Sun Halos: Always Look Up

palm-tree-halo

Have you ever seen a ring around the sun? Or a pair of bright spots flanking it? Or a rainbow-colored cloud? Just as sunlight reflecting and refracting inside raindrops can create a rainbow, sunlight reflecting off of ice crystals can form fascinating and beautiful halos. It doesn’t even have to be cold at ground level: if the ice crystals are high up in the atmosphere, spread in a thin layer of cirrus cloud, you can still see them… even in places known for warm weather like Los Angeles. I have a whole gallery of halo photos I’ve taken in southern California. You’ll see them more often than you expect. You just have to look up.

Carpet of Yellow Flowers

Blanket of yellow flowers

There are a lot of jacaranda trees near where I work, lining the walkways through the business and hotel parks and lining the sidewalks along the street. There are also a lot of these trees, which look so similar that I assumed they were more jacarandas until the first spring I was here, when they bloomed bright yellow instead of light purple. From what I can tell, they’re Tipuana trees, also known as Pride of Bolivia trees, and despite the similarities, they aren’t closely related.

The flowers act the same, though, dropping in thick blankets as spring turns to summer.

This particular tree, sadly, is no longer there. It was ripped out this fall, as part of a massive landscaping project to convert one of the office buildings into a hotel.

Hahn Park at Sunset

Hahn Park at Sunset

Kenneth Hahn Park sits within the Los Angeles basin, half of a cluster of hills bisected by La Cienega Blvd. The western side is an oil field. The eastern side is broken into a maintained city park and something vaguely resembling wilderness, all of it surrounded by suburbs, homes, retail outlets and light industry. Trails run up into the hills, with benches at scenic viewpoints making it possible to have a picnic lunch while you look across the basin to see — depending on which viewpoint and how clear it is that day — Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, the South Bay or the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

This is somewhere along the trail on the western side of the hills, looking north through the valley. I believe the line of buildings in front of the Santa Monica Mountains is Wilshire Blvd.

River of Stars

Walking on a River of Stars

Night at the new pedestrian area at the Anaheim Convention Center, taken during WonderCon this past weekend. This walkway replaces a street that used to run between two hotels, and is anchored by fountains at either end. It turned out to be a perfect place for con-goers to gather socially during the day, and for cosplayers to hold photoshoots.

More photos on Flickr including exhibits, people in costumes, and sightseeing.