walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
About a month ago Michael Muraz and I led a workshop in Los Angles. We had such a great group – some participants from the LA area and others from all over the US and Canada, some we’ve taught before and many we met for the first time. We started the weekend with a little meet and greet Friday night, unfortunately the weather was not on our side for most of our time there. We had hoped to meet at the Rooftop at The Standard but Friday was very rainy. Still, it was nice to meet most the night before the actual workshop.
Saturday started with a presentation about process, composition and vision when approaching architectural subjects. We then spent the day photographing numerous locations around downtown Los Angeles. This was definitely the best weather day we had, lots of sunshine and blue skies.
The first stop was right across the street from the hotel, the Calder-esque red/orange sculpture titled Double Ascension by Herbert Bayer. The bright color offers a nice contrast to the surrounding dark buildings.
"Double Ascension", herbert bayer, red stairs sculpture, los angeles
After lunch we headed toward the Westin Bonaventure (the first shot below is of this), nothing I’m in love with from this building but found some nice angles and geometries from other surrounding buildings. Plus a little play with shadows and incorporating trees to contrast the natural and man-made environment.
westin bonaventure, los angeles
los angeles
los angeles, bank of america building
Around the corner is the Mind, Body and Spirit sculpture by Gidon Graetz. Fun to play with reflections and the curvy shape in contrast to the surrounding linear buildings.
mind body spirit sculpture, los angles
Then to check out the Bradbury Building. It’s beautiful in there but so difficult to photograph, especially given the limitation of only having access to the first floor.
bradbury, los angeles
bradbury, los angeles
Now, to my 2 favorite buildings in LA. The Broad, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro….
the broad, diller scofidio + renfro, los angeles
And the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry. I went with a softer processing than I think is more typical of my work, but it felt right with how the light was falling on the east side of the building at the time.
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
Then around to the west side of the concert hall, definitely the more difficult side to photograph, in my opinion, but still some options.
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
Our final stop was to shoot a cityscape from the Los Angeles Water & Power Building. It seems we weren’t the only ones thinking this was a good shoot location, as an ad for Gap was being filmed there too. Unfortunately, this prevented us from shooting from the exact location we had hoped for, but we still managed something.
los angeles
Sunday morning we met at the Walt Disney Concert Hall because the morning light is usually beautiful on the east side of the building at this time of day. Unfortunately we had very dull, flat, gray skies. My absolute least favorite for shooting architecture, but what can you do…
We headed inside for a few shots and then back outside to focus on details and filling-the-frame type of shots. Also, when the weather is like this, post-processing in B&W is preferred as the colors are generally too flat to add anything real compelling to the image.
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
This next one isn’t the fill-the-frame type of shot I mentioned, sometimes the white sky is a good way to incorporate negative space in the image.
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles
walt disney concert hall, frank gehry, los angeles, the broad, diller scofidio + renfro
Then across the street to focus on some detail, fill-the-frame shots of The Broad. I wanted to focus on the curves around the “eye” of the building. (In a previous post I shared some images from the interior of this great building)
the broad, diller scofidio + renfro, los angeles
the broad, diller scofidio + renfro, los angeles
the broad, diller scofidio + renfro, los angeles
A couple blocks away we made a stop at the Los Angeles Federal Courthouse. This is a relatively new building designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
los angeles federal courthouse, som, skidmore owings & merrill
Onto the LAPD, great geometry with this building.
lapd, los angeles police department
Across the street is Caltrans 7 designed by Morphosis. The building has a very dystopian, almost Brutalist architectural feeling to me.
caltrans 7, morphosis
After grabbing lunch on the very cute Olvera Street, we checked out Union Station. Lots of great photo ops with numerous architectural styles – Art Deco, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne . My favorite area to photograph was this great ceiling detail below.
los angeles union station
los angeles union station
The next stop is another building I’d classify in the more Brutalist architectural style that also feels dystopian to me. This sculptural form you see in the first image below was originally meant to be a winding path to a viewing area, but that was shot down by school officials. So it remains purely sculptural and non-functional.
ramon c cortines high school, los angeles
Again because of the dull, gray skies focusing in on the details and processing in B&W makes the most sense to me.
ramon c cortines high school, los angeles
ramon c cortines high school, los angeles
One last architectural stop was the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels designed by Rafael Moneo. This is a post-modern design and I found the interior to be the most interesting area, with so many great geometric shapes to play with.
los angeles, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
We had one final stop after this, which was a cityscape location. I didn’t manage any good shots from this location but if you head over to Michael’s blog, I’m sure he’ll be posting one soon in his recap.
These are just a few images from our 2-day workshop, to see everything head over here.
Hoping to announce new workshop dates soon, so stay tuned!

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