Santa Monica - Evening at the pier

A cool evening on the Santa Monica Pier. A perfect way to beat the 104 degree (40c) heat just a few miles inland. No HDR



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Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 24-105L @ 58 (Same as the last photo, but the results are different for sure!)

8-second exposure @ F16 (to get that 8-sec. exp.)

No filters

No polarizer

ISO 50

Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod with Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol grip ball head

I put the tripod, legs in, on the wooden railing

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop






The Santa Monica Pier is a great place to escape the summer heat and enjoy an ice cream and watch all the people walking by. I used an 8-second exposure to show the movement without the people disappearing entirely. The timing on the wheel was important. The wheel would stop to pick up passengers and then move a little, eventually filling up and then spining several times. Here, a little movement was combined with a medium amount of light to fill the circle with light, yet not overpower the rest of the scene. The spokes show too stongly when there is no movement in the wheel and though it looks great to the eye as the complex patterns flash by, a single image simply shows the spokes. If the wheel is too bright, it overpowers the rest of the photo and blows out the highlights.


It was not easy to do this and despite 30 minutes of trying really hard to capture it, this is the only shot I like a lot! It realyl captures the festive atmosphere here.


The map shows exactly where this is.






Google Earth


Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.


Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)


Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)


  • Pam 4y

    I just love all your photographs, also how you explain everything, Fantastic thank you for sharing.
    Greetings from England.
  • Mauro Palombini 4y

    Congratulations Patrick, beautiful photography!
  • Matt Cedergreen 3y

    Excellent! Love the lights and motion!
  • madbobblehatter 3y

  • Dianne Lacourciere 3y

    Love the wonderful detail,colours & lighting!
  • E.Mill 3y

    cool...wonderful lighting and colours!
  • Christopher Casilli 3y

    One of the nicer and more interesting images I've seen of the SM pier. The longer exposure really works well here.
  • Pedalhead'71 3y

    Incredible capture!
  • Steven P Wingen 3y

    Really nice shot. The motion and all the colors cought my eye.
  • fanny pages 3y

    j'aime beaucoup
  • Marco de Waal 3y

    Nice picture! Excellent!
  • Roudha ® 3y

  • Peggy Collins 3y

    A fun, lively shot that really jumps off the screen. Love the blur of adds to the overall effect of fun fun fun!
  • Fleming_2011 3y

    Great capture
  • Henry Vivas 3y

    comencé a seguirte, y lo que consigo son fotos totalmente fantasticas, en esta los colores y como lo que he visto de ti tiene muchos detalles en pocos fotos como se aprende de tus fotos, gracias de verdad.
  • Domenico Inglese 2y

  • Robert Cross 2y

    Just marvelous! I lived in LA for a long time, and this was one of my favorite spots in the evening, for people watching as much as anything. Great job turning the camera around and pointing it this way, instead of out to the ocean. And I love all of the movement in the shot. More great work!
    Seen on your photo stream. ( ?² )
  • J. Benson Castro 2y

    This is really beautiful!
  • catdancin' 1y

    Love all the colors and the contrasts. The bokeh extra nicely placed. Fun shot!
  • Squid Rings 6mo

    Wow cool photo!
726 faves
Taken on July 3, 2011
  • ƒ/16.0
  • 58.0 mm
  • 8
  • 50
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
  • Show EXIF
This photo is in 17 galleries

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