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roller derby

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the skatepark in Venice Beach is a lot of time one of my first stops after arriving in LA. while the rest of Venice Beach can be a bit much the inside of the skatepark provides a view into the California beach life.

last time I was there, a week ago, this group of roller skaters dropped by. it was a bit like a group of aliens had landed. the skaters didn’t really know what to do, but the roller skaters were great and fearless.

A Day at the Salton Sea

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Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea is one of those little treasures that once you watch it open up a whole new world. and once you have watched the movie you really want to see place. Two years ago was my first visit (a stop on my way to Joshua Tree National Park). Two weeks ago while spending two days in Palm Springs I visited again. It is a surreal place. It is the kind of place that makes you think of movies like Mad Max or The Road and realize that reality can sometimes be stranger or at least pretty close to fiction. The Salton Sea was supposed to be the next Palm Springs. A desert oasis with a lake, a place where the upper middle class and the upper class could hang out, go water skiing, and build beautiful houses. And then nature (with a helping hand of humans) turned on this dream. And now you can buy a lot of land for $4999 (cash). Now it is the place where Breaking Bad is not a TV show but reality.

the world is the stage

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people take way too little time to stop and see what is around them. this scene was really just people turning around, from watching art, to watching the magnificent landscape of LA — which was only made more interested by the clouds that day.

what i like about photography is that it forces me to slow down and to take a look at the world. there is no way to take photos if you are not present in the moment and see what is happening around you. but these days with the constant siren call of the mobile phone most people find it hard to just watch what is going on around them. most walk around cities with their eyes lowered, staring at the screen.

the obligatory tourist photo

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taking the obligatory tourist photo is always a bit of a doubled edged sword. on the one side you know the same photo exists a million times. but then I don’t just take photos for others. and some of these obligatory photos are obligatory for a reason — they are photos of what is actually beautiful. one way to approach those kind of photos is to maybe try to take them in a different way (and I certainly didn’t do that with the above photo of the painted ladies) but in one way the obligatory tourist photo can, especially for the still learning amateur (a category I would place myself in), be quite interesting. because it provides a situation where you know how a shot should look like and you can then play around to create it. it is in a way like using a recipe of a great chef and cooking it at home. you might have eaten at the chef’s restaurant and know how it should taste, the cookbook might have a photo, so you know how it should look like. but you still have to cook it yourself, and in the process you will likely learn a lot. and I think in a way it is the same with the obligatory tourist photo. look at how some of the better photographers have taken it (what time of day, what angle, what did they include, what did they exclude …) and then practice.

plymouth

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something i love about photography is that at the beginning of  your day  you never really know what you will come home with. i think that is to a degree true for all kinds of photography, no matter if you do portraits in the studio, landscapes, or dabble in street photography (whatever that means). but as you take photos throughout a session or throughout a day there will be moments when you see something that you like. this photo is nothing special, but at the same time i have come back to it many times. when i was out there in LA, in Korea Town (actually waiting for a table to get ready at my favorite Mexican restauran there, Guelagueza) i came across this car. now the car by itself is already pertty cool, but i loved the rust on the roof, and then the sun beams hitting it where great. so i was wondering how to capture this. i probably took 5 or so photos. this one is the one i came back to over and over. the explosion of sun light in the top right, the detail in the car, it somehow works for me … let me know what you think.

venice beach skatepark

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no trip to LA is really complete for me without a visit of the Venice Beach Skatepark. Venice Beach can be a pain i will admit, but spending time at the Skatepark quickly makes up for it. seeing the talent and the dedication is always inspiring.

during my last trip i headed there directly from the airport, trying to catch the sunset. i was way too early for the sunset, but i did get there to get a lower sun than usually, having softer light and also nice long shadows. i just posted a bunch of the photos from that trip on my portfolio site here: venice beach skatepark.

long beach harbor

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photos from two days in Long Beach and San Pedro. As you drive down the highway from Los Angeles to San Diego you pass mountains of containers, see huge ships in the distance, and likely curse the endless trucks. once you get off the highway you enter a labyrinth of streets where it can be hard to stop to take a shot and you will drive by so many scenes you would have loved to stop the car, but no parking spot in sight and walking in this area is likely close to a death sentence. but once you find areas that you can walk a bit, get close this is a fantastic space. you will see the small widgets of the global economy (the containers) and all the things that make them move.