What would it take for you to see Los Angeles in a different light?
For most photographers who gather in LA for a Flickr meetup, the resulting body of work tends to be the city's beautiful urban landscape: street art, historic buildings, barrios and other colorful enclaves. Indeed, astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted a photo of Los Angeles from space last week and remarked, "The grey of pavement and dense population is visible from Earth orbit."
But 19-year-old Pomona resident David Talley wanted to show his Flickr friends a different side of the Los Angeles area. After organizing a successful meetup in Indiana in 2011 for his 35 "closest Internet friends," as he put it, Talley was looking for another opportunity to bring them all together again. Talley finally got his chance Dec. 30, 2012, when he hosted about 50 guests for a one-day photography meetup in Southern California. He took his guests, who hailed from Los Angeles, Oregon, Washington D.C., Illinois, Georgia, New York and Canada, to the Sturtevant Falls in the Angeles National Forest. And they were stunned at what they saw.
"The first thing they all freaked out about were the mountains, which I live at the base of," wrote Talley in an email to The Huffington Post. "Most of the photographers who attended live in really flat areas or large forested places, so it was quite a sight for them to see mountains towering above them!"
Photos courtesy of LA Flickr Meetup Group. Story continues below.
What made the event all the more special was the fact that Markus Spiering, head of product at Flickr, attended the event. Spiering spent the day with Talley and the rest of the Flickr photographers and told HuffPost that he's "rather fascinated" that photographers like Talley are using the site to organize events. "People use Flickr in so many different ways," he wrote to HuffPost. "For some it's the primary way to keep up with their friends and family, for others it's an outlet for their art and creativity and others connect to interests that are relevant to them through our community."
Talley, now a full-time fine art photographer, used to work for Chipotle Mexican Grill. He has been shooting seriously for the past two years now, and he called Los Angeles one of his favorite photography subjects.
"I think what I love most about photographing Los Angeles is that I have such a wide variety of backdrops to use for my work," explained Talley. "I can set a shipwreck scene at 5 A.M., be on a snow expedition by 10 A.M., and catch a beautiful, painted sunset at the desert by 5 P.M."