Photographing the San Luis Rey de Francia Mission

The facade and fountain

The San Luis Rey Mission is located five miles east of Oceanside, CA in northern San Diego County off of (what else?) Mission Avenue.  It is the 18th established mission and is named after King Luis IX of France.  It has a pretty large property, but not all of it is open to the public.  Here are some highlights:

The courtyard
The courtyard is closed to the public, but has a few places you can peek in

Mary and I are nearing completion of our project to photograph all of the California Missions.  We will be done by the end of this year.  This is the second time we have photographed San Luis Rey and the first time we were able to get inside.

One of the courtyard porches
One of the courtyard porches

You always have to shoot the large covered porches.  Since they face all directions, it is a good idea to walk around and find the one with the best side-lighting.


This is a fairly large church with a large altar area and side chapel.

Altar with a bleach-bypass effect. which de-saturates the color.    I like to use  this processing technique with old buildings.

We always ask permission to bring our tripods into the church to make the longer exposures necessary for good indoor photography.  They were very accommodating to us and were delighted we were making photos of this beautiful church.  It was a light visiting day and both of us were able to make many indoor photos without crowds (always a delight).  There is also a graveyard on site and some ruins from the earliest inhabitants.

As it was a bright sunny day, we shot both color and infrared.


We have quite a few blogs about the various California Missions.  Our two most popular ones are “how to photograph the” CA Missions Part I and Part 2.

To see more of our photographs, please click on


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