Malibu Pier at Sunrise

My friend Ed Conde and I met for a dawn shoot in Malibu California at historic Malibu Pier and the nearby beach between the pier and Malibu Lagoon. Since we were planning on being on the beach, I did not bring a tripod since they are a liability in the sand. By raising the ISO to 800, I was able to keep the shutter speed high enough to keep hand-held as an option. The area is beautiful, and the sun rises over Pacific Palisades down the coast toward Santa Monica.

Malibu Pier at sunrise

Malibu Pier at sunrise

Shortly after we arrived, Ed, who is friendly and outgoing, had met and greeted Charlie, who was likewise an agreeable individual. Charlie was very familiar with the area and filled us in on items of interest locally. Ed made a few photos of Charlie, but I had already come down to the beach. I got this shot of Ed and Charlie chatting.

Making friends at the beach

Making friends at the beach

The large LA county lifeguard towers are always interesting to shoot. The towers in Ventura County are fiberglass and shaped more like a complex prism than these box-like structures, so they drew my camera’s gaze. I also noted that someone had spent the night on this tower. The sleeping bag and luggage confirmed that. Whether it was a surfer (many were already out when we arrived), or a homeless person was never clear.  When we walked by later, the sleeping bag and luggage were gone.

Sleeping gear at a lifeguard station

Sleeping gear at a lifeguard station

Soon, others started arriving to catch some early hours on the beach including this kayaker who stretched some mighty stretches (which I had the good taste not to capture), then launched into the surf and paddled Northward along the coast a few hundred yards out (well clear of the surf-zone).

Stretching, before the launch

Stretching, before the launch

Looking Northward along the beach and across Malibu Lagoon, this huge barn-like structure caught my eye, then my imagination. I pointed it out to Ed and we speculated what sort of livestock might be kept in Malibu along the beach. Mermaids? Walruses? I realize it is most likely an apartment building or a McMansion, but it is fun to let the imagination roam free.

A barn in Malibu?

A barn in Malibu?

Malibu Pier itself was quiet this time of the morning on a Saturday. Only the fishermen and us photographers were up and at the pier at the crack of dawn. I found a post where I was able to rest my camera so I could shoot a three-shot HDR bracket set. I frequently am not happy with the look of HDR images, but needed to pull out the beautiful detail in the clouds that was not coming through in my single shots.

Fishermen at the pier bright and early

Fishermen at the pier bright and early

This final attraction was a beautifully maintained children’s ride with a classic-looking boat. Made me wish I was a kid again, and that takes some doing….

The Speed Queen

The Speed Queen

This was a perfect morning shoot, with plenty to see and do and capture on film (or sensor). I highly recommend the spot for an early morning outing, and if you can stand the crowds, it would be great later in the day as well.

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