Seasons in Los Angeles

In 2019, I decided to make a video essay documenting the changing seasons in Los Angeles.

The film begins, as the year does, in winter. In this case, it’s winter in the San Gabriel Mountains that divide the chaparral of the Los Angeles Basin from the desert of the Antelope Valley. Next we’re in the Antelope Valley, stopping briefly at the small settlement of Valerymo.

A rainbow heralds the arrival of spring. In the Santa Monica Mountains and the Sierra Pelonas, early bloomers begin to flower. After another brief interlude, this time Downtown underneath a flowering pink lapacho, it’s back to the Antelope Valley for a magnificent orange explosion of California poppies and other spring flowers and flowering Joshua Trees.

Waiting for the Metro C Line provides a view of Downtown and the mountains beyond through the curving concrete ribbons of the beautiful and terrible Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange in South Los Angeles. What follows is a view of the South Bay under gloomy late spring skies as seen from the end of a pier.

Insects and overhead power lines hum and buzz in accord under the scorching summer sun from. The setting is the Puente Hills that separate the suburban San Gabriel Valley from suburban Southeast Los Angeles.

One of Mideast Los Angeles‘s many stair-streets provides an interlude before a visit to the sunny, rocky shores beneath Palos Verdes Peninsula. In the distance are Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands — the two Channel Islands within Los Angeles County.

A view of the postmodern Bonaventure Hotel through the flowering branches of a jacaranda kick off the trees’ annual bloom.

Night finally falls over MacArthur Park.

My sister’s cat, Iwashi, observes a crow flying from a eucalyptus.

Back in the Santa Monica mountains, much of the lush greenery has turned a brittle gold. A rattlesnake rests underneath a sacred datura vine. A mouse hides in the dry undergrowth. A cottontail keeps an eye on me, as does a Nuttall’s woodpecker.

Newly hatched ducklings swim in the Silver Lake Reservoir.

A hike in the San Rafael Hills ends, quite by accident, in Descanso Gardens.

Red-eared sliders and koi share a murky pond in the Hollywood Hills under the supervision of a Muscovy duck.

Back, once again, in Silver Lake, an agave sends up a towering quiote, which we give birth to more agaves but bring about its death.

Autumn comes to Mount Wilson …and Topanga. Tree trunks creek and bang in a valley. Waterfalls continue to fall even in the long dry season. Above the San Fernando Valley, the leaves of a stand of California black walnuts turn golden.

Clouds gather in the San Gabriel Mountains, as seen from Silver Lake. Winter returns, once again. Snow falls on the mountains. The seasonal cycle continues to turn.

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Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Seasons in Los Angeles

  1. Superbly done! I watched the whole video from start to finish! You made me miss home! I moved from LA county to NorCal about a year and a half ago. You made home look so beautiful! What camera and editing process did you use? Inspiring work, as always! 🙏🏻🌌🌈🧘🏿🍵🎄🌦♥️🎞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you so much! I know it’s quite a bit longer than most people would probably. And, I didn’t include any titles because didn’t want to make it seem so much like it had a beginning and end — since the seasons don’t. Also — no music because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything online with an added score and thought to myself, “Thank god for that constant background music!”

      I shot it on my phone, which I believe is an iPhone 7… maybe 6. I edited it with iMovie.

      I love Northern California and that weather — which we’re getting a bit of today — finally!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The latest version of iMovie is much better, in my opinion, than the one I used just a day or so earlier to make this video. I cranked out a video of Alan’s 6th Birthday (that I filmed back in April) in less than an hour! Of course, then, when I was gone, my computer decided to update without my permission and is currently unusable. Such is the way with Apple products, I’m afraid.


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