Snow Above Los Angeles (Feb 2019)

Snow Above LA (Morning)

The winter storm of the past few days is over, leaving a thick coat of snow on the higher parts of the San Gabriel Mountains and a thin dusting on the lower parts, even the mountains behind the Hollywood Hills, still lingering though mid-morning.

Snow above the Hollywood Sign

By mid-afternoon, most of the snow in the second photo appeared to have melted, and the patches on Mt. Wilson (barely visible to the left in the first and third images) had mostly faded. The next ridge back was still thoroughly covered, though!

Snow Above LA: Afternoon

I left work just before sunset, to make sure I could get some photos of the reddish light glinting off of the still snow-covered mountains.

Snow Above LA: Evening

Hot Take: The Great Flickr Purge

Yahoo was never sure what to do with Flickr after they bought it. And when they realized they’d missed the smartphone revolution, they tried to make it into something it wasn’t suited for (an Instagram equivalent) and couldn’t sustain (cloud storage for ALL your photos!)

I remember when they panicked over Instagram and the best they could come up with was adding filters, as if that was the key feature that made it take off. (Filters were just a way of covering up the fact that phone cameras of the day were still pretty terrible.) And I remember when Facebook started asking you to auto-upload every single photo to their app in case you wanted to post it later, and suddenly everyone wanted you to auto-upload your photos. Facebook, Google+, and of course Flickr.

But Flickr has a different social structure than Instagram, and being cloud storage for every last picture takes a lot of resources. Maybe chasing Facebook and Instagram kept them alive for a while, but it put them in a bind down the road.

I don’t think Yahoo has ever understood what made Flickr resonate with the people who liked it back in the day, or those of us who stuck with it. They considered closing Flickr several times. And Verizon clearly didn’t want it, since they were happy to sell it to SmugMug.

It sucks that they’re deleting photos to push free accounts into the new limits, but SmugMug taking the site back to basics might make it viable long-term. Maybe now they can work on being a first-rate Flickr instead of a third-rate Instagram or fourth-rate Facebook Photos.

Smiling Sky

Wispy clouds with an upside-down rainbow near the top of the sky.

The last few weeks have been really good for halos. The first tangent arc I’ve seen, a clear circumscribed halo, the more common sundogs and 22° halos, and now a circumzenith arc, looking like an upside-down rainbow high above the sun, wrapping around the top of the sky.

I think this is the second I’ve seen, but the first was only a fragment.

Like all sun halos, they’re formed by light reflecting through ice crystals. And since those crystals can be in the upper atmosphere, you can see them even in warmer places like Los Angeles.

Taken with my phone through polarized sunglasses. Color and contrast enhanced.

Lunar Eclipse, January 2019

Full moon, mostly red except for a whiter edge at the upper left.

The evening was hectic, and I almost forgot. I had literally just put my son to bed when I remembered, “The eclipse!” We went out to see if the sky was clear.

Clouds were rushing across the sky, but for the most part, it was clear, and we had a perfect view of the moon looking like a dark brown chunk of rock in the sky.

(Then I spent 10 minutes fighting with camera settings while he went back to bed.)

Update: I went back out about an hour later to check out the view as the moon left the earth’s shadow, and caught these two photos, taken about the same time with different exposures so that you can see either the lit portion of the moon, or the part that’s still in the earth’s shadow.