Back in February I went on a location shoot for work in LA, and I've finally finished editing all my photos to share. It was my first trip out to the west coast and I thoroughly enjoyed my time soaking up some sun and taking in everything SoCal had to offer. The shoot went really well and we came back with some great photography for Life is Good's new Summer and upcoming Fall product. This was a great way to explore the city for the first time as we shot in five different location across LA over three days. I also had the opportunity to spend some extra time over the weekend to do some exploring of my own.
I'm excited to share some of my personal work I shot on the trip! California is like a whole new world compared to New England, and I was so inspired by the color palettes and beautiful light. There's a lot of work to look at here, so kudos to anyone that makes it through this entire post.
We started off the shoot in Pasadena where we booked this gorgeous midcentury home to stage our Life is Good pool party. I was blown away by how incredible all the homes are in the area and excited to get a couple interior shots on the trip.
We then made our way over to the Eagle Rock Rec Center for some more "urban" settings in the shoot. This wrapped up the first day of shooting and we enjoyed some cocktails and vegan pizza at Mohawk Bend before heading back to the hotel to get some much needed jet-lagged sleep before day two.
Our second shoot day took place at another incredible home in Topanga Canyon. This area felt so surreal as it's tucked away in the hills and spattered with multi-million dollar homes, insanely winding roads and beautiful views.
We took a break in the afternoon to hop over to a quick second location at a cactus park in Calabasas. After wrapping up a couple shots there (not leaving un-scathed by a couple cactus quills), we headed back to the home in the canyons for some sunset shots of the mountain views and it was so beautiful! Everyone was so completely wiped from the shoot that we all returned to the hotel, so I decided to run out and get my first taste of In-N-Out. I couldn't make the trip out to LA without trying it, and it obviously didn't disappoint.
The last shoot day was a beach day, and because we wanted to get some sunset shots we had an afternoon call time leaving the morning open to explore. I decided to head down to Venice Beach where I rented a bike and rode approximately 12 miles of the coastline through Santa Monica and back. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip as it was nice to coast down the beach and take in the atmosphere.
I then headed over to the shoot located at El Matador Beach in Malibu. It was such a quintessential stop on our LA excursion. There really isn't much to say here - everything about this location was beautiful and unreal, and it was a great way to wrap up the week. After shooting we loaded up the vehicles and reflected on the shoot over drinks and apps at Soho House, and from there we all parted ways to explore the city for the rest of the weekend. This was such an amazing shoot and I loved having the opportunity to work alongside such a kickass crew!
I grabbed a rental car and made my way to the Airbnb in Hollywood, but not before heading to Silver Lake for a matcha latte and to check out a couple vintage, art, and vinyl stores (such an LA sentence...). I gave myself just enough time to find my place, drop off my bags, and head over to Griffith Observatory for sunset. I knew this was the one tourist trap I had to subject myself to as I couldn't return from LA to my family without a photo of the Hollywood sign. It was a nice little hike and the views were beautiful as the sun was setting. After getting my fill of photos I headed back to get ready for one of the other best parts of my trip - the search for LA's signature Danger Dog.
My search for LA's danger dog was a bit of an adventure. I'm sure anyone who knows the city (or hot dog establishments) would be surprised to learn that I didn't end up visiting Pink's - an LA institution. I've had my fair share of chili dogs and instead I decided that I would take on the task of finding an authentic danger dog on the late night streets of LA. In my research I learned a lot about these illegal street carts, and how this is the best albeit sketchiest route to take if you're looking for a true danger dog. After about an hour of searching, unfortunately my hungry stomach got the best of me and I decided to throw in the towel and visit my backup plan: Dirt Dog. Dirt Dog has taken the original idea of the danger dog and expanded it a bit, but it was the closest I could find to the traditional dog and oh my god was it delicious.
What sets the Danger Dog apart is that it's wrapped in bacon. I was a little unsure that it would be too intense as I'm not big into the bacon-wrapped-everything fad, but it added so much flavor and really made it stand out against other signature hot dogs. I ordered two different kinds; the one on the left being the closest to the traditional danger dog with a bacon-wrapped dog, toasted lobster bun, grilled onions, red and green peppers, a green chile spread, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and even more bacon bits on top. There is a whole lot going on here but the flavor combinations were incredible. It was also my first time having mayonnaise on a hot dog and I'm honestly here for it. The dog on the right I was a little more adventurous with and tried some new flavor combinations. This dog; also wrapped in bacon with a toasted lobster bun, was topped with chimichurri sauce, guacamole, cilantro, lime, street corn, and of course more bacon bits. This one was pretty good overall, but I wasn't a huge fan of the added sweetness from the corn. Just writing about these is making me want to fly back out there for more!
As my trip was coming to an end, I decided to spend the rest of my time enjoying my Airbnb by relaxing in the tub looking out over west Hollywood. I woke up early on my last morning on the west coast to photograph a quick little home tour of my Airbnb before hopping on a plane back to reality.
My trip to LA was incredible and I'm so glad I was able to have this experience. The west coast is beautiful and there were definitely a few moments where I considered dropping everything and preparing to move across the country. I'll just have to plan another trip to explore more of California! Thanks a bunch to anyone that stuck it out to read this entire post - especially the parts where I get overly excited about hot dogs. 🌭👌🏻