Venice Beach – A suburb of Los Angeles, California

It is day 1 of my photography workshop with the world renown photographer, Serge Ramelli. I’m uncertain of what the day will bring, as we spent the first 3 – 4 hours in a hotel conference room talking about photography and looking at images. This is our first excursion to the field and as a group. 4 photographers with different focuses and skill level, along with Serge, his wife, and their dog. The focus for today, Venice Beach!

As you probably know, Venice Beach is known for the neighborhood next to the beach with canals connecting all of the houses and even with access to Marina Del Ray. All of this is just minutes away from “Muscle Beach” and the Venice Pier. Our first stop is a walk through the Canals. Very view clouds are in the sky and we were all hoping for something very interesting in the sky to get pictures of. We continue to walk around and I take several photos of the different houses, but it is EXTREMELY hot outside because it is the first full day of LA’s heat wave. I find some shade, to keep from getting burnt and I look up and this tree has lanterns all over it hanging from the branches. I quickly grab a few images, this is my favorite one from this part of the trip.

Lamps light up this view of the canals in Venice Beach
Lamps light up this view of the canals in Venice Beach

Now for Venice Beach

After grabbing a quick dinner, we walk over to the beach and then down to the pier. We make it there just before sunset and even see a couple of other photographers. They are all there for the same thing, capturing some amazing images. I know I want to capture the sunset with the pier, so I set up for the shot. I even got the shot I was hoping for, the sun setting between the support beams; however, after reviewing the picture I found it is just too busy and distracting.

Sun setting under the boardwalk

My favorite images of the day was a few minutes later when I was able to get under the pier and capture 5-10 long exposures. After looking through them all, I couldn’t believe how well this one turned out. My wife absolutely loves this image as well, now it is over the mantel in our bedroom.

Watching the tides roll in, under the boardwalk - Venice Beach
Watching the tides roll in, under the boardwalk – Venice Beach

Lastly, I ended up going back to the south side of the boardwalk and grabbing a few more images before calling it a night. I fell in love with this panorama of the pier just after sunset. For me, it really captures the entire day and it gave me some time to reflect on all of the things I learned on this day.

Watching the Pacific Ocean's tide roll in on Venice Beach right next to the Pier as it lights up for the night.
Watching the Pacific Ocean’s tide roll in on Venice Beach right next to the Pier as it lights up for the night.

I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and start looking through these images. The following day in our workshop, Serge showed us how he processed a few of his images and we were all able to apply these lessons to our own images.

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