Sunday, January 11, 2015

Photo-of-the-Week #193 - Griffith Observatory, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, January 2015

Here is the Griffith Observatory. The Observatory is prominently located on what may be the highest point in Griffith Park on Mount Hollywood, a 3,000 plus acre preserve donated to the city of Los Angeles in 1896 by Col. Griffith J. Griffith. In his will he also left the funding to build the observatory with detailed specifications. The observatory was built in the mid 1930's as a WPA project during the Great Depression. It was officially opened to the public on May 14, 1935. It is and has always been free to the public in accordance with Griffith's will.

In addition to the huge planetarium theater in the large center dome of the observatory, there are large telescopes in the east and west observatory domes. During World War II the observatory was used to train pilots in celestial navigation. During the 1960's the observatory was again used to train Apollo astronauts for the lunar missions. The observatory has undergone at least a couple major renovations over its lifetime. The latest one took from 2002 to 2006 and included a major excavation project under the observatory to add more exhibit space. It also included the installation of a huge, modern Mark IV Zeiss projector inside the new dome of the planetarium. The older projector was installed in a second theater built underground during the renovations and expansion.

If you look closely you can see the Goodyear
blimp slightly right of center and above the
opening in the clouds.
There is way too much to tell about the fascinating exhibits housed inside the beautiful Art Deco structure. And, as of this time, I have not had the opportunity to experience the inside of the observatory. Pete, my son, and I arrived at about sunset and reaching the observatory on the two lane, winding road leading to the too small parking lot was impossible at that time. So, we found a great vantage point overlooking the Los Angeles Basin and captured photos of the sunset. We later drove up to the top of the mountain, but there was nary a parking place to be found and the traffic and congestion up there was like being on an L.A. freeway at rush hour on a Friday afternoon of a three day weekend. So, this becomes another addition to my life list of places to experience.  

By the way, this photo was taken from about a mile away as the crow flies. The photographic quality, of even an inexpensive point and shoot (in this case, my Samsung WB250F) camera, amazes me. The long lens in this little camera (and I wasn't even close to fully zoomed) provides great detail, remarkably sharp images and, for documentation purpose, very useable photographs. And, while this camera has a 14 mega pixel resolution, I usually use a 5 mega pixel resolution to keep the file size down to allow for faster up and down loading. Ain't technology great? 

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