The top photo was taken in the afternoon on May 21, 1955, by Alan Weeks at the corner of Avenue 61 and Monte Vista in Highland Park (or Mount Angelus). I took the bottom photo last Friday, Aug. 16th, in the afternoon trying to match the telephone pole shadow in the bottom left of the 1955 photo.
Yes, I’m that much of a geek.
Very little has changed. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power substation is obviously still there. The telephone poles are mostly still there. The stop sign and street sign got an upgrade or downgrade depending on your love of old signs. The Mount Angelus sign is also a new addition.
The brick street has been paved over. My hunch is that given the decades between paving in the city of L.A., the brick isn’t that far below the asphalt.
There is no tree shadow at bottom right in 1955; the tree was either planted or has grown considerably judging by the shadow in 2013. The bus these days takes a wider turn than the streetcar did in 1955, making for an additional challenge in getting matching photographs.
The small sliver of building that can be seen in the right part of the frame is still there, now a different color and the awnings and businesses are gone:
Bottom line: Highland Park, like many other parts of the Los Angeles area, is the land that time has forgot.
About the photography
Alan Weeks, 81, is a retired transit scheduler for the RTD and the MTA. He is still shooting transit photographs — lately he’s been documenting construction of the Gold Line Foothill Extension project. Many of his photos can be seen on the Metro Transportation Library & Archive’s Flickr stream.
Alan used a 35mm SLR in the 1950s with a 50mm Zeiss lens and Kodachrome slide film. Kodachrome is no longer manufactured or processed.
I shot today’s photo with a Nikon D5100 digital SLR with a 35mm lens — which on my cropped frame camera (i.e. the sensor is 24mm wide) is almost equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera. Even with computer-aided processing, recapturing the wonderful colors and crispness of Kodachrome is nearly impossible.
For this photo, I used the Visual Supply Company’s slide presets presets for Adobe Lightroom, specifically the Kodak 100G preset with many smaller adjustments. The processing helps the digital look more film-like but it pales in comparison to the simple slide film technology of the 1950s.
Categories: Transportation News