Quintessential California by Luke Tyree in Pismo Beach, California

Pismo Beach is extremely photogenic and doesn’t really have a bad side. The challenge in showcasing its wonders becomes ‘what’ to show and ‘how’ to show it. There are countless sea caves along the coast, and I find it thrilling to use their openings to frame the sky at sunset; makes for an eye-catching photo that highlights the area’s hidden gems. The dunes are vast and expansive, and while photos from the ground with the harsh shadows created by the massive dunes are compelling, photos taken from an aerial perspective really drive home the sense of scale (especially with a person standing in the frame). In terms of the night sky, I’m always pleasantly surprised with how well I can see the stars, even with a fair amount of light pollution from the nearby city; I make it a point to capture it in photos as often as possible, incorporating other interesting coastal features in the scene, sometimes even myself. Of course, there is much more to Pismo Beach than caves and sand and stars, but those and the many other faces of this remarkable coastal paradise are a few of my favorite things.

Name:Luke Tyree

Lanscape Photographer


Hiking, Backpacking, Running and National Parks.

Tell us about Pismo Beach:

Located on California’s gorgeous Central Coast, Pismo Beach is an exciting and festive beach town whose unique features are enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. From its stunning beaches, coastal caves and sand dunes to its miles of beautiful hiking trails and abundance of wildlife, Pismo Beach truly has a little something for everyone.

A perfect day?

Waking up before sunrise and heading down to the beach to shoot photos. After, grabbing a coffee and heading over to hike the Avila Ridge Trail (technically called Ontario Ridge), which stretches from Shell Beach to Pirate’s Cove (near Avila Beach) and is approximately five miles roundtrip, depending on how it’s done. Then, having a relaxed lunch at DePalo & Sons Deli and slowly making my way towards home to rest before heading back out to the coast to take photos at sunset.

What is the best thing about Pismo Beach?

The best thing about Pismo Beach is the weather – it doesn’t get any of the extremes in terms of hot and cold and is typically very pleasant year round. Also, the variety of scenery and activities as well as the proximity to other beautiful areas such as San Luis Obispo make it a win-win.

What is the worst?

The lack of variety in job and career opportunities.

What would be surprising about Pismo Beach to an outsider?

Little to no traffic congestion. Even in the summertime, when there are probably twice as many people in town, the traffic never really gets completely horrendous, which is more than I can say for a lot of other beach towns.

If Pismo Beach was a person who would it be?

Forrest Gump, because he did a little bit of everything and was such a sweet guy.

Who are three of your favorite artists?

Galen Rowell, Jimmy Chin, and Tim Ferriss


Name:Luke Tyree

City:Pismo Beach

Favorite place to eat:

Ventana Grill

Favorite place to drink:

The Steaming Bean

Favorite shop:

Tiger Rose Tattoo

Local Tip:

Shell Beach Park at Beachcomber is a great spot, photographer or not. There’s a nice grassy area up top for sunset picnicking and amazing tide pools down below that make for excellent photographic compositions. It’s even a decent spot for stargazing.

Must Do:

Rent ATV’s and drive in the dunes