November project: Pier Sunsets

Because what looks cooler than that?

I got so disappointed when I arrived to Malibu Saturday and saw the sun start to set behind the mountain.

Wait a minute! What about my sunset over the Pier shot?

I’ve been on a tear to exploit the amazing November light show we’ve talked about the past weeks. The game plan: to photograph as many of the 8 Los Angeles County #SoCal Piers as I can, with the sun and/or colors behind her, as part of my November Piers Photowalks project. (I’m 6 for 8, but there are 8 more days to go before December kicks in!)

If I was in Oregon, as above, I’d be doing this with lighthouses. But when In California, shoot for Piers. Because sunsets are always more interesting with objects to accentuate the colors.

So, back in Malibu, once the sun started to set behind the curvy mountain, I forgot one of my most time-honored sunset rules. The best stuff isn’t seeing the sun set at all, but what follows afterwards. Most of the photos displayed here were taken a good 20 minutes after the sun did indeed say good night.

This holiday tree lit Manhattan Beach Pier looked fantastic a few minutes after sunset. Then the green from the tree lights started to shine on the water, as the sky behind it did all sorts of incredible things with the clouds. And it became a whole different animal. This image was snapped some 27 minutes after sunset.

Sometimes you arrive to the Pier only to find, no clouds, a little fog, kind of blah. Give up? Nah. That’s what I found when I arrived to the Santa Monica Pier Sunday. But hey, I made the drive, I got myself a fantastic parking spot, and I was going to put in an hour trying my best. Again, the later it got, the better it became.

I did double duty, stills and a time-lapse video, and used the colors of the Pacific Park amusement park, which, while closed, still shines its lights brightly right after sunset. A little orange on the side really helps, and on a time-lapse, you get to to watch the day turn to night, which is always fun.

(Remember to bring your tripod along with you for the time-lapse!)

The Venice Pier gave me the usual yellow, golden sun shot that many of us associate with a classic sunset. No clouds, no color. But I love the sun shining on the ocean and the bird flying over what is the blandest pier in L.A. County. Just wish I had some clouds!

Of the 8 Piers in L.A. County (Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach, San Pedro and Long Beach) my favorite is of course the Manhattan Beach Pier, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. What’s below is a pre-sunrise shot, just after 6 a.m., before the lights went out.

What’s your favorite Pier?

If you’d like to see more:

And yes, we sell prints! My friend Liz Spear has the coupon code for a special 20% savings in her latest article for the Manhattan Beach edition of Patch.

For those you fascinated as I am with the intersection of technology and art, 6 of the 8 images in this section were taken on the new iPhone 12 Pro Max, which does an amazing job with sunsets, rivaling or bettering what I’ve been getting on my Sony. Go figure. Can you guess which ones are iPhone shots?

P.S.: Thanks to all my friends in social media this weekend who helped me select the top shot from Malibu for display.

This week’s writings:

Google Pay: The old Google Pay app has been re-imagined into part Quicken, part Apple Pay, part Venmo. Along the way, Google wants you to “opt-in” for controversial snooping tools that will track your finances. How does Google get you to do that? I explore in my latest USA TODAY piece.

Black Friday: Don’t look, but the sales have started already, and you’re not expected to camp out in front of Best Buy, Target and Walmart on Friday morning, but instead your computer. Are there any great deals? There are if there’s something specific you’re looking for and it’s discounted. Otherwise, it’s the same old stuff.

Zoom Thanksgiving. Like you, I’m betting you that you’ll be seeing your family on Thursday via video meeting. But how to pull it off? Are you putting a laptop on the table next to the turkey, or plan on using an iPhone instead? I’ve got some ideas on all of this.

(Nothing says you can’t have a turkey sandwich from a great deli for Thanksgiving!)

Tweet of the week

How do you top Jinx at the dinner table?

Please support your local restaurant

I don’t want to live in a world without restaurants. I love them too much.

In Los Angeles County, where I live, it was just announced that all outside dining has been canceled for three weeks, to try and get the dreaded pandemic back under control. As of Wednesday, its take-out only.

I really feel for the owners and employees of these places, who were struggling to get by before the pandemic.

If you agree with me that you prefer a world with restaurants, please take a minute this week and support your favorite eatery. Have a picnic. Save yourself the bother of cooking. Help some locals get through the holidays.

My three favorite restaurants where I live are Good Stuff, in Redondo Beach, Hermosa, El Segundo and Palos Verdes, for good, healthy down home food, Akbar in Marina del Rey, for the greatest Indian food ever and Riviera Mexican Grill in Redondo Beach.

What are yours?

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and don’t forget that about 15 minutes before 5 p.m., at least here in #SoCal, all week long there will be an amazing light show outside waiting for you to take a look. Grab your camera or phone and go enjoy it!

If you enjoyed today’s newsletter, please let me know by clicking the heart tab or hit reply and let me know. Thanks as always for taking the time to read, watch and listen!