Before the Atomic Sunset, I was being deliberately lazy today in Redondo Beach. Or better, I was sitting at the living room table listening to KJAZZ and editing family photos from the weekend. It was cold and wet outside, it was pleasantly warm indoor. And yet at about four in the afternoon I casually glanced at the blinds and a portion of the sky was being tinted the color of gold and not the color of lead.
I sighed, knowing that my productive laziness was in jeopardy. I walked to the avenue and looked out to the West. The sunset was indeed going to be glorious – if only compared to the sour gloom that had haunted the day and made me doubt that the sunny yesterday was only 24 hours before.
The mental check was quick. Batteries were charged, memory cards were available. I suited up, strapped my bag to my back and ran to the Photo1. The Mustang roared and plunged down to PCH, but I knew she was just hiding her wariness in front of the wet asphalt. We knew where we were going. The Pier.
There was old Tony’s, backed by an atomic sunset. Truth be told, the vision didn’t remind of the news, but rather of nuclear tests in the Southern Pacific Ocean, when people sipped tiki cocktails in tiki huts and let tiny umbrellas protect them from the moral fallout.
My soles slippery, I carefully conquered the upper parapet. The vantage point of view allowed me to frame the little beach that still lies within the horseshoe-shaped boardwalk
I walked the boardwalk. It was deserted, save for a few other photographers who had heeded the call and some people enjoying the view between the office and the happy hour.
I went back to the rampart and waited for the show to unravel before my eyes.
First there was the opposition between two major forces, casting red and blue hues on everything below.
Then it all dissolved as fast as it came, leaving nothing but some large, V-shaped streaks of pink in the sky.
The lights had come up by then, and – like at the theatre – I knew it was the sign that the show was nearly over and we were to vacate the hall and head home.
A middle-aged couple was smooching far at my left. I blessed their love and cursed their being smack in my frame.
I was getting hungry, my appetite still ignoring the fall back, so I walked back to the car. Not without one last shot at our big little Pier, maybe the greatest little pier in the world, our quaint, worn, strange and characteristic pier.