by LYDIA COBB | photo by Soul of Photography

Through Dylan’s Lens

student_hadley1In and near the ocean is where Dylan Hadley would rather be when he’s not in class at La Costa Canyon High School. This is Dylan’s senior year and he has already focused on a career in photography. He was born in south San Diego and his family moved north when he was a year old. Encinitas has been home for most of Dylan’s 17 years.

“Being close to the beach is my favorite thing about Encinitas,” shared Dylan, who also gives a nod to the town’s culture, mentioning how he enjoys the movie premieres at the vintage La Paloma Theatre. Being visual, Dylan discovered photography his freshman year through the school district’s occupational program in photo imaging. He built a foundation in knowledge and stoked his talents through practice and feedback. “Showing people what I see through the lens of the camera is always a great feeling,” added Dylan.

Name: Dylan Hadley (17)
School: La Costa Canyon High School
Grade: 12
Parents: Rob and Suzi
Siblings: Bretten (15) and Devin (11)
Favorite Spots in 92024: La Paloma Theatre, In-N-Out Burger, Encinitas Skate Park, VG Donut


Dylan’s work, available for viewing and purchase online, largely captures the ocean’s landscapes – including its waves, tubes, surfers, and marine life that swim into view. “Surfers show that all types of waves can be ridden,” explained Dylan. “Mixing the scene up from ankle-high waves on long boards to overhead waves is equally enjoyable.” Creatively, Dylan is inspired by pro skateboarder and innovator Jamie Thomas. “He has given me extremely helpful guidelines on things to think about while composing a photograph,” he explained.

“Showing people what I see through the lens of the camera is always a great feeling.”

student_hadley4These meaningful sea spray moments that Dylan captures on film also reflect his triumphs over challenges – life-altering ones. Dylan survived a car crash that broke bones in his neck and back. The car flipped and hit a tree, catching on fire while he was trapped unconscious inside. “The recovery process made me realize how valuable life is,” reflected Dylan. “Each and every photograph now will mean so much more to me. I am blessed that the passenger in the car walked out of the crash with only a cut on his finger to call 911 to save my life.”

Dylan looks forward to college near the ocean, so Chapman University is one of his top choices, where he’d like to major in business marketing. He’ll keep a camera in hand with an appreciation for the beauty in everyday life – offshore and on land. For more information about Dylan and his photography visit