NO/LA roadtrip adventure (final part and INDEX)

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by mike dixon, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. As a reference for those who've joined the party late, here's an index with links to the other parts of the story.
    Part One: Chapters 1 & 2: trip to NO, out with Dennis and John, Maple Leaf Bar
    Part Two: Chapter 3 (part one): French Quarter with Dennis Couvillion
    Part Three: Chapters 3 & 4: more French Quarter and St. Charles
    Part Four: Chapters 5 & 6: birthday party in Houma, reunion in Houston
    Part Five: Chapters 7, 8, & 9: from TX, to Grand Canyon, and on to LA
    Part Six: Chapters 10, 11, 12, & 13: Venice Beach, Hollywood with Michelle, and departure
    Unless otherwise noted, full-frame b&w shots were made with an M3 and 50 DR-Summicron or 35 Summicron on Ilford FP4+. All are flatbed scans of prints.
    Chapter Ten: Night on the Pier
    While I was driving back from Joshua Tree to LA, Sarah and Greg both caught a nap (sleeping off the beer). By the time we got back to Greg's place in Torrance, they were refreshed enough to go out again, so we headed just down the road to the Redondo Beach Pier. Seemed to be a popular fishing spot, even at one in the morning.
    the efficient way to fish (50 Summilux, HP5+, EI 1000)
    Chapter Eleven: Venice Beach
    The next day, I slept in while Greg and Sarah went to church, then we later met up to head over to Venice Beach to meet one of Sarah's friends (and for me to do some sightseeing/photographing). There was a solid haze when we first arrived, but after having some coffee, it had mostly dissipated, leaving me with that oddly even though bright west coast light.
    essence of Venice Beach
    hippie drum family
    The rollerblading guitar player hit me up for a donation, but I wasn't carrying much, so I gave him a quarter and a good guitar pick. Got a couple shots of him, but nothing very compelling. I couldn't pass up the lighting at the Muscle Beach outdoor gym, though.
    muscle beach (Pentax 645, 35mm/f3.5, Delta 100)
    We hit a few of the more generic tourist areas during the course of the day, but the generic tourists looked like generic tourists, so I didn't photograph too many of them. I did get in contact with an old friend of mine from Nashville, Michelle, who had been moved out there a few years before by her company (she was a songwriter with Warner Chapel). She was as happy to hear from me as I was to talk to her, and we arranged to meet in her neck of the woods the next day.
    Chapter Twelve: Hollywood with Michelle
    Sarah was kind enough to let me borrow her car for my last full day in the LA area, and I dropped her off at the library before heading to Hollywood for lunch with Michelle. Driving in LA certainly isn't one of my favorite activities, but it's really no worse than Atlanta (just bigger). I was right on time to join Michelle for coffee and lunch at a Urth cafe on Melrose (pretty much the same thing we used to do at my usual neighborhood cafe, Fido, fack in Nashville).
    Michelle!!!(75 Summilux)
    Spent most of the lunch just grinning like a fool because it was so nice to be spending time with her again, but she didn't seem to mind. After lunch, we ran by Samy's Cameras (the place is HUGE!) so she could pick up some pics from a guy who works there (and I replinished my nearly depleted film supply). After that, we went over to Hollywood Blvd. to walk around and do some shooting. I would have prefered doing that at night, but she had to be back in the studio by then. So I settled for a few daytime pics of the neighborhood.
    Hollywood Blvd.
    I was a bit distracted from straight-up street shooting, though. Such is life . . .
    fronting some LA attitude
    don't know how that hole got there
    Took the long way home through town during rush hour--the scenic route was far more interesting than sitting in traffic on the freeway. Spent a quiet evening having dinner, visiting the cafe, and hanging out with Sarah and Greg before my return.
    Chapter Thirteen: Leaving Los Angeles
    The next day, Sarah and I (Greg was at work) had lunch and did a final bit of sightseeing near LAX before I headed east. I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again and seeing friends back in Nashville, but I was sorry the adventure was coming to end.
    beach at the end of LAX runway
    I didn't get any greif going through security, though it did take some time to have my film hand checked. No one hassled me for photographing in the airport, either; maybe it was just because I only fired off a few frames.
    waiting to board the flight back to Nashville(HP5+)
    Hope you've enjoyed the tale. To the best of my knowledge, it's a true and accurate account. I'll be heading out of the country again soon, so it may be a while before I can provide photographic results of my further exploits . . .
  2. Mike,

    You did well bringing your essay together, I was going to suggest as much.

  3. Dear Mike,
    I have enjoyed viewing all 12 chapters of you road trip. Nice photography. I'm jealous that I can't "hit the road" for a serious shoot. For what it is worth, I believe most of your color work would be better viewed in black and white. It is my humble opinion that the only time I shoot color is when the subject of the photo is color itself. On most other ocasions I find color a distraction from the subject. Of course there are a couple of shooters, like Alex Webb,
    that make color work for street work. I think you should stick almost exclusively with B+W. Also I have found it difficult,and long ago gave up the practice, of carrying 2 cameras one loaded with color and
    one with B+W; its to hard to "see" both ways simultaneously. What do you think? One other question:do you find that your most successful and serious photography is accomplished when shooting alone? I almost always shoot by myself; in 23 years of shooting I have only found 2 people with whom I can work well. Thanks for the great shots!
  4. Hey Mike,
    Did you go to Naja's on the boardwalk at the Redondo Beach Pier? "777 Beers of the World"!!! That's a lot of different types of beer. Makes you wonder how old that Thai Singha is that you're drinking ;)
  5. "Beach at the end of LAX runway" is terrific!
  6. Cool story and pix, Mike. I've enjoyed your journey.
  7. Nice work, Mike. By the way, I grew up about two blocks from your studio -- at 1919 Linden Ave., and we just sold my parents' house at 1909 18th Ave. three months ago. My first experiments with photography were wandering around that area with a Speed Graphic in 1972. Small world, eh?
  8. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed.
  9. This should be put into the 'Travel' photo-essays section, so we can access it easily.

    Very inspirational ... thanks Mike !!

  10. Truly an excellent adventure, Mike. Thanks for taking us along (and not making us carry your luggage, or chip in for gas).
  11. Thanks for all the comments.

    I didn't make it to Naja's on the pier, though it looks like a good
    place if you're in the mood. To be honest, after my excesses in
    Louisiana, I wasn't doing very much drinking in the West.

    Typically, when I'm out shooting for myself, I just carry a single
    body and lens, meter, an extra roll or two of film, and
    (occasionally) a second lens in my pocket. On the other hand, if
    I'm going to be out exploring a lot, I'll carry a second body (with
    second lens mounted on it). It provides me with significantly
    more options in case I do see something that should be in color
    without adding a lot of bulk and weight to what I have to carry. In
    general, I'd agree my b&w documentary stuff tends to be
    stronger, but my color work won't improve if I don't work at it.

    As far as shooting alone or with people, in some sense, having
    other people around is a neccessity for my kind of shooting--
    they're the subject. I regularly shoot when I'm out with friends--
    they're accustomed to it by now. In the sense of going shooting
    with other photographers, it generally doesn't make much
    difference to the quality of my work. If I'm drawn into the subject, I
    kind of tune out whoever's with me until I have the shot.

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