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See Manhattan Beach on a Sunset Photo Walk

Oct 07, 2021 09:07AM ● By Jefferson Graham

Photo via Jefferson Graham

For the past three years, I’ve been trotting all over SoCal and other locales with my cameras for
my travel photography series Photowalks, which just began its second season on YouTube.

This week, we focus on my favorite spot of them all, Manhattan Beach, which has been my home since 1996.

(Also, I’ll be leading another live photo walk at the Pier at 6 p.m. tonight. More on that in a minute)

The point of the series is to bring viewers with me to iconic locations, show them where to get the best photo spots and how to improve their photo skills. I don’t ask them to go out and buy expensive photo gear, but instead show them how to up their game with the camera that’s in their pocket, a smartphone.

Since the first episode of Photowalks, touring Hollywood Blvd., we’ve been all over: Europe (Portugal and Spain) Asia (Japan) the Pacific (Hawaii) the Northwest (Oregon and Washington) the South (Savannah, Georgia) and all over California.

Charlotte “Ginger” DiNunzio, a Central California based photographer we first met in the Morro Bay/Cayucos episode of Photowalks, comes to Manhattan Beach to join me down here. She showed me her favorite pier, in Cayucos, so I get her reaction to L.A.’s most photographed and beloved pier, 101 years young in 2021.

Think about it for a minute: which pier would you rather photograph? Hermosa (no open space
under the pier), Redondo (too commercial) or Venice (same issue as with Hermosa.)

Our pier is long and walkable, and with that beautiful Roundhouse at the end, stately and iconic.
“There’s something about somehow being out on the water, but you’re safe and on dry land,” when walking on the Pier, says DiNunzio in the episode. “And visually, it looks beautiful.” Seeing the Roundhouse at the end, “It’s like I want to go down there.”

Along the way to the Roundhouse, I also chat with Eric Martin, the aquarium's aquarist director,  about the aquarium and where to get great shots of the sea life. And back with DiNunzio, whose
new book of photography, “Ginger Snaps,” will be released in November, we both offer photo tips and explore the different angles for photographing on the pier.

We shot the episode in the summer, when June Gloom was roaring, which could be taken as a negative for photography. In fact, the overcast mornings and evenings are the best times to photograph people, as we both point out during the show. Bright sun produces nice colors, but it can play havoc with your face, shining bright, harsh shadows that make people look like raccoons in photographs.

Overcast is “photographer weather,” with nice, even, people pleasing sheen that make your subjects and selfies look great.

Speaking of weather and time of year, know that we’re about to hit key sunset season. The
months of November, December and January historically produce the best, richest colors to
capture the sunsets on our waters.

My favorite spot for sunset shots is the left side of the Manhattan Beach Pier because from
there you can capture both the Pier and the sun setting. On the right side, you can’t get both in
your shot unless you go up far away, by 26th Street or so.

Hopefully we’ll have a great sunset on Thursday for the live photo walk. I’ll have the new Apple
iPhone 13 with me, in case you have any questions about how the latest iPhone performs. So
bring your smartphone, but do me a favor and sign up, so I know who will be there. You can
register here.

Editor's note: The first season of Photowalks on is on Tubi and the second season is on YouTube. On the web, you can find the show at and learn more at

All photos below courtesy of Jefferson Graham.

Manhattan Beach Photowalk

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