Saturday, September 26, 2009

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory, bequeathed to the City by Griffith J Griffith, a Welshman, is one of my absolute favourite places in LA. And with a stylish outdoor Cafe at the End of the Universe looking over the Hollywood sign, it's a cool place to savour the beauty of the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mts. The Observatory has some truly fascinating exhibits along with the planetarium itself, but what most impresses me is that this Art Deco beauty was raised on stilts whilst they underwent a huge restoration project to extend the observatory. So what looks like a genteel lawn, now rests above the observatory extension, separated by a gigantic concrete pour. I have a love for Art Deco architecture and thankfully, this gem perched on a promontory with commanding views over LA and vertiginous drops, is one of the most earthquake proof buildings in LA. Griffith Park itself is the largest urban park in the USA and borders on beautiful wilderness areas. I also have a deep passion for historic photographs and find myself totally immersed in the black and white images recording the history of LA and and its metamorphosis into a global megalopolis of today. Unwittingly, the black and white shot I took of the Observatory closely resembles an archived shot I later happened upon. The weather is currently scorching and remembering back to last year, it was in the 90s in late October so no doubt there's much more to come of the Santa Ana winds and their companion, wildfires. But til then, the sky is as beautifully blue as it appears in the pictures.

Extract from literature: Within the rotunda, the gently swaying Foucault Pendulum demonstrates the Earth's rotation.The brass ball, suspended by a cable 40 feet long, swings in a constant direction while the Earth turns beneath it. The pendulum is mounted to a bearing in the rotunda ceiling that does not turn with the building as it rotates with the Earth [Mama says: It's engineered so that it can operate independently of the Earth's rotation]. A ring magnet at the bearing gives a little tug on each swing of the pendulum to keep the pendulum in motion As the day passes, the pendulum knocks over pegs set up in the pendulum pit and indicates the progress of rotation. [Mama says: It's as if you're witnessing the cable change direction, but instead, you're witnessing the Earth's rotation].


Kristi said...

Lovely pics on a lovely day!
Maybe we can come play with you there sometime? Even though we've been down here almost a year now, we've still not made it to the Griffith... amongst many other places!

hannah m said...

Beautiful! In all my trips to LA I've never made it here either...and I wonder why - it looks like a place I'd LOVE. Gorgeous photos, as always, Catherine!