Southern California Photography by Alan Pavlik, editor and publisher of Just Above Sunset
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Photos and text, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

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Visitors from February 28, 2006, 10:00 am Pacific Time to date -

Friday, 8 September 2006
Heavenly Pond
Topic: Color Studies
Heavenly Pond
Everyone thinks of Los Angeles as urban, particularly the triangle of Hollywood with its tacky glitz, Beverly Hills with its thirty-million-dollar mansions, and the endless wide streets lined with strip malls in the flats below. But at the north edge of it all are the Hollywood Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. In the hills are deep, odd, secluded valleys. Turn north off Sunset Boulevard at Rexford, and go uphill only a few blocks. Turn left at Coldwater Canyon Park. Within a few hundred feet you'll be in Franklin Canyon, a thousand or more acres of wild scrub and live oak trees. It's totally silent. You're in the middle of Beverly Hills - not far from four major film studios, not far from the most expensive homes in the world piled on top of each other choking the hills, and not that far from Hollywood with all the tourists and souvenir shops just a few miles east. You're at Franklin Canyon Park, with its small lake, just sitting there quietly.

Heavenly Pond is a small duck pond located just west of the lake. That's what you see here. There's more information below the photographs. 

Duck on Heavenly Pond, Franklin Canyon Park, Beverly Hills
















Heavenly Pond, Franklin Canyon Park, Beverly Hills





















Most of Franklin Canyon was owned by the Doheny family until 1977 - now it is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The information on its current configuration and facilities is here. It was saved from development in the seventies. Activists convinced the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the National Park Service that it shouldn't be subdivided into homes for the very rich.

It was Los Angeles Department of Water and Power land, really. In 1914, William Mulholland, the man who developed the complex water systems for the DWP (see Chinatown), began construction of the reservoirs in Franklin Canyon to provide the main water service for downtown and West Los Angeles. The Upper Reservoir, the lake, was intended only to provide stability to the main facility and electric generating plant at the lower reservoir. By 1916, both reservoirs were in operation. After the 1971 Sylmar earthquake the strength of the reservoir system was questioned, and studies were done to asses the danger. They decided to take both the upper and lower reservoirs out of service and build a single, more modern and stable reservoir facility a quarter mile north of what was then the lower reservoir. The new rubber-covered facility is the Franklin 2 reservoir - in operational since 1982. It's ugly. The rest is now a park.

There's a good history here, although it concentrates on the more than thirty episodes of the 1962-1967 television show Combat! that were filmed here - no palm trees, so it looked like Europe in the forties, or close enough. You also may have seen the lake in into opening titles for the old Andy Griffin Show - Opie and Andy walking to the fishing hole. This stuff goes way back. In the 1930s the movie industry made arrangements with DWP to use the area for filming. It was an ideal site, close to the studios but far from any urban development, and completely off-limits to the public. Claudette Colbert's famous hitch-hiking scene in "It Happened One Night" was filmed here in 1935. The site is still being used, almost daily, by the film and television industry, although much of that is done far from the public areas. And a curiosity - the album covers for the Rolling Stones' album "Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)" and Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" were both shot here.

A few photos of the place were posted earlier here (July 13, 2003) and here (December 28, 2003).

Posted by Alan at 5:39 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

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