In February, I traveled to Los Angeles, where I had the pleasure to lead two architecture photography workshops. The first one was a group workshop that I led with Angie McMonigal (if you don’t know her, you need to check her out). We had 10 people with us for a 2-day workshop exploring the architecture of Downtown Los Angeles. While the weather could have been better, we had a great time and I think everyone went home with some great pictures. The second workshop was a single day private workshop with someone who had contacted me. We photographed some architecture in Downtown LA as well.
Because the locations were similar for both workshops, I decided to do only one article. I will go through the locations of the 2-day workshop (but some of the images are from the other workshop).
We started with a presentation on Saturday morning at the Standard Hotel Downtown LA. It was perfectly located to be the base for our workshop. We headed out around 11 am and started shooting right across the street, the Double Ascension sculpture by Herbert Bayer. Security kicked us out after about 10 min, so we still managed to get some shots!
We made a quick stop at the Downtown Public Library, which has some beautiful interiors.
After lunch, we headed to the Westin Bonaventure, a difficult building to capture. I decided to make it a backdrop to the Shoshone sculpture, by Mark DiSuvero. The sun star just helped make the shot!
After a few other sculptures (including one by Calder where we were kicked out immediately), we stopped by the Bradbury Building, by George Wyman. It is one of the most iconic buildings in Los Angeles, and one of the hardest to shoot. A wide-angle lens was great to capture that view.
After that, we headed back to my favorite building in Los Angeles, the Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry. We had some soft evening light that made things very interesting.
Black and white felt right for a lot of the shots of the Concert hall.
We had planned to shoot at sunset and the blue hour from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, as it offers some interesting views of the skyline. Unfortunately, a photoshoot for a Gap commercial was happening. They did let us shoot for a few minutes, but we couldn’t stay long.
We started the second day at the Walt Disney Concert Hall again. We had been hoping for some soft morning light on the east side, but clouds got in the way.
We then photographed The Broad, by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Located next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, it is another gorgeous building.
We then headed east, starting with the new Federal Courthouse by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The architecture is more repetitive, so playing with the patterns was key there.
Next stop was the LAPD Headquarters, designed by AECOM. The building is very angular and provides some strong contrast between glass and concrete.
Right next to the LAPD is the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans 7), designed by Morphosis. Mostly made of metal, but without all the glass so typical of modern architecture, this building is very intriguing. And not easy to photograph.
The atrium is not obvious from the street, but it provides some nice angles!
After lunch, we had a brief stop at Union Station. This hall (which was closed to the public) looks almost like a church.
We stopped by the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels designed by Rafael Moneo. I’m not a fan of the exterior, but the interiors are stunning. I was especially drawn to the lights.
Our last stop for the day was the 4th street bridge over the 110 Freeway for blue hour. The first shot is from the workshop, and I went back a few days later to capture the other shots with better weather.
Despite the weather, the workshops went well. Los Angeles has a lot to offer when it comes to architecture, and I think we’ll do another workshop there soon!