Los Angeles Through the Lens

IMG_20140625_201954Some people will tell you that living in LA is like living in an endless summer. And save for the occasional torrential downpour come winter time, and the often frigid nighttime temperatures, this is a pretty accurate description of life here. But then, there’s nothing quite like actual summer in LA; the golden season, the epitome of life in Southern California. Outdoor concerts, artisan food truck events, summer nights at the Getty, strolling barefoot along the Pacific by twilight; it’s a magical time of year, for sure.

As I was walking along the shores of Redondo Beach the other night with a friend, I was struck by how stereotypically Southern Californian it all was; the warm ocean water, the sandy shores, lifeguard lookout towers and sun setting out over the horizon. This was the beachy, dreamy, sun-drenched life I’d dreamed of for years in rain-soaked Oregon.

And sure, the parking ticket I picked up after the meter ran out that evening wasn’t exactly dreamy and carefree, but up until that point, everything was really quite perfect. And I’ve had an absolute blast exploring LA this summer as a semi-local, semi-tourist. Frankly, I think this sort of in-between stage is a great compromise because by this point I’ve gotten to know my way around LA–where to go and when–but I’m still always discovering new things, and can still snap away like an awe-struck tourist with little to no shame.

Since this is my first full summer in LA, and it was not especially practical for me to be anywhere else these past few months, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite shots of my Southern California summer (through the lens of my trusty Smartphone and favorite Instagram filter, of course: long live Walden!) You can check out a gallery of these below, and I’ll include the location and event in each caption. And hopefully you’re enjoying the twilight of a beautiful summer wherever you may be!

Oh, and if you’re interested in seeing more of LA through my lens, please feel free to check me out on Instagram @losangelesliv!

Summer Solstice at Griffith

IMG_20140621_194648As this is my first full summer in Los Angeles, I’m making a point to do all of the quintessential LA summer activities, no matter how tired or touristy. To be honest, I consider myself to be something of perpetual tourist; no matter how long I’ve lived somewhere, I still love trying to find new adventures, and I take pictures pretty much everywhere I go. So when the summer solstice rolled around, and I had a friend visiting from out of state that same weekend, I knew we had to head up to Griffith Observatory to take in the longest day of the year.

Sure, I knew everyone else in the city would probably have the same idea, and parking would be an absolute nightmare (and it pretty much was,) but I’d never been to Griffith at sunset, and I’ll do anything for photo opportunity (and believe me, this was a photo opportunity!)

After trekking roughly a mile uphill from our parking spot, we arrived at the Observatory right at Golden Hour. It was crowded, but there was still plenty of room to move around on the lawn and take in the view from the patio and the upper decks, and the museum was open and free (as always.) The only noticeable delay was the rather long line to peek through the telescope so we decided to skip that.

DSC_1073But the view from the platform deck offered a stunning panorama for literally hours as the sun set. Everywhere we looked–from the Hollywood sign, back lit with the fiery, summer solstice sun, to the glittering Downtown skyline, from the cotton-candy clouds to the endless miles of crawling boulevards that seemed to stretch straight into the sky–it seemed as though all of LA was celebrating the solstice, too.

The evening was, without a doubt, memorable, and served as a reminder not to listen to people who have fallen out of love with this City of Angels. Despite the traffic, the taxes, the tourists and the smog, Los Angeles more than makes up for its flaws with a wealth of riches, with stunning sunsets and beaches, palm trees and truly warm, diverse, interesting people, with good vibes in the air and adventure around every corner. And at this time in my life, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.