Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A Gold Line train travels east on the 1st Street bridge in downtown Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Members of the L.A. Philharmonic perform a new percussion concerto by Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

The moon rises over the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Members of the Royal Danish Ballet perform the Bournonville Variations during an opening-night performance at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Dusk settles on the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Andrea Puente Catan performs "Encantamiento" during a musical tribute to her late husband Daniel Catan, an acclaimed composer who died in April. Hundreds of friends and admirers gathered to remember the creator of "Il Postino" and "Salsipuedes" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Neon Trees perform at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Traffic streaks across the Vincent Thomas Bridge.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Electronica artist James Blake performs his gauzy, minimal pieces at the Troubadour.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

The sun sets on the skyline of downtown Los Angeles in a view from the intersection of the Harbor and Century freeways.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp takes the field before a game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Traffic moves past the Theme Building at LAX.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Conrad Tao, 16, performs with the Orange County Pacific Symphony at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A statuette of Jesus stands in the window of a botanica along Anaheim Street in Long Beach.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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Working the night shift

The Rachmaninov rhapsody echoed in my ears as I photographed a 16-year-old prodigy at the piano, blazing crisply through intricate passages of classical music. An usher looked my way, and I waited for a crescendo to drown out the shutter.

Man, I thought, this job can be so extreme. One week you’re in the deafening din of war, and the next at the symphony. I concentrated on the pianist’s face and let the music clear my mind.

I’ve been working nights for the last couple of months. Four to midnight, Sunday to Thursday, the night shift mostly revolves around culture and entertainment. Tonight it’s the ballet, tomorrow the Troubadour, and the next Dodger Stadium. Sprinkle in a few club and restaurant reviews and you have the night shift.

Some photographers dread it. It’s a lot less newsy, and working nights changes your daily rhythms. You go to work when most folks are heading home. Lighting conditions are challenging. And you see your spouse and kids for a few minutes at breakfast before they go about their days.

Truthfully, I don’t enjoy it much. I have kids that need help nightly with homework, and my wife has her own career. It’s hardest on her.

But I cut my teeth as a freelancer at The Times working nights long ago, getting a cultural education in the pas de deux, duets, interludes and acoustic sets. Then, as now, the experiences can be novel and enlightening, even if it’s not my thing.

Still, there are nights that are deathly dull. Sitting alone in the photo lab, I sometimes hear my thoughts bouncing off the walls. What to do? Should I listen to the police scanner? Should I venture into the dark for pictures? Well, maybe I’ll write a blog post.

The short and long hands converge on 12. Deadlines have passed. Time to go home. This week I’m back on days.

1 Comment

  1. June 15, 2011, 10:54 am

    Days or nights, regardless, your images are always powerful, Luis.

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