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Long Beach, CA pics

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Here are some snaps I took in Long Beach, California (south of Los Angeles, on the coast, for those of you unfamiliar with it). They'll pop up on our sister site, Southland Architecture in the next couple of weeks.

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Pretty photos, every time I hear Long Beach I immediately start singing that jingle "Go See Cal Go See Cal", being Cal Worthington the famous car salesman and dealer for ever.

I worked at his Carlsbad Dodge Dealership in 87, I think at the time he had a Ford Dealership there at Long Beach. If you look at one of my photos on my blog there is a picture taken in 66 at Fort Ord, Cals son is in the picture standing next to the tall Sergeant with the Blue Helmet. One thing I noticed while working out there was how many veterans had purchased property there in the early 70's late 60's and how much they had accumulated because of a simple decision to stay in California after they left the service! Everything I ever purchased dropped like a hammer.

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Now I've got that damn "Go See Cal" jingle running through my head too. :blink:

I'm impressed at what a great job they've done renovating that area. Growing up, we avoided downtown Long Beach, it was dangerous and there wasn't a lot to do there..

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When you come back to Houston you can give me some lessons in doing this type of photography ;P

How do you get photos of so many? Walking or driving?

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How do you get photos of so many? Walking or driving?

It's a combination of walking and driving. I pick a few spots and drive to them, then walk.

For example, the impetus for this trip was a $9 flight I managed to book on Spirit Air (it was around $35 round trip with taxes).

Flew into LGB early in the early afternoon, rented a car and immediately drove downtown. I'd looked earlier on Google Earth and noticed that almost all of the big architectural activity was along one strip (it usually is in western U.S. cities). So I found a parking garage on the western edge of the strip, and started walking east. When I got to the end of my target zone, I moved in a couple of blocks and walked back, taking the occasional detour to pick up something interesting along the way.

I left Long Beach just as it was starting to get dark, stopped at a Ralph's to pick up dinner and snacks for the next day, and booked myself into a fleabag motel on the Sunset Strip (think Warren Zevon's "Desperadoes Under the Eaves") in Hollywood.

4:00am, I woke up, hopped in my car and drove up to the Griffith Observatory to see if I could do anything with a Los Angeles sunrise. About 6:00am I drove down to the Wilshire neighborhood, another skyscraper corridor I identified on Google Earth, and did the east-west-east thing again. Drove back to the motel, took a shower, packed up, and went to downtown L.A for some more photos. I'd already done a photo safari in downtown L.A. a few months earlier, so this was just picking up some items I'd missed that time. Had lunch, jumped in the car, and drove back to the Long Beach airport for the flight home.

30 hours. 1,000 photos shot. Probably 800 keepers. Since it's the digital age, I overshoot tremendously to make it easier to identify what I'm shooting later on. I always try to get the building's name or address sign in at least one photo. When that's not enough, I can rely on the GPS unit that I velcro to my camera. I also never leave the house without 20 gigs of flash memory in my wallet.

I ended up with 185 keepers in Long Beach. You can see them all on the Southland Architecture (a HAIF sister site) Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Southland-Architecture/39504185879

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It's a combination of walking and driving. I pick a few spots and drive to them, then walk.

For example, the impetus for this trip was a $9 flight I managed to book on Spirit Air (it was around $35 round trip with taxes).

Flew into LGB early in the early afternoon, rented a car and immediately drove downtown. I'd looked earlier on Google Earth and noticed that almost all of the big architectural activity was along one strip (it usually is in western U.S. cities). So I found a parking garage on the western edge of the strip, and started walking east. When I got to the end of my target zone, I moved in a couple of blocks and walked back, taking the occasional detour to pick up something interesting along the way.

I left Long Beach just as it was starting to get dark, stopped at a Ralph's to pick up dinner and snacks for the next day, and booked myself into a fleabag motel on the Sunset Strip (think Warren Zevon's "Desperadoes Under the Eaves") in Hollywood.

4:00am, I woke up, hopped in my car and drove up to the Griffith Observatory to see if I could do anything with a Los Angeles sunrise. About 6:00am I drove down to the Wilshire neighborhood, another skyscraper corridor I identified on Google Earth, and did the east-west-east thing again. Drove back to the motel, took a shower, packed up, and went to downtown L.A for some more photos. I'd already done a photo safari in downtown L.A. a few months earlier, so this was just picking up some items I'd missed that time. Had lunch, jumped in the car, and drove back to the Long Beach airport for the flight home.

30 hours. 1,000 photos shot. Probably 800 keepers. Since it's the digital age, I overshoot tremendously to make it easier to identify what I'm shooting later on. I always try to get the building's name or address sign in at least one photo. When that's not enough, I can rely on the GPS unit that I velcro to my camera. I also never leave the house without 20 gigs of flash memory in my wallet.

I ended up with 185 keepers in Long Beach. You can see them all on the Southland Architecture (a HAIF sister site) Facebook page: http://www.facebook....ure/39504185879

Wow, so it seems about 2/3 of the time one shot is enough per building and the other 1/3 it takes two shots to get it right? Or do you sometimes leave a city without a good photo of a building.

Also, what if it was an overcast day, doesn't matter? It doesn't look like shadowns from other buildings mind you much.

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Wow, so it seems about 2/3 of the time one shot is enough per building and the other 1/3 it takes two shots to get it right?

If I'm just canvassing a neighborhood, I try to get 2-3 good photos of each building. If I'm on assignment, I'll take several hundred of a single building. Sometimes you get lucky, and the light is just the way you like it and you can get a lot of work done in a little time. It's really up to the building. Some are boring and only warrant 2-3 shots. Some are interesting and require more.

Or do you sometimes leave a city without a good photo of a building.

Sometimes. But I always try anyway. If I don't try, I've wasted money on the trip. And there have been dozens of instances when I've refused to shoot a building because of light or position or weather and my assistant says "do it anyway" and I'm able to turn it into a really great photo in the computer.

Also, what if it was an overcast day, doesn't matter? It doesn't look like shadowns from other buildings mind you much.

Always try. Even if there's bad weather. If nothing else, it's good practice. Unless I have my computer with me and can sit in a hotel and "develop" a batch of photos from the day before, I'll always go out, even if it's nasty. In fact, some of my favorite photos were taken during snowstorms.

As for shadows, Long Beach buildings really aren't all that tall. That, combined with the southern latitude and the fact that I was shooting in May, and shadows really weren't a problem.

I used to have a program that would load building models into the computer, then you could place them anywhere on earth, set the date, and then with a slider you change the time of day and watch the shadow of the building move across a Google map. It was a great tool for getting the perfect shot when stalking a particular building. Unfortunately, it only runs on PPC machines, and I don't want my MacBook Pro cluttered up with Rosetta, so I abandoned it. Instead, now I just sit at Starbucks watching the shadows move and making educated guesses.

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