The Last Bookstore – DTLA

Radio interview with Last Bookstore founder, Josh Spencer.

I didn’t start out to write a blog post about The Last Bookstore. I wasn’t even planning to do much shooting, but, of course, I had a camera with me. I was really just taking a friend, Brittney, to see the place for her first time, much as my friend, Rick, took me there, several years ago.

After parking, I was walking near the Spring and Fifth Streets location, when I took this completely candid shot of a stranger.

Completely Candid Shot of a Stranger on the Street in Downtown LA

Completely Candid Shot of a Stranger on the Street in Downtown LA

Surprise! She caught me, and it was my friend Brittney. What a coincidence!

Brittney Rae Barela


Brittney, with her Olympus E-PL1, uses the edge of an album bin to steady her camera in dim light.

Brittney Rae Barela

Taking My Picture

Surprisingly, she seems happy with the results — surprisingly, because I was the subject!

Brittney Rae Barela

So Happy with the Results

Visitors can roam the Last Bookstore for hours, browsing book shelves and record album bins, and sitting on an eclectic variety of sofas and chairs. Don’t forget to go upstairs to the Labyrinth, and check out the portholes and tunnels, made from books.

Porthole atThe Last Bookstore

Porthole at the Last Bookstore

After a morning of not being able to turn a corner without seeing my camera looking back at her, I think Brittney finally had enough!

Brittney Rae Barela at the Last Bookstore in LA

Go Away!! 🙂

While one side of The Last Bookstore is a window wall, there are many dark corners. Not being able to use a camera support, I relied on the Olympus OMD-EM5’s built in 5-axis image stabilization, and, by setting the ISO at 6400, and shooting wide-open, I was able to keep the shutter speed at 1/25 or faster. A certain amount of digital noise has to be expected at this ISO, with a small sensor, however, it is especially noticeable in the “Porthole” image. These images were captured with the Zuiko 12-40mm, f2.8 PRO lens.

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