Archive for the ‘Los Angeles’ Category

On Set: Beverly Hills

I love taking a handful of HDRs when I’m on sets–prior to this post, my last HDR from a set was one of my all time favorites–and I’ve recently had the opportunity to do so while assisting on the set of a USC student film the last several weekends. It is from one of four films being produced for CTPR 480, the highest level undergraduate film course offered at school. I will be deliberately vague on details to respect the privacy of the film, but suffice to say it is very, very cool 🙂

A small alleyway in Beverly Hills lends itself to a particularly intense scene in the film. I took these in between takes while the director discussed something with the actor out of frame... Beverly Hills, CA

Footpath near Mulholland Drive

So I was digging through old material since I don’t have a ton of new stuff and I came across a handheld bracket I did near the end of May. This is a footpath at a turnout about a mile further up the road from the main overlook that offers a view of

Downtown from above the Hollywood Bowl. Later on this summer when my family came to visit me for a few days, we went up on this footpath again with them and were seconds away from being locked in. It would have been an interesting evening up there by ourselves… At any rate, this is a cool little spot that’s looking down on the foothills of Mulholland Drive’s twisted real estate towards Burbank to the north. I do plan on heading up here again for some shots of the city when the weather is clear… but that never happens.

Wouldn't have been a very comfy place to spend the night 🙁 Los Angeles, CA

Another one from the Getty

This is another shot from the Getty in case you didn’t recognize the architecture… It was right around here that a museum employee walked up to me as I was setting up the tripod and informed me that tripods were not allowed on the property. I kindly asked why they had not told me this when I boarded the tram from the parking lot, clearly holding a tripod. She shrugged and walked on. I then proceeded to carry a heavy tripod around for the rest of the day and felt very glad it was getting good use… Fortunately the Getty has so many gorgeous buildings and sculptures and gardens and fountains that I was quickly brought back to good spirits.

People always pose in a formal seated position right next to the prone sculpture to the left... I get the posing for a picture here, it's a beautiful place, but in a formal seated position? Beverly Hills CA

Finally, HDRs in a lit environment…

It’s not often I get a chance to shoot an HDR with deliberate, planned lighting. I filled in for a friend of mine today by being the gaffer on a music video shoot downtown. It’s a nasty area to be in at night… At any rate though, the surrounding three or four blocks all appeared to be empty buildings like our own, devoid of furniture and clearly angled at small productions in need of a gritty-looking flat. It was a stop-motion shoot so progress was slow and tedious. Lighting changes were fairly spaced out and so I fulfilled my other role on set by taking production stills for them. Set photography has gotten to be one of my favorite hobbies because you aren’t tied down as a coffee-grabbing PA, you generally aren’t asked upon by the camera department to move anything you don’t want to, and you basically have free reign to simply strut around the set and take pictures wherever you want.  Everyone involved in the production wants to walk away with some great shots of them working a music video shoot so it’s generally fairly easy to get along with everyone. It’s a good gig and I hope to photograph several upcoming student films this semester… That being said, set photography is an excellent place to shoot HDRs because of the deliberately constructed visuals all around. It’s a naturally cinematic place with things that are pleasing to look at and because HDR works best in environments where there are really dark darks and really light lights, sets are an excellent place to shoot thanks to the many lights that selectively stylize the scene. I took several HDRs on set here, and this is definitely one of my favorites…

Deliberate lighting makes a world of difference... Because he was playing the guitar while I was taking these, I masked in his hands from the middle exposure to prevent ghosty appendages: Downtown Los Angeles CA

Gardens at the Getty

Reaching back to my visit at the Getty at the end of July, this is a view of the main structures from across the gardens. Ghostbusters had to be called in to deal with the nasties running across the path to the bottom left, but in all honesty, it’s actually pretty fun to have to deal with that on this small scale, but then again only if you know you have the material to handle it. Fortunately, I did, and they went away no problem. Thanks to a CPL, the sky was able to adopt a “more interesting than solid blue” quality. LA is cloudless 99% of the time which is great for a lot of things but annoying when it comes to taking pictures that include skies. Regardless, the Getty Center has enough natural beauty in its gardens to make up for it.

The Gardens at the Getty Center are gorgeous. Actually, the whole place is. There are about 5 places around the outside of the garden area like the one where this was taken from where there are deliberate gaps in the trees to your side so you can see the buildings up the hill framed by the trees. Convenient. Beverly Hills CA

Disneyland: Minutes Before the Fireworks

Before heading over to California Adventure for World of Color, we had enough time to see the fireworks show in Disneyland. However, this shot is obviously not aimed at the fireworks area. Remembering a shot I had seen a long time ago on stuckincustoms, I decided that I really wanted to try something similar. We quickly saw that ghosting would be an issue and I’ve tried somewhat to retain the details of the seated people nearest me by pulling that data from whichever of the three shots was clear and masking it in. The areas to the right and the immediate bottom of the frame are places where I wanted to preserve the motion present in the scene since getting a single clean shot was impossible due to the people rushing to find a place to sit and enjoy the fireworks. I believe Trey’s shot was from DisneyWorld but I really like was Disneyland was able to offer up here. Main Street in CA is still just as magical at night (maybe more, actually) as its bigger counterpart across the country.

It's not uncommon for crowds like this to form two hours in advance for the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland: Anaheim CA

Cafe Verona, @ La Brea and 2nd

We’ve loved Cafe Verona ever since we moved to the Park La Brea area and have tried to go there about once a week. Excellent outdoor dining experience with awesome food and a there’s-something-special-about-this-but-I’m-not-sure-what atmosphere on the patio. As far as we know, it’s owned and operated by Celestino Elice and his family and you can tell in just one visit that they love having the place. In fact, they’ll be the ones taking care of you. Elice has been there every time we’ve gone, either playing seating host, delivering entrees, uncorking wine bottles, or simply tidying up. If you’re looking to have a nice Italian meal one night and are sick of Olive Garden-level establishments, please please please go visit our friends at Cafe Verona sometime. I promise you’ll want to go back as often as we do.

Amazing outdoor dining, I love coming here to enjoy the fettucini al salmone: Los Angeles CA

Skatepark Bail

Just past the American Ninja Warrior taping you can find Venice’s skatepark. It’s always bustling with a huge variety of skaters with some (and arguably the best) as young as 6 years old. Last time I was shooting single-shot HDRs I was facing the other direction, watching the street performers climb on top of each other. Venice begs for the single-shot approach because there is so much ACTION here: the basketball courts, the mini-tennis courts, the skatepark, the street performances, and the general bustle of a place that’s forever crowded. The skatepark is one of my favorite places to find single-shot material and I expect plenty more fun images to come from here in the future…

Not everybody is a pro here. This guy got a little fancy and had to bail. This area attracts a small ring of spectators and the skaters politely take turns taking this run. It's really nice to see people from all over having fun enjoying a common pastime: Venice Beach CA

The Canals of Venice (Beach)

American Ninja Warrior held a live taping in Venice on Saturday. Not really sure whether it’s for a season premier or what–don’t follow the show and don’t really plan to–but I know the premise and we figured it would be a fun way to spend the afternoon. Some 300 people ran the obstacle course but only a handful made it. Actually, one guy cut his head pretty badly and they had to shut it down for a little while to clean it up. I was debating whether he would be partaking in Venice’s special “medical wares” when I noticed that Venice actually had canals. It wasn’t just a pretty name, the place really does have canals navigable by canoes, kayaks, etc. As an added bonus, there were a few clouds in the sky on Saturday (the rarity of which is only really understandable by anyone who’s spent some time in LA) so I was fortunate enough to have a non-empty sky for once.

Venice is a lovely place. It's easy to see where the name came from, but I don't really know why the place has canals...? Venice Beach CA

Disneyland: Soarin’ Entrance

When California Adventure opened in 2001, its big claim to fame was the incredible Soarin’ Over California attraction, a state-of-the-art movie/motion simulator/smell-o-vision ride all rolled into one that features arial views of California’s most i

conic locations. It has since been replicated at Epcot in Disney World, but we had it first! Giacomo and I nabbed a shot of the entrance before moving on to check out the attractions in the Paradise Pier area of the park…

Obviously, Disney is always a crowded place... Our visit on Friday turned into an exercise in ghost-busting when it came time to process the images later: Anaheim CA

Disneyland: Paradise Pier Prior to World of Color Show

As Giacomo and I spent the better part of the day goofing off and hitting the main attractions (the sack of Fastpasses certainly didn’t hurt) of both parks, there was a constant concern that stuck at the back of the mind throughout the day: where were we going to get put for the World of Color Seating? I had seen the show once before (well, twice but the first time shouldn’t count since it was from behind) with my family and realized all too late that I was too close to the water to get enough of it in frame. We knew we would have about 60 seconds to find a spot and stay there once the gate opened as the mob for the 11:15 showing poured into the reserved area. We settled on a spot and took a shot in the few minutes before the show started…

The show takes place on the surface of Paradise Pier and is unlike any other type of show I've ever seen before... Stunning. Anaheim CA

The Getty: South Pavilion and Plaza

I’d never been to the Getty Museum before this past Sunday. What a place! The architecture is breathtaking and essentially offers a limitless field of things to take pictures of. I took a little over 100 pictures while I was there but will probably

only choose three maybe four to finish on the site. It will be tough deciding which angle is best on many of the amazing structures at the Getty, but there was no doubt in my mind that the fountain in front of the South Pavilion was a great place to start.

The Getty Museum is drop dead gorgeous. They've got a ton of amazing art but I like the design of the buildings even more: Beverly Hills CA

Malibu: Gladstones 4 Fish

Today was my roommates’s birthday so we knew we needed to celebrate in style. We spent the day at the J. Paul Getty Museum (some incredible architecture there, hopefully some stunning shots from my visit to come in the very near future) and took a leisurely drive up the PCH to Gladstones. Ordinarily, we try not to come here too often so as to keep it a “special occasion” when need be; our first choice for the evening, “Tart” near The Grove, closes early on Sundays and we unfortunately had to find out the hard way. However, Gladstones never fails to please and we of course had an excellent dinner overlooking the beaches of Malibu. Of course, in the few minutes before our table was available (and luckily in the last few before the sun completely disappeared behind the Malibu coastline) I nabbed the tripod and attempted my first 5-image HDR. What a place…

My first 5-image HDR. Awesome place to be when the sun's going down... Malibu CA

Malibu: Beach Sunset from Gladstones

From the same evening as the above post, I stepped out into the sand on the beach that runs alongside and under the Gladstones restaurant and grabbed another 5-image set. Amazing place to be at this time of day. I used to think I preferred the sun’s position in the winter months (see my post from earlier) but in seeing how gorgeous a sunset looks from just about anywhere out here, I’m not so sure anymore…

The Malibu beaches tend to be awesome. Nuf Sed: Malibu CA

Disneyland: Dumbo

Right after I got a few shots of the carousel, I turned around and tried to see what I could do with Dumbo. I spent a while trying to get separate images of the ride in motion but I couldn’t see any of them coming out looking right. I settled for a single shot approach and reframed to try and get something interesting that would show off the fact that the motion of the ride had been frozen in an HDR. Now that I think about it, I really wish I’d actually gotten on the ride… oh well, I was having fun regardless.

Flying Dumbo's careen past in Disneyland's Fantasyland: Anaheim CA