Posts Tagged ‘ Sunset ’

Griffith Observatory Sunset

Yesterday, Scott and I spent the day at Griffith Park with my German colleague Wilfried and his Costa Rican wife Ana.  This is the amazing sunset we saw as we stood on the observation deck of the Griffith Observatory.

I think that Mother Nature put on a spectacular show to impress Wilfried and Ana, who are new to Los AngelesHerzlich willkommen, Freunde!

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Mount Wilson

Last night, we watched the moonrise over Los Angeles from Mount Wilson with our friends Orison and Maria.  During the day, we had toured the Mount Wilson Observatory and hiked part of the Rim Trail together.  It had been a clear day, so we could see the ocean from our perch 5,700 ft (1,737 m) above sea level.  Acclimating to high altitudes is good practice for Orison and Maria, as they are getting married in Lima (elevation:  5,079 ft = 1,548 m) over the new year – congratulations and best wishes!

Malibu Sunset

The sunset in Malibu on Saturday evening was worth searing my retinas for – don’t you think?

Malibu Freestyle Sun Salutation

On Saturday, I was going blind taking photos of the sunset in Malibu when this man suddenly appeared and started meditating beside me.  I took a couple steps back and snuck a snapshot of him as I knew no one would believe this story unless I had photographic proof.

Earlier in the afternoon, Scott and I had gone hiking along the Stunt High Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.  It had rained all morning, so we waded through the muck for four miles (6 km) before we decided to sully our car and drive to Real Food Daily (our favourite organic vegan restaurant in Santa Monica) for some surprisingly tasty meatless enchiladas and dairy-free fettucine alfredo.  We drove along Saddle Peak Road until we reached Tuna Canyon Road, where Scott pulled over to make sure we were headed in the right direction.  I could see in the rear view mirror that the sunset was going to be stunning so I grabbed my camera and ran out of our car.  I stood on the shoulder between a barbed wire fence and a telephone pole, looked straight into the sun (don’t try this at home, kids – it’s bad for your eyes), and took pictures until I heard a car pull up, a door slam, some rapid footsteps, and then some loud beeping.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man fiddling with his beeping iPad:  the time was flashing on the screen in large red numbers like a digital alarm clock.  He dropped his iPad on the ground and started gesturing methodically at the sun.  Although it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) at sunset, there was a strong humid wind blowing up from the ocean.  I regretted that I had left my toque and mittens at home.  I couldn’t believe that the mysterious meditator was wearing only a t-shirt and white linen pants (after Labour Day).  He must have been chilled to the bone.  It wasn’t long before he picked up his iPad, ran back to his car, and sped away.

Cemetery Cinema

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a unique setting to watch a film on a Saturday night.  Cinespia is in its tenth season of transforming this famous cemetery into a moonlit cinema.  Last weekend, we watched “The Sting” (1973) with 3,000 other movie lovers and the spirits of screen legends interred nearby.

In the daytime, the cemetery is popular with tourists who want to commune with dead celebs such as Looney Tunes voice actor Mel Blanc; producer Cecil B. DeMille; actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr.; “Golden Girl” Estelle Getty; philanthropist Griffith J. Griffith; guitarist Johnny Ramone; gangster Bugsy Siegel; and actress Fay Wray.  Hollywood Forever is bordered by strip malls and car repair garages so its glamour is a bit frayed at the edges.

As the sun set, we enjoyed a picnic with our Canadian friends Ethan and Zarene on the grass beside the mausoleum which holds Rudolph Valentino’s tomb.  The lawn was cool and damp so we sat on an unzipped sleeping bag as we dug into stromboli, salad, corn on the cob, and cake.  The group next to us huddled around a tablecloth covered in tea lights, so we were in fine company dining al fresco.  DJs Hair and Carlos Niño spun Bob Dylan and Portishead to keep the crowd feeling groovy.  Most smokers were kind enough to congregate near the porta-potties next to a field of parked cars.  Scott was smart to pack our camping headlamps so that we could find our way in the dark.

Just after sunset, “The Sting” was projected onto the side of Valentino’s mausoleum.  “The Sting” stars Robert Redford and the late Paul Newman as Depression-era grifters who con a mob boss out of half a million dollars.  The film won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director in 1974.  It’s fun and exciting to watch – such a crowd-pleaser!

I.M. Pei and the 34th Tallest Building in the World

We have a great view of downtown L.A.’s Financial District from our rooftop in the Historic Core.  The tallest building in the Financial District is the U.S. Bank Tower.  At 1,018 ft (310 m), it is the tallest building in California and the 34th tallest building in the world.  The U.S. Bank Tower used to be known as the Library Tower because the city sold the air rights above the Los Angeles Central Library to the developers of the skyscraper, thus enabling the tower’s construction next to the library and the library’s renovation.  I borrow many books from that library as my books remain in storage back home in Canada.  The U.S. Bank Tower was designed by I.M. Pei, the architect who is most famous for designing the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston and the Pyramide du Louvre in Paris.  I’ve never been to the JFK Presidential Library.  The last time I saw the Pyramide du Louvre was on the morning before our wedding.  We couldn’t sleep so we went for a walk at 5 am through the 1er arrondissement.  Paris in July is so quiet and cool at sunrise.  We had the courtyard of the Louvre and its crystal pyramids all to ourselves. 

Fun Facts: 

  • I.M. Pei first conceived of a glass and steel pyramid for the JFK Library in the 1960s, but stakeholders in Amherst, MA protested it would clash with the colonial Georgian architecture of Harvard Square.  The library was later built in Boston without the pyramid. 
  • I.M. Pei designed the glass and steel pyramids which now stand in the courtyard above the main lobby of the Louvre.  Critics panned the Pyramide du Louvre for clashing with the surrounding architecture when it was first constructed, but the design has aged well. 
  • I.M. Pei designed both the Pyramide du Louvre and the U.S. Bank Tower; both structures were completed in 1989.

Joshua Tree Sunset

 

Last year, we spent U.S. Thanksgiving weekend in Joshua Tree National Park with our German friends Manu, Micha, and Arne.  Mindful of the holiday’s significance, we were grateful for our brief time together as Manu and Micha had driven six hours from Stanford to visit us in L.A. and Arne would be returning to Germany before Christmas.

Micha drove us to his favourite spot in Joshua Tree to watch sunsets.  We like to tease Micha about his greatest love:  sunsets, National Parks, or Manu?  (Micha knows the correct answer:  Manu!)  After he parked the car, we followed him through the White Tank Campground to his “secret” lookout among the boulders. 

As I trudged up a hill, I heard people call my name.  I looked up and saw Cristina, Christian, Julia, and Eberhard.  More Germans from Stanford!  Mutual friends had told them that we would be in the Park, but we had no idea of their travel plans.  It was a lovely coincidence that we could enjoy the sunset together.

The sun seemed to sense it was a special occasion.  It set the sky on fire before extinguishing below the horizon.

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