Icy Hot?


It’s hard for me to really pick a photo that says “warmth.” Perspective on cold is different in Southern California, where winters approach but rarely drop below freezing, and the winter rains make December through April the greenest months of the year. So we don’t use fires much, and flowers and greenery make me think of the cool winter/spring weather instead of the hot, dry, brown summers. Even beaches make me think of late afternoon ocean breezes.

So I thought I’d pull out a shot for irony: An “Icy” warning sign somewhere in the San Gabriel Mountains, seen during the warmth of spring…when it most definitely isn’t icy!


Sunset Double Rainbow over LA

Sunset Double Rainbow and Airplane Over LA

I was on the top of a parking structure near LAX to take pictures of the clouds, and was just about to head down when I saw a fragment of the primary rainbow appear. I decided to stick around and keep watching, and was rewarded when it brightened and lengthened, and then a faint secondary bow (just to the right of the airplane) came into view.

Mt. Saddleback

Saddleback from Tustin Hills: January 2011

Today is moving day. I’ve spent most of my life in Orange County, where the eastern skyline (when not blocked by trees and buildings) is dominated by the Santa Ana Mountains. The two highest peaks, Santiago Peak and Modjeska Peak, are known locally as Saddleback because of the shape they form together.

We’re not moving far — just to the South Bay — but it’s going to be weird not seeing this landmark on a day-to-day (well, non-smoggy day-to-day) basis. You can see it from that far away, but it takes a very clear horizon and a very clear sky. On a good day I can just make out the silhouette from LAX.

This shot was taken in Lemon Heights, where you can (usually) see a lot more than just the silhouette.

Santa Ana Mountains Snow II

Santa Ana Mountains Snow from Irvine

According to Flickr, this is my most interesting* photo that isn’t someone in costume at a fan convention. It’s #68 on the list!

The photo was taken December 18, 2008, after a storm passed through Orange County and did something unusual: it blanketed the Santa Ana Mountains with snow. Saddleback typically gets a light dusting a couple of times a year, and the next peak down sometimes gets a little snow that melts by noon, but it’s rare for the snow to reach any lower.

The vantage point is a housing development on Quail Hill, looking southeast over the Irvine Spectrum area. You can see the Great Park Balloon near the left. Saddleback itself is out of frame to the right, but you can see its base (the peaks are covered in clouds) in the panorama I shot at the same time.

*Flickr’s “interestingness” is a measure that combines a count of views, comments, and “favorites.” The exact balance is secret, but from what I can tell, comments outweigh favorites, which outweigh views.

San Gabriel Snow, Light, and Clouds

San Gabriel Snow and Clouds

Wednesday morning on my way to work, I looked over and saw the San Gabriel Mountains practically glowing with the morning light of the sun. A layer of cloud blocked the sun where I was, making the distant peaks look that much brighter. I stopped at a spot where I knew I’d have a good view of the mountain range.

It turned out to be a really interesting view, as you can see from the panorama below.

District Snowy Mountain Panorama

By lunchtime, the sky above was mostly clear, and clouds were bunched up against the mountains, completely blocking them. I was indoors most of the morning, but it seemed as if the cloud layer had just blown northward until it hit the mountains, then stopped.

Click on either image to go to its Flickr page.

(Reposted from K-Squared Ramblings)

Okay, that should do it for this week’s photos from after the storms. Next week: back to “classic” photos from my Flickr collection!

San Gabriel Snow

San Gabriel Snow (Section 1)
San Gabriel Snow (Section 1), originally uploaded by Kelson.

I haven’t had a chance to post any of the photos I took of the mountains after Monday’s storm, so here’s one from last December. It was taken at the end of the Warner Ave. exit from Jamboree near The District on the former grounds of MCAS Tustin in Tustin, California. This is a small section of a larger panorama of the San Gabriel Mountains.