For days I procrastinated. Maybe I was busy, or maybe uninspired, but I couldn't find anything close to "Atmosphere". Suddenly it was Sunday night, and I had nothing. With only a couple of hours to spare, I said good-night to my wife and kids and headed out into the night. I hoped to find some fog.
Somehow I had it in my head that I wanted to find some fog and do a VR photo of a foggy night scene. Often Los Angeles is shrouded at night with a thing we call the Marine Layer. It's a bank of fog that creeps inland from the ocean. The weather report had mentioned a Marine Layer the last few days, but I hadn't seen it. Otherwise our weather was basically boring. As I drove down the 2 Freeway, I noticed what appeared to be clouds tumbling over the top of the Hollywood Hills. From my side of the mountain it looked as though Hollywood might possibly be shrouded by a visible atmosphere. It was late, around 11:30 PM, but I made my way through the Cahuenga Pass and descended into Hollywood.
Nothing. It was as clear as it could be. Somewhere above the city was a layer of clouds, but at ground level it was pleasant and clear. So there I was, driving down Hollywood Blvd. in the middle of the night on a Sunday, looking for some atmosphere. Then I glanced over and saw this lone guitar player standing at the steps of the Masonic Temple, strumming some chords. Usually this place was bustling with millions of tourists and all the crazy residents of this town. A few weeks ago, this was the center of the entertainment universe, as the Academy Awards ceremony shut down this whole stretch of road to unfurl the red carpet at the entrance of the Kodak theater. But tonight, just a few people strolled up and down the street. And this one lone guitar player waited to serenade people who would be exiting from the final showing at the El Capitan theater. I pulled over, and with just about 20 minutes to spare in the World Wide Panorama event, I set up my camera.
The guitar player's name is Gary. He is from El Paso and he was happy to be included in the photo. He was interested in the process, so I tried my best to explain what I was doing, while at the same time doing a spin around my tripod. We also chatted about sound recording and music.
The Masonic Temple was built in 1921 and it has seen a lot of change in this stretch of road. It was purchased by Disney several years ago and refurbished into a venue for special attractions as part of the El Capitan theater next door. Today, the temple is home to the Jimmy Kimmel Live
Across the street, looking from left to right, you can see the Grauman's Chinese Theater (mostly obscured in this image) the Virgin Megastore, the Kodak Theater entrance, the stairs leading up to the "Hollywood and Highland" outdoor mall, the Metro station, and then the intersection of Highland Ave. at the far right.
The sidewalk is famous here. Known as the Hollywood Walk of Fame
, the names of thousands of famous people are immortalized in stars on the ground. One star stealing the spotlight is Shirley Booth
. She played the funny maid Hazel in her own TV show, and won the 1952 Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in Come Back, Little Sheba. Other stars are Tim Allen
, A.C. Lyles
, Roger Ebert
, Clifton Webb
, Rod Serling
, Leonard H. Goldenson
, and silent film legend Harold Lloyd
So I packed up and headed home. I knew I wouldn't win the award for Best Interpretation of Theme, but I had to be at work early the next morning. It figures, when I woke up the whole city was shrouded in a thick Marine Layer.
Note: For another perspective, visit the same location from across the street
in the daytime at Don Bain's Virtual Guidebooks