It was founded in 1781 with the amazingly cumbersome name of "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula" and had a population of 44. Now it is known as L.A. and the population has grown to 3,792,621 (2010 census). Amazing.
The region I use on this website consists of all of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, combined population over 12 million. But it isn't all urban, there are pockets of natural landscape along the coast and rugged mountain ranges run between the built-up valleys.
Settlement of the area began with two Spanish missions to the north, in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys.
I prefer nature to city, and getting some panoramas of Los Angeles wasn't easy for me. But I persevered, and made a conscientious effort to visit a few key locations - the missions, Malibu, Hollywood, the old and new downtown areas, San Pedro, and Long Beach. I keep meaning to go back and shoot more, specifically Santa Monica and Venice, Beverly Hills, Griffith Park, Watts Towers, plus the Orange County coast.
The most interesting part of LA for me was the old downtown, which hardly anyone in Southern California is even aware exists. The heart of it is a tight knot of solid brick buildings, a lot like San Francisco's Tenderloin. For years it was used to film movies and television that were set in New York City - watch carefully in the Kojak series and you might glimpse a palm tree. There are several districts marked with special signs and described in the downtown map published by the Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC) - Jewelry District, Fashion District, Historic Theater District, Broadway Shopping District.
In contrast to the old downtown, the high rises and new institutions such as the Disney Concert Hall, are up on Bunker Hill, formerly a decaying neighborhood that was totally obliterated during urban renewal. These are the very tall buildings that are visible from miles away.