I have a favorite quote about L.A., by Shakespeare.
“This other Eden… demi-paradise… this precious stone… set in the silver sea of this earth, this ground… this Los Angeles.”
This is the opening monologue to one of my favorite movies ever, LA Story (1991), with Steve Martin playing the role of Harry Telemacher. Just the name Telemacher is mind-blowing: as the movie weaves dreams and stereotypes into an ageless mythology of Los Angeles, the hero’s name is an ingenious blend of Television and the german root -macher that would signal a craftsmanship, an artisanal activity.
I think of this quote every time I shoot this kind of vista, in which Los Angeles emerges in all of her unique glory. Palm trees, sunshine, iconic skyscrapers and snow-covered mountains.
Speaking of mountains, these mountains are not a joke. Look at this:
That’s a real deal mountain mama: I’m sure John Denver was impressed by these mountains. I mean, I am not renown to mess with any Sierra, but this is definitely not a Sierra you want to mess with!
To be honest, my initial idea was to shoot more details of DTLA, but the scene is so inviting that you feel like going wide rather than narrowing down. Anyway, I sneaked a couple of those too, because you know, at the end of the day it is a very pretty downtown.
Every time I shoot DTLA, I wonder whether to photoshop the cranes away. But then, I keep them as a reminder of the ephemeral beauty of this part of town. Whereas much of LA has mostly remained the same over the past decades, DTLA grows and changes as you read this. For better and for worse and then for better again. Fairer, and uglier, and fairer again. And these cranes are a reminder that this photo is probably very different from the same image snapped five years ago, as it will be different from the one someone will take five years from now.
If you are wondering where these were shot from, it’s Kenneth Hahn recreation area. Much to my shame, it was my first time there, even if I had driven by on La Cienega countless times. I met there with my good friend and photographer Erik Jay. Big kudos to him, not only for the wonderful company, but because he was kind enough to give me one of his polarizers for my new XF100-400mm zoom. For our standards it was relatively clear, but once the zoom starts stacking the haze, the polarizer was a game changer: thanks again man!
Before heading home, I wanted to try something out, just for fun. See what kind of image I could get of DTLA with my drone. I found a safe takeoff spot south of the 10 and west of the 110. It was a very fast operation. Park. Deploy. Climb. Shoot. Land. Leave. As of now, I am doing this drone thing 100% for fun, so every flight is like my second flight. Whew! What a rush!
I’m wondering if I could take off closer to the crossing of the highways, or even somewhere by the convention center. More to study and to find out!