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Adventures in LA, take one

Since I got back from L.A., I’ve talked to a lot of people about my trip. It’s a scenario that’s typically played out something like this: “Sooo I just got back from Los Angeles and MAN DO I LOVE IT OUT THERE.” Cue the crickets. “Reaaalllyy?” is their response. “L.A.? I mean, I can understand like, Santa Barbara, but you liked L.A. that much, huh? Well …. ” This kind of ying-yang reaction to the place made me decide that, like the film Where The Wild Things Are, either you love it or hate it — there is no in-between. (Let the record show I love both, Nick hates both … so there you have it).

My shooting schedule has been nuts since I got back, so I’ve only just now gotten around to processing my L.A. images. Doing so, I might add, has only made me miss the place even more. People say their experience in a new place is shaped by what they see, the people they meet, the situations they encounter. You wanna know why Nick hates L.A.? He got stuck there one time in traffic for five hours. And has resented it ever since.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t have asked for a better trip. I’ll let these images (and the ones I’ll post later this week because seriously, there was no squeezing all these into one post) speak as to why.

After we got off the plane at LAX, Stacey and I started our day being chauffeured around Hollywood by her sister, Erin, with baby Maya in tow. Hollywood had its super-touristy sections, its dirty sections and some really nice spots too.

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One of the highlights of our afternoon walking around Hollywood was taking the tour of the Kodak Theater, where the Academy Awards are held. As someone who has watched that awards ceremony ever year since she was oh, probably 7, I can’t even tell you how cool it was to stand up on that stage. Unfortunately, there were no photos allowed inside the place so you’ll have to settle for me telling you about how cool it was, along with a shot of the entrance, and a few of Mr. Oscar’s toosh (These are fake ones for sale in some shop across the street, but each one of the real statuettes weighs 8 friggin’ pounds! Oh, and we learned that when an Oscar winner dies, their Oscar goes back to the Academy. .. you know, so there’s no Best Actor award from 1968 floating around on eBay!)

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If you’re gonna be a first-timer in Hollywood, you gotta hit up the Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater

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Oh, hello there Michael Jackson. Didn’t expect to see you today …

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In case you’re wondering: It’s Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, no we didn’t go inside and yes I’m fully aware I’m a goof for having my picture taken here.

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After cruising around Hollywood, we hit up the hills and made it to Griffith Observatory right as the sun was setting. I don’t think there IS a better way to top a day in Los Angeles than spending the last hours of it taking in the views of the city and valley from this vantage point. Exploring the grounds, I felt so inspired creatively and took what I think are my best photographs of the trip in the time while there. It boggles my mind that the place is free to the public and that people who live here can enjoy these views any night of the week. Can you say JEALOUS MUCH?

(I love that I got a few cowboys in this shot with the James Dean statue. I was a James Dean NUT in college. What can I say — he was the original rebel AND he was from Indiana ;) )

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Downtown Los Angeles (30 second exposure)00550910_californiaI won’t lie: I’m really frickin’ proud of this next one. I was in the right place at the right time, which happened to be laying on my stomach, precariously balancing my camera on my ShootSac, trying to nail a long exposure to get it. It will be framed somewhere inside my house, I promise you that.

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The views of the valley BLEW ME AWAY. If I had a sleeping bag, I think I would have spent the night here (and promptly got arrested the next morning, I’m sure)

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More to come from my stay in Ventura and our trips to Venice and Santa Monica tomorrow!