On vacation visiting family in LA, I was able to ‘negotiate’ for a day on my own, and I was determined to make the most of it. Los Angeles is a very large, architecturally rich city, and with only a very brief time available, I had to severely limit what I included in my ‘tour.’ I planned to hit only my personal highlights, while taking into account the proximity of the locations and L.A.’s notorious traffic, as well as twilight.
My whirlwind ‘hit list’:
• Walt Disney Concert Hall
• Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
• Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
• Ramon C. Cortines Visual and Performing Arts High School
• Eastern Columbia Building
• Pacific Design Center
• United Oil Gas Station
My approach to shooting would have to be modified, too: the time I normally spend getting a feel for a space is too integral to my process to completely abandon, but it would have to be constricted.
While the ‘whirlwind tour’ approach is not my standard, it did prove to have its benefits. First, limiting myself to half-a-dozen buildings meant they would all be very impressive. And, second, with limited time at each building, I concentrated on only the most interesting aspects of each.
Of course, I was also limited to just one time of day at each location, and I was at the mercy of the weather... not usually a concern in L.A., but it turned out to be an unusually dreary day. While the lusterless light limited me to only a tight shot of a window at the Performing Arts High School, and caused me to forego some buildings all together, the complex form of Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall came unexpectedly to life in the flat light.
The sun did make a brief and fortuitous appearance at the colorful Pacific Design Center, whose ‘RGB’ palette of primary colors depends on sunlight to ‘pop’, while the Stephen Kanner’s swooping United Oil gas station, on my agenda for twilight, shone despite the absence of a sunset.
All in all, I found it to be a very fruitful and gratifying day of shooting. And I wasn’t alone: 1 Day in L.A.! was awarded one of ASMP’s Best of 2014! You know, I could get to like this ‘whirlwind tour’ approach!