Balboa Park’s biggest event is back! Join MOPA during December Nights for a holiday-themed photo scavenger hunt.

All you need is your phone and your friends and family to participate during the event.

Join the fun and get rewarded in three simple steps:

  1. Follow @MOPASD on Instagram
  2. Snap your best shot of each item below, then post them to Instagram Stories and make sure to tag us @MOPASD
  3. Stop by MOPA Shop for a prize and a chance to win tickets to the 2020 San Diego Human Rights Watch Film Festival (Jan 30–Feb 1)
  • Dog in a costume
  • Your family or friends doing something festive
  • An item that has a face
  • Festive photo
  • Something sweet
  • Festive lights
  • Decorated tree
  • Something red
  • Your favorite place in Balboa Park
  • Water fountain
  • Yummy food

Looking for a few tips before getting started? Check out MOPA’s Photography 101 posts for creative inspiration. Short on time? No problem! Here are three quick tips to keep those Insta Stories ready:

Get In Close
Don’t forget to get in close on those group photos or solo portraits. While you’ll want to spare Uncle Ted’s forehead from being cropped, you also don’t want to use a magnifying glass to tell who was who in the shot. How close is close enough? While it depends on the situation, be most mindful of headroom (the area between your subject’s head and the top edge of the photo). Too much or too little gives the photo an awkward feel, but just the right amount should leave your subject(s) looking balanced.

Play With Light
The days may be shortest this time of year, but there’s plenty of light to explore with your camera. From colorful strands of lights to cozy indoor scenes, have fun capturing various qualities of light. Just keep in mind a camera or smartphone under low light will need a little longer to get the shot, so be sure to hold tight for a few extra seconds or find something to rest on while you get that photo.

Show Fresh Perspectives
Most of us take photos from the same point of view that we typically see the world: our eye level. Although it feels the most natural, it’s also the most familiar, so it usually makes for a boring shot. Get creative! You don’t need to hold your smartphone the same way you would a traditional camera, so have fun with funky angles and you may be surprised.


Financial support is provided by the Gould Family Foundation and the City of San Diego.

For sponsorship or underwriting opportunities contact a member of the Development Team at or 619-238-7559 x300.