downtown Center area.

Downtown SLO - Woodstock's Pizza

Don’t let the neon fool you, Woodstock’s Pizza wasn’t open yet.

Downtown SLO - red convertible

Hey look! Some activity! This convertible was sweet and I just barely managed to snag a shot of it as it came around the intersection. Glad I got it though.

Well, there you have it, Downtown SLO at dawn. Although, I definitely intend to do this a lot more, as the type and quality of light in the morning can vary greatly and I really want to see what it’s like under different conditions.

And for the record, even though the photo of the day is of a Starbucks sign and there’s also a shot of a Peet’s Coffee, I actually got coffee at a local shop: Black Horse. ;-)



  • Amy

    I love this! It’s great that you were able to get out and do it. It looks like fun.

    July 31, 2014
    • Thanks! It was pretty great. I loved how few people there were. Those of us out there were like some sort of special, secret club.

      July 31, 2014
  • Luke

    I just watched a indie flick set in a small town, these look like screen captures. neat!

    August 1, 2014
    • Awesome! That’s exactly what I was going for. Thanks, Luke :-)

      August 1, 2014
  • Regina A. Matis

    I love the early morning photos of SLO .

    August 1, 2014

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