Santa Monica, California boasts beautiful beaches, incredible sunsets, and the fun-filled Pacific Park amusement park on the famed Santa Monica Pier. After capturing the golden sunset over the Pier, I was excited to ride the rides AND looking forward to taking lots of photos. My goal? To experiment with shutter speed and try to capture the movement of the various rides.
Because it was nighttime and I did not have a tripod, I had my work cut out for me. I managed to brace my camera on top of railings and planters and whatever else I could find, but with the wind off the ocean, the vibrations on the pier from the rides themselves, and a camera lens that is not very fast, camera shake was inevitable. All of these shots were taken with a Nikon D90 with an 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
First stop? The Sea Dragon, a swinging wooden ship (sporting dragon heads at each end) that moves back and forth in a 180-degree arc. I happily stayed on terra firma while my daughter gladly climbed aboard with another single rider.
Inkie’s Scrambler was next, a swirling ride that moves and rotates at a speed of more than 11 revolutions per minute. Here, I was able to capture a dad and his son just as the ride was starting to move. Neither looks too happy about what’s coming next!
The night wasn’t all about watching others test their courage – my daughter and I braved the West Coaster, billed as the only West Coast, oceanfront, steel roller coaster located on a Pier over the Pacific Coastline; the Pacific Plunge, a 150-foot tall tower ride that lifts riders up in a 5-seat gondola and drops them to the bottom; and the Pacific Wheel, the world’s only solar-powered Ferris Wheel. We also took our own turn on Inkie’s Scrambler. As this ride powered up, I had my camera on my lap and happily began pressing the shutter to see what I could get. The logistics were a bit iffy, given that my daughter and I were being slammed into each other. But amidst our movement and our belly laughter, I ended up with one pretty good shot.
All in all, it was a great welcome to Santa Monica!
Note: I submitted a B&W image of Inkie’s Scrambler to Monochrome Madness Week #23. This is a wonderful forum hosted by Leanne Cole and Laura Macky on Leanne’s blog, where each week bloggers submit their monochrome images that Leanne then puts together in a wonderful gallery. Take a look if you have the chance – as a result of MM, I’m learning a great deal about black and white photography and finding that I really like it a great deal!