Taking Pictures in Los Angeles with the Leica Q
By @alexcornell // 05.07.16
The Leica Q is a great travel companion. I’ve written at length about why. I recently brought it along to Los Angeles to document a little architecture tour and it proved itself once again.
Below I’ve included my favorite shots from the trip along with some tips about each of the locations. The three spots below are a great selection for a quick weekend trip:
- The Broad
- The Eames House
- The Sheats-Goldstein Residence
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I think it’s worth visiting the Broad even if you don’t go inside. The exterior of the building is stunning and unique. There are some especially cool angles along the left side of the building, if you’re facing the door. That’s where the picture below with the tree coming into the frame was taken.
The angle from across the street is a great one but requires that you arrive pretty early in the morning. This shot is obstructed by parked vehicles by 9am.
The escalator is unusually awesome, especially when it’s empty. Again, arrive early for the best chance of getting this unpopulated. My favorite angle is the one above, where you can really get a sense of just how unusual the ceiling is. There are a couple other cool shots to be had: at the base of the escalator, looking up the tunnel, and also directly to its side, as a single person makes their way up.
The artwork inside is all terrific, too many highlights to list. I included a shot of a Damien Hirst I liked. On this trip, we experimented more with including human figures in scenes like this to liven them up a little. The Broad is perfect for shots like this — there are so many interesting angles and nooks.
If you’re interested in going to the Infinity Room, go quick! As of this writing, the exhibition is only through Fall 2016. You do not need an advance ticket to visit — in fact, it’s only worth having an advance ticket if you have a 10am slot. Otherwise, they let the first people in the standby line in after the 10am (before the 10:30 etc). To get a good spot in this line, arrive by 8am (museum opens at 10). Send one member of your group down to EggSlut, where the line takes about an hour (you’ve got the time!).
The Eames House is really easy to visit. You don’t need an advance booking and you can walk around the property unguided. You aren’t allowed to take pictures of the interior, or get too close to the windows. This is a bummer for sure. The best angles are right in front, and my favorite, just off center from the door (shown below).
It’s tricky to photograph because of the slope in front of the house. The best vantage point is in front of the house, but you’re physically a lot lower than the property (which makes it hard to get an undistorted image). I found success using Lightroom’s lens correction tools to vertically correct my images a little bit. You can also go back behind the house, but there is nothing to see back there.
There are interior tours available (for a price) and while very interesting, I don’t think they’re worth it. Our tour lasted about an hour; the house isn’t very small and you really only need about 20min to see it all. Unique, but you can learn all the same information from the guides outside the house (and you can see just as much of the interior through the windows). I was happy to support the Eames Foundation regardless.
This one is tricker to access. We got super lucky and got off the waitlist for a John Lautner Foundation private tour. From what I can tell, there aren’t very many public tours of the residence. James still lives there (we saw him pacing around) and the schedule of professional shoots and parties is insane (we saw the handwritten calendar).
A quick search reveals that there is a tour coming up with the AIA on June 7th. It seems like these one-off tours are your best bet for getting access.
There are so many good angles at this house it can actually be quite overwhelming. The hardest part was getting a clean shot. There were maybe 15 people on our tour, but all of them scattered and lingered in each room, making it really difficult to grab an empty shot. My suggestion is to move slowly and always be the last to leave the room. That way you can shoot it empty as you walk out.
The most interesting room is definitely the living room overlooking the pool. This is sort of a no-brainer. Definitely don’t miss the nightclub (pictured above) or his office. Both of these rooms don’t pop up much on Instagram, but are easily as interesting.
I’d never been to any of these spots before; each of them is rich with photo opportunities and I’d highly suggest tracking them down next time you’re in LA! All shots above are with the Leica Q, but the tips would hold up just as well if you’re using an iPhone.