Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Downtown Los Angeles

Monday, I rode Metrolink into Union Station near downtown Los Angeles.   The purpose was to meet up with some friends of mine I'd met earlier through the 365 project. The plan was to take a couple of hours or so and go photo crazy.  We weren't even sure what we were going to shoot that day.

Fortunately, the weather cooperated immensely.  The day before and most of the previous night, it rained.  Monday was cloudy, but there were patches of blue sky, which made for some very photographic skylines.  My friends picked me up at Union Station and we went to lunch at a great Mexican restaurant on the edge of Olvera St., which is the oldest part of downtown Los Angeles and part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.  

About a block or two north of there is Chinatown and to the north were a multitude of different buildings. So we had two different cultural area we could explore or architecture.  Either way, it would be fun and we could always come back and explore another area at a different time.  Monday, we chose buildings and architecture.

We walked south over the 101 freeway which cuts through the middle of downtown L.A.  There are proposals on the table to create a large central park on top of the 101 freeway.  This would create a large green area and allow more freedom of movement of pedestrians around the existing downtown area.  Whether the idea comes to fruition or not is a different story and I don't expect it to happen for awhile, given the current economic climate.

Once across the freeway, we saw the Los Angeles City Hall.  Across the street from the city hall is the State Dept. of Transportation building, otherwise known as Cal-Trans. It had a very upscale modern look to it and I spent some time there taking some shots.

Eventually we ended up heading west toward the Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  The best way I can describe this building is a structure that was built out of stainless steel panels, then left out in the sun to melt and warp.  Wall panels seem to fall away from the structure or bend toward it.  A walkway has been designed so the public can walk all the way around the building, some times at a low vantage point, while at other times, up high to get different perspectives of the structure.  

The building panels had to be altered after the finished construction due to excessive reflective light from the sun off of the panels into nearby condominiums.  Light and temperature was excessive, so many of the panels have been sanded to reduce their reflective capabilities.  At one point, we walked by one section that reflected a blast of heat toward the street.  There was quite a temperature gradient at that point near the front of the building.

Eventually, we ended up at a small coffee house across the street from the hall.  After coffee, we walked back down toward Union Station, passing, among other things, Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Cathedral.  The cathedral sits right on the edge of the 101 freeway and would be right on the edge of the new park if it gets created.

I will be the first to admit, I'm not much of an architecture person, preferring instead the great outdoor cathedrals to the human built ones.  However, I had a great time photographing the buildings and would love to come back again, but if I do, it will be with a new lens, one with a wider field of vision than my current 28mm lens.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making excuses

I guess this is the only thing I can actually do at this point is to make some lame excuse for not writing in over a month on this.  At the very beginning, I speculated that I would post at least twice a week.  That, obviously, hasn't happened.  Life got in the way, as it is wont to do from time to time.

During most of the latter part of February and into March, I was involved in our school's annual 60 minute Shakespeare production.  Last year, we produced Romeo and Juliet.  I played Lord Capulet, father of Juliet.  I had a fun time with it, but was stressed out considerably while I tried to memorize my lines.  I had fully planned on not being involved in the play this year, but another teacher at our school wanted to be in the play and there weren't any appropriate roles for her unless there was another adult male playing opposite her, so I volunteered to play the part of Theseus opposite her Hypolita in A Midsummer's Night Dream.

So stress plays a factor, and also time itself.  I am amazed at how middle school students can memorize Shakespeare so quickly.  One girl was given a page full of new dialog to memorize and had it memorized in less than a couple of hours.  I can't do that.  The best way I've found to memorize material is in context, feeding off the other person's lines, or I type.  Yes, I literally type my lines over and over again until I don't have to look at my script in order to type the lines.  I don't think this lends itself very well to good acting, but it works for me.

The photo I've posted is a self portrait I took of myself after taking a nap following our last performance.  I had a headache and lay down on our bed to rest.  I tossed and turned for what seemed like fifteen or twenty minutes, so decided that I couldn't go to sleep so I might as well get up and be productive.  I looked at the clock and realized that I must have literally passed out, because an entire hour and a half were gone from the afternoon. So as you can see, I've had a nap and I still look exhausted.

And I also know that photography is taking an awful lot of my time.  With the spring weather, I'm enjoying being outside more, although you couldn't tell that by how tall the grass and such is in the back yard.  Still, I will try to make a more balanced effort in the future to post here more frequently.  

I leave you with the first butterfly I've been able to capture this spring.  It's a Painted Lady and was enjoying the nectar from the lantana that grows in our parkway.