Stephen Bay Portrait
© Kamala Venkatesh


I am a landscape photographer living in San Diego. I take great joy in finding unique perspectives and I often plan my photographs months or years in advance as I wait for the necessary conditions to materialize.

I was born in Canada and grew up in Toronto. I studied engineering in college, then moved to California for graduate school in computer science at UC Irvine. During school I started to photograph with a Nikon camera and went through countless rolls of slide film to teach myself the craft.

After earning my Ph.D. in 2001, I moved to Northern California to work as a data scientist in Silicon Valley. I married and became a US Citizen in 2008.

Despite a busy technical career, I continued to pursue my photography and focused on travel imagery. I photographed in many different countries, but my favorite destinations are Peru for its ancient Incan culture and Hong Kong for the vibrant city life. I license my images as stock photography and they are used by many large organizations and national media outlets. In 2006, I was commissioned by Twin Lights Publishers to produce a photographic book of Los Angeles.

In 2014, my wife and I quit our jobs in Silicon Valley, sold our home and most of our belongings except for what would fit in our car. We traveled as nomads across the United States and spent a year exploring and photographing the Midwest and western states.

In 2016, we settled in San Diego and I began working on photography full-time. However, I made a shift away from travel photography to focus on local landscapes, whether it be a natural coastline or a dense urban area. I delight in finding hidden and often fleeting scenes that others may have overlooked. I want my images to express the beauty of where I live and to provide a calming refuge from the pressures of modern living.

I am active in the photographic community. I regularly give presentations on my art and teach classes on photographic techniques. I showed numerous images at the International Exhibit of Photography at the San Diego County Fair and won several first place awards. I am a member of the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park.

Artist Statement

I want to share the joy that I get from discovering a new place, finding a new perspective on a well known location, or catching a fleeting moment that will never be duplicated again. I pick locations where I live because I want to show people that there's always something new to be discovered despite our familiarity and that there's no limit on creativity. While I'm photographing, all my worldly distractions disappear and I get a feeling akin to a runner's high because I know I'm in the middle of making something unique, something beautiful, and I want to share it with everybody.

You can read more about my approach to photography.
Stephen Bay photographing at Hospitals Reef in La Jolla

TV & Magazines

Interview with CBS-8
CBS 8 Interview
Interview with SD Voyager
SD Voyager
NPR story on my bioluminescent algae photograph
ABC 10 News feature
ABC 10 News
Shoutout Socal
Shoutout Socal
ABC 10 news feature 3/10/21
ABC 10 News