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.
Blue Topic: Color Studies Blue In the west garden at the Point Fermin Lighthouse, at the edge of the Los Angeles harbor, San Pedro. Thursday, March 9, 2006 - more to botanicals come in this Sunday's Just Above Sunset.
This day a production company was, oddly enough, filming a Viagra commercial at the at the nearby basketball court. And folks were flying peculiar kites. The bell was, too, featured in the movie "The Usual Suspects." Nothing is uncontaminated out here.
The bell and its pavilion, as explained here (San Pedro Chamber of Commerce), were donated in 1976 by the Republic of Korea for our Bicentennial, and to honor veterans of the Korean War, and "to consolidate traditional friendship between the two countries."
The bell is patterned after the Bronze Bell of King Songdok, cast in 771 AD - still on view in South Korea. The bell is rung only four times each year - the Fourth of July, August 15 (Korean Independence Day) and New Year's Eve, and every September to celebrate Constitution week.
The bell was cast in Korea and shipped to the United States. Weighing 17 tons, with a height of twelve feet and a diameter of 7-1/2 feet, the bell is made of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, lead and phosphorous added for tone quality. When it was built, it cost the Korean people $500,000. Four pairs of figures, each pair consisting of the Goddess of Liberty holding a torch, and a Korean spirit , are engraved in relief on the body of the bell. Each of the Korean spirits holds up a different symbol: a symbolic design of the Korean flag; a branch of the rose of Sharon, Korea's national flower; a branch of laurel, symbol of victory; and a dove of peace. The bell has no clapper but is struck from the outside with a wooden log.
The bell is set in a pagoda-like stone structure which was constructed on the site by thirty craftsmen flown in from Korea. It took them ten months and costs $569,680. The pavilion is supported by twelve columns representing the twelve designs of the Oriental zodiac. Animals stand guard at the base of each column.
Resting peacefully on the knoll overlooking the sea gate from which U.S. troops sailed into the Pacific, the bell site affords an unsurpassed view of the Los Angeles harbor, the Catalina Channel and the sea terraces of San Pedro hill.
Southern California Lighthouses Topic: South of Hollywood Southern California Lighthouses
Today a drive down the coast to shoot Italianate architecture from the thirties in Palos Verdes, the south end of Los Angeles County, and to get new shots of the Korean Peace Bell and its pagoda high over the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, and to catch traffic in the shipping channels. Photos and photo albums will follow. And there are the shots of the production company at the Korean bell, filming a Viagra commercial. It's just a short hop south from the world of Hollywood.
On the way to all that? Lighthouses.
New England doesn't have the monopoly on picturesque lighthouses.
This is the Point Vicente Lighthouse - Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Los Angeles County, just up the coast from Long Beach harbor. It's twenty-nine miles south of Hollywood. It's Los Angeles.
A loud Army helicopter whips around it just after noon. What?
This is the Point Fermin Lighthouse in San Pedro. It's pretty much decorative.
This is the working lighthouse at the breakwater, the entrance to the Port of Los Angeles and to the main shipping channels - and to the piers that handle the big cruise ships that take the elderly moderately well-to-do down to Baja for a few days and back, or up to Alaska.
Close-Up Photography Topic: Technical Exercises Close-Up Photography The fellow who writes the Book Wrangler and World's Laziest Journalist columns each week for Just Above Sunset, Bob Patterson, recently commented that it was a shame you just cannot do good extreme close-up photography with a digital camera. Nonsense. It just takes some effort and planning. It's quite possible with the Nikon (specs in the right panel). It just takes a bit of effort. And there seems to be a leaning curve.
Samples from late afternoon, Wednesday, March 8, 2006, starting with a small shell on the arm of the old leather chair -
The new California quarter on the windowsill. The lower edge is out of focus as this was shot at an angle (oops).
Architectural Studies, Downtown Los Angeles Topic: Light and Shadow Architectural Studies, Downtown Los Angeles Library Tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, looms over the old Biltmore Hotel on Pershing Square. (It's called the Library Tower because it was built just behind the main public library downtown - it's more properly the US Bank Building at the moment.)
This is an odd shot from January 26, 2006, previously unpublished.
And below, Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall (detail) in downtown Los Angeles from the month it opened, October 2003. Architectural notes below the image.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic's home, Frank Gehry's building, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, opened in mid-October 2003 after twenty-six years of arguing and odd fund-raising and various disputes.
To European readers it may look a whole lot like his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Gehry designed this building first, starting with preliminary designs in 1987, but the museum in Spain had an easier time getting from idea to reality, so to speak. When the Guggenheim in Bilbao opened in 1997 the Disney family here, in fact, Walt's widow Lillian, along with some other donors, threw in some serious money, to add to the fifty million that started the project ten years earlier. And, two hundred seventy-four million dollars later, they got this building done.
The two buildings have a lot in common. These are jumbled masses of "organic forms" wrapped in shiny, windowless metal panels. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is wrapped in titanium. Here the façade was originally going to be limestone, but that was too expensive, or would not do at all with the earthquakes we sometimes have out here, so we get brushed stainless steel.
It sounds just fine - a Japanese acoustician named Yasuhisa Toyota worked with Gehry and it's an excellent, warm, "live" hall.
All the art and architecture magazines have other pictures, and cutaways and floor plans. National Public Radio did a segment a few days ago on the French 3-D CAD-CAM software the builders used. The Christian Science Monitor said, "It looks like an exploding metal artichoke." The New York Times' Herbert Muschamp said it was "a moon palace" bathed in "the light of the Hollywood dream." Whatever. It's just a pretty cool building.
Gehry is in his late seventies. He's lived out here for sixty years. I'm sure he's smiling.
"The Disney Hall has been likened to a silver galleon with full sails billowing in the wind. Its abstract shapes provide a brilliant contrast to the conventional high-rise towers of downtown L.A." - Marcus Binney, London Times
"Its silvery cascades are one of the most beautiful sights anywhere in the U.S. If you have seen the Grand Canyon, another sun-drenched, curvy thing of hypnotic power, you have some idea of what Disney Hall is like? Gehry's design thoroughly digests the Western architectural vocabulary without quoting literally from it. The free-form silhouette is just right for a concert hall in multiethnic Los Angeles, a city that doesn't look to Europe for much beyond designer shoes.... What he did was a classical hall for an anticlassical city. In Bilbao, his curves make you think of the Spanish baroque. In L.A., they bring to mind all those magic wands in Disney sketching silver arcs in the air." - Richard Lacayo, Time
"Though the Bilbao museum is undeniably a work of genius, Disney Hall is more mature, more focused, more polished, and more thoroughly resolved as a single experience; and it is better executed in its details. Everything in this rich and complex orchestration of surface and volume, light and shadow, comes together with an assurance and authority that I found astounding... [Gehry] can now, in my view, be counted safely among the most talented builders of the ages, comparable to the great impresarios of inventive architectural form." - Martin Filler,New York Review of Books
"Disney Hall is a defining masterwork - because of [Gehry's] love for music, for Los Angeles and for his art. Its roller-coaster swoops and gleaming curves seem to mirror his formidable energies and ambitions." - Cathleen McGuigan, Newsweek
"The technique is Cubist. No seamless image reveals the whole. Disney Hall must be assembled within the mind piece by piece as you approach and walk around it. A Surrealist ethos also suffuses the design: the imagineering impulse of Disney as well as of Magritte. Pumpkin into carriage, cabbage into concert hall, bippidi-bobbidi-boo... Metamorphosis happens, and not only in Walt Disney's classic films. Cities do it all the time. Los Angeles has done it now. The building pulls together the strands of many individual stories and creates an extraordinarily gallant setting in which they can be screened." - Herbert Muschamp, New York Times
"The chief amenity, if it can be called that, is its almost spellbinding beauty. Gehry's is an art of built-in surprises. He desires the surprise of the immediate 'Wow!' And he strives for the delight of longer contemplation. Disney Hall provides both. So, do not be deceived by the beautiful photographs, for as splendid as they can be, they always tend to mask the immense variety of spaces, surfaces and light of the real thing." - Benjamin Forgey, Washington Post
"The outside of Disney Hall lifts the spirits of those who see it from the sidewalk or, this being Los Angeles, from the windows of their cars, and the inside is equally inspiring. The auditorium is the finest interior Gehry has ever made... It may be that restaurants, stores, and housing will rise up around Disney Hall and transform the neighborhood into the urban mecca that so many people seek, but I wouldn't bet on it, and it doesn't matter. Disney Hall is something rarer than a great urban street. It is a serene, ennobling building that will give people in this city of private places a new sense of the pleasures of public space." - Paul Goldberger, The New Yorker
Restaurants, stores, and housing have now risen up around Disney Hall. Downtown is booming, actually becoming a real city.
Mixed mode - looking up from Pershing Square. January 26, 2006.