Downtown Los Angeles

Today is day three in my workshop with Serge. Another day in the middle of the scorching Los Angeles heat wave, with highs well above 90 degrees. We started the day in the classroom avoiding the heat and waiting for the right time to get the best possible light. We drive downtown to grab a meal, then off to get some pictures in Downtown Los Angeles. Our goal today is the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Painting Light. We accomplished both missions.

It was a lazy Sunday evening, downtown Los Angeles was nearly empty without any events going on. In the middle of this concrete jungle is the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is a very unique building architecturally. Some buildings are instantly recognizable and this is one of those buildings, just like the Sydney Opera House.

In order to capture this building, you have either have a wide angle lens, which adds distortion, or you have to stitch together multiple exposures. I elected to stitch together 8 images into one to get the best possible image, here is how it turned out:

A view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall at sunset with the beautiful colors reflecting off the buildings
A view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall at sunset with the beautiful colors reflecting off the buildings

Next Up, painting light

Night photography is always interesting. Here in Los Angeles, on this night, that just means the heat is finally bearable. For me, painting light requires a couple of elements. A great background is critical for the picture, otherwise, it is pretty boring. The other element is that the image needs lots of light moving by in both directions. Without traffic, the end results are also pretty boring. Serge knew of a great spot, so our group lined up all of our tripods, I throw on my wide angle lens and start capturing 8 – 15-second bursts. The traffic smooths out extremely well.

When you slow down to enjoy the moment, everything around you can be moving at light speed, and you still can be at peace. Looking at these images of downtown Los Angeles I remember the peace I felt watching the world go by and taking these photos. Here is my favorite of the images from that evening.

Bright Lights - City Lights. Los Angeles Skyline with traffic flowing by with people moving all around the center of the city.
Bright Lights – City Lights. Los Angeles Skyline with traffic flowing by with people moving all around the center of the city.

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