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Simple as That Sunday #117 – A Day in LA

Who would have guessed that a day at the La Brea Tar Pits would have been so much fun? Having lived in Southern California for a dozens year now, I have to admit that I really haven’t explored the LA. We live in Orange County and spend a lot of time in San Diego where Pete’s parents live. Now that I commute twice a week to LA, I thought it would be cool to show Katie and Luke where mommy goes during the week so that they could start to visualize and appreciate it as well. One of the things that hit me (especially after the cocoon of Orange County living) is that LA is a real CITY! Kids play in public parks. They grow up with lots of diversity. Life is a bit more compressed. Maybe it was this appreciation that really led to a wonderful day in LA.

We set out relatively early for us on a Saturday morning – we were out the door by 9:30. As soon as we parked the car and jumped out Luke immediately joined a group of kids just a little bit older than him playing soccer. He instantly made friends and started kicking the ball around with them. It was the coolest experience and it made me realize that kids are kids and they are truly bonded by the pure joy of play.

Next we hit the museum and like last week at the aquarium – they totally dig the exhibits. It’s all new to them. And, honestly, if you’ve never been to the La Brea Tar Pits, it is a really well done experience. Don’t  miss the Ice Age Encounter show. It’s free and one of the coolest shows for kids and adults that I’ve seen in a while. I won’t spoil the surprise but be prepared for the unexpected!

The grounds are pretty interesting as well. The best part is that there’s  plenty of room for the kids to run around. And guess what? Lot’s of really cool places to take pictures. Amazingly, Katie was in a very photographic mood and was very gracious with camera time. Here are some of my favorite pictures of Katie.

In capturing these here are some of the things that I looked for

  • Capturing the candid moments – you’ll see more of examples in a follow up blog post on Luke’s experience but I’m really into capturing the pure joy of play. There was a wonderful outdoor interactive exhibit of plastic tubing that looked like spaghetti. Katie and Luke must have played in this thing for at least an hour. I just followed her around and concentrated on getting in focus photos. Sometimes if there are lots of folks around you can get self-conscious of your fancy camera. Just keep taking pictures. The magic happens when you get so into the moment that it becomes just about you and the kids.
  • Try different angles. Obviously get down at their level for some but also purposefully shoot from up higher and below them. I sat Katie up on a few walls to capture her from below.
  • Get into your environment. Just outside of the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) are these famous cool street lamps. They are a photographer’s dream and a lot of photographers use them for engagement sessions. In fact, I just missed one of my favorite photographers, Jasmine Star, shooting a couple that evening. Katie had a blast as I chased her through the street lamps just shooting away. I managed to get her to stop to take the portrait where’s she’s hugging the streetlamp. Loved it.

You can be sure that we will be planning these weekend trots up to LA more often. There’s so much more to discover!

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