Pasadena City Hall

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I have been spending more and more time in Pasadena recently, so this weekend I decided to take a trip out to the city hall here to snap of a few shots and see what I could find. Pasadena city hall is a beautiful mediterranean style structure that was built in the 1920’s. The building has been used in various movies and TV shows over the years including the mission impossible tv series and Charlie Chaplin’s movie “The Great Dictator”

Weekends are definitely the best time to come here and shoot, traffic outside is minimal and the offices within the building are all closed and less people and staff are present. Upon arriving at the hall it soon became clear this is a popular place for photographers, I counted at least 3 or 4 other serious shooters around and 2 or 3 different wedding parties shooting within the grounds, the premises has ground and first level hallways in the rear and a garden area that are all equally beautiful and have many photographic possibilities.

In all four corners of the rear grounds there are some interesting stair wells that make for some great shots, making your way up to the second floor you get some great views of the grounds, the main dome, the San Gabriel mountains and parts of the Pasadena city skyline. The whole structure is extremely open to the sky and has some darker low light areas which makes this a great place for trying out some HDR shots to correctly expose everything.

The highlight of my evening shooting out there came when I was on the first floor taking a break and looking out over the main entrance, a girl from one of the wedding parties walked through all on her own and with the low evening sunlight made for some great shadow and lighting, it was one of them shots where you dont have time to meter or really frame, you just point and shoot. Because of this the shots were a little over-exposed, but I managed to salvage them somewhat in post, guess I got lucky 🙂

All in all a great evenings shooting, the lower light in the golden hour really makes the city hall glow a nice orange/yellow and if you can dodge the odd car and photoshop out the odd limousine from the wedding parties you can get some nice shots from out front of the whole building, I highly recommend anyone in the Los Angeles area who shoots and hasn’t been here yet to do so, there’s so many great opportunities within the city hall grounds if you go looking you’re guaranteed to come away with some keepers 🙂

All shots are either single or multiple exposures, all taken with Canon 5D MK III and 17-40mm F4L or 24-105mm F4L

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