JWSmith Photography | Day trippin'

Day trippin'

June 07, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

​Katherine and I took a day trip up to LA via Amtrak.  The train turned out to be the best idea of the trip as traffic when we were escaping leaving was in lock-down.  It's just over two carefree hours from San Diego's Old Town station to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.  
I've avoided LA for most of my time in California.  For me it's just too crowded, traffic doesn't move, cement everywhere radiating heat, the anxiety over finding a place to park and on and on.  Mostly it's the traffic and crowds.  For some there's also a bitter sense in San Diego that we're looked down upon by Angelenos as a minor city, and overshadowed by the megatropolis up north (well, that and the Dodgers).  Which is really okay by me, San Diego shouldn't be another LA.  One is plenty. 
​So Katherine had a couple of days off during the week which is when I tend to venture out, avoiding the weekend crowds and traffic (sensing a theme here?).   A day trip to downtown LA was something different and the train for me was a first.  I've lived in SD for nearly 40 years now but have yet to take the train anywhere.  
Impressions...a few.  Photographically it was new and invigorating.  I'm not a street photographer but I do enjoy urban scenes that will occasionally include people.  I like unusual architecture and the juxtaposition of old and new.  LA has all that.  Being in a new setting increases my enthusiasm for shooting.  Every corner rounded offered new prospects for a composition; not because it was especially photographic but I think because it was something I hadn't seen before, at least not in that arrangement.  Not unlike the feeling of seeing a landscape for the first time.
We spent our time in Little Tokyo as it was a short walk from Union Station and, as innocent pilgrims, we took care to not venture too distant from a familiar landmark.  We ate at a typical mall-style sushi restaurant, made somewhat different by the number of Japanese flowing through, shopping.  Next time we'll find a hole-in-the-wall where the locals eat. 
After lunch we visited the Japanese-American National Museum; it was there and we were there, so we visited.  Much of the museum was dedicated to the incarceration of Japanese peoples following the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It's easy to condemn these actions in hindsight but it's harder to understand why we didn't seem to learn a lot from it.  On a lighter note the other highlighted section of the museum was a collection of origami that was far, far, beyond paper cranes.  This was origami on a scale I've never seen, nor knew existed.  Unfortunately, most of my pics were a bit blurry due to limited lighting and my unfamiliarity with my Fuji X100T.  So, you'll have to trust me that it was extraordinary. 
I've lived on the edge of cities all my life; Washington DC and now San Diego.  Yet, LA is a bit intimidating both horizontally and vertically.  It will take many, many trips to really see Los Angeles and fully digest it's sights, sounds and tastes.  And even then I think we'd only manage a thin, gauzy appreciation. 

Some captivating imagery: 

Public Art

Public Person
Cone & CrossCone & Cross
Urban color in an open space (art-speak for 'traffic cone in a driveway').  But, notice how I got the church steeple and cross in the frame.  True genius. 

Outside the police station there was a public art exhibit with lots of these helvetica signs with law enforcement words.  This one had a nice background with a word that works as well in photography.

Little Tokyo, framed.

Citizenship Denied

Origami - the piece was probably 4'x3' and all texture comes from folds.  Incredible. 

Japanese-American National Museum reminded me of a 1950s building which it very well could be. 

Wall mural 
Man with LA TimesMan with LA Times
Reading the paper in Olivera Street park and market area.  It was here we visited the oldest home in LA, now a free museum.  
Stranger on a Train.  With monogrammed cuffs. 


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