I guess I’m a little burned out on sunsets, so when the call went out for a JLOP gathering yesterday in the middle of the afternoon in downtown Los Angeles, my quest for variety compelled me to go.
JLOP is the name we’ve given to a loose-knit group of photo enthusiasts who enjoy getting together from time to time to snap some pictures and chat. (I’ve mentioned our gatherings here, here, and here in the past, to link to just a few.) It is not a group, in that it has no leader, no dues, and no rules. If you want to shoot, you show up.
Downtown Los Angeles is an odd area—it’s the city’s civic center without being particularly civic or in the center. In truth it’s a financial and administrative area where a few people live and a few more work. But since I’ve neither lived there nor worked there, it always feels a little foreign to me.
Lately (as in over the last 30 years or so), downtown LA has become a collection of skyscrapers, which are impressive for their size and their defiance of seismic realities. We were hoping they’d have some photogenic qualities as well.
I was particularly drawn on this outing to the reflections. There are now so many buildings with mirror-like windows that, when the angle is right, you can catch two or three buildings in one view. The glass and the light sometimes show up as wavy lines within straight ones.
The Bonaventure Hotel (now known as the Westin Bonaventure) is, I think, one of the oldest of the glass buildings. It’ll be 40 years old soon. I’m sure I have been inside at one time or another, but I can’t tell you when it was. It’s always been about the outside for me.
Behind the Los Angeles Central Library—which I have been inside many times—are a couple of small fountains. They helped to break up the photographic flow for me.
And almost before I knew it, I was focused again on the Bonaventure. We’d crossed around so we were seeing it from a different angle, and the light had changed a little to pick up even more reflections.
I caught one last look as I was driving away from the skyscrapers, across the freeway and back into the world where people live. The lights were just coming on, and I was on the verge of being far enough away that the buildings were becoming an actual skyline. If you wonder where you are, the palm trees put it all into perspective.