One Good Life in Los Angeles

Roslyn's observations about places and events around Southern California

Cruising Marina del Rey on a murky December day

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It was a chilly and murky morning in Los Angeles. Not a southern California December day at all. We are known for our palm trees waving in a blue sky at Christmastime. But not on this day, December 5, 2012…

Last year at this time I came down with a ghastly cold, my first one in years so it took me by surprise. I had made my reservation for the Travel and Tourism Marketing Association’s Holiday Luncheon Cruise hosted by Hornblower Cruises & Events. And I could not go.

So this year I was determined to be aboard even if there was a hurricane. Fortunately, I didn’t have to brave that kind of weather. But for those of us who have become acclimatized to southern California’s balmy temperatures, this was bad enough!

I packed my raincoat and hat and off I went.

This was an important day for me. I recently purchased a DSLR camera after decades of toting around a point-and-shoot. Since it arrived about a week ago I have done nothing but take it out of the box, try to make some sense out of the instructions, then put it back in the box. I was afraid I had finally gotten to the point in my life where I had taken on more than I could manage.

In my earlier life I was a fearless photographer with a film SLR, a suitcase full of lenses and filters, and even my own darkroom. But I tired of all that, being a card-carrying member of the ADD club, and I moved on.

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But lately I have had a hankering. And after considerable research I decided on a Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera and DIGIC 4 Imaging with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens. Now try saying that after a couple of glasses of wine! (This image came from the Amazon website.)

I have to admit, when I first saw it I was really intimidated by this camera. I wondered how conspicuous I would be carrying around a machine the size of a small tank and a lens bigger than my entire point-and-shoot camera. Oh, what had I done? Amazon is allowing me until January 31 to return it, so I am bearing that in mind.

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When I arrived at the dock, I forced myself to take the camera out of my bag. I was sure if I didn’t do it then I would never take it out inside the boat. I took a couple of shots of the Dream On which was to be our dining room.

When I walked down the ramp S greeted me at the sign-in table. “Oh that was you,” she said. “I thought it was the paparazzi!” Yes, with this camera I guess I could indeed get a job chasing movie stars! Her comment actually put me at ease as it made me laugh.

The cruise was wonderful, the food was wonderful, the service was wonderful, the company was wonderful. What more can I say? I can’t say the weather was wonderful, but who cares? What can be better than being out on the water enjoying a lovely lunch? (Well, okay, doing it in the sunshine…)

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We saw quite a few seals frolicking in the water but every time I tried to get a photo they disappeared under the surface. The photo above was taken at a long distance with the zoom lens and then zoomed in even more with Photoshop. Those little blobs are the seals, in case you couldn’t recognize them.

My lunch companion said she had taken the Hornblower Parade of Lights Dinner Cruise the year before and intended to sign up for this year too. I put that in my memory file for future reference.

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So today I moved another step ahead. Although I have a LOT of learning to do with my camera, at least I have graduated from not realizing I had to turn the power switch on to actually taking some photos. For sure, the weather on this day plus being on a moving boat was not the ideal venue for my first photo-taking adventure. And honestly, I don’t think these pictures are any better than I would have taken with my point and shoot. But as a friend of mine said, one little thing a day and in a year the camera will be a part of me.

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The sun did it’s best to come through the haze as we returned to Fisherman’s Village and I was pleased with the way the camera caught the colors.

I was proud of myself too because I didn’t over-indulge in the food. The salad was beautifully presented. Why didn’t I take a photo? The main course of chicken stuffed with spinach, roasted small potatoes and carrots with green beans (perfectly cooked) was right up my street.

The only dessert I cannot resist is cheesecake which, of course, they had to serve. But I only ate two thirds and didn’t touch the graham cracker crust (although I was tempted). And I only drank about two ounces of wine. Champagne was offered also, but I don’t happen to like that bubbly stuff.

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When we came on board we had all put our business cards in a bowl for a drawing for a Hornblower cruise. But sadly my card didn’t come up.

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I would like to mention that Hornblower Cruises & Events very graciously donated a cruise for two for the Culver City Art Group 17th Annual Holiday Art Exhibit raffle last month. As vice president and an exhibitor at the show, I pretty much stuffed the Hornblower bag with my raffle tickets. But once again I missed out!

So, my only hope is that TTMA will be able to have their holiday luncheon on this cruise again next year… hint, hint…

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Santa and the Snowman were moored nearby waving at passersby.

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted)

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Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles. Recently I rediscovered photography and I am busy learning everything I can about it. It's a great excuse for getting outside, wandering around and stopping to look at things.

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