From The New Yorker: In 1998, Lawrence Weschler, a trans­plant to the East Coast from Los Angeles, wrote for The New Yorker about an aspect of his home town that he missed so much that it could bring tears to his eyes: “That light: the late-after­noon light of Los Angeles—golden pink off the bay through the smog and onto the palm fronds. A light I’ve found myself pining for every day of the nearly two decades since I left Southern Cali­fornia.” The distinc­tive light of L.A.—the way it can cast the city in hyper-real relief or wrap it in a dreamy haze—is legendary. It’s one of the things that drew the movie studios there, it crops up in liter­a­ture and art about the city, and it’s “a subject that Ange­lenos are endlessly voluble about,” Weschler wrote. And so he talked to a number of those Angelenos—from a scien­tist at Caltech, who described how L.A. pollu­tion gives the air a partic­ular shimmer, to the legendary sports announcer Vin Scully, who for decades wove descrip­tions of the skies over Dodger Stadium into his broad­casts of the games—gathering their readily poetic paeans about the way their city glows.

In this video, which first appeared on “The New Yorker Presents” (Amazon Orig­i­nals), Weschler revisits his classic piece. The light has changed some­what since he wrote about it, partially because pollu­tion levels have dropped, but it is still “the defining char­acter of the place—the soul of the place,” he says. Also appearing is the creator of one of the most iconic images of Los Angeles: Zoey Tur, the pilot of the news heli­copter that followed O. J. Simpson’s white Bronco when he led the police on the famous low-speed chase through L.A. as the sun began to set, and the city lit up. “We shouldn’t show this to people back East,” Tur says as she takes the film crew up in a heli­copter twenty years later, “because they’ll move out here.” · Go to The science and poetry of the light in Los Angeles →