Channel Islands National Park 

About Channel Islands National Park 

The island is a United States national park comprising five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U.S. state of California in the Pacific Ocean. Although the islands are close to the shore of densely populated Southern California, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped. The park covers 249,561 acres (100,994 ha), of which 79,019 acres (31,978 ha) are owned by the federal government.  The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 76% of Santa Cruz Island, the largest island in the park.

where to do photography, photography hot spots, photography locations, destinations, areas, travel, magazine

A Think Tank Camera Back Pack is a must for this journey.

Channel Islands National Park is home to many significant natural and cultural resources. It was designated a U.S. National Monument on April 26, 1938, and a National Biosphere Reserve in 1976. It was promoted to a National Park on March 5, 1980. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters six nautical miles around Channel Islands National Park.

Plan on doing a whole lot of hiking on this photography hot spot. The boat will drop you off; then, you are off for about 4 hours to explore and take photos. On the boat ride, you will most likely get some dolphin friends swimming along with you as we did. That was the best part. It was as if they all wanted to play as they cruised alongside the boat. Don’t forget to go into shutter priority and shoot them at least 1/500th sec. Set your shutter speed to 1/1200th of a second if it’s a bright day. You are moving, and they are moving. The high shutter speed will stop the action and keep images from blurring.

Learn How to Create Jaw-Dropping Photography

• Affordable Lessons • Quickly Master Photography • Learn from the Best

Channel Island National Park Photography Information


Lens: Wide Angle, but you may find a bird or two. Not much wildlife here.

Gear List at a Glance: Circular polarizing filter, neutral density filter, tripod, shutter release, wide-angle lens.

When to Go:  The park is open all year. We would go based on weather conditions. It is all about hiking on this trip.


If you have moving subjects, you will want to shoot in shutter priority to assure your shutter speed is high enough to have your subject in sharp focus. For people walking by, approximately 1/250th of a second is appropriate, and adjust your ISO accordingly. If they are running fast, increase your shutter speed to about 1/500th of a second. A fast bird flying by would be shot at about 1/1000th of a second. If it’s a bright sunny day, go as high as  1/1200th of a second. Remember, the higher your shutter speed; the less light comes into the camera. It should not be an issue outside during daytime hours. For More Details, see our Shutter Priority Page.


You have moving waters here. You can do your long-exposure running and milky water shots. You will have to use a tripod for this effect. Your settings will vary depending on the lighting and your neutral density filter. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. The aperture is f22. Your shutter speed will be the only variable depending on the light. Roll your shutter speed until your meter reads zero. (In the center)  Use your shutter release or your 2-second timer to prevent camera movement when exposing. You will want at least a 2-second exposure for milky water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. 

If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you can buy one here. We highly suggest you do not go anywhere without one. It makes all the difference between lifeless images and outstanding, dynamic images.


Aperture Priority is often used to blur the background of your images and control your depth of field (how much from the subject to the background is in focus). For more information on this – see our Aperture page 


The higher you set it, the more light comes in when exposing an image. The higher the number, the more digital noise, so if possible, stay below 800. If you need to go higher to get the shot, you can use Topaz Denoise to filter out the digital noise later.

area information - photography




Channel Islands National Park and Area Information:

Entrance Fees:  Good news! None.

The park is open all year. However, the visitor centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara are closed on Thanksgiving and December 25th.

The Robert J. Lagomarsino Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

The Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center is open daily from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

You must take a boat or plane over to the island. Reserve in advance! When we got there, people were turned away.

For departures out of Ventura and Channel Islands (Oxnard) Harbors, contact:

Island Packers
1691 Spinnaker Dr.
Ventura, CA 93001  –  (805) 642-1393 –
Channel Islands Aviation
305 Durley Avenue
Camarillo, CA 93010  –  (805) 987-1301




Channel Islands National Park Camping:

Primitive camping is available year-round on all five islands in the Channel Islands National Park in National Park Service-managed campgrounds.

Be sure to get all of your camping details before going here.  Read about camping here.

Where to camp

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your campground to stay during their ghost-hunting trip? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and your information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are good at getting there in the dark.

Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email. You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.



Channel Islands National Park Restaurants:

None, zero. You can buy food on the boat ride over. Make sure you bring food and water in your backpack. These are hiking islands. There are no commercial entities out here.

Add your Restaurant here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your restaurant after their ghost-hunting trip? Put your restaurant information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your restaurant to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you.

The best hotels while doing photography


Channel Islands National Park Hotel Information:

Holiday Inn Express is our pick for a Hotel in Ventura with complimentary breakfast and an outdoor pool. We like this location because it is near the pier, as pictured above, and the boat dock. You can take lots of images at the marina park with the pier.   The hotel is located in the heart of Ventura, within one mi (2 km) of Ventura Harbor and Olivas Adobe Historical Park. McGrath State Beach is 1.9 mi (3 km) away.
Hotel Features –  This hotel features an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and self-parking. Buffet breakfast is complimentary. Additionally, dry cleaning, laundry facilities, and complimentary newspapers are onsite.


Add your hotel here!

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost hunting friends to your hotel for their photography or ghost hunting trip? Put your hotel information here. We will put pictures of your hotel, the website link, the phone number and your information on your hotel.

Would you like to be a featured hotel like this article or this one?  Please send us an email.  You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.



Channel Islands National Park Weather

Area Weather: Click here to see the weather in the park.

Check out the weather

Don’t forget that you can use a rain sleeve on your camera if it is raining. If it is bright and sunny, you want to use a low ISO such as 100.

If you are doing photography along with your ghost hunting on cloudy days, you can do running water or waterfall photography to avoid the glaring sun. You can also use an ND filter to get a long exposure for dramatic effects, even in the sunshine. If you ghost hunt indoors in abandoned places, be careful!

error: Content is protected !!