Photos from inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall…Busted!

Our New Year’s Eve plans included an early evening concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. I’ve only been to one other concert  at the hall, and that was a few years ago to hear a small jazz combo. I was excited to hear Broadway star Idina Menzel, anticipating a very lively and entertaining show. We arrived early enough to enjoy a glass of champagne, with enough time to walk around the beautiful grounds.

On a previous occasion I’d taken a few photos from inside the lobby which is open to visitors during the week. The public is encouraged to come in an enjoy the wonderful Philharmonic Bookstore or small restaurant just inside the lobby doors.

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Very sleek and modern. These photos were taken during the day, but in the evening the lighting is soft and warm, with the glass reflecting both indoor and outdoor light. Brightly lit Christmas trees were strategically placed and the lights of high-rise office buildings were visible from the lobby area–a very festive atmosphere!

Tickets were purchased in August and I couldn’t recall anything about the seating arrangements, so as we left the beautiful lobby and went to our seats I was pleased to discover we were balcony, front row center. In a relatively small setting these were perfect seats.  Within just a few minutes of settling in I didn’t think twice. I whipped out my iPhone and began to snap pictures.

After all, I have a blog and I like to pretend I’m a photojournalist. I’m usually a very strict play by the rules kind of gal!  If there’s a sign that says “no photography” then I don’t take photos. But for some reason I didn’t think at all…

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Interior of Disney Concert Hall

…and then a very polite young woman approached me and gently told me to put my phone away. But fortunately I already had my photos. Maybe you can see the curved wood ceiling, designed for its acoustic capabilities. You can see that from our seats which were facing the orchestra, there are still seats behind. There is almost a complete 360° seating arrangement, allowing for intimacy despite 2,265 seats.

The pipe organ occupies the central position between the blocks of seats behind the orchestra and other design features include the hardwood walls and ceilings made of Douglas Fir, the same wood often used to back cellos and other fine instruments.

It was a wonderful concert with the star of the show delivering on all points. But the venue is a star, too, and I would have enjoyed sharing even more photos. I was just getting started.

I learned my lesson, though.

What did I learn? Oh, that’s easy. I learned that sometimes you have to break the rules to get a few good photos to share with your friends. And that although it was a little embarrassing at the moment, I got over it! Maybe I’ll break a few more rules this year all in the service of the blog. Are you with me?

45 thoughts on “Photos from inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall…Busted!

    • Maybe I’ve inadvertently suggested a new series for you to follow, Andra. I’ll just bet you’ve taken more than a few that someone didn’t think you should! :-) Enthusiasm trumps rules, don’t you think?

  1. I’d wondered how the concert went, Debra. I’m with you about the rules. I would never take photos of the concert or entertainer if it’s posted or stated that one shouldn’t. But taking a picture of the venue before the event? C’mon. Let’s not be ridiculous. It’s a concert hall and not the Sistine Chapel.
    In spite of “her”, I would definitely love to see this place. If I ever get to LA …

    • The Disney Concert Hall really is very special, John. I think part of its charm is that it isn’t as large as many. I, too, would never even consider taking photos once a concert has started, so I don’t know that I understand the rules here. I joke about being “brash” but in reality I was just clueless! :-) The concert itself was wonderful. Idina Menzel is so very talented, and as a still very young woman, has a long, successful career in front of her!

    • The first time I went inside the Sistine Chapel, I thought photography is fine just like other places. And so, I take pictures inside. I go there regularly too, and every time, I see people taking pictures OPENLY. It was only after I had gone outside Italy and through blogging that I found out that you can’t.

      Sorry Debra. You know how I appreciate you taking the risk in taking the inside of one of my beloved architectural favorite. I do some hazardous, risky photographies, but, uhm, I don’t take pictures when I’m aware that it is prohibited.

    • I’m glad I took the photos, too, my friend! I don’t like to make a scene anywhere, and so it was quite a surprise to me when I realized that everyone was looking in my direction as the young woman was trying to get my attention. And here I was just snapping away! I think it helped that I was absolutely clueless! :-)

    • You made me laugh, BD, with the thought of you taking photos whether permitted or not! I wish I were generally a lot bolder. I don’t know what it is I think will happen if I push a boundary now and then! Chaos? Ha! I may need to take a lesson from you!

  2. LOL I think you learned the right lesson! What a beautiful concert hall. My daughter will love seeing these photos, as she’s played in a number of pit orchestras. Thanks for being a rule breaker for us! ;)

  3. I’m with you, Debra, and I”m blushing a bit as I chuckle for I, too, broke the rules and got caught. Last year I was treated to a radio performance of It’s a Wonderful LIfe in a small, intimate theater not too far from here. I sat down, and started shooting photos of the set design. It must have been a cousin to your polite young woman – only she stood behind me and made me delete every picture I took!

    • Oh Penny! How embarrassing that must have been! Last year at the Beatles’ LOVE in Vegas we watched the same thing happen to a gentleman who’d taken some photos. They asked for his camera memory card. I can imagine you’d have been very uncomfortable. Our enthusiasm gets us in trouble sometimes, doesn’t it, Penny? That’s kind of a funny story and you might want to share it sometime on your blog. :-)

      • I guess I should be grateful that they didn’t take my memory card. Ah, the trouble that comes from enthusiasm sometimes. I should share it sometime, Debra. I’m so glad this was a good concert for you.

  4. Ooo, naughty Debra! :-) I’m glad you didn’t get caught too soon as your photos give a great impression of a wonderful concert venue. I will admit to breaking the rules occasionally, the last time being in a gorgeous Romanesque church in Prague, where every other person was breaking them too. That doesn’t make it right, but it meant I didn’t get caught. :-)

    • I was thinking that I also got in big trouble taking photos from a bus in Hawaii near a military installation. We had apparently been told “no photos” and I wasn’t listening. It was less than a month after 9-11 and I could have really been in trouble. Again, I was so embarrassed. So maybe I have more of a listening problem than active acts of disobedience! :-)

  5. Because we’re friends…I know you to be nice first and then a bit naughty! HA Great photos. I’d forgotten how magnificent is the WD Concert Hall and is truly a gem. I’m thinking: maybe you can create a “press pass” that reads, Photo Journalist, which you can wear with pride for your upcoming escapades? ~Ellen

    • I am afraid, Lori, that I mostly just got so excited I didn’t question whether or not photography was permitted. I probably wouldn’t have taken the photo. Now Jay is an “do now, apologize later” kind of guy. Maybe I’d have given him the photo duties! LOL!

  6. Amazing photos… and with an IPhone!…. And I thought it was your amazing camera…. Just teasing. These are truly lovely. Thanks.

  7. Somehow knowing that you wouldn’t have taken these photos if caught earlier by the polite young lady, makes me appreciate them more. :D It looks so romantic to me. It’s been a long time I have been inside a concert hall. The last time was about four years ago at the Rose Garden in Portland to see Yanni in concert. He and I were celebrating a birthday as we share the same birthday.

  8. Looks like a great venue. Most private venues have a no photography policy though a polite request can sometimes get around it. Equally, security people can’t be everywhere so there are often opportunities to sneak some ;-) You should practice shooting from the hip Debra, that way you have less chance of getting spotted!

    • The funniest part of my “illicit” photography episode is that I am usually the one in the crowd teased because I take rules so literally. I’m the one telling everyone else “we’ll get in trouble.” I am not the fun one! Ha! Thanks for the suggestion of shooting from the hip! Maybe it’s a whole new season for me! :-)

    • I think you’re right about the curve in the ceiling contributing to the acoustics. The Concert Hall offers tours and I think I’d like to tour with a docent one of these times to learn more of the specifics! It would be worth the effort, I’m sure. Thank you for stopping by! :-)

  9. I’m an Architecture student in Iran, your rule breaking helped me studying a wonderful place that is not possible for me to visit it.thank you so much:)

    • Tarane, I am so incredibly delighted that I could share a few photos from the Disney Concert Hall with you! I only wish I could have added more…but they came close to taking my camera away from me. LOL! I think you may be my first “visitor” from Iran, and I am so pleased to hear hear from you. Good luck to you in your architectural studies. I hope that one day perhaps you can visit Los Angles. :-)

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