Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Downtown LA in the Gloom

Work took me to Los Angeles a couple of times early in 2024.  On neither occasion did the weather do me many favors.  The second trip was very wet but the first was more gloomy than anything else.  As I was walking back to the hotel one evening after we had finished our work, I was taken by the way in which the skyscrapers were disappearing into the mist.  I only had my phone with me, but it does a decent job in lower light conditions.

Into the Clouds Approaching LAX

I have had a couple of work trips that took me to LA in the recent past (how recent may depend on when this gets posted), and the weather has not been great for either of them.  The second one coincided with some pretty horrendous weather for the region and our approach to LAX was a pretty bumpy one.  We actually landed from the ocean side which is pretty unusual for LAX.  The crew prepared the cabin for landing early and I decided the view of the cloud tops from the storm were worthy of video rather than stills.  Here is the resulting video of our approach.

LA Coliseum

I have been to Los Angeles on many occasions over the years, but I had never previously been anywhere near the Coliseum.  I had seen it in the distance from the highway but that was it.  My first memories of the Coliseum were from 1984 when the Olympics were held there.  In four years, the Olympics will be back in Los Angeles, but I don’t know whether the Coliseum will play a role again.  The image of a guy with a jetpack flying into the stadium is one of the strongest ones from that event.

After that, I knew it as the home of the Raiders since they were LA based before returning to Oakland.  I think it might have hosted some other NFL games at some point before SoFi was opened but that might not be an accurate recollection.  Since the Coliseum is near the California Science Center, I turned out to be right next to it when I made my morning trek down to see the Space Shuttle.  The entrance is at the east end, so the morning light was on it.  The sculptures of some athletic looking individuals guard the entrance although the large fence was also doing a good job.  I couldn’t resist getting a few photos before continuing my shuttle photo hunt.

What is This Going to Be?

As I walked across Expo Park, there was a large and unusual structure which looked to be in an advanced stage of construction.  It had a very futuristic look to it and, while sections of it were clad in the final layers, there were other areas where the underlying structure was still exposed.  I had no idea what it could be but figured I would be able to look it up later.  It turns out that this is going to be the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.  Not sure when it is due to open, but it is quite an architectural addition to the area.  I would certainly be interested to see it when it is complete.  Maybe I’ll be back to see the final shuttle installation and will have the chance to check it out.

Exposition Park Cats

As I walked into Exposition Park, I saw a cat wandering along the sidewalk near the road.  I stopped to watch it for a while, and it became a bit nervous when it realized I was watching it.  It soon retreated and I thought little more of it.  I assumed it was a wild cat rather than someone’s pet.  It was only a few minutes later that I came across another pair of cats.  They were playing together and initially seemed interested in my presence and then retreated too.  I assume that the park must have a few cats in residence.

A Twin Tub A-12 Sitting by the Parking Lot

Google Maps can really be your friend.  I was hoping to find the time to get to see the space shuttle stack in Expo Park while I was back in LA if possible.  I went on Google Maps to see how to get there and the layout of the area and I saw a tag for an A-12.  Sure enough, the twin seat Lockheed A-12 is mounted on display right next to the parking lot.  It is tucked in between the lot and a pathway over a dip in the grounds.  It is rather tight to the parking lot which made getting shots a touch tricky but the early morning light when I was there was the best angle for it.  I was pleased to add an unusual airframe to the briefest of visits!

Riding the E Line in LA

My morning trip to the California Science Center could have involved a quick Uber ride but, since I was in LA to discuss light rail projects, it seemed more appropriate that I take the train down there.  The station wasn’t too far away, and the E Line dropped me off right next to the park.  Whenever I am using some form of transit, I do try to get a photo or two. You never know when they might be useful for a presentation or for adding to a proposal.

Endeavour Assembled in the Construction Site

I made a big mistake a decade back when the Space Shuttle Endeavour was moved through the streets of LA from the airport to the California Science Center where it has been on display ever since.  I was in California and could have made a trip down but, for various reasons, didn’t end up doing so.  I have regretted it ever since.  The beginning of 2024 was the time when they relocated the shuttle from its horizontal position to a new installation where it is stacked on the external tank and boosters in the launch position.

I had a work trip in January that took me to LA and I was really hoping to see the stacking because the external tank was due to be lifted into position between the boosters.  Sadly, there was no spare time from arriving to departing and I didn’t get a chance to see it other than a brief glimpse from my Uber as I drove to and from the airport.

A couple of weeks later, I had to go back again.  By this time, the shuttle orbiter had been lifted into position on the stack too.  It is wrapped up to protect it from the weather since the whole stack is outside until they finish constructing the rest of the museum around it!  On the final day of my trip, I was heading to the airport in the morning.  I figured I could just squeeze a quick detour down to have a look at the shuttle before I went to the airport.

It is quite surreal seeing a stacked shuttle in the middle of a park.  It is even more strange because there is a lot of construction all around it obscuring your view of the subject.  I walked all around the area (at least where it was possible to go given the ongoing construction) looking to see what I could see.  Some of the angles had a better view but these were also backlit.  I ended up trying hard to find ways to let the tank block the sun!  I also was surprised to come across the lifting frames for the orbiter which, having served their purpose, were now sitting on the ground by a fence.  Not sure what happens to them now!

Construction of the museum will continue through this year.  I read somewhere that the structure will be completed by about July but I am not sure how accurate that is and whether that includes all of the fit out.  When it will be possible to visit the finished exhibit, we shall see.  It should be something to see when it is done.  I have seen Atlantis and Enterprise so, after this, I just need to get to NASM to see Discovery.

Sparrow Visitors

Imperial Hill gets loads of visitors and plenty of them eat lunch while up there.  Consequently, the sparrows are keen on the place too and they get pretty confident with the people around.  While I was up there, I figured I should try and get a few sparrow shots as well as other flying things.  If I wanted to focus on them, they are so close and fearless that it should be easy to do.

SoFi Stadium

When I last went to LA, the racetrack in Inglewood had been flattened and construction was underway on the new football stadium.  Since then it was completed and opened as SoFi stadium.  I was keen to see it in person having seen it on TV a lot.  I made sure to be sitting on the left of the plane thinking I could get some shots of it from the air.  Having previously photographed the racetrack, I mistakenly thought it would be further south and had a longer lens on the camera.  The stadium is closer to the approach path so I had way too much lens and only got shots of parts of it.

However, after my meetings wrapped up, as I headed back to the airport, I did drive by the stadium.  There were tours available but I didn’t have too much time so instead parked up and walked around a bit of the outside.  I mainly used my phone to take some shots – good for shooting through fences – and also stitched together some shots to make some panos.

The stadium is really impressive to see in person.  There is plenty of development going on in the area around it and I imagine it is going to quite transform Inglewood over time.  Whether that is for the better or not, we shall see.  The landscaping certainly adds to the impressiveness and the overall structure is far larger than just the football stadium which seem to sit inside it and feel rather dwarfed.  If you get a chance to go by, I would certainly recommend it.  Spending billions on sports stadiums is a controversial topic but this one has certainly got something special about it which is what you would hope for when it cost as much as it did!