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.
Raining in Los Angeles Topic: Light and Shadow Raining in Los Angeles
A steady, heavy rain all day - they call this the Pineapple Express. There's a big low sitting up above San Francisco, rotating counter-clockwise, pulling whatever is offshore down here onshore, and what's offshore down here is an old storm that formed south of Hawaii and drifted westward.
So the warm rain all day, which should total two or more inches by midnight, is what was lifted out of the Pacific over the last few days, pulled ashore by the onshore circulation of the northern low, and it's falling here. It doesn't pass us by. The wall of mountains at the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, that separates us from the rest of the continent, stops the storm dead right over the Los Angeles basin. It'll sit here for a while.
The freeways are at a dead stop here and there - people being careful. Now it matters that there's not much tread left on the tires, which were fine when it was sunny and in the eighties for months on end. And all that sunshine messed up the windshield wipers - the ultraviolet made them all chalky (and the ozone in the hot smog made the brittle). Can't make any sudden moves, and can't see that well. It's a slow drive out there. And Hollywood looks like the set of a noir film from the late thirties.
But this washes away all the desert dust that blew in off the Mojave when the winds, week after week, blew the other way - and the landscape, called Mediterranean and savanna mixed, suddenly looks kind of lush.
The wall of mountains at the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, that separates us from the rest of the continent - Big Bear Mountain from Mulholland Drive, as seen from the tourist lookout above the Hollywood Bowl, last Thursday, when the wind was blowing the other way. The Hollywood Sign is out of the frame to the left, the Griffith Park Observatory out of the frame to the right. This is looking between them. (The shot was taken while standing amid a crowd of elderly tourists visiting from Germany, chattering away in that language. They seemed impressed, but my German isn't that good.)
Places Time Forgot Topic: Oddities Places Time Forgot
Vine Avenue, a few steps north of Hollywood and Vine (Bob Hope Square), there's this, a shop from the days when people actually had someone repair their shoes, instead of just tossing them out and buying new ones. Shoes got cheap. But Dan-Dee is still here, and still open. The place has a sort of 1943 feel to it. This was Thursday, March 23, 2006. Time is an odd thing.
Directly across the street, this hamburger stand, out of business for a long time, waits for the developers to wipe it out, and any memory of it. The gray wall in the back is the Pantages Theater, presenting "Cats" one more time. This is at the edge of parking lot of the Capitol Records Building, next to the Forbidden City club. This also is Thursday, March 23, 2006. It makes a nice composition. It'll be gone soon enough.
Old Art Deco Hollywood Topic: Historic Hollywood Old Art Deco Hollywood
Yucca Vine Tower, 6305-09 Yucca Street (at Vine), H. L. Gogerty of Gogerty & Weyl Architects, 1928, eight stories, Art Deco - a conventional view here - now the central feature of the Los Angeles campus of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
During the second half of the nineteenth century, the exotic South African calla lily was introduced in the United States, and it began to appear as a subject in American art. The flower became even more popular with artists after Freud provided a sexual interpretation of its form that added new levels of meaning to depictions of it. The calla lily soon became a recurring motif in works by important painters and photographers, particularly Georgia O'Keeffe, who depicted the flower so many times and in such provocative ways that by the early 1930s she became known as "the lady of the lilies."
See the images from the National Gallery of Art here, or those from the O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe here.
Specimens at the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden on the UCLA campus, photographed Friday, March 24, 2006. Note, Georgia O'Keeffe was married to the photographer Alfred Stieglitz.
The Capitol Records Building Topic: Historic Hollywood The Capitol Records Building Coming in this Sunday's Just Above Sunset, photos and discussion of the Capitol Records Building, a local landmark - thirteen stories, designed by Welton Becket, the world's first circular office building, still home to a few recording studios. The tall spike on top makes it look like a stack of vinyl 45's on a turntable. Maybe that was the idea, maybe not. It was built in 1956 just north of the intersection of Hollywood and Vine - the consolidated West Coast operations of Capitol Records. The blinking light on the very top spells out the word "Hollywood" in Morse code. The Beatles recorded some stuff here, but really it's Frank Sinatra's place. The basement studio is where he recorded all those albums with Nelson Riddle.
EMI owns it now. Capitol Records is no more. EMI has about three hundred people in there, but it's dead. They want to sell the builidng so some developer can turn it into condos. The mayor of Los Angeles is making a fuss - keep it a working studio and industry place - Hollywood should be more than a theme park with expensive housing. EMI is not impressed. They're losing money.
This is how it looked, Thursday, March 23, 2006, just after noon.
A minor note - a major studio was across the street doing a shoot. Many trailers for the stars, and trucks full of fancy equipment. And the catering services had their rigs there, and they were cooking up some stuff that smelled wonderful, Thai barbeque and all that. Chatted with the security folks. No free lunch. Drat.
The Sinatra Society of America had this in a nearby alley, Frank Sinatra keeping a perpetual eye on the Capitol Records Building.