Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rule-Breaking Skyline Photography at The Grove

I love skylines.  The most familiar to me throughout my childhood was the Atlanta skyline.  As a kid riding in the backseat on long road trips to our family in Mississippi or vacation home in Florida, I would look forward to the 20 minutes we spent driving through Atlanta.  I didn't even mind sitting in the traffic.  Whenever we would detour for some reason and go around the city, rather than through it, my heart would sink a little in disappointment.  To this day, whenever I drive through Atlanta, my eyes divert from all electronics (if I'm driving, it's a little hard for me to keep them on the road) and stare happily out the window for the fifteen or twenty minutes it takes to cross the city.

While the skyline during the day is beautiful, there is something about seeing a city illuminated at night that just makes my heart sing.  So in Los Angeles, my heart sings quite often.  And on the overpass, I have to constantly remind myself to keep my eyes on the road.

The overpass is incredibly tempting to me.  I want to just pull over on the side and stare out at the city... and take out my camera and tripod for long exposures of the beautiful Los Angeles skyline illuminated at night.  But I fight the temptation because that's incredibly dangerous and also, I believe, illegal.  So I went to the internet for suggestions of parking garages that I could access for nighttime views of the skyline.

The Grove

Someone on a photography forum suggested the parking garage at The Grove, an upscale outdoor mall in West Hollywood.  Shopping and photography?  Sounded like the perfect combination to me!



The first hour of parking is free. I'm sure people found it quite strange when I kept climbing the empty garage to find a parking space on the seventh deck (the eighth, it turns out, is for employees only).

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

The Grove

Los Angeles

There's the Hollywood Sign...

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

I arrived half an hour before sunset, so I decided to go do a little browsing before taking some nighttime photos.

The Grove

The Grove

There are a lot of good stores located in the Grove... really - I can't go there often because it will be too much of a temptation between Nordstrom, Coach, Banana Republic, and Forever 21, I need to stay far, far away!

The Grove

The Grove

I returned to my car to begin taking some long exposures. The parking deck is huge, so rather than walking around it, I drove from end to end so that I could get my photos quickly.

Westwood Skyline

Though I wasn't allowed to park up there, I figured there was no harm in climbing to the eighth deck for some photos.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

The Grove

And it wasn't until I had taken my time getting several photos on the eighth deck when I spotted this sign...

No Photography

Oops. I guess too many others had been taking advantage of this viewpoint for their photos.

The Grove 8th Deck

But the signs didn't say anything about the seventh deck...

The Grove

It's a little lower, but offers almost as great of a viewpoint.

Los Angeles

Where's your favorite location to view the Los Angeles skyline?

Join me for my October series, 31 Days of Los Angeles for more Southern California fun!