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Hermosa Beach, The Strand

Photography and audio by Mel Melcon

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Dogs and their people stroll the Strand of Hermosa Beach, taking in the panorama of land and sea, cyclists and sunbathers. Welcome to the Hermosa life.

The tiny city in the South Bay celebrated its centennial a year ago. It was incorporated Jan. 14, 1907, and takes its name from the Spanish word for "beautiful." It's easy to see why. Dappled in sun, the flat, sandy beach is as wide and endless as a summer day.

Not as frenzied as Venice, not as remote as Malibu, Hermosa seems to beckon all comers looking for a piece of the beach idyll that defines Southern California.

Volleyball players dive for a play on the sand. Nets and poles are permanent fixtures of what is oft-called the beach volleyball capital of the world. Tourists, meanwhile, are happy simply to dig themselves into the stuff.

From their seats, patrons of Hennessey's Tavern catch a glimpse of oceanfront activity. Residents can simply watch from balconies and porches overlooking the Strand. Hard at work on the pier, anglers cast their lines, trolling for fish.

Children ignore all that. Instead, they jump with abandon in the shoreline waves.

Can't get there in person to check out the scene? Try a web cam -- the HermosaWave Live Camera -- which records a northwest view from Hennessey's. It can be found at www.hermosawave.net/webcam/.

--Steve Padilla

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Southern California is a vast land of neighborhoods. Drive Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles, for example, and you'll encounter industrial blocks, the garment district, Koreatown, West L.A. bungalows and the burgeoning entertainment district at the eastern end of Santa Monica.
But most of us don't spend time driving from neighborhood to neighborhood--so L.A. Times photographers have done it for us. Throughout the summer, we'll spotlight their portraits of a variety of neighborhoods, ranging from the Fairfax District to Newport Harbor.


 
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