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Santa Monica Spin

By PatrickSmith  
The pier at Santa Monica California is a great place to come and watch the sunset. It is a bit of a challenge to photograph because so many elements change so quickly. The wheel was turning at different rates, the sand getting wet and drying out, etc.

But I wanted everything just right in a single photo. And after about 20 minutes it finally came together. The exposure time was long enough to catch the wheel as it rotated exactly one spoke along, creating the impression of a lot of movement. The sand was just wet enough to reflect the wheel and the sky, and so on. I changed the settings so much that it was like playing a video game!

1.3 second exposure @F18 with ND grad 0.9

Tags: California General Pier Architecture Landscape and travel Santa monica

Voters: claret, Mounters, jan 1 and 208 more

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JouŠo 14 56 Finland
12 Mar 2007 2:44PM
Haa! FIRST ; )

20 minutes is a lifetime to me...LOL...

Love that spinning wheel..........
And the tones are different them too...


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cantona43 Plus
12 925 4 England
12 Mar 2007 2:44PM
What a cracking shot its what I would call perfect very well captured
John_Horner 12 12 2 England
12 Mar 2007 2:46PM
Good wet sand reflections and wonderful tones in that setting evening sky. Has a great feel to it. Well composed.
TrevorPlumbe 11 60 England
12 Mar 2007 2:46PM
Beautiful shot,little while since we were there but brought back memories

conrad 13 10.9k 116
12 Mar 2007 2:46PM
That big wheel looks great, Patrick, but the combination with the sea and sky makes the image even more complete.

POOCHIE 12 21 6 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 2:47PM
Love this, what a great shot lots of nice detail.

clevercloggs 14 237 2 United Arab Emirates
12 Mar 2007 2:47PM
like the steel blue colour in particular. good photo of this pier.
Declanworld 11 37 Ireland
12 Mar 2007 2:51PM
Nice reflective light and colour.
12 Mar 2007 2:52PM
Magnificent shot, as always, Patrick, love the glossy sheen on the water.
HowardA 11 231
12 Mar 2007 2:52PM
As you yourself said Patrick - 'it's all there'! The timing on the waves is spot on...just enough to give you that reflection you were after.
wamp 12 276 8 England
12 Mar 2007 2:54PM
It may have been quite a bit of messing about, but the image looks great

The wheel does indeed convey a nice sense of motion and the reflections do look great

I also like the other areas of detail such as the light trails from the 'pirate ship' and the movement from the clouds

Cheers, Sean
Mike Gray 13 382 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 2:59PM
Just like everything about it Patrick.
Well captured.

MikeBonsall 12 474 3 Guernsey
12 Mar 2007 3:00PM
The fairground wheel reflection is a nice touch.

AND you managed to get some clouds Patrick Smile

richardwheel 12 217 2 England
12 Mar 2007 3:01PM
The water looks a little on the blue side to me (probably because we have mucky brown seas here), but apart from that it's very good indeed.

12 Mar 2007 3:01PM
very good again Patrick. Only nibble for me here is the large blue canvas being a bit too dominating and spoiling it a bit (allthough the reflection of it looks kinda nice). Still, very good
Pete67 11 10 England
12 Mar 2007 3:04PM
I agree with everyone else.
Great shot

Pete M.
Kim Walton 14 145 30 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 3:04PM
Nice --i remember your night shot!
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
12 Mar 2007 3:05PM
Thanks for your comments!

LOL Jouko, you are quick today. Yes, 20 minutes is a long time to be in one place when the light was good the entire time and so many things are happening at once. And the SoCal tones are different from the NorCal tones sometimes.

I liked it too John, though it only lasted for a few seconds at a time.

Good spot Sean, it is the pirate ship ride just as it reached its peak.

LOL Mike.. finally some clouds!

Interesting Koen. I wonder how this would look in B&W? I have have a go at it.

Good memory Kim. I had to go back with the new camera to get some shots with better resolution.

ian walker 13 716 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 3:07PM
cracker - as always
LisaRose 11 172 4 United States
12 Mar 2007 3:15PM
Beauty of a shot Patrick!

Ade_Osman 15 4.5k 36 England
12 Mar 2007 3:20PM
Have a feeling this is going to be another surefire winner Patrick, and rightly so, what a cracking piece of work it is, now if I could get the same effect with my wildlife shots I think I'd be a happy man....LOL

Ade Smile
p100 13 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 3:26PM
Beautiful, great control and colours.

The_Collector 12 4 1 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 3:27PM
Well worth all the fiddling Patrick, a splendid image.

corfs 11 11 2 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 3:40PM
Another amazing image. Love the reflections in the wet sand, and the bold colours of the fairground contrasting against the more subtle sky and foreground. Caroline.
tull 14 181 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 3:40PM
Awesome capture of the highest standard Patrick.

PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
12 Mar 2007 3:44PM
Thanks for your comments!

Not always Ian, you should see the stuff I throw out!

LOL Ade, I can see how difficult it is to try to capture a moving animal!

12 Mar 2007 3:46PM
just to avoid misunderstanding Patrick. the colour of the canvas doesn't bother me. It's rather the sheer size and blunt shape of it. Still a good photo though (and besides, I know nothing about these things anyway ;o)
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
12 Mar 2007 3:52PM
LOL Koen, that's it then... I'm deleting my portfolio! But actually, I'm curious about B&W, as it does draw the eye to different parts of an image than colour. The patterns in the sky and sand might become stronger. I'm not quite proficient enough yet to upload a B&W but we will see...

CP_01 12 1
12 Mar 2007 3:56PM
This is wonderful! wow...
12 Mar 2007 4:00PM
nice sharp,beautiful picture
stevenb Plus
14 265 6 England
12 Mar 2007 4:21PM
Cracking shot Patrick, well worth the waite.

debster 14 693 3 England
12 Mar 2007 4:22PM
What a stunner Patrick!! I particularly like the reflections in the wet sand and the movement in the big wheel!

thorn 13 124 2 Scotland
12 Mar 2007 4:26PM
Hi Patrick,
Amazing light,timing,action,angles and exposure.The reflections are outstanding and they are dreamlike,you never fail to amaze.Take care.AnnSmile
12 12 1 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 4:35PM
Very nice Patrick, as always stylish and intelligent in approach.

paulstefan 13 509 1 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 4:36PM
Just looked at the large version and that wheel looks like it's coming out the image! The dark line behind it looks like a shadow on the photo. Cool!
12 Mar 2007 4:45PM
Fabulous Patrick, you always manage to make such spectacular images and I love that icy blue in the fg. Wonderful. helen
Slaterm 12 496 1 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 5:01PM
well thought out image - looks great. Particularly like the motion you captured in the wheel
sut68 14 2.0k 76 England
12 Mar 2007 5:17PM
The wheel almost looks like a cutout with a drop shadow behind it. Reflections and water movement finish it perfectly.

G73photography 12 417 15 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 5:57PM
amazing image, G
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
12 Mar 2007 6:05PM
Thanks for looking in!

I liked the sand too Debbie. I had to get that part right. It would only be like that for a couple of seconds at a time.

LOL - Paul and um.. Paul, the shadow is actually from the motion of the chairs and the people in them. It did make a good effect.

12 Mar 2007 6:09PM
Beautiful light captured on the sands Patrick, love the scene beyond, fine image, Adrian
dazzaman 11 631 England
12 Mar 2007 6:12PM
this is stunning pat

Buffalo_Tom 11 2.3k 9 Wales
12 Mar 2007 6:14PM
Love the soft tones and the interest captured by the wheel.Superb.
jaktis 14 84 Sweden
12 Mar 2007 6:27PM
And as usually it paid off your efforts, wish I could learn to get patient

dionne 14 29 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 6:44PM
Wonderful, wonderful colours and reflections in this. Love it!
kengreen 14 16 Sweden
12 Mar 2007 6:48PM
Interesting shot having made the various elements included all work together well. I always enjoy reading the way you describe the work/fun put into every image you capture. Great work and well worth your patience.
Paintman Plus
11 1.2k 177 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 6:59PM
Excellent work again. Love the slow shutter speed, it really provides movement and drama throughout the image. Great stuff.
MalcolmS Plus
12 1.2k 13 England
12 Mar 2007 7:10PM
Worth the wait Patrick, that's what I call dedication to your art. Love the colours in this and the reflection in the wet sand.

paulb20 Plus
11 12 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 7:14PM
Outstanding shot Patrick.
Maiwand 11 3 73 England
12 Mar 2007 7:31PM
Fantastic shot Patrick. Shutter speed seems to be just about perfect for the water and the wheel. Beautiful colours.
BertC 11 29 Malta
12 Mar 2007 7:32PM
Fantastic work Patrick ... spells out quality.
AngelaR 13 155 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 7:36PM
This is so good Patrick - wonderful sea, sky and just made for me by the wheel!
Maddie 13 2.7k 2 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 7:37PM
lots of good detail Patrick
taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
12 Mar 2007 7:38PM
It has all been said-- but I like this image even as much-- and it does not look like you took too much of a risk!

to capture it!


Should you want a dog portrait done-- Hmm--- maybe we could make a trade? LOL!

sunshot 13 24 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 7:45PM
nowt to say patrick!!!!!!!!!! it's already been said, excellent photography.

ian walker 13 716 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 7:53PM
i imagine that the stuff you throw is better than the stuff i keep Smile
liparig 13 233 United States
12 Mar 2007 7:58PM
fantastic I love the way you captured the wheel and although it spinning you still have lots of detail. Amazing well done
MarkT 13 119 2 England
12 Mar 2007 8:14PM
Great stuff Patrick, like the subtle tones and reflections.

CathyT 12 7.3k 18 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 8:22PM
Like the glossy FG ....very nice.
12 Mar 2007 8:38PM
I have been here too..I like the way you captured the smooth water over the sand..and the wheel spinning adds that special quiet, and so calm for the overall image........I was wondering how long it took you to wait for that sky.......
shutter speed 13 369 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 8:38PM
Has all the right ingredients this Patrick, excellent piece of photography.

You could go back and do another version ……….. With you doing your famous Gormley impersonation!!

Regards Ian.
rhiw_com 11 24
12 Mar 2007 8:44PM
Awesome photography Patrick, your work is always so inspirational. Quality.

Regards Tony
dp 14 163 3 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 9:00PM
Very nice Patrick, worth all the fiddling about.

ColouredImages 13 47 35 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 9:02PM
Ah, Santa Monica pier, I remember it well. I had a lengthy conversation with a lazy brown pelican. cracking exposure Patrick
chris-p Plus
12 67 England
12 Mar 2007 9:08PM
Nice one again Patrick..and thanks for your encouraging comments
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
12 Mar 2007 9:15PM
Thanks for looking!

Peter, you could be jsut as patient. Just enjoy being out in nature and don't worry about if you get the shot you want.

LOL Malcolm, or maybe obsession?

Yes Jennn, this was not too risky. I had shorts and bare feet so I just let myself get wet in between shots. And the waves were small. I wish my dog were still alive, then I would want a portrait, but he's gone now...

I don't know about that Ian (walker), I throw out some bad stuff!

Thansk Joe, it was just because of the exposure time. Not too long or short.

Cathy, I wonder if a glossy print would be too glossy.

LOL - Ian (shutter speed), I wonder how that would look?

Thanks Tony.

Mike, I saw a few pelicans here too.

12 Mar 2007 9:20PM
wow - lovely!
i have a question though - how did that shadow come behind the wheel?
shortski 12 3 1 England
12 Mar 2007 9:30PM
Stunning as usual, your timing is impecable, bet you didnt have to run from the waves!!.....jojo
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
12 Mar 2007 9:35PM
Varun, the shadow is actually from the motion of the chairs and the people in them. It does look like a shadow though.

No Jojo, they were small so I just stood there with the tripod legs deeply buried as the waves swept by.

DP_Imagery 13 24 6 Wales
12 Mar 2007 9:59PM
Superbly composed and timed - as if I should be surprised coming from you Wink Really love the colours too. Excellent. Bruce
Possum 11 148 England
12 Mar 2007 10:08PM
What strikes me more than anything is that, despite the movement and the knowledge that there's a lot going on on the pier, there is such an air of tranquillity here. I think it has much to do with the quiet wave motion and those luminescent silver and blue tones. I like it lots.
12 Mar 2007 10:35PM
A fabulous dynamic image again, tons of interest and beautiful colours.

martinl 14 269 2 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2007 10:35PM
Seems to me to be an image very much of 2 halves. There is the hustle & bustle and noise of the fairground on the right and the calm, lonely feel of the beach on the left and foreground.

Could get lost in this! Worth your effort to get right.
Not very dangerous for you though is it Patrick? No vast incoming waves, no slippery rocks, no prickly thorny bushes!!LOL

13 Mar 2007 4:26AM
Hey Patrick, I have past by this place a million times and have never stopped to photograph it. This inspires me to do so. I like the motion you have captured and the reflections in the sand. For at least the next week, we are expecting a plain, clear sky down here in southern California. I hope you are getting some weather up north.
chrissd 12 304 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2007 5:27AM
such beautiful colours and reflections, what a master you are
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
13 Mar 2007 5:50AM
Thanks for looking!

Yes Allie, relatively speaking, it was a soft and rather tranquil evening. the waves were low and there was little wind.

Sorry Martin, I shed no blood for this one!

No weather here Dennis. It was clear and about 86 (30c) at my house today. And warm and clear for the rest of the week it appears. We may get a little summer type fog on Wednesday at the coast.

Maybe someday Chris, though I don't think it is possible to master photography!

GillyB Plus
13 317 8 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2007 7:40AM
All been said Patrick!
A wonderful image!

Alison_S Plus
12 339 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2007 7:50AM
Gorgeous colours and reflections. Love the movement that you've captured in the big wheel there too.....fantastic work.

13 Mar 2007 9:16AM
Raw talent at its best

Gaz_H 11 150 1 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2007 12:54PM
Its all been said, lovely capture and that wheel is great.
xinia 13 54
13 Mar 2007 1:24PM
indeed that wheel does look as if its really spinning...again a lot of thought behind the capture
AlanBW 12 20 England
13 Mar 2007 1:57PM
Wonderful image Patrick - Tricia and I stood right alongside that wheel last year
canongirl08 12 18 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2007 3:05PM
Stunning capture Patrick!
Love the colours and reflections
pmorgan 11 217 13 England
13 Mar 2007 3:12PM
Definatley worth the wait Patrick, superb work, as I have grown to expect from you!

una Plus
14 10 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2007 3:26PM
Stunning shot, fantastic PF.
Hanners Plus
12 875 10 Ireland
13 Mar 2007 4:45PM
this is an absolute corker Patrick, give it a week or so and it might do well for you LOL.

VintageRed 12 15 1 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2007 5:30PM
I really admire your attention to detail Patrick. For me this was a good image but the spinning wheel has made it a very good one. Excellent work as always.
colin 13 697 5 Scotland
13 Mar 2007 5:48PM
Great shot, Patrick. Brings back memories of our trip two years ago.
Briwooly 12 452 5 England
13 Mar 2007 7:07PM
What can you say ? superb!!!!!!

scott_jessuk 12 249 1 Scotland
13 Mar 2007 8:51PM
Very impressive work as always Patrick, excellent lighting and great composition you have gone for.

ESP 11 26 England
13 Mar 2007 9:57PM
Unbelievably after 8 months on this site ..I have never seen any of your shots.........What a revelation and pleasure is has been to come across your OUTSTANDING portfolio !!

Stunning photography , beautifully taken and superbly presented

Going for a lie down ...your work's just about knocked me out!!!!

phototime 12 8 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2007 11:00PM
Agree with Esara your work is outstanding Patrick and this is one of them,wonderful work.

trissie 11 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2007 12:53AM
A stunning capture.

Trish x
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
14 Mar 2007 1:25AM
Just perfect in every way.

PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
14 Mar 2007 3:28AM
Thanks for your comments!

LOL Colin (thearmsofvenusdemilo), raw talent for sure, but I'm working on it!

Thanks Nick. It was difficult to make a short exposure look like a long one on the spinning wheel.

Thanks Sara. We probably just upload at different times. It happens to me too.

gajewski Plus
13 10 9 United States
14 Mar 2007 5:08AM
Patrick, another fantastic shot. My wife, Sue said you should consider my vote as two votes because she would vote for this shot if she were a member of ePz. -=Walter (and Sue)
tepot 13 4.4k United Kingdom
14 Mar 2007 12:55PM
lol....this looks familiar, you had a nice sky for this Pat and i like the reflections in the wet sand too, i thought you had to wait for one complete revolution of the wheel to get this effect where you can't see the individual spokes, obviously not.
jeanie Plus
14 6.0k 6 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2007 1:41PM
Playing catch-up after the weekend away - this is a super shot Patrick.. the colours and the movement of the Big Wheel are fab.

Chant57 Plus
12 395 3 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2007 3:13PM
Super shot Patrick. After reading your comment in the forum " I just want to go to the beach and bring back what I saw" - mission accomplished here.
mattw 14 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2007 3:25PM
While I am in your portfolio - I just need to say 'wow'

Kris_Dutson 15 8.2k 1 England
14 Mar 2007 6:12PM
They let you park on the beach in Santa Monica then Pat?

Sorry couldn't resist either. Wink

Nicely exposed and balanced.
Sezz 13 617 15 England
14 Mar 2007 7:11PM
Another eye pleaser Patrick, I like the blue tones and the reflections but my favourite part is the movement captured on that wheel!

Sarah Smile
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
14 Mar 2007 7:44PM
Thanks for your comments!

Walter and Sue, I'm glad you like it considering this is in your back yard almost.

Yes Terry, you can tell how little the wheel rotated by looking just above and the the right of the hub. That little stretched light trail tells you. Excatly one spoke does the job. Then you can get a short exposure.

Thanks C!

LOL Kris. Did I mention that I shot this from the car window with no beanbag?

Thanks Sarah.

chase 12 1.1k 246 England
14 Mar 2007 9:22PM
Blimey,it's a long way down here
I think you got it right here Patrick,composition,exposure & subject matter.
I like the reflections & the ice blue tones in the water.
No risky stuff here for a change Dangerman!
cadman359 12 3
15 Mar 2007 4:17PM
excellent image !! love everything about it !
TonyA 13 11 Spain
15 Mar 2007 6:22PM
Superb image, Patrick. It marvels me how you can handle so many comments on your magnificent photos.


PS I visited your Web page a few days back and found it fantastic. It was a pleasure to view and will be back some time later. Congratulations on all of your work and thanks for your comments. I would like you to be a little more critical because I have a lot to learn yet.
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
15 Mar 2007 8:30PM
LOL Janet, this had little danger in it. The water would get about 1 foot from the camera when I buried the tripod in the water though.

Thanks Christian.

I'm not sure Antonio. I just reply here and browse the galleries a lot! More critique? LOL - Okay, you asked for it!

Mari 14 1.8k United Kingdom
15 Mar 2007 9:42PM
Superb, Patrick, love the pastel colours and the spin on that wheely thing ;0) very well captured - see you don't have to have rocks really LOL

Mari Smile
looboss 11 3.1k 7 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2007 12:35PM
Superb image! come to expect nothing less from you Smile
Very Nice Patrick,
Really like this shot, Luv how the how carnival scene just stands out!
Colours are Brilliant!

Hope you're having a Fun St. Patty's Day....Cheers,
Suzan Smile
evelen 13 5 England
17 Mar 2007 6:32PM
excellent shot as allways.
MikeA 13 1.3k England
17 Mar 2007 7:12PM
A very busy shot Patrick but the composition leads the eye around well, the wheel looks as though it is in 3D.

Nigel_95 Plus
12 262 2 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2007 11:54PM
Late again (I have a valid excuse this time). Lovely sky and reflections on the wet sand, and the wheel looks like it is really motoring.

PLCimagery 11 77 1 England
18 Mar 2007 9:01AM
worth the wait - looks geat
tripodted 12 32 1 Northern Ireland
18 Mar 2007 3:40PM
Great shot, Patrick. I love the movement in the wheel and colours in the wet sand.
johnjrp 14 432 5 Australia
19 Mar 2007 6:39AM
Well worth the wait and we are rewarded for it. Great detail. Well taken. John
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
19 Mar 2007 1:31PM
Thanks for looking!

LOL Mari, I think there is a little pebble on the left side..

It was good Suzan! Though I spent my time moving large rocks from a neighbor's yard.

That's okay Nigel, I've been behind too.

19 Mar 2007 5:13PM
Fantastic again.

davidbailie 14 457 7 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2007 5:58PM
Good shooting Patrick

ericfaragh Plus
14 149 4 United Kingdom
21 Mar 2007 7:44PM
Beautiful tones and colour, nicely exposed.
Bluke 13 303 1 United Kingdom
24 Mar 2007 10:12AM
all been said... QUALITY WORK..
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
26 Mar 2007 6:56PM
An outstanding beachscape Patrick, excellent colours, composition and movement in the wheel. The pier and the big wheel are nearly as impressive as the Central pier and wagon wheel at Blackpool! lol
jan 1 14 12 Netherlands
28 Mar 2007 10:03AM
You posted pictures from it before, didn't you, Patrick.
This is a beauty aswell, must be seen in Large.!
MartaHari 10 1 Spain
25 Sep 2007 9:39PM
genus at work - worth every single vote it got, and many, many more
Sweetpea 12 6 United Kingdom
30 Sep 2007 3:44AM
Hi Pat
Hope you are well. Have just come back from a visit to Calif and had a glimpse of this as we drove around, but we weren't able to stop sadly. Just as well probably as anything I took would have been put to shame by theis. Fab as always!
Sweetpea Smile
PatrickSmith 13 1.2k 2 United States
4 Oct 2007 3:11AM
Thanks for looking!

Hi Sweetpea,

I hope you had a great time. Where did you go?


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