I don't often get the opportunity to travel much to shoot outside the state of Colorado but when I do, I make sure I take advantage of it and shoot as much as I can. This year, my family took a trip out to Los Angeles to celebrate the holidays with family and friends and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to shoot with fellow photographers in the Arcanum. I was really excited for this trip as this was the first time since 2011 that I got a chance to visit since we moved from LA
While in LA, our family friends Andrea and Silverio offered us a place to stay for a few days and after we all got settled in, I was able to link up with a Lisa, a fellow member of the Arcanum and we planned on getting some sunset shots of Santa Monica Pier. Given that I had part of the morning and early afternoon with not much to do, I went down to LA Union Station to kill some time and shoot before Lisa picked me up to shoot Santa Monica.
Day 1: Union Station and Santa Monica Pier
Union Station is just filled with interesting things and to me, it looks like it is trapped in 1940s with a special nostalgic feel to it. While at the station, I tried to do some HDR work to get some of the architectural details of the station and not even 30 seconds after I setup my tripod, I was quickly told by security that I was unable to use a tripod while indoors. Not a big deal and just shot hand held while I awaited Lisa to pick me up.
After getting an ample amount of photos from the Union Station, Lisa finally arrived and we set out to shoot Santa Monica pier. Lisa is a smart cookie when it comes to photoshop and she has helped me quite a bit in regards to making my workflow more efficient while improving the quality of my work. It was great opportunity getting a chance to shoot with Lisa while picking her brain on her various shooting techniques!
Once we arrived at the Santa Monica pier, we had an hour or so before sunset and to kill the time, we shot around the pier. We shot a bit of street while on the pier and afterwards, we went underneath the pier to get some good shots of the pylons with the waves crashing into them. As one would expect, it was misty underneath the pier but it was well worth the effort as I came out of there with a few compelling shots using a 10-stop ND filter that I picked up prior to the trip.
As it got closer to sunset, we made our way towards the beach and setup to get some sunset shots and thankfully, we were not disappointed at all! The sky was very colorful and we got a lot of great shots. We also got really wet in the process and coupled with the ocean breeze and mild temperatures, we got pretty cold and enjoyed a nice dinner at Bubba Gump's at the pier to cap off the night.
Day 2: Downtown LA and Rodeo Drive
The next evening, Lisa picked me up and showed me this really awesome spot to shoot the LA skyline. While we were there, we met up with Caleb who is another member of the Arcanum and we shot the skyline until the fog began to roll in and cover up some of the skyscrapers. While shooting, the sky had looked rather ominous and it almost appeared that the sky was half cool and half warm. Not sure what may have caused that but I am willing to bet that it was a combination of the lights on the buildings coupled with that LA pollution. Whatever the case, I loved the effect and came out with some great photos.
After the fog covered up some of the skyscrapers, we went down to Rodeo Drive to shoot for a bit. During the trip there, it began to sprinkle and once we arrived at Rodeo Drive, it was definitely raining. It wasn't raining too hard while we were there but it rained enough to the point where it got rather annoying as I kept getting water drops on my lens. I worked around that by cleaning the front element of my lens from time to time and shooting wide open or close to wide open to prevent the water drops from showing up on my photos. I figured since I was shooting at 16mm to 20mm, f/4 to f/5.6 would give me just enough depth of field without the water drops showing too much if at all.
The rain finally increased to the point where we were getting soaked and we pretty much called it a night after that. I had a real good time shooting with Caleb and Lisa from the Arcanum and I am especially thankful for them showing me around Los Angeles. Both Caleb and Lisa are both very talented photographers and if you are interested in seeing some of their work, below are links to there websites and portfolios:
See Lisa Speakman's work HERE
See Caleb Asch's work HERE
Day 3: Family and friends photos on the Beach
Since this was a family vacation, it was only fitting that I capture various moments of my family enjoying the beach. When I shoot photos of my family, I don't care much for shooting posed photos since they look too "staged" for me and prefer capturing them enjoying everyday moments and prefer the natural feel. My son loved the beach and he had such a great time playing in the sand and in the water!
What a great trip!
We enjoyed our time here in LA and I wanted to give special thanks to Andrea and Silverio for providing great hospitality during our stay. We had such a good time hanging out and if you ever need a place to stay while in Colorado, your always welcome.
I also wanted to mention that the photos you see here were processed using some of the techniques I learned in the Arcanum. The Arcanum is a great place to hone your photography skills and highly suggest you check them out HERE if you want to take your photography to the next level. I have learned so much from this community and what makes this so special is that everyone is willing to help you achieve your artistic goals. Come join me in the Arcanum as it is truly a blessing being a part of this group - House Lightbender Strong!