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Bellgrave Place. Leica M10-P with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 © Thorsten Overgaard.
   
 
   

The Story Behind That Picture: "Bellgave Place"

By: Thorsten Overgaard. February 2, 2020.

 

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I sometimes go places

In Los Angeles, I've long wanted to take a walk in the hills above Sunset Boulevard, around the time when the sun softly sets behind the mountains. Finally, a few weeks ago, my daughter and I took a walk down the hill and made some photographs of what we saw.

Los Angeles is the place I spend most of my time these days, so I guess that qualifies it as my home. It's also the place where my big(gest) loudspeakers reside, which definitely makes it feel like home.

But Los Angeles is a strange city. Despite the rich history and all the icons featured in movies (most recently Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), the city doesn't inspire walkabouts and photography on a daily basis: It is not a walking city like New York, London, Paris or Tokyo.

Los Angeles looks amazing from a car, but is quite boring to walk in.

To take advantage of Los Angeles and the many possibilities for iconic photographs, one has to drive 30 or 60 minutes to a location, photograph it, and then drive 30 or 60 minutes back home.

I'm embarrassed to say I do this only a few times a year, and often only when others invite me to go, for example to the historic train station in Downtown Los Angeles, or to the Hollywood sign. I just don't find the city very inspiring, even though it is, as I said, quite iconic and historic on so many levels.

I suppose it’s embarrassing that people from around the world travel far by plane to experience this city, but I who wake up in it, am too lazy to spend half an hour in a car to do the same.


Walkabout in Los Angeles with the Overgaard Workshop. Most locals from Los Angeles have never walked in the city. obody walks in LA, everybody drives.
Walkabout in Los Angeles with the Overgaard Workshop. Most locals from Los Angeles have never walked in the city. Nobody walks in LA, everybody drives.

 

We did it

But a few weeks ago, my oldest daughter and I took an Uber for the 6 minutes (!) drive to the top of the road above the Stahl House and then walked down the hills towards Sunset Avenue just as the sun settled.

It's not an unlikely idea, because when I do workshops in LA, that is what we do: We go explore the fairly boring streets of Los Angeles by foot. I take notice that local folk from Los Angeles are always amazed about their city, Nobody walks in Los Angeles, so the experience of walking any street with a camera is an experience they’ve never had before.

 

Hillside Avenue. Leica M10-P with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 © Thorsten Overgaard.
Hillside Avenue. Leica M10-P with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

So, it shouldn't have surprised me that my daughter and I had a blast: Some breathtaking views across the hilly landscape with houses that seem to have been dropped randomly onto the hills. And we got to explore the houses close-up, which I look at every day from a distance. Also a handful of new houses are being built, which we could walk into and talk with the workers. Finally, we found a few really nice houses that we made a note about, because that is what Los Angeles has; a lot of hidden gems that make you want to live there the rest of your life.

 


Leica M10-P with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

An unexpected turn

In our stride up a side road to see one of the new buildings being constructed, there was Bellgave Place. In that exact moment it looked like a poem of light, colors and lines.

All I had to do was lift my camera, focus and take the photo. That's fundamentally how simple it was to make this photograph "Bellgave Place" that in the following days got a lot of likes everywhere I showed it.

 

Bellgrave Place. Leica M10-P with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 © Thorsten Overgaard.
Bellgrave Place. Leica M10-P with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. Technically, it's photographed at daylight Kelvin 5400 (which makes the walls that warm from the 2200 Kelvin sunset light, and the shades colder from the 7000 Kelvin shade light). 800 ISO at f/3.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Recognition

I recently decided to start posting photos to the LFI Gallery again, so I posted this photograph. And was happy to see that it was included as a Leica Master Shot.

In general, I take note when Instagram likes, Facebook likes and "likes in person" peak on a photograph. It's a way of learning and seeing what others see.

 

The photo by Thorsten Overgaard "Bellgave Pl, Los Angeles" was included in the LFI Gallery "Leica Master Shot".
The photo by Thorsten Overgaard "Bellgave Pl, Los Angeles" was included in the LFI Gallery "Leica Master Shot".

 

More to come ...

I hope you enjoyed today's Story Behind That Picture. As always feel free to email me with ideas, questions, suggestion.

 

 

         
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The Stahl House. Leica M10-P with Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 © Thorsten Overgaard.
The Stahl House. Leica M10-P with Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

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Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
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Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
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Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
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Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
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Above: Bellgrave Place. Leica M10-P with Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 © Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

 

Photo: Sheikh Khalid Al-Thani.
Photo: Sheikh Khalid Al-Thani.

Thorsten Overgaard is a Danish born photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing for magazines and teaching workshops which cater to Leica enthusiasts. You can follow him at his television channel www.magicoflight.tv

 

 



 


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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to thorsten@overgaard.dk for
advice, ideas or improvements.

 

 
           
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