Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A big thank you shout out to Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks for the cleanup effort so far at the Korean Bell of Friendship! Plus a photographic interpretation of last night’s visit there.

And let me say without equivocation, that I am now convinced that they are doing absolutely all that they can do in this time of budget cutting and economic hard times. Some of you are probably wondering why I seem to be changing my tune, let me just say that two recent visits within a very few days of each other presented me with overwhelming evidence of the root causes for the mess and just how difficult it will be to solve the intractable problem with
the bell.

I made two visits just one week apart. The top photo shows the floor to the left of the bell after the cleanup. Note the small amount of pigeon droppings(or seagull.)
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Next, a close up of the same area.
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In hindsight, I now realize those are fresh droppings above. Below, is a photo
that I took last night, one week later, of the same area to the left of the bell.
In these shots, because the bright sun was setting, I took the photos from the other side of the bell. So the area to really look at is across the photo at the other side. I know this is complicated.
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Folks, that is from just one week. Only one week’s worth of pigeon droppings! I wish to apologize to the managers and cleaning staff at LACDRAP for my hard tone in earlier posts. Unless something drastically changes; i.e. a Great Horned Owl or Red- tailed Hawk or other bird of prey
takes up residence inside the rafters of this monument, the custodians have an overwhelming task to try to clean this monument, akin to the Augean Stables that Hercules ended up diverting a river to clean as his fifth labor.

By the way, I wish to thank the gentleman that I talked to last night at the monument who suggested the idea of somehow getting an owl or other bird of prey to start roosting there, as a way to scare off the pigeons. I had said that perhaps the fake owl might work and he said after about a week the pigeons would figure out it was a fake.

Per City Councilman Buscaino’s chief of staff, the monument is now on a bi-weekly power washing schedule. That is about all that can be expected in these hard times and will be welcomed by the visitors to this monument. The work needed up in the rafters will probably have to be thought long and hard about, however. Take a look at these two photos that were taken last night. The intricate painting and scrollwork done by the craftsmen who built this monument, would probably not take too well to power washing. I do not know the answer and hope that some study will be made before attempting that part of the cleanup effort. In addition, the staff should give thought to ways to remove the pigeons and study how to keep them out. I like the idea of having an owl or hawk to take up here. Perhaps consultation with biologists and wildlife experts might be useful right now.
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In the photo above, you can already see the evidence of damage to the paint possibly from previous cleaning attempts.
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All this being said, I drove down with the intent of trying to make some
delightful photographs. The goal was to stick around until sunset and try to record the twilight’s effect upon the look of the memorial. I took my Nikon D70 slr with the new 50mm f/1.8 lens. Wrong lens choice as I discovered that due to the location of the sunset, I needed my wide angle lens to get the whole building into the shot, which was my vision. Turned out it didn’t matter, we all started leaving way before sunset at 7:15 pm because they were going to shut the gate. I do wish that they would stay open until 8pm, until after the sunset.
Here are a few of the pictures that I took.
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The sun is beginning to set in the next photo behind me, note that the light has started to change.
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I really was concerned that I would not get enough cloud detail in the above photo due to the contrast in lighting.
So using Nikon’s full matrix metering, I used the bell which is as close to neutral gray as anything in the above to
meter on. It worked!
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In the above shot, I used the flat edges of the rounded roof tiles to meter off of. It worked better, the clouds and sky are less
subdued than in the previous photo. I really like the lighting in the photo below. Very warm.
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Now for a couple of attempts at the bell enclosure itself.
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A moody shot above quite intentional I might add.
In the shot below, I wanted to see how much detail could be pulled out of the shadow, all of these photos are as taken
straight from the camera, no tweaking on the computer. In this case, I got lucky.
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Here are two different interpretations of the same scene, with the goal of making the light be totally different in each photo. One seems bluer or colder, and one shows a warm glowing look. Which do you prefer?
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And now the next interpretation.
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I will end this post with an attempt at a farewell photo, I just wish that I could have stayed another 20 minutes or so
for the sun’s grand finale of the day. Sorry for the green lens flare.
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That’s it folks. Hope to see you again and feel free to comment if you so desire.