Day 7: Los Angeles!

Currently, it is our third day in Los Angeles. But, because of my late update on blog, I will rewind the time to our first day in here. Before I begin, I just wanted to note that I didn’t have a chance to take photographs on that day…What a shame on me. I am disappointed at myself (I even carried my camera around the whole day!). Anyhow, here is how day 7 went.

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After our arrival in Los Angeles, we first went to get TAP card, a handy, convenient card for metro lines (bus and train). If using public transportation here, TAP card is a must! That way, there is no need to pull out $1.75 (which is the fare per ride) from your wallet every time; just ‘tap’ the card to the reader and there you go. Also, there are variations of types available, from 1 day to 7 days, and even to a month. We set to the City Hall of Los Angeles (as indicated by the TAP card website), only to find out that the office was closed during the weekends. It was a let down, but hey, we learned a lesson here. Research public transportation and fare beforehand! As much common it sounds, this is very important (or so I learned).

Later we visited Annenberg Space for Photography. It was absolutely beautiful! Their current exhibition is titled “Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Challenge“, which discusses about effects of rising sea level around the world through photography. It included photographs by Iwan Baan, Stephen Wilkes, Paula Bronstein, and Jonas Bendiksen. I wasn’t familiar with any of the photographers in the exhibits, but it didn’t take too long for me to fall in love with them.Their photographs narrate a story by itself, that even without the aid of description, it contains enough information to enfold what it is about.

There was also series of short clips that featured the photographers’ voice and behind the scenes, and that made them my idols in an instant! I especially was struck by Stephen Wilkes’ film. Photography is visual, and in some cases, disturbing content may appear. On the contrary, however, it is the photographer who recreates it into something of a beauty. It is capable of attracting the viewer, and further pulling them into its tangibility. Photography is capable of effecting and causing mental change. If you are around Los Angeles, this needs to be in the to-do-list! It’s also free for admission!

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Day 6: Balboa Park

I’m sorry for the late update (again). I’ve been trying to write blog post constantly, but all the walking drains my energy so much! I eat, edit photographs, and can’t resist the urge to go to bed right after that. Yes, yes, I should have worked out during the semester (which I totally procrastinated on). I am so weak now…

Anyhow, today, my buddy and I are in Los Angeles! We used bus from San Diego for 2 hours ride, and additional 1 hour ride to our hostel. A long day traveling, so we only went around one spot today, which is the Annenberg Space of Photography.

But beforehand, let me finish talking about yesterday in San Diego. We went for a long, long walk to Balboa Park. This park is as awesome as the Golden Gate Park, except it excels in education and intellectual interaction. There are so many museums to visit in here; Museum of the Man (which has an interesting exhibition titled “Instruments of Torture”), San Diego Museum of Art, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and more. The architecture of these museums are also gorgeous! In many of them, there are intricate floral patterns, and the arches fit perfectly with the sunny days in San Diego. Just the way sun comes in through the opening is beautiful.

Amongst all the museum there were, we decided to stop by Museum of Photographic Arts. Although half of its facility was currently under construction, I enjoyed the exhibition so much. In particular, “New Visions: Art and Invention in the 19th Century” was a great inspiration to me. With the time period in the past, it felt like going back to history of photography class all over again. But, seeing the real prints from the past was so much more different from listening to a lecture. The albumen prints in the exhibition had the sharpest, clearest resolution I ever seen amongst others, that some began to transform into an illustration. The techniques were magnificent (too bad that the clouds did not show up because of collodion), and just imaging how hard it would have been for photographers to take an image out in the wild was amazing.

We spent total of 3 hours in there. Totally worth it though!

Tomorrow will be about Los Angeles.

Day 5: Sea World

Hello to sunshine in San Diego! We have traveled down south to San Diego, and have enjoyed the warm winter today. Seriously, it is so warm here compared to Columbus, OH. I only wore a long sleeve shirt and a hoodie, and I was perfectly fine for the entire day (except the evening was a bit chilly). And no, it isn’t the weather that screwed up my head. I decided to skip to Day 5 from Day 3, because Day 4 was spent only for traveling and relaxing (….and I didn’t take any photographs that day…). Just a side note.

Today was the day to enjoy at our fullest. Home works, projects, internships, portfolio…all the words that hovers around our mind everyday were flushed out. In other words, a stress-free day! We chose Sea World as a place to do so; one, because we do miss seeing sea animals, and two, because, who doesn’t want to go to Sea World? When we arrived at Sea World, my excitement level reached its maximum – I haven’t gone to aquarium or sea animal park in years! It’s always different to see them with your own eyes than to see them through a laptop or tv screen.

I was enjoying today so much, that I almost forgot to take photographs. I was especially in constant awe with the killer whale (or Shaun) show. They are so huge, yet they move so swiftly and lightly in the water! Plus, with the amount of water they are able to splash onto the audience, it seems unbelievable that their thin tail can do it.

The emphasis on sea animal rescues conducted by many of the Sea World staffs was one fact I learned about Sea World today. I thought it was solely a theme park where sea animals are presented with some attractions to ride on. Turns out that Sea World has been rescuing many injured animals, as well as babies, and help them with rehabilitation process. At the end of the treatment, they are returned to their home in the sea. Their video, which played before the killer whale show, was full of this information. I appreciated their decision to do so; I think a lot more people should know about this. It’s their way of giving back to the Earth.

Being on a backpacker trip, we had to take two buses in order to get there. Of course, bus stops slows the speed down, so it took total of 1 hour just to get there. I didn’t think it was too bad though; the scenes passing through the bus window are always enjoyable, and tells me a lot about the local lifestyle in that region. One particular feature I noticed so far in San Diego is how low the buildings are. On top of that, the streets seem more friendly than it is in the East. I’m not sure why, but somehow it feels comfortable to walk around in empty street. I need to investigate into that.

Day 3: Pier 39

It was raining the whole day today. I wished for a sunshine in the sky, but guess it didn’t come true (at all). In the down town, the wind was very strong, as well – which made everything worse. Not even an umbrella to cover myself and my camera! But the rain didn’t matter; we made our way to Pier 39 anyways. Didn’t wanted to waste our day San Francisco!

We took the bus #8, going uphill through Chinatown and downwards towards the bay area. Right when I stepped off from the bus, the smell of salt in the air was tickling in my nose. Ahhh, I missed that smell I used to live nearby the bay for a long time, so seeing and feeling it again brought me back many memories from my childhood. There were yachts and boats floating weightless on the sea, pigeons and seagulls flying in the cloudy sky, and most of all, seals were chilling on the deck! It was amazing to see them in their natural habitat!

We also went around the old Jeremiah O’Brien cargo ship. It was active during the World War II, and led succession in many of the missions during the war. The ship was so big that it didn’t feel like it was on the ocean. Waves didn’t even nudge it. The interior and the rooms, as well as the machinery was very cool to see. But I also have to say that the scenery from the ship was spectacular too! You can see the Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the entire hill of San Francisco with unique architectures!

Towards the end, the weather got worse, and we had to go back to our hostel. If it wasn’t for the rain, we were planning to go to Coit Tower to enjoy more scenery – but, we can’t go against mother nature. We’ll save it for the next time. 😉

Day 2: Japan Town and Golden Gate Park

*This post is about yesterday, Dec. 16th, 2014.*

Today was a walking day. We literally started from the heart of downtown towards Japan Town, passing through Haight Ashbury, and to Golden Gate Park towards the beach (Golden Gate Recreational Area) for a perfect sun set — all by foot. Needless to say, it was indeed tiring. But we have been sitting on chairs for the whole semester, and wanted to move around as much as we could during the trip. So instead, this was a great exercise for us!

With a sun beaming at us during the day, we slowly made our way to Japan Town. Walking in the down town San Francisco was exciting to me; you get to see many diversity of people in occupation and race. On top of that, I was more than glad to be in a warm weather. Gosh, this is perfect for winter. We went window shopping in the Japan Center, lured by all the good Japanese food and goods in the display. In the end, we didn’t buy anything, but ramen noodle from Yamada replaced all the guilt we felt.

Steep hills are the most recognizable landscape in San Francisco. I knew it, yes, I knew it through researches. But. I did not expect it in such a steep angle! I thought I was going to roll down the infinite hill if I trip over a stone!! The houses on the streets towards Haigh Ashbury were gorgeous though. Each of them occupied very small portion of a land, and built very narrow, but the intricate design on them were enough to state their history within. The colors were also an additional layer to that. My favorite color palette was purple and gold.

Haigh Ashbury itself was very interesting. Cultures were inter-mixed, and many vintage fashion shops were opened on the street. To me, it was a fun street to walk on.

We then went straight to the Golden Gate Park. Being in a city and surrounded by series of tall office buildings always tires me out so much during the semester. It’s great to be in a city, but with a strong countryside childhood, I often times eager for nature. As I walked through the park I realized that it had everything that I needed. Trees, hills, sport recreations, grass, playground, people…just by walking down the path, I was able to refresh my mind and enjoy the moment. And birds! They were so cute!

I think one mistake we made was not researching enough about the park. It’s been stated in the beginning of this post, but we underestimated its size. For those of you who knows about the park, I’m pretty sure the issue is very clear. For those with no experience, here is a hint: the park is 1,017 acres.

So. We were doomed to walk through more than 50 blocks. And by the time we realized this, it was already half-way through the park. Either way, there was no choice but to move forward. I think this actually brought us to reconnect with nature more though. We were feeling the fresh air, observing our surroundings much carefully, and recording new findings (indeed, we found so many mushrooms in there). All is all, a great time.

By the time we reached the beach, the sun was covered by clouds. We missed the sunset, the air was getting chilly, sprinkle of rain was about to start…everything was about to go out of luck when we saw the immense Pacific Ocean in front of us. Ocean is one of the other elements that we have been missing from the city life, and especially in Columbus, where the nearest water is pretty much the lake Michigan, it was a Christmas present. The smell of the sea in the air and the sound of waves coming and withdrawing, while people strides the beach with the loved ones, was a perfect composition for today’s finale. The muscle aches were gone in an instant, and we stood there for at least 30 mins.

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It’s amazing how close nature is in San Francisco. The down town is full of energy, with rushing traffic and busily filled streets. On the other hand, the quietness in the park transports one into a completely different location. I love it so much.