Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Famous Hollywood Beach Broadwalk - With the Vivitar 500mm

I thought I would finish up shooting with this really long lens by trying to squeeze the full two and a half miles of the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk into one shot. I saw it done very well once by a friend of mine about 10 years ago. Since then the light poles have been changed, repaired, and reworked several times. Pretty much every time I thought about shooting it there was mismatched lighting, construction, or bad weather. When I finally got there on just the right day, my biggest lens was just not enough. The 2x doubler I had just made matters worse and a shaky tripod made for a frustrating day. That was about 3 years ago.

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On this day I took my oldest working camera - Nikon D70, Cheapest lens - Vivitar Series 1 500mm F/8.0, and my $20.00 tripod set very low to the ground. I shot in the morning at Anne Kolb in highly overcast conditions. When I staked my claim on a bench at the end of the Broadwalk, the light could not have been brighter. My drive home was met with torrential rain and lightning starting the moment my wheels touched A1A. This was meant to happen right here, right now and for exactly one hour. The amount of money I had for the parking meter.

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As I've said before, this lens is fully manual. The shutter speed has to be set in the camera. Everything else on the lens itself. No auto focus. With blinding light, it was really hard to see on the display if I was getting anything at all so I changed the shutter speed nearly every shot. Halfway through the remote stopped working so I just set the camera on timer. Pushing the button to take the shot would have been too much shake.

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These may not be award winning photos to some but to me they are exactly as I wanted them. The heat coming off the pavement makes the distance look like watercolor. I got a pretty fair mix of the typical Hollywood beach goer but no real clear faces.

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When I quit smoking 15 years ago, I started walking this path. At first a very embarrassing mile - sometimes two. More coughing than breathing. In a year it was 8 miles nearly every weekend. I would stop for breakfast and a coffee. It would consume about three hours of my morning including drive time. No matter summer or winter there was always activity. I did that regularly for about 10 more years.

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I used to go with friends but it was not long before they simply could not keep up. If I brought the bike it would be a 25-30 mile moring up and back over and over. When I add all the many miles together it's just a long path with a faceless blur of activity. As memories go - I think I nailed this one in photos.

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In my final shot most everyone is heading away beckoning me to join them. In reality there is a black sky and a cold wind just behind me. My car was 50 feet away and it was raining on me as I got to it just moments after this shot. Just a little reminder that life changes as fast as the weather.


  1. Cool shots - I am so lazy with my little point & shoot camera that I LOVE! It's actually how I imagine Hollywood beach to look, so the hype must actually be REAL!

  2. This is all 2 1/2 miles of it compressed into one shot. Now that I moved after 35 years I do miss this little bit of my world. The traffic and the people not so much.