By Lon Levin/President/BTS Communications
Early Sunday morning and I mean early…5:30, I arrived at Santa Monica Pier to meet my BTS Communications media team. We were meeting to record video and take photographs of the Beit T’ Shuvah Marathon team as they trained for the upcoming LA Marathon in March 2013. Originally I thought I should get there around 6:30 AM but I woke up early so I thought I’d drive down and see if I could shoot some early morning ambiance shots of the Pier and the surrounding area. I parked my car on one of the adjacent streets to the beach, threw my photo bag over my shoulders and headed for the boardwalk. It was still dark yet oddly warm, no clouds in the sky and it looked like it was going to be a very sunny day. As soon as I hit the cement walkway near Bicknell St. I started to hear a heated discussion between three homeless people who were discussing the origin of the universe and how it related to them not having a blanket to sleep with. As I moved farther down the path towards the pier I brushed by a man warming up readying himself for a run. I wondered how anyone could get up so early to workout but then again he might be wondering how a guy could get up so early to take photos. Since I was so early I thought I’d check out the amusement park on the pier. It was brightly lit and I figured I could get some good pictures. I climbed the stairs that lead to the pier’s landing and saw a lot of people setting up tables and booths for an upcoming event. I also saw the park all lit up, colorful and beckoning to me like an amusement siren. I wandered in and took a few shots. I was like a kid in a candy store that didn’t have a shopkeeper. Soon enough a park security cop was shadowing me and I ducked in and out of the rides and tents trying to evade detection like I was playing some sort of hide n’ seek game, snapping pictures all along the way. After a few frozen moments the guard caught up to me and ordered me out of the park saying it was illegal and dangerous for me to be there. Dangerous?…I decided not to argue and left. As I did I snapped shots of quiet shops waiting to be opened. The lighting was colorful and dynamic and made the shack-like buildings look more fanciful than they really were. It was 6:15 and it was still 15 minutes before anyone from my team would arrive. I walked across the area where more and more vendors were setting up tables with pamphlets and food trays. They were hustling around so fast no one would stop to talk. I edged over to the south side of the pier and gazed out over the empty beach area and thought how runners and bikers would soon be traversing the area. The whole setting was a bit surreal. And oddly enough I could still hear the three homeless people making their points about the universe from hundreds of feet away. I pointed my camera towards the empty beach and shot the rows of buildings that lined the boardwalk. The sun was starting to rise and I began to wonder where I should meet our team. I theorized there was a parking on the north side of the pier so I should go through the walkway under the pier to get there. It took me a couple minutes to get to the lot and when I got there Josh Silver, Charlie Patterson and Justin Rosenberg my intrepid crew were there. My pre-dawn adventure was over. It was time to start working after a fairly strange and mystical morning romp.
For more information about the team and how you can get involved go to www.beittshuvah.org/marathon