SM PIER — Sara Jane Boyers was on her way out the door when she was met with a thick cloud of fog.

Her first reaction was to grab a camera and make a dash toward the Santa Monica Pier, but withheld the urge and continued her plans to go out of town.

But the first thing she did the next day, bright and early, was to take a trip to the pier and shoot away, hoping to capture its natural beauty through the lens of a camera, her medium of choice.

“I didn’t have anything specific in mind,” the Santa Monica Canyon resident and fine art photographer said. “I started with the pilings underneath, gradually went up to see what it is I could find.”

Starting today those shots will be part of a month-long exhibit by the Los Angeles League of Photographers (LALOP) about the historic pier, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Held in conjunction with the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corp’s series of centennial events, the exhibit features pieces by 18 different photographers in the organization, ranging in specialties from fine arts to documentary to journalism.

“LALOP at the Pier,” which will run through April 18 in the historic Hippodrome, will kick-off tonight with an opening event from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., during which time free carousel rides will be available.

“It is great to reactivate the space not only as a place for youthful exuberance riding the carousel but also as an opportunity to enjoy creative expression,” said Ben Franz-Knight, the executive director of the PRC.

Featured in the exhibit are several Santa Monica-based photographers, including Cindy Bendat, a 19-year resident who focuses primarily on documentary and fine art pieces.

She has four pieces hanging in the exhibit that were taken with another set of photos that were published in the book, “Santa Monica Pier: A Century on the Last Great Pleasure Pier,” which was released earlier this year for the centennial. The photos in the exhibit were not published in the book, which was written by James Harris.

Bendat, who is co-curating the show with Boyers, said she shot the pier from different angles, including one from a Harbor Patrol boat, a Cessna plane, roller coaster and atop the Ferris wheel.

“I think (the pier) is Santa Monica’s most important symbol and it’s obviously a place that has gone through major changes in 100 years of existence,” Bendat said. “But it remains as originally intended, a place for people to enjoy the ocean and enjoy the views and have fun.”

She is joined by Santa Monica photographer Barbara Gluck, who was one of two women who covered the Vietnam War.

Gluck’s one piece in the exhibit is a shot of the pier at sunset, taken from Palisades Park.

Along with the other photographers, Gluck said she has fond memories of the pier, seeing it for the first time during a visit to Santa Monica in the 1980s when she went to see a meditation teacher who had a tent nearby. She moved to the city about 12 years ago.

“I would go on the pier all the time,” she said. “The pier was always a symbol of Santa Monica for me so I really love it.”

The exhibit aims to show its audience the photographers’ own perspective of the pier. The photos hang on the wall of the Hippodrome, showing recognizable elements of the pier, including the Arlington West memorial, the Ferris Wheel, and the wooden planks.

“We would like them to get a different view of the pier,” Boyers said.

melodyh@smdp.com