Monday, December 12, 2011

Central Library: Downtown LA's Block of Knowledge


From the first days getting situated with my new neighborhood downtown, the Central Library has been near the top of my list of things I have wanted to shoot.  

As I penetrate deeper into the realm of professional photography I find inspiration in so many things. Today, December 12th, 2011 marks my 1 year anniversary living in California...Let this post serve as a celebration, and also a secret desire...

...Perhaps one day my work documenting the many treasures of SoCal will be in this very library!


Enjoy the photo's from my adventure strolling through this beautiful Library.  Check out the full album here or over on the j. lee photography page.  Also, be sure to check out for more photo fun!


Thanks for reading!


Friday, December 2, 2011

LAPD & The Eviction of The OccupyLA Protesters

This last tuesday, November 29th, 2011 started out like any other.  I got up, checked e-mail, ran some errands around town, and ate some food.  All in all, a pretty un-eventful day.  4 blocks away from my apt. downtown, rumors had been circling for days about a possible raid of The OccupyLA protesters from City Hall by the LAPD.  By midnight 'un-eventful' would no longer describe the day, as it was replaced by a somewhat coordinated chaos.

I was on my way to the bar to grab a drink, when I decided to randomly check my twitter.  twitter isn't a source I often check for news, but after a quick check of my feed I saw @blogdowntown  post "Twitter is abuzz this evening with the idea that LAPD might clear the City Hall Occupy LA encampment tonight. If so, we'll be there."

A massive hoard of LAPD officers flooded the streets surrounding City Hall in Downtown LA.  Reports estimate 1,400 officers were on location to Evict the Wall St. Protesters.

I grabbed my Canon Rebel xs and prepared myself for a genuine adventure.  At 12:45am I made a peanut butter & jelly sammie, grabbed a bottle of water and hurried out to the streets.  I could hear a handful of helicopters swarming the area from my apt. and knew it might be difficult to get to the heart of the action if LAPD had already set up their blockades....  Unfortunately, I was right in thinking the blockades were already up...
Fortunately, I thrive off jumping fences, crawling behind benches and speed-tip-toeing past authorities.  This wasn't my first time playing free-runner with my camera slinged around my back, but it has certainly been the most exhilarating to date.

There were a few other citizen reporters that couldn't break the blockade, nor could they repeat my fence domination.  I felt bad, but had to keep movin' (sorry guys). Once I had slid through the lines, I had about 200 ft. of open road I had to cross.  It was the only route to the epicenter of the Eviction, the lawns of City Hall.  I straightened up, and walked with confidence.  A handful of officers passed by and I said to myself, 'you belong here, you belong here, you belong here!!!'  keeping my eyes straight ahead, the officers passed by without a 2nd glance...whew!

The sea of officers I witnessed on arrival was shocking.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Never have I seen so many uniformed police descend on a single location.  By the time I reached ground zero the tent city of the Protesters was in shambles.  Later, protesters would explain to me how they were given little warning before officers began tearing their tents down with knives.  One protester even said she and those near her were 'beaten.'  According to @blogdowntown 292 arrests were made throughout the night

Once I established my presence as part of the media, I made my way around the chaos, talked to protesters and got my photos.  The police lines looked more like military units ready to react to any problems from protesters.  It was an experience I will never forget.

Enjoy the rest of the photos and check out another great first hand report of the OccupyLA Eviction from @blogdowntown.  Check out the full album here or over on the j. lee photography page.  Peek for more photo fun as well!

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

RODEO Drive: A Black Friday in SoCal!

Check out the full album here!  Peek the j. lee photography page as well as for more photo fun!

To celebrate one of the most unique days of the holiday season here in America, I decided to take a stroll down one of the most expensive streets known to capitalism....Rodeo [(] Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

Black Friday has always been such a strange part of Thanksgiving weekend.  Die-Hard, and somewhat fannatical shoppers camp out to snag their annual dream deals around the country...but not here...not on Rodeo Dr.
Many of the worlds finest designers line this stretch of California road, and I was intrigued by the dynamic of the crazy deal-busting Black Friday meeting the famously lavish street of luxury.

It's interesting how the levels of income vary so widely between the upper, middle and lower classes.  The things we value, desire and covet seem to transform as our net worth grows.

But the underlying compulsion to consume remains a constant.  So no, you won't see the wealthy regulars of Rodeo Dr. layered in fleece and blankets outside Versace on Thursday night.  But it doesn't mean you won't find the spirit of Black Friday in the air around here!

Enjoy the full Album here, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Goodluck to all you Black Friday patrons!  Don't get trampled outside a wallie world :)



'oh hunny, these bags are just so heavy!'  '.......c'mon dear'

Thanks for reading!

p.s. be sure to check out my Thanksgiving Day feature on fellow blogger Amber Wilson's "Where To Guide"


Monday, November 14, 2011

Union Station: A Day in Black & White

Enjoy the photo's and check out The Full Album here or over at the j. lee photography page!  Check out more photo fun at where you can purchase your favorite prints from this and my many other albums  :)

I have been dying to shoot this Album for months.  Every morning I lace up my kicks and head out for a morning run through the beautiful downtown streets of LA.  I have put together a solid free-running route that really gets me ready for the day.  Running, jumping and spinning off ledges, walls and anything else I can find, the city's streets are my playground.

One particular morning a few months back, before I perfected my route, I ran out my building with no particular direction in mind...thats when I stumbled upon the uniquely aesthetic, beautifully historic staple of Los Angeles transportation, Union Station.

Located a few blocks northeast of downtown LA, Union Station is so much more than just a rail station.  It centrally connects all the corners of some of the most famous geographic area's in the world.  Union Station offers it's passengers something we as Americans value above almost everything else...freedom.

hollywood, venice beach, santa monica, santa barbara, san diego, huntington beach, downtown LA, beverly hills, the oc, newport beach and the list goes on.  All of Southern California is accessible from Union Station and that is a beautiful thing.  

After stumbling upon this gem, I starting planning my return, and this time I would be prepared with my canon rebel xs.  

I envisioned all the various aspects that make up Union Station painted in a thick coat of Black & White.  The scenes were so vivid in my eyes, I knew that when I returned to shoot the album, it was going to be a success.

Opting once again to leave my car parked in the garage, I hopped on the subway just outside my building, and began my mission to bring to life all the photographic visions I had bouncing around my head.  A day in Black &White was underway!

Plans for SoCal's 'Union' Station began as early as 1915.  However, due to disagreements over the site location and project financing, its construction was delayed until 1934 and was finally completed 5 years later in 1939.  

This blog is about my adventures throughout Southern California.  The land of endless summers, and the place where life's dreams come to flourish and grow.  Now while I do love my car, I see SoCal's Union Station becoming more and more apart of my adventures in the future.

Enjoy the photo's and check out The Full Album here or over at the j. lee photography page!  Check out more photo fun at where you can purchase your favorite prints from this and my many other albums  :)

for more information on LA's beautiful Union Station check out it's amazing history or just come and experience it for yourself!

Thanks for reading!