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Unexpected Patterns of Life

October 15, 2000

A group of friends, two of whom own helicopters, spent a recent weekend sightseeing in Southern California--and because they did it from the air, the views were spectacular in unique ways. The friends flew from Fullerton Airport to San Luis Obispo and points north.

On the return trip south, Times photographer Don Kelsen was a passenger in a helicopter piloted by traffic reporter "Commander" Chuck Street of Yorba Linda. (The other was flown by by Street's friend Paul Slavick, a private pilot from Irvine.) Kelsen was struck by the play of light and shadow on the changing rural-to-urban landscape, and captured a colorful patchwork of patterns and shapes.

Among the sights unobserved and unappreciated from the ground: the elongated blocks of trucking trailers in East Los Angeles, rows of apartment buildings west of the L.A. Civic Center and the snaking verdant lines of a citrus grove in Ventura County.

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