I recently returned from a weeklong vacation–my first in a few years–to Los Angeles. I had a wonderful time seeing old friends and meeting new ones and, of course, taking pictures. In addition to LA, I made an unplanned side-trip to Las Vegas to catch O by Cirque du Soleil and a side-side-trip to Hoover Dam!

One of the things I love about shooting in LA is the variety of scenes within the city. At 500 square miles Los Angeles makes it a bit difficult not to have any sort of variety. From The Getty Center to the beaches of Malibu (which, yes, I know is technically not Los Angeles) to the mountains housing Griffith Observatory to the urban landscape downtown, it was rare that I did not find something unique to shoot.

In addition to branching out subject-wise–I don’t normally shoot architecture or still life–I also did a bit more technically with these shots. I finally used my 5D Mark III’s in-camera HDR function. I was pretty impressed by the results…until I downloaded a demo of Nik Collection. HDR Efex Pro and Dfine are awesome! Just take a look at Mickey’s Fun Wheel for an example. A few other images, especially those taken at night, are also HDR.

I also took advantage of the Lightroom 5 Beta (LR5) released about two weeks ago. LR5’s new automatic leveling feature came in handy this trip as I learned that my shots are pretty unbalanced. You’ll also notice two shots from Getty entitled Against the Wall. The rather amazing transform was all done in LR5. It’s not perfect; but, I am throughly impressed by the output.

If you have any questions about Nik or LR5, leave a comment or get in touch via social media. I would love to see what others are are doing with their work and welcome any critiques on my own work.

I’m done writing. You can look at pictures now!

Day 1: The Getty Center Day 2: Disneyland Day 3: I Got Sick

I scratched my cornea! This made it quite difficult to shoot in sunny LA! Thus, I only have a few snapshots of Michelle.

Day 4: O Day 5: Hoover Dam Day 6: Downtown LA