Santa Monica Pier by night

My friend Ed Conde and I decided to play hooky from the camera club meeting again and wanted to shoot something interesting and local.  When Ed discovered that I had never made the trip to Santa Monica Pier even though I have lived in the area for 14 years, he knew this was the place for this night. Cirque de Soleil (Circus of the Sun) has been playing their Totem show at Santa Monica Pier for a number of months and it was preparing to leave. I am glad I got to see their tents and the show area. What a tremendous production…

The circus has come to town!

The circus has come to town!

The circus tents and their trailers are all erected in the parking lot of Santa Monica Pier, taking up a substantial fraction of all of the parking. On busy weekends, many a visitor will be glad to have the full lot available again.

Their departure will make parking easier

Their departure will make parking easier

Passing the circus tent area, you can finally enter the pier area proper near Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company.

Welcome to Santa Monica Pier

Welcome to Santa Monica Pier

Pier Burger is a pier landmark, but we had no time this evening to get our hands all greasy before shooting.

Pier Burger

Pier Burger

The Ferris wheel on the pier has an elaborate computer controlled lighting system that changes in a dazzling sequence of intensities and colors and patterns. A visual treat that makes every single photo of the pier unique since it doesn’t repeat for a long cycle.

The pier Ferris wheel

The pier Ferris wheel

Santa Monica Pier was busy, even at 9:00 PM on a Tuesday night. This was the last weeks of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem show before they moved on to the next city. One of the tents is visible on camera left (blue and yellow).

Bubba Gump's at Santa Monica Pier

Bubba Gump’s at Santa Monica Pier

The ride was closed, but the area begged to be photographed nonetheless. The hustle and bustle of the times it was open would obscure all of the beauty exposed in the lonely evening.

Even closed, the entrance beckoned.

Even closed, the entrance beckoned.

Mariasol Cocina Mexicana at Santa Monica Pier – This restaurant at the end of Santa Monica’s pier is beautiful at night, glowing like a jewel against the Pacific Ocean. Diners and visitors walk to the end of the pier to enjoy the view.

Mariasol Cocina Mexicana at Santa Monica Pier

Mariasol Cocina Mexicana at Santa Monica Pier

Right alongside the pier is the start of Santa Monica beach that runs into Ventura Beach, Muscle Beach, Manhattan Beach and such heading southward. Even at night, the beach volleyball courts called out to practitioners…

Night time volleyball

Night time volleyball

The tunnel under Ocean Blvd marks the end of the Pacific Coast Highway and the beginning of Interstate 10 (and runs East all of the way to Jacksonville Florida)

Slow Shutter and Traffic in Santa Monica

Slow Shutter and Traffic in Santa Monica

At the end, there was a treat waiting for me. Ed and I car-pooled down to Santa Monica from a Starbucks in Calabasas. I knew that there was something delicious with my name on it when we got back. Some of the Starbucks in the area have a liquor license and can serve beer and wine (they are collectively called “Starbucks Evenings Menu” stores). These also carry “small plates” meant to accompany the beer, wine or coffee. This was my favorite, crisp walnut-cranberry bread with triple cream blue Brie cheese and fig preserves. Crazy, insanely good….

The treat at the end of the trip

The treat at the end of the trip


After a short while to savor my after-shotting treat, we headed our separate ways, but we knew that we will have to come back this way again, and this time NOT FORGET OUR TRIPODS!

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