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.

Artist Statement

When I was younger, I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction books. It was a form of escapism and I always day dreamed what it would be like to be a part of those worlds. This a bit of a guilty pleasure that I still engage with today. And when I photograph I imagine how the place before me would look like if it were transformed to be a part of those fictional worlds. I then plan ahead and come back when the combination of what's there now, the environmental conditions, and my photography can yield what I imagined.

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
San Diego Korean-American Community Magazine
San Diego Korean-American Community Magazine

More Photographs

If you still want to learn more about me, here are some additional pictures of myself and my wife Kara.