Where would you photograph LA?

John from Boston, who reads my blog, will be in town next week to attend a conference at the convention center. He asked me in e-mail where I would recommend taking photos in non-touristy areas of Los Angeles.

I immediately thought of places like Echo Mountain, the Venice Boardwalk and the Jewelry District, but I’m sure there are places that I’ve overlooked.

So, readers and b.la contributors: where would you photograph Los Angeles, if you had a limited amount of time, and wanted to take home some unique and representative shots of our fair city, where would you go?

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15 Replies to “Where would you photograph LA?”

  1. My vote’s for Broadway downtown. Start at the historic Bradbury Building at 304 S. Broadway and work your way south to the old Herald Examiner Building at 1111 S. Broadway. In between are all those old theaters, some murals, old signs and tons of opps for candid shots of the streets inhabitants. Plus Clifton’s is there at 648 S. Broadway, perfect for some midway sustenance.

  2. Dang it, Will beat me to it. There so many different enviroments in downtown that its a blast. You can easily hop from the old theaters, chinatown, little tokyo, Olivera St… You can see the tourists who are wondering why they are there. The suits next to the homeless…

  3. koreatown (wilshire center) is full of some great and bizarre photo ops. start @ wilshire and irolo (aka normandie), go south to olympic, east to vermont, back up to wilshire. it’s tough to beat the serious influx of tacos, coffee shops and noodle joints all packed into some incredibly old buildings. THEN hit broadway downtown via metro red line. Or vice-versa.

    i’d also throw thai town out there. hollywood blvd east of vine is home to some great food, weird photo ops and seriously skeevy activity, depending on what time you’re there.

  4. Echo Lake, near the statue of the Virgin…

    the hills above it, lined with palms & overlooking downtown…

    the Suicide Bridge, looking back at the freeways…

    in motion from the passenger window of a car driving down east Sunset, to get the lights of Jensen’s Rec Center streaming past at night…

    the top of Stunt Road in the Santa Monica Mountains: look west, see L.A. spill into the sea. Turn around and see the rolling hills stretch away from you into Ventura like a topo map. It’s sublime.

  5. Representive in what way?

    I’m all for the touristy…
    Venice Boardwalk is obvious, but full of color.
    Hollywood Blvd. is cheesy and kind of scummy, but always something fun to shoot.
    The Cathedral of Our City of Angels is beautiful and interesting, and also a short walk from the photogenic Disney Concert Hall and Olvera Street…
    And if you can handle the hike, the view from Runyon Canyon can be pretty neat just before sunset.

  6. I second (or third or sixth or whatever) taking in as much of Downtown LA as possible.

    And I would – naturally – strongly recommend San Pedro: the cliffs along Point Fermin and Royal Palms; the architecture of places like the LA Maritime Museum; Battery Osgood-Farley and other WWI/II relics up at Angel’s Gate; the Sports Walk of Fame (made famous by providing the backdrop for leg-dragging Kevin Spacey in “Usual Suspects” – and and made famous by, like, all the famous people on it); wrap up your tour of downtown movie palaces with Pedro’s Warner Grand . . . .

    Despite ending up in Long Beach, it’d be interesting to take the Blue Line from downtown all the way down (then hop a bus across to Pedro) – the flyover view of many communities considered “flyovers” is eyeopening and gives a glimpse of areas otherwise ignored.

  7. California Plaza, (Waterfalls) at 4th and Hill
    St Vincents Court (Frenchy), at 7th between Hill and Broadway
    Bradbury Building (Blade Runner) at 3rd and Broadway, i think

    Santee Alley near Olympic and Santee St.
    Crazy Gideons!! at 4th and Traction
    The Standard Hotel’s Rooftop Bar, at 6th and Flower (its free to go up during the day)

    Go up between Baxter and Alvarado St. near echo park or silver lake, the line blurs. There you can see Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, just maybe the valley on a clear day, and turn left to see Hollywood (Griffith, the H-SIGN) and Mid-Wilshire, and if you turn around and walk a little you can see downtown, not to mention our own steep streets.

  8. Somewhere atop the Santa Susana Mountains overlooking the San Fernando Valley. It will have a caption that reads “Hi LA. We pay more in taxes than we get in services, at least $130 million more every year. Could you send some back to Van Nuys?”

  9. The 110-105 freeway interchange. You need a driver, but you should photograph the city from the highest carpool lane interchange, and the “spaghetti bowl” looking up from the lower ones.

  10. The top of Runyon Canyon, just a couple minutes past sunset (i.e. “golden minute hour”> with a wide-angle lens. A single lonely silhouette looking down from the big green bench in the foreground, while shimmering lights illuminate the big city in the background.

    So much beauty appears all at once, yet there is never enough time to find it.

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