SANTA MONICA PIER

The Santa Monica pier is colored by the temperament of the Pacific Ocean. Tides, surf, fog, wind and sun take turns casting a cosmetic overlay onto the pier. With the sunrise, you might find pounding, high tide and wind whipped surf under a cloud swirled sky or maybe, low tide stillness, with high gloss reflections, against a shroud of light fog. They are both beautiful and produce dramatically different photographs.

The pier comes to life as the morning progresses. Seagulls fight over trash as the early morning regulars arrive, a diverse mix of fitness hounds, fishermen, prospectors with metal detectors, and a few haunted, homeless souls. As the sun moves higher the beach turns into a playground with sunburned tourists outnumbering the regulars. Then with the afternoon stretching into evening, a different scene with amusement park activities and local street performers arrives. Sunset creates long shadows and dazzling reflections on the water as thousands of neon tubes light up and mix with the amusement park cacophony of sounds to bring on the night and a darkness that suggests mystery and romance.

Santa Monica pier is something of a touchstone for me. My first memories of the pier reach back to fishing with my dad when I was five. We fished and boated off the pier for several years. Subsequently, all of the summers of my youth were spent around a beach, hanging out and later surfing. Returning, decades later as a photographer, I find the pier changed, yet still the same. Now, I recognize the pier, and the moods of the ocean, as things that are part of me.