Once again, I was the one idiot on the beach tonight. Let’s talk about about the weather. LA is a weird place when it comes to inclement weather both in terms of how it’s viewed by people and how weather services describe it. It’s hard to avoid hearing about the drought in one way or another on a daily basis, and I found even I would do an old man snicker when I’d see an apartment building with sprinklers working at 2am on a wednesday, almost like they were trying to be sneaky in an attempt to have slightly less dead greenery than neighboring buildings. Don’t they know California has negative water? It’s always about the drought…until it begins to rain.Then it’s panic. Granted, rain here is slightly more dramatic than other places i’ve lived in the sense that it’s usually pretty heavy, accompanied by higher winds and it doesn’t take long for the dry land to reject absorption and flood streets and storm drains. I for one, am all for some rain to rinse off some of the filth. Scotch has had 4 different bacterial infections in LA (which is 4 more than he had in the first 11+ years of his life on the East Coast) and I can’t help but think it’s from all the dirt, waste and trash that cover the grass and pavement in and around Hollywood. Without rain, it just accumulates. That’s my working theory on how he’s getting those infections. He doesn’t eat at Chipotle so what else can it be?
This past week was mostly cloudy with some rain mixed in and it’s been a 50/50 chance it seems on whether I will see a nice sunset or not. It could be great or it could stay gray and never get any other color until dark falls. I missed a few really amazing cloudy crimson sunsets–twice returning from the vet–and wished I knew of some places around Hollywood with interesting views facing West. I generally give myself a minumum of 1 hour before sunset to be in the car with a destination set or I skip it since that’s about how long it would take during normal traffic to get to Venice or Malibu. I’d rather not drive an hour to see a sunset out of car window with no where to stop. Anyway, even with rain in Hollywood, it cleared a bit in the early afternoon and when I checked the weather channel app on my phone, saw that rain was expected here at 3pm with a 60-90% chance of rain through the evening. When I checked Venice however, it showed some rain at 3 but also only a 5-10% chance of rain between 4-6pm. I figured I’d take the chance and got in the car in the drizzle a little after 3 and began the drive to Venice. Venice Pier sits at the end of Washington Blvd and once I turn onto that road, I’m about 15 minutes away with the destination in sight. It heads straight towards the ocean and this is generally about when I know for sure what I can expect for the evening. Sure enough, I veer onto this 4 mile stretch and see gray with a bit of blue and yellow light above and immediately know I will not be getting the big, colorful sunset I was cautiously optimistic about.
Still, I was counting on that 5-10% the "up to the minute" weather report had offered earlier and since it was dry when I arrived, off I went in the wind for the beach. It’s about a 4 minute walk from where I park to where I shoot and I only saw a handful of people wandering around, wearing raincoats and furry Ugg boots on the damp sand and wet boardwalk pavement. Clearly only the survivalists brave enough to tackle this weather were out. I got to the shore, lowered the tripod a few inches off the ground and stepped back in case some audacious water tried to get me when I wasn’t looking. It was windy, the surf mostly choppy and it was difficult to focus. With the tripod as low to the ground as it can go, I was hoping to at least get some interesting streaks of water in the foreground as close to the camera as possible. The color wasn’t really there but it wasn’t all that bad and the clouds in front of me got more and more dramatic as sundown approached. I hadn’t been there all that long before the wind picked up more and a few raindrops fell and it wasn’t long after that when it began to pour. In the span of about 3 minutes, I went from dry to trying to keep my windproof umbrella from going inside out while I covered my camera and ran to the car. I’m no meteorologist–and no offense to any weather people here on Flickr–but I do have functioning eyeballs and despite what I saw before leaving, during the drive and once I arrived, I still trusted that weather report. This storm (which is literally still happening outside) doesn’t just sneak up on you. If I hadn’t seen that 5-10% chance for rain, I would’ve guessed more like 99-100%. At least I got into my car before it started to absolutely pour.
**An experpt from when I picked up dinner for me and my brother on the way home from Venice tonight:
1st person: "I was going to get christmas gifts today but then it rained and it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. I may have to write family letters explaining the gifts will be late.
me: ummm, I’m sure they’ll understand. Afterall, it’s raining here, so…Why not just go on Amazon? People still shop in stores? Why?"
1st person: "I guess I like to have the gift first and wrap it."
me: what’s the point of gift wrap? I don’t get it. People spend time creasing all the corners and getting all the sides smooth and for what? the recipient doesn’t care. They don’t even notice it as it’s ripped off with reckless abandon and discarded piece by piece right there on the floor. If it’s in a box, that’s good enough. If it’s not and you gift wrap it…the surprise is gone. I can see the blender you got me without taking off the wrapping. it’s a blender. you know what I mean? Plus Amazon will gift wrap for like a dollar. I like the box idea. Put all the gifts in a giant unmarked box and draw a question mark on it. That’ll be way more suspenseful than wrapping paper.
[enters 2nd person]
other person: "people suck at gift wrapping anyway.
me: I should be an LA weatherman, it’s the easiest job I can think of and you never have to take responsibility for any mistakes. Basically all summer, they cut to you and you say "hot and sunny" and then in the winter, you can just mix in a few cloudy, rainy days and if you’re wrong, blame it on some freak unpredictable weather occurrence. ‘A ground pepper spill at a very crowded resort restaurant in Papua New Guinea caused a massive sneezing attack that changed the course of a cold front and subsequently, the domino effect brought 40mph winds, heavy rainfall and flooding to LA. It wasn’t something our radar picked up…until it was too late. Also, Hawaii is no more. Was right in the path and never had a chance."
1st person: I don’t know how I’m going to get home tonight…I rode my bike to work."
me: [with a look of shock]: didn’t you check the weather report before you left?
WHEN & WHERE
December 23rd, 2016
EF-S 18-135mm IS STM
Tagged: , Venice Beach , Venice , Beach , Pacific Ocean , Los Angeles , California , Southern California , California Coast , winter , beachfront , rocks , jetty , canon T4i , cloudy , canon , cloudcover , clouds , dark , dusk , evening , horizon , landscape , light , land , long exposure , LE , 18-135mm , 18mm , lens , low angle , low light , tide , nature , night , overcast , outside , ocean , oceanfront , oceanscape , perspective , panoramic , reflection , rain , raincloud , rainstorm , shadow , scenic , sky , storm , stormy , mood , moody , atmosphere , skyline , sunset , sand , sea , sundown , seaside , symmetry , seascape , silhouette , surf , ship , sailboat , water , wet , waterfront , windy , waves , Wilkof Photography