Wow it’s taken me a long time to get around to writing this, but here is the rest of the trip to L.A. in capsule form. The second day, we were at the Summit by about 11am. I saw Chris Weeks talk about lighting on a budget. I don’t agree with all the things he said, but it was interesting to see his perspective. He doesn’t like strobe lighting because he thinks it makes the models uncomfortable. He prefers natural light and continuous light. My opinion is that it’s the photographer’s job to make the model comfortable, not the light’s job. Besides, if anything makes anyone uncomfortable, it’s 3000W of continuous light pounding down on someone in an enclosed space. A model would feel about as comfortable as a Big Mac under the heat lamps at McDonald’s. Different strokes for different folks, huh?

After that seminar, I had lunch at Baja Fresh, which is a really nice chain of Mexican food restaurants. Their specialty is fresh food, with no preservatives. It’s all prepared on site from fresh ingredients. I had a couple of soft tacos with Mahi Mahi fish in them, and a serving of nacho chips buried in guacamole and fresh salsa from the salsa bar. Yum.

In the afternoon, we watched Pachunka do a play about dA using cardboard cutouts and a Star Wars theme. What a strange and amusing man.

The rest of the day was spent mainly just loafing around and talking to people. That’s probably the best thing about the Summit… meeting and getting to know people from the site.

After the Summit closed, I helped to tear down the 4×6 booth, and load some of dA’s stuff into moving vans. We sat around for a long time because no one knew what to do next. Eventually we decided to get something to eat. We drove through Los Angeles for a while until we got to Spot’s house where we parked and walked to a sidewalk cafe/bakery. They had amazing salads and sandwiches. I have to learn that what looks like enough food for me on a Canadian menu is actually about twice what I can eat on an American menu. Those Americans love to eat! I had a huge pulled pork sandwich in some kind of thick flatbread, and a enormous fresh greens salad. We then went to Spot’s to hang out. It was me, Jeremy, Josh, Spot, Danie, Shae, Brian, Zeruch, and Attila. Danie and I drove back to my uncle’s place afterwards, and I felt the place looked extremely familiar. I had a feeling we were close to Samy’s Camera store, but I wasn’t sure.

The next day, my uncle explained to us how to get to Samy’s. Sure enough, it was right there on North Fairfax where we were last night. I think I have camera store radar. 😛 We drove out there. The store was amazing, although they no longer sell Sigma lenses. Boo! I managed to get away without buying anything. We had lunch at the Farmer’s Market. We drove around the parking lot for 40 minutes looking for a spot. It wasn’t too bad, but it was another lesson in the rudeness of L.A. drivers. At one point about half an hour into the search, someone actually zoomed around us in the parking lot and stole the parking space that we would have gotten. When Los Angeleans are in their cars, it seems like they turn into utter bastards. Interesting phenomenon. Lunch was great though. There are so many interesting food stalls in that market. I eventually decided on Cajun food. I had a big bowl of jumbalaya which came with a salad and some cornbread.

After that we took a drive out to Santa Monica beach with the cameras to take some photos. I had my uncle’s 1Ds. What a sweet machine that is. When I saw the view through the viewfinder with the 12mm lens I almost died. I want it! 😛 Anyway, I took a few shots. The metering, color and focus are all better than the 10D. I wonder how long I’ll be able to hold out without it.

Dinner was at my uncle’s. He made BBQ lamb chops, steak and veggies. It was relaxing to sit on the patio and eat as the sun went down. I stayed up to talk to him and his friend Matthew Hong for a while, then went to bed.

Monday was our last day in Los Angeles. We went back to North Fairfax to have lunch in Little Ethiopia. I had never had Ethiopian food before, and it was a pleasant surprise. It was all vegetarian, with lots of savoury bean and lentil dishes that you eat with a rolled up pancake-type bread. It was tasty. We spent the rest of the day driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. I got some nice photos of parasurfers on the Malibu Beach. We made it all the way up to Oxnard, which is a fairly uninteresting town, but a good turnaround point nonetheless. Then we turned around and came back through Venice Beach. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant. The Thai food is pretty damn good in Los Angeles, probably because there are actual Thai people living there. The only weirdness was the Jalepeno peppers used as condiments. 😐 Otherwise it was a great meal of seafood pad thai, Vietnamese fresh rolls and satay tofu. 😛

We drove for a while after dinner, looking for Long Beach. I’m sure we took a wrong turn somewhere along the line, because we never found it. Eventually we gave up and turned around to go back to the airport. We returned the rental car and got dinged with $42 in gas charges. Note to self: don’t take any rental car agency gas offers. They charge for a full tank of gas, even if you’ve already put $20 in before returning the car 😐

The flights back were highly uneventful. The couple sitting behind us from L.A. to Pittsburgh were obnoxious though. Even though the plane left at midnight, the lady was talking very loudly all night. They were also the only ones on the whole plane who felt it necessary to keep their overhead lights on, so it was really bright while I was trying to sleep. We had a brief stopover in Pittsburgh, then hopped a turboprop plane to Buffalo. It’s been a long time since I was on such a small plane. This one was better than the last one I took to Cleveland though. That one was really old and noisy. I think it had been built in the 1950’s or something. This one was almost as quiet as a jet, and got us to Buffalo in only 40 minutes.

So that’s pretty much it. It was a fun trip. I can’t wait to see what happens next year. 🙂