Saturday, June 03, 2006

Over the Ocean Blue

On Memorial Day morning my cousin called and asked if I wanted to help him test winter repairs on a boat he's been fixing since he was in high school. I said sure. We both had a barbecue to go to later in the afternoon, so this was just a quick dart around the harbor to check systems on board.

I believe this is the Boeing Sea Launch platform used to lob rockets into space from a convenient spot near the Equator, instead of being stuck using launch pads on terra firma. When they're not using it, they tie it up in Long Beach. Note the refinery flare to the left of the ship. Wilmington, which sits just north of the harbor, can sometimes look like an otherworldly scene from The Road Warrior.

This gives you a different perspective on the two white objects (radome and water tank?) at the top of Palos Verdes Peninsula. From my balcony I see only one of these clearly. I'd have to study everything more carefully to figure out which one I rode by the other day.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge, not far from my home. I like this bridge. In fact, I like a lot of non-suspension bridges. Steel members reflect light beautifully in all kinds of different conditions, creating a bridge with shifting aesthetic moods. Sure, suspension bridges change some too in different light, but I don't think they're as expressive. I'm sensitive to the grace of this bridge because it's old, and much talk is made of replacing it. With something dreadful, I'm sure. CalTrans these days seems to prefer suspension bridges, I'm sure for engineering reasons. (Seismic flexibility?) I recognize that an important measure of a bridge is how well it carries traffic.

Every year at the summer solstice, the sun sets directly behind this bridge if you watch from Seapoint, down in Huntington Beach. Particularly because the arch of the bridge echoes the shape of the half-set sun, it's a charming sight that lasts no more than a few minutes: our updated Stonehenge.

It's wicked rough to catch the image with a camera, because the intensity of the light pretty much guarantees that either the bridge will be completely washed out in the sun or you'll lose the foreground palms and surfers, which complete the frame. Sometimes fiction seems more real than reality, but sometimes a camera image leaves you with only a wan replacement for the real thing.


Papa Bradstein said...

So, how did the boat run?

Jess still talks about her one run out on the ocean. . .when we donated your cousin's phone to Davey Jones' locker.


Henitsirk said...

Ahh, the refineries. I remember being entranced by them as a girl. I always thought they looked like something from The Wiz.