Friday, December 31, 2010

Santa Monica Sunsets

One thing I regret now that I am in LA rather than in Santa Monica is the accessibility of seeing the sunsets over the Ocean. Although it takes no time to get there, I am usually in a hurry to return home before the rush hour traffic, which means I miss the sunsets. However, I have made a point of catching them a couple of times recently so feel it is appropriate to end the year with the cliche of the sun going out of sight... at any rate, like most people, I love sunsets!

I will start with some images taken a few weeks ago, first walking towards Palisades Park:

And here in the Park is one of the Pink Melaleucas, framing some palms:

Now, just the palms against the sky and the ocean:

Then I became aware of the New Moon, framed by palms:

And here, just the Moon above the ocean:

Now just the sky and ocean...

Finally, to end the year on an up-beat note, here are a couple of more fragile, optimistic sunsets taken this week:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Moreton Bay Fig Trees

I have written often about one of my favourite trees- the Moreton Bay Fig. Having today yet again passed through the wondrous avenues of them on La Mesa Drive, I thought I would show some more recent and not-so-recent images of the trees there. The sculptural formations of their organic limbs never cease to astound me:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

LA Trees on December Walk

And now it is December...and the acceleration to Christmas is in full swing. However, simultaneously the Fall is taking place here in little pockets among the evergreens. Being in Southern California, one does miss the total dramatic effect of the changing seasons, so one gets very excited by these vignettes...

This morning when I took my granddaughter Violet to the nearby Playground, there was an amazing blue, blue sky and the reds and yellows of the occasional Maple and London Plane trees were exhilarating. It is never that easy to concentrate on taking photos when looking after a baby, so in the late afternoon I went out alone with a camera. By now, of course, there was a totally different light and those particular trees were no longer exciting - but that's the wonderful thing about changing light, you always find that something else now looks exciting, the unexpected...

At the start of my walk, the evening sun's reflected "glow" was burnishing the leaves:

And now it was lighting up the limbs of the trees too:

Next, as I walked down onto the Eastern side of a hill, the glow was no longer on the trees, but was reflected on the Eastern sky, the trees becoming silhouettes:

I then turned South-Westwards, and here was another sky. I have photographed these Palm trees many times against a clear blue sky, so was elated to see them in this evening light:

My next excitement was seeing a tiny slither of upside-down (to us from the UK) new moon, behind the trees:

And then a shaggy, bird-like Palm:

Finally, a completely different visual experience:- side-walk trees turned into magical Christmas Trees:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

LA Trees on November Walk

I am shocked to see that it is over a month since I have written anything here- not because I feel I SHOULD have to just for the sake of it, but because there have been so many things I have intended to write about but have not had the energy to do so. My pathetic excuse is that I have been too busy with Grandmotherly duties to do anything else....

That said, most days I take my Granddaughter to a little local playground and afterwards explore different routes home, thus getting visual surprizes from the very varied trees. Granddaughter permitting, I then have the added joy of photographing them.

Here are some images from a recent walk:

Eucalyptus trees inevitably delight me with their elegant, sculptural shapes, emphasized by the exciting colours and patterns of their peeling bark. I totally fell in love with the twist in the trunk of this one:

Pepper trees always fascinate me- with the extraordinary "carbuncles" on their trunks contrasting with the delicate patterns of their foliage:

Finally, here is another tree that gave me great pleasure with its twisted limbs. I believe it is a form of Carob tree, although others I have seen are not so entwined. If anyone disputes this please let me know as I always welcome other opinions, not being an authority on this country's trees!

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Sick-Amour": Blue Planet Fest

I have been back in Los Angeles for three weeks. Having arrived in an excessive heatwave (temperatures up to a record 114 Fahrenheit), what with that, jet lag and re-bonding with my now nearly ten month old granddaughter, Violet, I have neglected Treeaware- so now to catch up:

In January 2008- while researching local Tree Artists for Treesavers' bid to get Santa Monica's Downtown Ficus trees Landmarked- I came across the website of Joel Tauber and his heart-warming video "Sick-Amour", annotating his love for a vulnerable, uncared for Sycamore tree sitting in the midst of the Rose Bowl's parking lot asphalt.

I was sorry to hear that the movie of Sick Amour was to premiere at the Los Angeles Downtown Film Festival on September 11th when I was still in the UK. However, last weekend the Blue Planet Film Fest- gave three showings of the movie in Santa Monica. To quote their Mission statement: "Blue Planet is the first animal-welfare/environmental film festival and forum to raise mainstream awareness and motivate people to action on the most important issues of our time: saving the earth and the biodiversity in it." So on Friday I was delighted to see the completed Sick-Amour (accompanied by fellow-Treesaver Louise).

It is a very moving, informative love-story, showing Joel's total dedication and resourcefulness to give this Sycamore tree a better quality of life- something that I totally relate to. It is quite amazing how much he accomplished- even persuading Pasadena's City Council to give the tree a wider surrounding asphalt-free area, with bollards to prevent destruction from vehicles. This is an environmental microcosm of what we should all be doing to respect and nurture trees without which we- literally- could not live. Please check out Joel's movie trailer and website here.

An important aspect of the movie is propagation- impossible for this isolated tree by itself. Joel has solved this by gaining the help of a nursery to germinate the seeds. Thus he has so far found homes for 140 "Tree Babies", both in people's homes and in public venues. Not having anywhere to plant a tree myself, it was gratifying to learn that Santa Monica was going to plant one of these Babies in Crescent Park by the Beach, following Friday's showing of the film. So here is the Planting:

First, Joel shows his love for his tree's offspring as it sits in the prepared hole:

And here he is joined by Mira Tweti, Executive Director of Blue Planet Film Fest:

And next Joel is joined by both Santa Monica's City Staff and Treesaver Linda Piera-Avila, representing Santa Monica's Urban Forest Task Force, set up by Santa Monica City Council largely due to the persistence of Treesavers during and following the Ficus tree crisis. It might seem surprizing that so many spades (gold ones too!) and bodies were necessary for planting this one little tree, but in fact earlier two native Torrey Pines were planted nearby, as part of an initiative to plant 1,000 trees and observe their environmental progress; besides, everyone wanted to be involved in the planting of this baby Sycamore tree:

Here Joel helps bed down the sapling:

And here as the final soil touches take place, you can see the tree's relationship with the Ocean:

Planting completed, the Baby sits in its neat water-retaining basin:

In Joel's movie, you learn of all the creatures and fungi that attacked his Sycamore, so it was good to see the healthy green leaves of this little one:

Joel gives his Tree Baby a last kiss:

Hopefully, this little tree will one day really grow up into the sky...

Note: English readers will be confused by the term "Sycamore", which there refers to Acer pseudoplatanus, rather than Platanus occidentalis, the American Sycamore, otherwise known as the London Plane tree- which in London is just referred to as a Plane tree! whereas in Scotland what the English call a Sycamore tree is sometimes called a Plane tree! All very confusing....and I have probably made it even more so!