It wasn't all fisheye photography in L.A. I don't always have my big SLR camera at hand, but I do always have my Sony DSC-T9 at hand and often in hand — where it fits as easily as a deck of cards. It was fun to use the T9 from the passenger seat. Yes, on my trip to L.A., I had the benefit of never driving. So I was always looking at the scenery — fascinating, because we avoided the freeway — and seeing things to snap. Here are my 4 favorite drive-by shots:
1. (Enlarge.) A chance collage that seems to have everything: Marilyn, Elvis, the Beatles, a dog, an ATM machine, a traffic light, Thai food, Mexican food, a smiling guy waiting for the Metro, graffiti, "sop," "flo," "order now," a manly arm receiving a California tan. Yes, of course, it's cropped. (Uncropped.)
2. (Enlarge.) Like Madison, Wisconsin, and unlike NYC, L.A. has signs telling you the names of the neighborhoods. Here you see a sign for Thai Town. Under the sign are 2 women. Neither appears to be Thai. They look like hardworking individuals — do they have jobs that require white shirts and long blue pants? — waiting for the bus. The apt words "Working World" appear on a newspaper vending box. There's also the L.A. Times, and 2 women in shorts and flip-flops who don't seem to have to go to work. I love the colorful buildings — ocher and pink on one side and white-orange-blue Mondrian-inspired on the other. I love the checked sidewalk in pink, white, and 2 shades of gray. Fruit, palm trees, street lights, quintuple traffic lights. A very blue sky resonates with a blue sign that says "Western." There's a smaller sign that says "Hollywood/Western" and I know those are the intersecting streets, but it makes me think of a Hollywood western, and then I notice the black and white photographs of actressy models in the windows in the lower left corner and return to the rock-solid women waiting for the bus.
3. (Enlarge.) I only wanted to drive by Grauman's Chinese Theater, so my feelings vibrated with the pink-haired girl who was just trying to slurp up some caffeine and get home with her groceries. I love her squinty sneer as she slump walks past the Jack Sparrow impersonator and toward the hands (like mine) pointing a tiny camera at the scene. In a differently pink shirt, to the right of the shot, we see a woman who's happy to play the tourist and take a shot of her friend who's about to attempt a movie-star pose while standing on a sidewalk star. (And it would have been a better picture if we could see the friend posing, as we can in the next shot.)
4. (Enlarge!) On our way to LAX, we pass a famous icon, the giant doughnut at Randy's Donuts, that Wikipedia informs me — in a ludicrously somber tone — "dates back to a period during the mid-20th Century that saw a proliferation of programmatic architecturely designed buildings throughout Southern California that were made in the shape of the products they sold." And I'm not going to perseverate —or proliferate any programmatic perorations — about the proper spelling of "doughnut." It's "doughnut." I established that rock-solidly — architecturely? — here.