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Queen of Angels

Roberto Nickson


Behind the Shot

Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo was the first to claim the area now recognized as California in 1542. In 1769, an overland expedition to the area now known as Los Angeles camped near a river that cut from the foothills to the ocean. On August 2, 1769, Franciscan priest Father Juan Crespi, who was part of the expedition, described the river in his journal and named it Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de la Porciúncula in honor of the August 2 Feast Day for the Our Lady of the Angels of Porciúncula Church, a very important church to the Franciscan order.

A settlement was built near that river location in 1781. Maps from the time show the area named El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Angeles, meaning "the town of the queen of angels." Regardless, the Tongva people, who had lived in the area for at least 10,000 years, called the region Yang-na. Today the city is known simply as Los Angeles.

Roberto captured this heavenly view of downtown Los Angeles. “We found a grove of palm trees that we thought would look amazing as a foreground. I found a broken mirror on the ground and put the mirror close to the bottom of the lens to get the reflection, resulting in an interesting foreground featuring some grass as well.”