Los Angeles – Kobe’s Last Ride | Kevin Scott Banks

Los Angeles – Kobe’s Last Ride

I’m back in the Motherland – California! It’s the place where I was “born and raised,” and will always be home in my heart.

I’ve spent the last year and a half running my photography business full time, and haven’t taken any vacations since then. I decided it was time to change that, and California was calling my name.

I grew up as an avid Lakers fan, and Kobe Bryant has always been my favorite basketball player. When I heard he had announced his retirement this season, I realized I’d still never been to a Laker’s game in Los Angeles! I quickly planned an entire trip around a visit to see Kobe’s last hoorah.

I talked my sister Kaylee into joining me for the trip, and we’ll be traveling along the entire California coast over the next 10 days. Stay tuned for photos and tales of adventure!

I’ll start with a few photos from the plane ride to California. I couldn’t resist pulling my camera out to capture this stunning sunset:

CA_Trip_Sunset_Flight_0001_160309 CA_Trip_Sunset_Flight_0002_160309 CA_Trip_Sunset_Flight_0005_160309 CA_Trip_Sunset_Flight_0007_160309As soon as I arrived in LA, the blue skies and warm sun were a reminder of just how much I love Southern California weather. There’s just something about the way the sun feels in SoCal – it’s like therapy for me.CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0001_160310 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0002_160310Thankfully the traffic wasn’t a total nightmare, and I made my way to the Staples Center, feeling as giddy as you’d expect. I even forgot to stop and eat dinner before the game. CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0003_160310 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0010_160311

My Aunt TOTALLY hooked me up with amazing lower level tickets to the game. I chose to go to the game against the Cavs and Lebron James. Kobe has been sitting out several games this season in his old age, but I knew he couldn’t resist his last ever matchup against Lebron.

My hunch was spot on – Kobe showed up and put on a show! He took it to Lebron early and often, and gave his fans, including me, just the experience we’d hoped for.CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0004_160310 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0005_160310 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0006_160310 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0009_160310

The walk through Downtown LA late at night was interesting, to say the least. There are some straaaange types in this city. There are also some fascinating buildings, so I chose to photograph those instead 🙂CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0011_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0012_160311

The next day, my sister Kaylee flew in to join me for the rest of the trip. We spent the afternoon exploring Hollywood, though it poured rain the entire time. We both agreed that if it had to rain on us in one city, “HollyWeird” would be our choice. We enjoyed a decent vegan burger at a local cafe, then mostly just drove up and down Hollywood Blvd., just to say we did.

From there, we ventured over to Downtown LA, and had an incredible time exploring the city. It’s a photographer’s dream!CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0013_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0014_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0015_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0016_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0018_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0020_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0022_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0023_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0024_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0025_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0026_160311

Apparently I’ve captured her personality perfectly in this very candid shot:

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I’m a total sucker for textured walls. This one caught my eye, so we stopped for a photo opp.

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Couldn’t get enough of the wide angle perspective looking up into the urban sky. Thankfully the rain moved on, leaving us with a beautiful evening sky and clouds.CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0039_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0040_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0041_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0042_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0043_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0044_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0045_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0047_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0048_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0049_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0050_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0051_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0052_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0053_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0054_160311 CA_Trip_LA_Weekend_0055_160311

A stop for coffee at Tierra Mia, supposedly one of the top ten coffee shops in LA. Our barista recommended the Mexican Mocha, and it was fantastic.

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We wanted at least one good view of the “City of Angels” at nighttime. Kaylee came through in the clutch, and found us a sweet spot just outside of the city. I got to put my new tripod to the test, and it did not disappoint.


We’re off to San Diego today, and my excitement is palpable. It might just be my favorite city in the world.

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