Topic: Light and Shadow
The tourist sites say the only month to avoid Los Angeles is June. The ocean temperatures mix with the air temperatures to create a layer of fog that basically lasts all day, every day, the entire month. This is known here as "June Gloom." It's gone be the time July rolls around.
D.J. Waldie, the author of "Where We Are Now: Notes from Los Angeles," explains in the Los Angeles Times here -
The JPL-NASA folks say this -
Spring and early summer in Los Angeles, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, deliver an average of just 11 clear days in May and 14 in June. The definitions of "clear" and "cloudy" are subjective, but on even the partly cloudy days, the daylight hours are at least half obscured.
Just how gray depends on where you live. At LAX, June usually yields no more than nine perfectly clear days. In coastal cities from Malibu to Seal Beach, the gloom can linger all day, putting off the start of their summer until after the Fourth of July.
The gray season is made in the Pacific Ocean. Cold currents rise close to shore; a persistent high-pressure zone farther out channels warmer air eastward, and the springtime vortex called the Catalina Eddy fabricates fog from the interaction of cool water and warm air, pushing it on shore when the air of inland valleys rises in the heat of midday. Television weathercasters call the visible result "the marine layer," although what they're really taking about is fog.
It ambles over the beaches after midnight, flows in wide streams up the former bed of the Los Angeles River through the western half of the city and takes general possession of the basin under the same inversion layer that brews smog. On good days, the sun eventually burns down through half a mile of gray clouds and illuminates, at last, a city that seems to have been forgotten by sunlight and color.
It could be worse. Tourists before the mid-20th century often complained that a dull haze shrouded the charms of what had been advertised as a perpetually sunlit Mediterranean city. William Faulkner called the lighting effect a "treacherous unbrightness."
Tuesday, June 6, 2006, Catalina Eddy, wasn't being nice to Hollywood - the sun never burned through all the "treacherous unbrightness." Here, on Laurel Avenue, at the base of Laurel Canyon, a raven in a palm at the end of the day.
While the Catalina Eddy, an atmospheric vortex or eddy with a counter-clockwise rotation pattern, can occur in the California Bight (the open ocean bay formed by the bend in the coast between Point Conception to the north and San Diego to the south) at any time of the year, it is most often seen during May and June. It can develop when the winds from the northwest along the Southern California coast are stronger than normal and interact with the local coastal and land topography, turning inland and creating a vortex.
Only about 200 kilometers (120 miles) in diameter, the Catalina Eddy has not been well measured by scientists. The eddy is actually too small to appear in current weather forecast models and is sometimes too shallow to have a strong influence on the cloud structure viewed by weather satellites.
By the way, when William Faulkner was out here to work on the screenplay for The Big Sleep, based on the Raymond Chandler novel, he didn't much like it here. He cut out early and worked from home, in Mississippi. But the scene at the gambling joint at the top of Laurel Canyon, on a foggy night, makes noir sense. It must have been June. And Catalina Eddy sounds like a character in one of those Raymond Chandler novels.
But the diffused light makes for nice light for taking pictures - Johnny's Coffee Shop, Fairfax at Wilshire, closed, but kept up for location shooting, when you need classic Google Architecture, as they call it.
New Eye on Hollywood
Topic: Technical Exercises
New Eye on Hollywood
Testing the new lens - AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. It just came today. Don't like it much, but getting the most from it will take some time.
Here are some test shots, using the polarizing filter that came with the thing.
The Storer House
Frank Lloyd Wright, 1923
One of the homes in Los Angeles designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a textile block thing, the blocks cast on site with Wright supervising that himself - on Hollywood Boulevard, but not the part you know. This house is on the right at 8161 – in the trees high above the Sunset Strip, a half a mile west of here. The home is now owned the movie producer Joel Silver, responsible for such things as the Lethal Weapon and the Die Hard series of shoot-'em-ups. But Silver seems to be committed to restoring the home to its original condition - and, in fact, he is working in conjunction with Eric Lloyd Wright on that. The edge of the driveway, six in the evening, Monday, June 5, 2006.
Below, two pigeons keeping an eye on Hollywood Boulevard -
The abandoned Fredrick's of Hollywood flagship store on the boulevard -
It's across the street from Musso and Frank, where, when they were writing screenplays back in the late thirties and early forties, Faulkner, Fitzgerald and the rest used to hang out - John O'Hara, Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler - even Ernest Hemingway. Raymond Chandler wrote "The Big Sleep" here. Long ago, silent-movie star Tom Mix used to sit next to a window here, so his fans could see him. Charlie Chaplin liked their martinis - he and Paulette Goddard were regulars. Humphrey Bogart, the Warner brothers, Jack Webb and Peter Lawford also could be found here. In the 2001 version of "Oceans 11" there's a scene where George Clooney and Brad Pitt first discuss the Vegas heist in one of the booths. Now? Tom Selleck likes table 24, while Al Pacino prefers table 28. Whatever. This is just a test of the new lens.