Sometimes there really is nothing better than classic architecture. One such example of a classic building is the Utah State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City. Every single inch of that building can really take your breath away. That’s especially true of the rotunda which is the center of the entire building. Being able to walk in and out of buildings like this makes a guy wonder why they haven’t started charging admission. Of course, it’s a building of the people for the people and all that, so if they started charging I’m sure the people would speak up against that idea. Being able to roam freely in such buildings really is a joy and a lot of fun. I’ll have to make it a point to try and visit the various capitol buildings wherever I go. I just wonder if they’ll be as open as this one in Utah.
I’ve often said how much I truly enjoy the architecture of religious buildings from churches to temples but one thing I’m really starting to enjoy about visiting a church is how open everybody inside is to photography. During my break at the office last week, I decided to take a walk over to the St. Augustine Church in Culver City. It’s a church I’ve visited before several times, because not only is it close to my office, but it’s also a strikingly attractive church. And no matter how many people are inside, whether there are visitors, the folks that run the church, or the cleaning crew, nobody has ever seemed to mind me walking around the building to snap some photos. In fact, now that I think about it, I have yet to encounter anybody that had a problem with it. Anyways, with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 and fish-eye lens in hand, I decided to get up close to the altar. It was clear and open and I had thoughts of leaning over the little fence, but then these two nonchalantly walked up, got down on their knees on either side of the center and began to pray. How could I pass up such a shot? Well, as you can see I didn’t and I went ahead and fired off some shots as they prayed. The interior design of this church is truly classic, but I was really glad that these two came into frame like this. It really sets the mood of a building of peace, I think.
I really can’t say enough how much I enjoyed the view of the sunset from Enoshima a few months ago. It’s a scene I still see quite vividly in my mind and will be a scene I won’t soon forget. After the sun finally dipped below the peak of Mount Fuji, me and +Yumi Shoji decided to walk further down to see if we could catch some of the waves crashing into the rocks of the shore. The wind was strong and the tide was high so we hoped to catch some great action. The tide was much higher than we thought with the waves splashing fierce against the island. The lower walkways had become completely overwhelmed by wave after wave of fierce ocean water, so we stayed up high enough to keep dry and enjoyed what was remaining of the sunset. It’s pretty standard for a seascape I suppose, but it provided me with a memory that will always be with me.
It’s no secret that one of my favorite places to visit on this Earth are the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes over in Death Valley, CA. Whenever I’m there I feel like a kid in the sandbox, running around with every single inch of the area looking like the most interesting thing ever. My last visit was the first time I was able to shoot some of the dunes with little footprints from other visitors, so I wanted to take advantage of that and zoom up nice and close to capture the details of the waves in the sand. The grains of sand felt nice and cool to the touch, almost soothing. I love the area and I really can’t wait to get back out there one of these with before anybody else can get there for more shooting. Next time I’ll probably approach the dunes from another side instead of the typical parking lot side so that I can get some more unique compositions. It’s getting too hot to get out there now, but maybe a night shoot would still be doable. After all, I’d love to see the Milky Way above these dunes.
One day not too long ago, I decided to head out to Lake Balboa here in Los Angeles. It’s not a big lake, more like a big pond, but it was calm and peaceful so I figured it would be a good time to play with my filters. I’m actually not much for filters, but I do want to try and use them more to help with certain scenes, so I had been looking forward to practicing shooting with them. Well, when I got to the lake, I set up my gear, tripod and all, composed my shot and then lowered my filter down over the lens and clicked my shutter. Well, that’s when I discovered all of the happy dust dancing all over my filter. It had been so long since I last used it that it had collected so much dust and lint. And this is with the filter safely inside its protective case. I didn’t have cleaning clothes with me so I ended up putting the filter away and just took a relaxing walk around the area. When I got home and looked at this shot on my computer, it made me giggle because I actually liked it. It gave me a very glittery bokeh effect over the scene so here it is. My happy accident, shooting with a dirty filter. Just another example of the benefit of shooting in the digital age, being able to keep shots in memory to see if they can be salvaged later. He he.
The other day I was bumming around in Pasadena after having some dinner with a pal of mine when we decided to take a small walk around the area to burn off our meal. And lucky for me I had my trusty camera with me because when I looked straight up this palm tree, it occurred to me that it reminded me of fireworks. The trunk of the tree representing the smoke trails leading up to the sky, with the palm leaves representing the explosion of the fireworks. Do you see that too? Anyways, that’s what I saw when I looked up, and in any case the sky was rather nice so I’m glad to come away with this shot no matter what anybody sees. He he.
Exploring the Disneyland theme park is a lot of fun. In fact it’s probably as much fun for me now as it was back when I was a kid. But for different reasons. When I was a kid I was excited to see all of the characters, eat all of the park food, and go on all of the rides. Now, I really just enjoy the happy atmosphere and of course, taking photos of anything that catches my eye. Which is pretty much everything there. Including a shot of the Eureka water mill building within the California Adventure theme park. It’s a very simple design but quite attractive. This mill actually marks the tail end of the water ride there. Just on the other side the boat lands smack into the water drenching all of the passenger on board. But instead of going on the ride, I couldn’t help but stare at this scene for a while trying to figure out how I wanted to shoot it. So in the end, I opted to stick with a fish-eye shot to make sure I got everything in the scene. I don’t have a wide angle lens for my OM-D other than the fish-eye, but considering it’s doing the job for me, I don’t feel like I’ve missed a beat.
The thing I really like about a lot of the beaches here in California are the giant rock formations. Specifically, the keyholes, or in other words, caves created by the bigger rock structures. This keyhole at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in Rancho Palos Verdes is actually big enough to walk through, but as you can see in this shot, the high tide made it tough. One could easily swim through, but with all of my equipment, I decided to stay right where I was and get my shots. I was already thigh deep into the water as it was but it’s good to get wet every now and then to get a shot. I have other shots from this shoot already published, but I wanted to explore another one from the archives to apply the processing techniques I’ve learned since then. I’ll have to get back out to this location with my swim trunks to get deeper into the keyhole. Hmm, that doesn’t sound quite right, but I’m sure you know what I’m trying to say. He he. ;-P
It’s been quite a while since I went out for a shoot. Almost 3 months to be exact. It’s not that I feel burned out or anything like that, I just simply decided to take a break from lugging my camera around and instead decided to try and catch up on the hundreds (if not thousands) or photos that I have yet to process. Admittedly it was rather refreshing not having to go out and fight through L.A. traffic just to try and make sunset. Even if there were clouds in the sky, I just didn’t feel right trying to force a shoot. After all, unless I’m travelling outside of the city, I probably would have shot the same scene with a similar composition as any of my previous shots. Not that that’s a bad thing, but considering how many shots from in and around the city I have waiting for me on my hard drives, I just opted to stay home and relax. But a couple of days ago, I finally got the itch to get back out and shoot. Sky was average, but in any case, I felt like heading out somewhere.
So after some thought, I found myself standing high above the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu. And what I saw when I was up there was like something that came out of my dreams. The mountains we have here in Southern California aren’t too high when compared to other states, but they were high enough to get above the clouds. I was in total awe of the scenery. The mountain ranges seemed to stretch on forever into the distance, and the clouds were slowly overcoming the land and spilling over the peaks, almost like how the ocean washes over the rocks on a beach. I fell in love with the view and I can honestly say that I’ll return there again soon. With or without a camera.
See more from What dreams may come
If there’s one thing that’s been really handy since acquiring an Olympus OM-D E-M5, it’s being able to have a pocket sized camera at the ready whenever an interesting shot presented itself. Of course, I have my mobile phone, but as much as I enjoy shooting with a phone, there are just some situations where a phone doesn’t work out. For instance, in a low light situation like in the sub levels of the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, CA. Heading down the escalator I noticed how the number two (for the level) was smack in the center of a spotlight. And I also though the woman heading down to it in dark clothing was quite interesting, so I snapped this shot. I’m sure I would have had an interesting shot even if I had just shot it with my phone, but I wouldn’t have had the clarity and focus I think due to the low lighting.