Southern California Moments Your photos from around the Southland and beyond
Finding the Milky Way in Joshua Tree

To get the perfect picture of the Milky Way galaxy, you first have to escape the bright city lights of Los Angeles. Then you have to find the right spot to shoot.

Tim Ngo and friends drove out to Joshua Tree National Park, 2 ½ hours from L.A.'s bright city lights, to find the darkest sky possible. They had their minds set on shooting at Arch Rock, but they lost their way in the dark.

With the Milky Way already rising above the horizon, they stumbled on another formation of towering boulders. Ngo set up his tripod and used a headlamp to light up the rocks in front of him, creating a silhouette of himself.

"I took this picture of myself experiencing the simple pleasure of witnessing the Milky Way," Ngo said. "These types of photos remind me how beautiful nature can be and motivate me to venture out to the amazing natural wonders of the world."

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Quail spotting

Phil Calvert, who recently started carrying a camera with him on biking trips to practice wildlife photography, spotted a California quail on a bush as he was riding on Temescal Canyon Fire Road Fire Road in Pacific Palisades.

“I was almost certain that by the time I got off the bike and had the camera out he would be gone but he let me take several shots and even allowed me to walk a few steps closer before he jumped down into the underbrush,” he said.

Calvert used an Olympus E-P5.

Each week, we're featuring photos of Southern California and California submitted by readers. Share your photos on our Flickr page or tag your photos with #socalmoments or #californiamoments on Instagram and Twitter. Follow us on Twitter or visit latimes.com/socalmoments for more on this photo series.

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Dwell in the space

When 22-year-old Kevin Mao picks up his camera, his eyes almost immediately see graphically and in shapes.  His pictures are undoubtedly stylized and thought out with deep influences in architecture.  

Mao got into photography when he got an iPhone and began to discover other photographers on Instagram three years ago.  The app has opened a source of newfound friendships and experiences which basically nailed the essence of social media.  

This image of his friend Jaclyn was made during an InstaMeet - a meet-up of like-minded visual creatives getting together to make pictures to post on their respective Instagram feeds, during a jaunt to the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.  The group was invited by the museum and Niche, a social media agency, to capture and explore the spaces during closed hours.

Mao visualized this photo and created this expansive perspective that feels pensive, obscure, uncertain, with a slight dose of longing.  His placement of his subject is done so that...

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Hitting life's reset button

As evidenced by her Instagram account, Theresa Phan enjoys capturing moments on Southern California's beaches. "I love to convey the peacefulness that is the ocean, which I call 'Life's reset button," she said.

She focuses, in particular, on surfers and their relationship with the water -- whether it be contemplating a wave or a silhouette during sunset.

The image above was taken on a foggy morning in Newport Beach. Phan says the surfer appeared out of the mist and stood looking toward the ocean for the longest time. "My heart skipped a few beats because I knew it was going to be a great shot," she said. "You know, that feeling when it's the right one."

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Each week, we're featuring photos of Southern California and California submitted by readers. Share your photos on our Flickr page or tag your photos with #socalmoments or #californiamoments on Instagram and Twitter. Follow us on Twitter or visit latimes.com/socalmoments for more on this photo...

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Urban exploring in downtown L.A.

To get the best photo, sometimes you just need to look up. 

On his way to a Metro stop in downtown Los Angeles, Tyson Kindstrom heard some construction on the streets and decided to look up. He saw a man -- whom he assumed to be an urban explorer -- climbing a fire escape to the roof of a building.

He liked how the light and shadow formed a contrast on the building, so he snapped the photo with a black-and-white image in mind.

"It's not just a street scene," he said. "There's a little bit of an abstract feel to it if you look at it from a geometric perspective."  

A few days prior, Kindstrom had been viewing urban explorer photography on Instagram, so he saw this as an interesting coincidence. 

Kindstrom used a Leica M240 camera with a 50mm Zeis Planar lens to make the image March 8.

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Each week, we're featuring photos of Southern California and California submitted by readers. Share your photos on our Flickr page or tag your photos with #socalmoments...

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Endless rolling hills

While on a shoot documenting land preservation, Michael Lloyd captured this image of the rolling hills of Paso Robles disappearing into the distance.

Last Febuary, "the landscapes were absolutely stunning," Lloyd said. "Wildflowers everywhere, greens, yellows, purples, everything was in bloom."

In between shooting timelapses of the rising sun, Lloyd noticed how the light was falling on the landscape. He grabbed his phone to take a picture.

"Honestly, this was one of the best weeks I have had shooting photographs and video because the landscapes were just so rich," he said. "The light stayed soft and everything just came together nicely.

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Each week, we're featuring photos of Southern California and California submitted by readers. Share your photos on our Flickr page or tag your photos with #socalmoments or #californiamoments on Instagram and Twitter. Follow us on Twitter or visit latimes.com/socalmoments for more on this photo series.

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