The Stars are Not Big and Bright on a Smoggy Night in L.A.
Valentines Day on the Mt. Hollywood Trail
So. Here’s the thing about smog. It’s terrible for your lungs, wreaks havoc on my allergies and serves to make you think there are no mountains in L.A. when standing on the beach or on some days downtown but boy does it make for great pictures! I have only seen the sky more orange on two other occasions, once during a sandstorm in Iraq and in San Diego during the fires of 2003 and 2007.
On Valentines Day my wife and I met our friend Bonnie in Griffith Park at the Griffith Observatory for a full moon hike on the Mt. Hollywood trail. Since this is L.A and we live only 30 miles (driving distance) we had to leave our house at 3:00 in order to get to the observatory by sunset which is 5:38. Locals totally understand that this is a 2 hour drive. Those of you who live elsewhere are probably thinking, “it takes 2 hours to drive 30 miles”? Yes it does and I’m sure that thousands of cars idling on the freeway does not help the smog situation. Since we got to the observatory a bit early I got to take a couple of sunset photos. The photo below is maybe my favorite urban landscape of all time. I’m a big fan of the monochromatic look and the smoggy conditions made this photo a no-brainer for me. This photo is looking westward from Griffith Observatory at Westwood home of UCLA.
After sunset we headed up the Mt. Hollywood Hiking Trail in search of a view inside of a distance that my 3 year old son was willing to hike. Regardless of smog the trail provides fantastic views of sights that you have most certainly seen in a variety of hollywood’s best movies. Below is the view of the Griffith Observatory from midway up the trail. Below it you can see that we weren’t the only people who thought it might be fun to come to the park for valentines day. The observatory has been with us since 1935 and has witnessed on one side a city explode around it and on the other a landscape unchanged due to the foresight of Colonel Griffith J. Griffith to preserve the land.
We hiked to a nice 3 yo stopping spot and enjoyed the few stars that can be seen in Los Angeles. The photo below shows more stars than I could see with the naked eye but that’s what a long exposure will do for you.
For tonight’s Valentine’s full moon hike I used my Sony NEX 7 and the following lenses. 55-210mm and 19mm.