This week’s photo challenge is “abandoned” — kind of like this blog was for a few months. ;-)
A few years back, I explored a disused spur of railroad tracks branching off of the main line into a light industrial area of town. In many places, the tracks had already been ripped out, leaving only gravel paths (and in some cases stepping stones, as seen below) between buildings that no longer needed freight access.
I found this floppy disk sitting on the track, and the combination of an obsolete data technology and what I thought of at the time as an obsolete transportation technology just struck me.
The funny thing is, trains in the form of light rail have made a resurgence in the last few years. Los Angeles’ Metro rail system, started in the 1990s, has expanded dramatically. I actually commuted myself along the Green Line at one point, and while normally that meant driving halfway there to pick up the end of the line, there were a few times I tried picking up a connecting (well, not quite connecting) train from Metrolink, at a station not far from this spot. In fact, the track in the first two photos has since been converted into a footpath connecting a shuttle stop to the commuter rail station.
Urban Light at LACMA is a large square filled with over 200 lamp posts that the artist collected from various locations over several years, spaced wide enough to walk through comfortably. It’s like being in a forest of lamp posts — perfect for this week’s challenge.
The funny thing is, I wasn’t even planning on going there. We went to see the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum at the other end of the park. Oil has been seeping out of the ground for thousands of years, trapping animals and preserving their bones in an incredible collection of ice age fossils. But the parking lot on that side of the park was full, so we parked in the LACMA structure at the other end.
I spent Saturday at a comic book convention, so naturally the first thing that came to mind when I read that this week’s theme was unexpected was this: the old comic book series, Tales of the Unexpected. I had to look through a few back issue bins, but found a few issues.
Long Beach Comic and Horror Con is, despite the name, one of the most comic-focused conventions I’ve been to. Mostly I looked for books, watched displays and people in costumes, listened to discussions by writers and voice actors, and talked with a few artists. Plus in the middle of the day, after lunch, I wandered around the Rainbow Lagoon park adjacent to the convention center. You can read up on the event, or look at more of my photos from the con, featuring costumes, pop culture cars and sightseeing.
The Palos Verdes peninsula sits at the southwest corner of Los Angeles. Parts of it are built up in old, grid-style suburbs. Other parts are of the more modern, winding type. And still other parts remain open space, due in part to the unstable geology of the area. Parts of Portuguese Bend are sliding toward the ocean, requiring frequent repairs of the main road along the coast. Way back in 1929, a housing development began sliding into the ocean. Abandoned now, the area remaining above land is known as the sunken city.
Adjacent to those ruins is Point Fermin Park, an ordinary city park that sits atop the cliffs. The Point Fermin Lighthouse (previously featured here) looks over the sea, and a fenced walkway runs along the length of the cliffs.
Looking out here, you can see the layers of rock, and understand how parts of the point could just slide away. The warning signs on the fence don’t surprise me, but I have to wonder just who would want to climb out there.
On learning that this week’s photo challenge is “eerie,” I started thinking of all the photos in my library that might fit. My mind immediately went to this one, a shot of a nearly-full moon behind ragged clouds taken, appropriately enough, on Halloween last year.
Just about all of my “eerie” shots involve the moon, or clouds/fog, or both. For instance, this view of fog pouring over a hillside at sunset, and the shadows of the trees inside it.
Or this one, a this scanned photo of a lunar eclipse from 1994. I’m fairly certain that the bright splotch is the moon, and the rest, including the ring and the sharper image at upper right, are lens artifacts. It’s been so long that I don’t remember any specifics of taking the photo.
Finally I remembered a series of photos I took at the Thurston Lava Tube in Hawaii, trying to use natural light (with only the cave walls to brace the camera) and picking up ghost images of the other tourists wandering through.
I have some more shots of that cave over at K-Squared Ramblings. That’s also the blog where I’m trying to do NaBloPoMo this month. I started yesterday with a post about yesterday’s shooting at LAX and the spillover it had on the parts of town near the airport: roads closed, constant helicopter noise, sirens, and thousands of stranded travelers leaving the airport on foot, trudging over a mile dragging their luggage in a ragged line. You know, if I’d thought about it and found the right position for a photo, that would have made for a good “eerie” image.
I have food allergies that require me to carry an Epi-Pen in case of accidental ingestion (which happened to me during Comic-Con this year), and I also carry an asthma inhaler. I got the idea in my head that the Epi-Pen two-pack looked like a pair of warp nacelles, and the inhaler made for a good engineering section, and went looking around for a thematic saucer section…until I hit on the idea of just using a saucer.
I put the image together last fall, and added a shortcut URL to a fundraising walk I participate in each year: the FARE Walk for Food Allergy. This year’s walk in Los Angeles is coming up next weekend. Donations go toward food allergy research, education, and advocacy.
Food allergies aren’t just preferences, and they aren’t like hay fever. They’re a severe, sometimes life-threatening condition that affects millions of people. Please consider making a donation to the cause.