Tale of Two Ceilings by Eric Beteille

71Above in downtown Los Angeles shows how it spent its money, above, and Avignone's in "downtown" Montrose just shows its money.

Above, Skylounge at 71Above, a high-end cocktail experience on the high end of downtown Los Angeles, California. It offers views from the 71st floor of the US Bank tower, serving $8 oysters, $16 Moscow mules, and $108 shots of 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle.  A beehive of architectural interest accents the ceiling for well-heeled patrons below.

Below, Avignone's, a ground-floor dive bar in the middle of suburban Montrose, California. It offers a sliver of window-free darkness between an ice-cream shop and a clothing store, slinging $5 bottled beer and $5 Jack and Diets. No food. Cash only. A blanket of scribbled dollar bills are thumb-tacked to the ceiling for sleepy patrons below.

Bar photos and more on my Instagram feed.

"Wait! I'm Unarmed!" by Eric Beteille

Saturday I unwittingly became part of an international incident. The local edition of International Pillow Fight Day took place in Los Angeles at Pershing Square, so I ventured downtown to capture the glee, the mêlée, the flying feathers. Much to my chagrin, the camera didn't protect me from getting directly involved, with at least 3 good blows from pillow-wielding soldiers. And trying to distinguish myself as an unarmed photographer, an impartial correspondent, there to document events, was no defense.

See the rest of my Flickr gallery for the 2017 Pershing Square Pillow Fight.

Guess Who's Bach by Eric Beteille

A photographer's dream. An active big-city train station, interesting passengers coming and going. And a 10-hour marathon of live performances from some of the area's most talented classical musicians. The audience and the performers (and the light and the sounds) constantly changing throughout the day. This was Bach in the Subways LA 2017 and here are some highlights from my Flickr gallery of the event. Bach on!

Union Station, Los Angeles

Toe Tapper

Waiting for Cue

Pensive Stringer

Fans of All Ages

Are Your Pictures Worth 1,000 Words? by Eric Beteille

Thanks to everyone who organized and attended 2017's World IA Day Los Angeles! As promised in my presentation about optimizing visual content, here are my 10 criteria for creating and selecting images for digital experiences. (See, you didn't have to write them down!) 

  • Leading Lines (50 words)
  • Foreground/Background (50 words)
  • Rule of Thirds (50 words)
  • Framing (50 words)
  • Informative (100 words)
  • Emotive (100 words)
  • Real (100 words)
  • Eyeful (100 words)
  • Interestingness (200 words)
  • Interestedness (200 words)

And here's Ellie demonstrating a few of the principles (Rule of Thirds, Real, Interestedness) in an image to save and share.

Use these criteria to evaluate photos, illustrations, video stills and other visual content on your own websites, apps, email, ads, kiosks and any other digital presentations. They'll go a long way toward enticing, informing and motivating your users. 

Like a Half-Price European City by Eric Beteille

Gods of thunder roll past Mexico City's historic center; photo by Eric Beteille

When I say Mexico City to many of my American friends, they think Mexico: dusty borders, crazy cartels, the politics of immigration.

That's like saying Washington DC and thinking El Paso. They're worlds apart. Mexico City feels more European: teeming with 21 million residents, countless cathedrals, palaces, museums, public squares and parks.

And for travelers, the capital of Mexico costs much less than its European counterparts. On the high end, expect US$25 to US$30 for the best meals in town, around US$100 per night for the finest hotels. And street prices are much lower: less than US$1 for tacos, ice cream cones and subway tickets.

I recently returned from a 7-day visit to Ciudad Mexico -- just a 3-hour flight from Southern California -- and one of my photos, Gods of Thunder, is selected for today's Flickr Explore section.  Enjoy that dusky view of the Metropolitan Cathedral, backed by rolling thunder clouds, and then check out the rest of my Mexico City photos.

Selfie Rivera

Urban Meets Agricultural

Family Selfie by Eric Beteille

Right timing, right place, right button

Presidents Day, I walked up the hill to Griffith Observatory. Even though the building was closed, the outdoor grounds were hopping with tourists. As the sun faded behind the Hollywood Hills, the increasingly-present selfie sticks came out in force. This particular couple was dedicated to getting a perfect shot, at dusk, with the Hollywood Sign in the background an easily-distracted baby making eye contact with the lens. It took a few minutes and at least a dozen snaps, but I think they nailed it. Thanks to the Los Angeles Times for choosing my image for its Southern California Moments series.