Chinatown at Night ~ Los Angeles, CA

As still as a movie set done with the day’s shooting, so stands LA’s Chinatown at 8pm.

Until you get to Yang Chow’s…

Behind it’s shaded glass facade, the restaurant’s interior exudes enough life to reenergise what has since languished outside.

Menu highlight: crispy fried duck. A tasty spin on the traditional.

Sunset on Melrose ~ Los Angeles, California

The LA sun sets early, and night falls quickly. 90F days give way to 72F evenings – and it’s November! This is my kind of town and I just love being here.

A perfect conclusion to a road trip for the books. I look forward to sharing more detailed posts soon.

For now, I’m leaving you with two scenes from LA, taken at 4pm today.

“Sunset on Melrose”

“Not New York”

The Proposal ~ From New York to Los Angeles

Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.  ~Ray Bradbury

Foothills of El Paso’s (TX) Franklin Mountains via spysgrandson (all rights reserved)

Thank you so much readers, for the suggestions of where to visit as part of a cross country road trip from NYC to LA. In my last post, many seasoned travelers highly recommended Utah as a place to see. As much as I’d love to stop here, I know spending 1-2 days wouldn’t do the state justice; it’s worthy of a lengthy trip in the near future.

So…

Moonrise over Washington DC via pentaxforums.com

I am in unison with Bradbury in the sentiment that there’s beauty in venturing, uninhibited, into the unknown. But just as his words read, that’s half the fun. The other half, in my opinion, is influenced by the trip’s framework; there’s comfort in setting (loose) parameters. Wandering about aimlessly under time restrictions – a little over a week across 3,500 miles – promises a whole other set of challenges.

THE (loose) PARAMETERS

Keeping in mind that visiting New Orleans is a must, I’ve drafted an itinerary that traces a southerly route of the US. The list includes cities that I have never been to before (the Washington DC and Sedona drive-thrus don’t count). If you can advise, I’d love your thoughts on what to see/do, and where to eat/play.

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans ~ via myneworleans.com

I’ve done some preliminary research but am also looking for the not-so-seen, and hungry for local knowledge. I want to know what lies under the skin of place; I want to take in the smells of fresh produce markets, bite into a deep fried beignet, feast my eyes on centuries old architecture and innovative design, be immersed in nature’s stillness. Most importantly, I want to see how people live.

While I’ll certainly be documenting the details, a head start never hurts.

PROPOSED ITINERARY: NEW YORK TO LOS ANGELES

Brooklyn, New York > Washington, DC > Charleston, South Carolina > Savannah, Georgia (brief stop) > Tallahassee, Florida > New Orleans, Louisiana > San Antonio, Texas > El Paso, Texas > Sedona, Arizona (2 days) > Los Angeles, California

*Thinking of adding in Raleigh, NC between DC and Charleston as a stop. Not only will it give us more time, but I am reading wonderful things about this city.

Sedona, Arizona via prx.org

ADVICE NEEDED ON MUST SEES

Readers:

What are your favourite DC monuments? Can you recommend a noteworthy restaurant or bar in this great city?

Any recommendations re: where to feast on good Creole cuisine while in New Orleans? What about jazz clubs?

What are the Charleston essentials – sights, shops, cafes, neighbourhoods?

Know of a part of Savannah where one can linger for a couple of hours?

What do you love about Sedona?

What’s hot in Raleigh? The City of Oaks has me intrigued.

What about El Paso and Tallahassee; have you been to these cities? I’ve read that Tallahassee has an abundance of seafood – know of an oyster shack?

Look forward to tips, thoughts, and suggestions on anything, or all, of the above.

~Thank you!

Avenue of Oaks in Charleston, South Carolina via davidallenphotography.com

The Bradbury Building, inspired by Blade Runner ~ Los Angeles, CA

In downtown LA, not far from its Arts District, stands the landmark Bradbury Building. Made all the more famous by the future noir classic, Blade Runner, it’s a must see for movie fans as well as lovers of architectural design.

So reads the text that greets you upon entry into the building, below… Enjoy!

“Built in 1893, the Bradbury Building is a local historic landmark whose architectural purity had been threatened by a sense of safety code modifications at the time of the Blade Runner shoot; in fact, the structure had fallen into a serious state of disrepair (however it was completely renovated in the early 1990s).

Commissioned by millionaire Lewis Bradbury, it was designed by George Wyman (who had been inspired by Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, an early utopia novel set in the year 2000 and featuring descriptions of numerous futuristic commercial buildings.) Editor’s note: Take a look at Julius Shulman’s black and white photograph of the Bradbury Building from its upper levels. Unfortunately, the general public isn’t allowed up there. It is 3/4 way down this post: Shulman Inspired, California Desired

Inside the building, the Blade Runner crew chose to stage scenes featuring the buildings’ geometrically patterned stairways, wrought-iron railings and open-cage elevators (still functioning today) by filming on the interior ground floor, top floor, central court, lobby, elevators and stairways.

Additionally Ridley Scott paid particular attention during interior filming to the centre court’s glass-block roof, known to some on the crew as “Sebastian’s atrium.”

The interior of the Bradbury Building was then “dirtied down” by adding various amounts of trash, smoke, revolving xenon spotlights, dripping water, and mannequins. A false wall and door were also erected before one of Bradbury’s offices to stand in for the entrance to Sebastian’s apartment.”*

(As reads the sign in the Bradbury Building. The text is excerpted from Future Noir, The Making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon).

Lost in LACMA’s Details – Los Angeles, CA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is one of the most visually interesting museums I have visited. I only realize this now, despite having visited once before.

As I photograph its exterior for the nth time, I know that the camera-snapping must stop soon. The sun is starting its descent and Ali has been patiently waiting for what feels like ten minutes. Realistically, it’s probably been closer to an hour.

Ever since Ali gave me a Nikon DSLR as a gift, I have been guilty of tacking extra time on to any of our outings and excursions. Suddenly, every detail seems interesting and worthy of a capture – all angles must be photographed, every landmark requires my attention, I cannot leave any stone unturned. It’s a case of – have camera, will travel. Or, is it the other way around?

I take a few more shots of the museum’s exterior – there seems to be a never ending supply of architecture scapes to document. A pop of red against a stark white exterior, here; a cool industrial detail, over there; immaculate gardens punctuated with tall palms abound.

As is the usual scenario these days, whilst I snap, Ali busies himself elsewhere. This time however, he is sitting in my line of sight, at one of the many steel chairs scattered around Chris Burden’s famed sculpture of 202 restored cat iron antique street lamps named Urban Light, engrossed in what seems to be the museum catalogue. I wonder if he’s really reading something that interesting; I bet he’d rather be doing anything but. This is what marriage is all about, I console myself, I am sure the vows alluded to a dedication in equal parts to one another’s hobbies, til death do us part. Ali and his music, me and my photography.

I remember the last trip we’d made to the museum, around two years ago. Back then, I was likely suffering from tunnel-vision, more distracted with the action of ticking LACMA off of my list of pre-NYC-relocation LA-must-see’s as opposed to taking photographs of it. Prior to our trip back to the East Coast, I didn’t pay nearly as much attention to the details as I do now.

I must have already seen the museum’s 4-year-old Broad Contemporary building, though I can’t really be sure as I am sketchy on the details. Today however, I can’t get enough of it. Its architectural design intrigues me – the red fire escape style staircase that zigzags from top to bottom of one of its sides inspires a series of clicks. The red-on-white is reminiscent of pop-art, and brings to mind Warhol. Incidentally, his 1964 oil painting of the Campbell’s Soup Can on canvas, hangs within.

What I am certain of is that I had not seen the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion on the previous visit. Opened in 2010, this is an open plan museum with rotating exhibits, currently showing an enviably curated California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way. Right now, I cannot keep my camera lens away from the building’s exterior. Luckily, it stands opposite the Broad building, which brings me closer to where Ali – still nose-deep in literature – is sitting.

Feeling it too soon to be heading inside – the late afternoon light makes everything look so photogenic – I suggest to Ali that we enjoy a drink prior to viewing the art. We have the time; the museum is open late on Fridays. I had noticed the Modernist-inspired Ray’s restaurant and Stark Bar during my rounds of the exterior, newly constructed and recently opened. We sit in its retro-styled outdoor area and order a round of drinks – a glass of red for me, an artisan-prepared cocktail – tequila muddled with fresh orange peel – for Ali.

As so happens with those who are food-obsessed, drinks lead to a light dinner – we order hamachi, sausage pizza, sea bream in broth. Besides, this place is so chic and pleasant; it puts most other art institution eateries to shame. I insist that every dish is photographed – they beg for my camera’s attention.

Looking at the Renzo Piano designed indoor dining space from the corner of my eye, I suddenly recall a photo I’d seen of a similar construction taken by the late Julius Shulman. Inspired, I excuse myself from the table for a moment – it is a model subject, I need to take a photo of its lines while there is still a good natural light.

As I get up, Ali looks at me, mid-bite in his pizza slice, and muffles, “Just please don’t leave me sitting here for too long.” No, of course not.

A Sunday Thank You Note

It’s been six months since I started my blog, Inspired By Travel, and I will be eternally grateful for it.

Not only did it push me to write about my greatest passion in the world – travel – but it urged me to take more photographs to better tell the story. I have always enjoyed writing though I never knew I’d embrace photography as much as I have; I owe alot of that to crafting these posts.

Spot the (easter) egg ~ contemporary art at LACMA, CA.

Sharing my posts with a community of readers has been the best thing to come out of the blogging experience. Knowing that an image, words, or a quote evoked a positive emotion – whether it be across the world, or across the room – is for me, the most inspiring thing ever.

At The Getty Villa, Malibu, CA

In that vein, I’d like to thank some bloggers for the awards they have nominated me for; I am so happy to have received them. Thank you to All the pretty jars and MiltonJohns Photography for the Versatile Blogger Award, and My thoughts, pics and personal opinions for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. These three blogs are all so different but inspiring in their passion and points of view. Click on the links above to find out why.

I wanted to share some posts that have made me smile; I nominate their blogs for those awards as listed below. I hope they will make you smile. Thank you!

THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD

An Easter fix. The photos are divine – hot cross buns!. This post is delicious to just to look through. Not That I’m Egging You On… | Assia’s Kaleidoscope.

No matter in what part of the world, this blogger always posts excellent photos of those travels. Here’s one taken in my hometown of Sydney. Wanderers in Sydney « A Certain Slant of Light Photography.

Iran is a country I would love to visit. Until then, this blogger is giving me an on-the-road account of their experience. Almost Nothing/ Dasht-e Kavir « A Vagabondage.

The Met Museum in NY is one of my favourite places. The photographs in this post make me want to visit again. Going to the Met | barbaraelka.

Brazil and lots of colour. Yes, please. APRIL 02 COLOUR BLIND……….. « shpics.

Violets remind me of Sydney and I always associate them with the memory of my lovely grandmother. I just learned that they are symbolic of love, and that the flowers can be made into tea. This post made me smile wide. Nature in your Yard – Heralds of Spring. « Seasons Flow.

THE VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD

An artist and an inspiration, every post is worthy of an award. Here’s the latest – you can scroll from it, backwards: Vestiges: Curiosities, Continuations, Comparisons « draw and shoot.

Prepare to be wowed by the photographs on this blog. Here’s a favourite of mine: Grand Central Terminal | Travel Photography by Dmitrii Lezine.

Spring heralds the start of cherry blossom season. The photos in this post are exquisite.Cherry Blossom « Cornwall – A Photographic Journey.

Tropical flowers (love those fragrant frangipanis), nostalgia, and avocado on toast – this post is reason enough to fly to Malaysia. Mornings in the Garden « Skybambi.

A lovely post on Brighton – prompted by putting “pen to paper .. write about a place which you treasure,” accompanied by two gorgeous photos. Brighton: A Treasured Place (#wpthu) « Mufidah Kassalias.

From across the Atlantic, it’s nice to share a mutual love of nature with this blogger. Little Ladybird « Little Trot.

Cirque du Soleil, Hollywood