On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Route 66! I cannot see that sign without thinking of Kookie. I adored him, but I had no idea that he received 15,000 fan letters. A week! But I digress. Some night skies from Bill today. No, not that kind! ~WaterGirl
I got together with a few other photographers to photograph the sunset at the Santa Monica Pier. I visited the pier a few times in college (a quick ride on the Big Blue Bus from campus), but this was only my second trip there in the last 40 years (the other being at the urging of beloved commenter Baud to see what the ocean would look like in IR). I drove out to Santa Monica and arrived in town early only to make a wrong turn trying to find parking and ended up drive a couple of miles north on PCH. I doubled back and parked at the City Hall parking structure and was only a few minutes late (I wasn’t the only one with trouble finding parking).
We started out on the pier, just shooting whatever looked interesting as we waited for sunset and heading for the sand. I positioned my tripod and camera so that I’d have the setting sun right over the end of the pier and then moved a bit to get the sun just off the pier. After the sun set the lights (solar powered) on the attractions on the pier lit adding an accent to the orange and red skies. Most of the shots of the sunset were shot using exposure bracketing to produce a orange sun and a properly exposed foreground and combined using either exposure blending or Aurora HDR.[Shameless plug] All of the phots that you see here in my “On the Road” submissions are available for purchase at my webstore at https://www.billinglendaleca.com/. If you like these photos and want to see more, consider becoming a patron at my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/BillinGlendaleCA
The end of Route 66 on the Santa Monica Pier.
Sailboats on the sunlit water of Santa Monica Bay. I’ve used split toning to enhance the golden tones of the sunlit water and sky and blue tones on the water.
A bird resting on the side of the Pier.
A young woman looks out at the ocean as the sun nears the horizon. This is an HDR combination of 5 shots exposure bracketed. I’ve also removed some people in the original shot and moved the young woman up from the bottom of the shot.
The sun appears to be setting into the end of the Santa Monica Pier.
The setting sun struggles to shine through the clouds as it sets off the Pier.
As the sun has set the lights on the amusement rides on the pier become more visible.
The lights of the attractions on the pier are mirrored in the water along the beach.
There used to be a sign at the other end, in Chicago, where it ran into Lake Shore Drive: “End of Route 66”. Don’t know if it’s still there.
Apparently, there is an imposter at BJ pretending to be me.
You really have a good eye for composition.
@John Revolta: And for many years the last stoplight on 66 was at Dwight, Illinois at the junction of Hwy 47. A great place to hitch back in the day.
It used to be called POP, Pacific Ocean Park of Pay One Price. In the 70’s many of the beach towns had deteriorated including Santa Monica and my old hangout Manhattan Beach. It’s crazy to see how they have gentrified in the ensuing years.
PACIFIC OCEAN PARK PIER SURFERS – P.O.P. VENICE AND SANTA MONICA PIER MID 1970S
ETA Alert, alert. The Google informs me that POP was not the same as the Santa Monica Pier!
@John Revolta: I don’t remember that sign being at the pier when I was in college, maybe it was. I had to wait to get that picture, a group of young women were taking a bunch of pics with that sign.
@Baud: No it was you. I did take some IR pics this trip too. Maybe for another day.
@Mary G: Thanks.
@raven: POP was about a mile or 2 south of the Santa Monica Pier, between Santa Monica and Venice.
@raven: POP was one of the many amusement parks that didn’t survive Disneyland, there were a few others: Jungleland in TO, Marineland in PV, and the Pike in Long Beach.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: We moved there in 57 so those places are in the cobwebs of my mind. Knotts Berry Farm is still there, no? The Pike was pretty old was it not? I remember the giant salt water pool. The Plunge!!
@Raven: Knotts is still around, probably due to the pie. I never went to the Pike or POP. The Pike was really old.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I remember feeding the seals at Knotts. What about Corragonvile, it’s gone isn’t it?
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Geez, just thinking about the closed amusement parks in SoCal…there was Busch Gardens in the Valley, Lion Country Safari in Irvine and the Japanese Deer Park which had a sad ending with no one feeding the poor deer. There was also a kiddie park where the Beverly Center is now next to Mt. Sinai Hospital(now Cedars-Sinai).
ETA: And, if you go back to the early 20th century, you have the Ostrich Farm and the Alligator Farm.
@raven: Corragonville is long gone, I think the 118 runs though part of it(I never went). Seals at Knotts? Sounds more like Marineland.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I guess the La Brea Tarpits isn’t really an amusement park but it amused us!
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Oh no, it was big deal and they had a seal food stand where you bought the stuff.
@raven: Yeah, I don’t count the tar pits, they’re still there, of course. They built a really good museum for the tar pit, the Paige Museum. When they built the LA County Museum of Art, they had water surrounding it with fountains, they didn’t take into account the neighboring tar pits and ended up with rather unattractive oily water. They’re rebuilding LACMA and have torn down most of the original buildings.
@raven: Hmmm, don’t remember it, maybe it was gone when we went.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: It was pretty stinky!
@raven: I can imagine, especially on a warm day.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: 10 miles from Whittier to Knotts, unfuckingreal!
Years ago I had a presentation at a conference in Santa Monica and the conference hotel was right on the water at the pier. As an Easterner used to the beaches here, I was surprised at how flat the beach was. And it was nice to get to walk on the pier out into the ocean.
Love the photo with the Ferris Wheel and the sun-streaked clouds.
Kookie was a character on the show 77 Sunset Strip. Not sure of his relationship to Route 66.
The second picture reminded me of the UCLA Bruins jacket my Aunt sent me when I was a kid. I loved that jacket!
It is the blue and gold, but I love how memories are stirred by unrelated pictures.
Thanks, Bill, for all your pictures.
Great pix as always Bill. We just booked a couple days at a cottage in Carpinteria for my birthday in December so we are starting to get our beach vibe excitement going.
When there’s no pandemic happening, there’s a bus from Altadena to Santa Monica beach during the Summer on Saturday mornings for a mere $3 round trip. It’s a great way to get our beach fill (which is usually only once a year) without the hassle of driving and parking.
@randy khan: It is pretty out there, glad you like the shots.
@greengoblin: Go Bruins! When I said campus, I was talking about UCLA, I’m an alum.
@UncleEbeneezer: The cottage sounds nice, for my b-day in January I’m hoping to be enjoying the first day of the Biden/Harris administration. We had buses that ran from TO to Zuma when I was a teen.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I remember going to JungleLand very young, I think I got to ride on an elephant. I knew a couple people who worked at Marineland, so it must have survived into the 70s.
Used to work about a block from the pier, I miss that beach.
@raven: Correct, there was another pier about 1/4 mile away from Santa Monica Pier. I think it had a dance hall on it. I think there were more piers decades before that, too. The Santa Monica Pier got pretty battered in some storms and was forlorn for quite a while. There used to be boats that harbored just on the north (and west) side of it, and I think a fishing boat you could go on. The rock breakwater is still there, though you mostly only see some parts sticking up at low tide. Also, part of The Sting was filmed at the merry-go-round on the Santa Monica Pier.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Great shots from my part of town! I fished off the pier a couple times as a kid. I especially like the split-toned one of the sail boats.
That Rte 66 sign is definitely a last-couple-of-decades addition for the tourists. In the early 90s the pier was nice again and beginning to be a destination.
How was the 2nd hand pot smoke? I used to work a few blocks away and I would come across some wafting of it every minute or so right around the (land) end of the pier – one day when the winds had blown the smog over the water, I looked out at the brown layer and said to myself, probably all pot smoke these days! Lol.
Grew up a few blocks from the Santa Monica pier in a time when it was creepy to go there after dark. Saw a fight inside the carousel that (probably) did not end in a killing. My memory could be playing tricks but I don’t think I ever went back after that night; beach was always great though.
There was plenty of slum housing in the mile between the pier down to POP, so we could afford living. I guess that’s all gone to gentrification.
@JustRuss: I grew up less than 2 miles from Jungleland in TO. It closed in ’69 so most of my memories aren’t that great of it. Marineland was around until the mid-late 80’s, though I only visited once in the late 60’s.
@BigJimSlade: The pier was kind of sketchy when we went down there in the late 70’s, but it was a quick ride down there from UCLA and cooler on a warm day even though Westwood isn’t all that far from the coast.
@BigJimSlade: I got a few whiffs but it’s illegal to smoke anything on the pier and I think the beach in Santa Monica.
@hotshoe: Pretty much everything near the coast is expensive now. I remember when Venice was cheap but sketchy, now it’s even expensive. Cleaning up the canals probably helped a lot.
@BigJimSlade: Did a few Google searches, the Aragon Ballroom was on Lick Pier also where POP was, it’s about a mile south of the Santa Monica Pier. North of the Santa Monica Pier was the Long Wharf which extended a mile out into the bay and was Southern California’s primary port until the development of LA harbor put it out of business.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Yeah, I underestimated the distance – I thought that Ocean Park Blvd must only be about 1/4 mile (and assumed that Ocean Park would’ve been at the end of that street)… And I’ve jogged, walked, and ridden my bike by the old Long Wharf quite a few times :-)