California Dreamin

The state of California holds a very special place in my heart and every time I leave I promise myself ‘I will move here someday’ (still figuring out the logisitics….). The crazy sprawl of Los Angeles, the surrounding epic wilderness, the sunshine, the warmth, the light and the contagious optimism never fails to lift my spirits and remind me anything is possible. It’s a total cliche but I don’t care, it’s a cliche based on truth so it works for me. During my last trip to Los Angeles to photograph a wedding, I turned what could have been a short work trip into a bit of a Californian adventure. I prolonged my visit for over a week with the aim of exploring the city and it’s limits as much as possible.

I checked out downtown LA for the first time, which is actually a lot cooler than I imagined. In amongst the gleaming penis money towers and faceless hotels, there are some great art deco architectural gems, including the building where a part of the original Blade Runner was shot (awesome interior and well worth a visit if you’re a fan). It also boasts of some great cafes (had a pretty mean oat latte), tasty restaurants and an on trend food market. I made sure to pay the Walt Disney Concert Hall a visit as it’s a photographers paradise. Every photograph I took within its vicinity was a masterpiece (or so I think) and the colours, light, reflections and geometric shapes of the building are unsurpassed in photogenic supremacy.

I ventured to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a walk at dusk which was both beautiful and bizarre. Its pritisine grassy interior is peppered with monolithic tombs, statues of famous dead people and some amazing palm trees that stretch far into the silky skies of Los Angeles. As a tourist I am obviosuly obsessed with the palm trees of LA. I did the compulsory visit to LACMA which is always fun, it may not be on the same level as museums and galleries in London or New York, but it holds a certain shopping centre esque charm and the art is pretty great. The Japanese wing is especially impressive, filled with beautiful work and serene and elegant in its design.

With my brother and his wife who live out there (they know what they are doing), we embarked on a mini road trip to Joshua Tree via Palm Springs (watch out for my Joshua Tree pics in my next post) and we made sure to make a pit stop at the “world famous’ Cabazon Dinosaur Park on the way. Amongst the desert dust, strip malls and framed by distant mountains, the dinosaurs can be seen for miles. It’s free to stop off and see the largest of the dinosaurs but to gain entry to the actual park you’ve got to pay. Make sure to visit the gift shop which is actually inside the largest of the dinosaurs, where you can buy toy dinosaur replicas of all types and sizes and geek out until your hearts content. Apparently it’s run and owned by a creationist sect who believe dinosaurs and man walked the earth together (thus poo pooing the theory of evolution) which would explain the large white cross standing at the entrance to the park.. Only in America.

Next up, Joshua Tree! Stay tuned.

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