Solana Beach photographer captures beauty of coastal communities in latest book

By Kristina Houck

From the racetrack in Del Mar to Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach, local photographer Mike Barton set out to capture the beauty and uniqueness of San Diego’s North County coastal communities in his latest book.

Released in November, “San Diego’s North Coast” features photos of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Encinitas.

“When I moved here, I wanted to do another book, so I started looking at the area,” said Barton, who moved to north San Diego from Boulder, Colo., in 2010. He began working on the book when he settled in Solana Beach in 2012.

“I realized these four cities were really unique and kind of isolated from the big city. They were all different.”

With a retail price set at $22.95, the 144-page hardcover book includes more than 240 full-color photographs. Some of the chapters highlight Dog Beach, surfing, track season and surrounding communities such as La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe.

Barton spent months researching the areas to write the text for the book. He joked he now knows more about the communities than friends who are longtime residents.

“It was pretty fun to do,” said Barton, 56. “I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot about the area.”

Barton worked as an engineer for 21 years before he retired to focus on his photography.

After the Michigan native graduated from Michigan State, he moved to San Jose and worked at several high-tech firms in Silicon Valley before he transferred to Boulder.

It was in Colorado where he discovered his passion for photography.

“It was a serious hobby for three or four years,” Barton said. “It was so serious, I would leave work and go out and photograph, and I would photograph before work.”

While still working as a full-time engineer, Barton published his first book, “Boulder Impressions,” in 2008. He has since published nine photography books, three of them while he was still work-ing as an engineer.

“I later decided I needed to follow my heart versus making money,” he said.

His second photography book, “From Mining to Skiing,” highlighted other towns in Colorado, including Aspen, Crested Butte, Breckenridge and Telluride. Barton then published three more books featuring northern Michigan resort towns. He later traveled coast to coast to publish books on Carmel, Calif., and Nantucket, Mass. A year later, he completed a book on “Solvang,” a Danish village located north of Santa Barbara.

“It just turned into a real passion of mine,” Barton said.

“It’s changed the way I look at scenery now. I’m more aware of my surroundings. It gives you a different perspective. You see things differently. You appreciate things more.”

Barton will sign his recently published book from 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 14 at SoLo in the Cedros Design District, located at 309 South Cedros Ave. in Solana Beach. Admission is free.

“It’s my neighborhood now,” Barton said. “I want to show it off.”

The book will soon be available at local retailers and

For more information, visit