I was fortunate enough to have the following four days after my business trip off, that I decided to drive back to the L.A. the very same night that I came back to Independence from our trip. I went down and stayed with a friend and got to do some real exploring on L.A. Wow is all I can say.
Being in downtown L.A. at night is a whole trip within itself. I enjoyed the people-watching and just exploring the city. I loved going up to Griffith Park and getting to go to the observatory up there. Looking down over the city was also pretty cool. It still amazes me that it is the mecca that it is, when looking around, it appears as though there is little more than desert. The little coyote in the photos popped out of nowhere while we were driving around the Hollywood Hills. He stood in the road and stared at us for awhile before some cops on bicycles scared him away.
I especially enjoyed walking around the Santa Monica Pier at night. The ocean was beautiful and the water was relaxing. As much as I enjoy my internship, it was nice to get away from the desert for a little while. I was totally excited to see a “Zoltar” machine as well. Can you say “Big”! I must say my fortune hasn’t been too far from the truth as well.
I had the pleasure of getting to go to Los Angeles through my internship at the Manzanar National Historic Site. I went to L.A. for my first time on a business trip to do oral history interviews for our Oral History Program at Manzanar. It was amazing to finally get there! I have been wanting to see L.A. for the past six years, and I finally got to go. We went to Little Tokyo to go to the Japanese American Museum which was really fascinating. I interact with many visitors on a daily basis, quite a bit have told me about this museum. It was great to finally get to see what all of the hype was about.
I was especially excited to get to see the replica of Toyo Miyatake’s camera. Toyo Miyatake ran a photography studio in L.A. before being put in the Manzanar War Relocation Camp during WWII. Cameras were not allowed in Manzanar, but Miyatake snuck in some lenses and created a camera. A good bit of the photos of Manzanar are around because of him. Ansel Adams and Dorthea Lange also took photographs of Manzanar. I had the pleasure of meeting Miyatake’s son Archie a couple of months ago, he was also interned at Manzanar. Archie’s son, Alan Miyatake, who I also met, continues to run Toyo Miyatake Studios in Los Angeles.
Among the excitement of seeing the Hollywood sign for the first time, I also got to see the Pacific Ocean. I woke up extra early at my hotel in Ventura one morning just so that I could walk to the beach to see this. I had been wanting to see if for a very long time, so it was awesome to finally get there. I remember walking up over the sandy ridge to be greeted by the vast blue water. It seemed strikingly more or a light blue than the Atlantic Ocean.
Overall it was a really amazing trip. I got to meet some really cool internees. Their kindness and warm welcomes will always stay with me. It was really interesting to be able to hear their stories first-hand about what it was like at Manzanar. I felt really fortunate to be able to hear their stories and be apart of the oral history process as the videographer.
Here is a collection of shots I took last week in Independence, Bishop, and Death Valley.