RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Feline Friday – #87 – late Friday afternoon

It was getting to be late Friday afternoon and I had no ideas for Feline Friday so I just started snapping. Freddie was on his favorite chair and decided to let me take a portrait. He has a very photogenic pink nose.Freddie and Frankie

Frankie was curled up on the sofa and refused to open his eyes for me despite my spot on imitation of a squeaking mouse. He was probably dreaming about mice anyway.Freddie
I had to run a quick errand. By the time I returned home both cats had changed locations. Freddie was on the coffee table cosying up to Ansel Adams and was done with posing.


Frankie had taken up a position under the chair. Who says you have to sit on the cushions? This way he can rest and still have a good view of the room.

The felines wish you a good week until next time!

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A gift membership to the Huntington Library

The Huntington

A friend very kindly gave me a membership to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, approximately 20 miles (32km) northeast of Culver City and 13 miles (21km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. So as it was such a glorious day on Wednesday in the 70s (21+C) and sunny, I decided to make the trip.

My first stop to take a photo was at a fountain in the California Garden area. Two little girls were playing with the water. One was wearing a bright pink dress and the other was in blue. The reflection of these dresses in the water gave me the colors at the right hand side of the image. I’m sure the mother thought I was trying to capture pictures of her kids so I did my best to make it obvious I was only interested in the fountain. I took several shots but the one I liked the best was out of focus so I decided to play with it in Photoshop and make an abstract image out of it!

The Huntington

The Huntington

Now I have a membership I didn’t feel the need to rush around to every part of the gardens or visit the galleries as I can come back whenever I feel like it! So I just walked around looking for flowers and plants and scenes that struck my fancy.

The Huntington

I set my camera on Aperture Preferred (AV on my Canon) which is now my preferred setting! For a long time I set it to Program as the default and changed the aperture and shutter speed as necessary. But now I believe AV is better.



The Huntington
I know there are “purists” who scoff at anything other than strictly Manual. Good for them! I talked to one professional landscape/street  photographer who told me his dirty secret that 95% of the time he stayed in Program and let the camera do the work. It’s like painting. Anybody can take a brush and make a mess on a canvas. But it takes an artist to make something beautiful.

Walking towards the Desert Garden



The Huntington

Whether you are using a paintbrush or a camera, you still have to have an “eye.” I have a friend who owns all kinds of camera equipment but has no sense of composition. that’s the most important element.



The Huntington
So it doesn’t matter if you are shooting in Manual or Program or Aperture Preferred or with a point & shoot camera or a smart phone. If you capture a good picture, that’s the only thing that matters.



The Huntington
For me, walking around with a camera forces me to see things I probably wouldn’t notice otherwise. Today I was on my own. But I also enjoy going out with a friend because they might spot something I missed and vice versa.



The Huntington
The other issue that comes up is post processing. I happen to enjoy working in Lightroom and Photoshop. You can’t start out with a crappy photo and make it into a masterpiece on the computer. Ain’t gonna happen. But you start out with a well-composed, in focus, reasonably well-lit image and there is a chance you can make that into a masterpiece! I shoot in RAW so all my images have to go through Lightroom (or Camera RAW) anyway.



The Huntington
My favorite part of the grounds is the Desert Garden so I pretty much concentrated on that area. Next time I may avoid it completely! I was attempting to get some closeups and some general views. My favorite lens is my 18-135 zoom. It’s a kit lens and if I ever want to upgrade I am out of luck as there apparently is no stand alone lens in those lengths. But I’ll worry about that when I get there.



The Huntington

I’m hoping I can choose a couple of these to upload to Fine Art America where I have my portfolio. This one above might be a candidate.



The Huntington

The Desert Garden includes more than 5,000 species of desert plants in sixty landscaped beds. I don’t want to be the one to count them.



The Huntington

The weather was unbelievably pleasant. Cool and sunny is my favorite. I remember one visit to the Desert Garden when it had to be 100  degrees F (38C) and I couldn’t get enough water inside me. I’m sure all the cacti and succulents were having a great day!

The Huntington

I’ve never seen so many lizards cross my path. They must have liked the weather too and decided to come out for a stroll. One after the other they were darting out in front of me. No fear of humans.



The Huntington

I took almost 250 pictures this day! Lucky for you I won’t show all of them! But there are 42 in this post.


The Huntington

Unbelievable that it is necessary to post a sign reminding visitors not to carve their names or initials on the bamboo. Aaaargh…. people!

Click on an image below to see slide show of the rest of the photos, if you even made it this far!

See one of my previous posts about The Huntington here.


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Feline Friday – #86 – nap time


When I’m home I often take a 20-minute or half hour nap after lunch on the sofa. It isn’t easy sharing with two other bodies. Frankie is annoyed because I got up to fetch the camera and disturbed him!


Frankie enjoys catching some rays coming through the shutters.

freddie
Freddie often sleeps like this looking like he is sliding off the chair! They say the camera adds an extra 10 pounds… so I guess that is true in Freddie’s case!


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Feline Friday – #85 – crossing the 101

mountain lion

A photo released Tuesday shows mountain lion P-64 on the south side of a culvert it used to pass under the 101 Freeway. (National Park Service)

This story appeared in the Los Angeles Times on March 13, 2018. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mountain-lion-freeway-crossing-20180313-story.html.

For only the second time in 16 years, a mountain lion has been recorded crossing the 101 Freeway south into the Santa Monica Mountains, National Park Service officials said Tuesday.

Moving under the freeway through a pitch black culvert the length of two football fields, the mountain lion identified as P-64 was captured on camera March 1 crossing from Simi Valley and the Santa Susana Mountains to the Santa Monica Mountains, the park service said.

It’s pretty amazing that this cat figured out that this culvert would take him across as there was no way he could see the other end. The National Park Service has long promoted the idea of a wildlife crossing over this freeway. Since they started recording statistics in 2002, eighteen mountain lions have been killed attempting to cross roads and freeways in the area.

It’s important that the animals can roam into other territories to mate. Otherwise they run the risk of becoming extinct in this region.


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Yosemite – part four – my dream come true… SNOW!

yosemite

Sunday night the dark clouds rolled in and made for some dramatic skies.

 

yosemite

Monday morning I opened the drapes and voila… SNOW. Well, not exactly.

yosemiteDuring the night we thought we heard heavy rain beating down. Turned out it was hail.

Yosemite

Walking over to breakfast it was a tad slippery!

yosemite

But it was great to see white stuff on the mountains.

Yosemite

And eventually snow began to fall. This is what I’d been waiting for.

Yosemite

I was actually glad Mother Nature had waited until the last day to present us with snow. I don’t think I would have enjoyed hiking in the snow. I’ve hiked in the snow many times in the past (although not at Yosemite) and now I’m more concerned about slipping and falling.

Yosemite

But it was certainly wonderful to see it dusting the trees and mountains.

Yosemite

I loved the contrast of the greens and browns of the trees against the whites and blues.

Yosemite

Yosemite

Seeing the Yosemite Falls with snow and ice was pretty spectacular.

Yosemite

Yosemite

Yes, we are still in California! This Chevy provided the perfect contrast of colors.

Yosemite

So at last my vision of snow in Yosemite was realized… dreams do come true! Yosemite is splendid under any circumstances. But with snow it is extra special.

Yosemite

I do hope to visit Yosemite again at some point in the future. But now I don’t have to be disappointed if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

 

 

 


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Feline Friday – #84 – the softer side

Freddie Frankie

Frankie (grey tabby/white) and Freddie (black/white) don’t like to admit that once in a while they share a chair and even get cuddly.

Freddie Frankie

They are pals but they are both very macho cats, each in their own way, and mostly live separate but friendly lives.

Freddie Frankie

They like to be in the same vicinity, one on a chair, one on a sofa, but generally not too cozy. They chase each other up and down the stairs. And they enjoy a wrestling match with clumps of fur flying.

Freddie Frankie

So it’s unusual to be able to take photos like these.

In fact, they really didn’t want me to publish these on my blog. But I explained people love heartwarming pictures like this. So they did eventually agree to let everybody see their softer side.

But they asked me to make it clear either one of them could start a fight any minute. Okay.

 


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Yosemite – part three – a walk to the Majestic

yosemite

Upper Yosemite Falls

On Sunday S and I decided to walk the two miles from Yosemite Valley Lodge over to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly known as the Ahwahnee Hotel).

yosemite 
It was another chilly sunny morning and I was beginning to doubt I would ever experience snow at Yosemite in my lifetime!

yosemite

Although we enjoyed the group hike the day before, we were equally happy to have time on our own, going at our own speed and stopping to take photos.

yosemite

A lot of the trees looked pretty brown and dried up. I wasn’t sure if that was the drought or the time of year.

yosemite
The bare tree branches allowed for some dramatic scenes.

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A rather ominous sign. Does that mean the rest of the park is full of guns?

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Like Mona Lisa’s eyes, Yosemite Falls followed us along our route.

yosemite
Our plan was to eat lunch at the hotel bar then take a docent tour of the Majestic Hotel.

yosemite

Two of the light fixtures in the bar, one with bears, the other with pine trees.

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After lunch we had a wait for the docent tour so I hunkered down for a nap in a very comfy chair in the Writing Room next to a window  with a lovely view.

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View of the hotel built right up against the mountain.

yosemite yosemiteOur tour guide was very lively and passionate about his subject. He told us he had been climbing El Capitan and Half Dome since he was about four years old with his parents.

yosemite

Although our accommodations at the lodge were very comfortable I wouldn’t mind staying at the Majestic (Ahwahnee) on my next visit! This last photo shows what the original decoration of the walls and ceilings looked like. You can see the areas that have been uncovered under the yellow and brown paint. At one point it was thought to be too busy so it was painted over.

Yosemite


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Feline Friday – #83 – keeping clean

frankie-dishwasher

Did you ever wonder how cats manage to keep their fur so clean?
freddie dryer

Did you think it was because they were sitting around all day licking themselves? So did I!

frankie dishwasher
So I was surprised to discover that is not the case!

freddie dryer

Just like you or I, cats depend on appliances to keep that white fur bright and shiny! A little disappointing to discover the truth, huh?

Disclaimer: in no way do I encourage the felines to play around in the dishwasher or clothes dryer, but boys will be boys!


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Yosemite – part two – a hike and the Golden Hour

yosemite

Saturday was our first full day at Yosemite National Park. One of our leaders was on crutches and announced she was leading a saunter so S and I decided that was our kind of hike! I walked outside our room in the morning to get the photo above. It was COLD out there!

yosemite

This was the view from our patio. Somebody said this was Cathedral Rocks so I’m going with that!

yosemite

Photographers blocking our view!

We set out on our “saunter” along the Merced River. There was no snow but it was CHILLY! My gloved hands were totally numb and I had difficulty clicking the shutter on my camera.

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The top of the Yosemite Falls. One of the magnificent features of the park is all the waterfalls.

Half Dome peeking up in the center.

yosemite I honestly didn’t think I had any good photos from this trip. But when I got home and looked at them in Lightroom I realized I had a few. I think there might even be two or three that I can work on to upload to Fine Art America.

yosemite
I enjoy framing a similar view in a different way.

The light coming through the trees was magical and mystical.

yosemite
In the afternoon we visited the Ansel Adams Gallery. What could be finer than viewing masterful photographs by the man himself in the location he shot them in? Ah, life doesn’t get much better!

yosemite

Bridal Falls… think you can figure out where the name came from!

I came back to our room and sat outside in the patio with a little vodka cocktail (well, maybe not so little…). You can see our chairs and table and the beautiful view through our picture window. My friend said when she got back to LA her body had returned but her soul was still in Yosemite. Agreed!

yosemiteIt is so important to spend time in nature and to get out of your usual routine so your brain can fly.

yosemite

yosemite
As evening set in we were fortunate to catch the Golden Hour. The next evening the clouds rolled in and there was no Golden Hour…

yosemite
All day long and all evening long we were fascinated with the plane entrails passing overhead.

So you’ve seen day one and day two. Two more days coming up!


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Looking down on Los Angeles

skyspace los angeles

In the very very distance at the left on the top of the mountain you may be able to see a white horizontal splodge. That is the Hollywood Sign. If you look a little to the right you will see another white speck which is the Griffith Observatory.

Almost 30 years ago Library Tower opened as the tallest building in Los Angeles and West of Chicago at 73 stories and 1018 feet (approx 310 m) high. As a Los Angeles Conservancy docent at the time I had the privilege of leading tours around the 72nd story. It was late afternoon. There had been a huge storm the day before. The skies were full of wonderful cloud formations and the view went on forever… from the glittering ocean to the mountains and beyond to the desert. It’s a scene I will always hold in my head.

skyspace los angeles

Wilshire Boulevard at center heading northwest. It jogs to the left around Koreatown to turn west and then runs through Beverly Hills, heads southwest at Westwood Village and then all the way out to the beach at Santa Monica.

It’s now the US Bank Tower but it’s always been an office building closed to the public. New owners took over recently, built some observation decks and installed a glass slide between the 70th and 69th floors and called it OUE Skyspace which is open to the public for the price of a ticket. Above are two views from the observation decks. Below are three photos of the slide.

I was able to get 50% off coupons for up to 16 people and we had 13 in our group so that worked out well. None of us wanted to go on the slide… this time… but there’s always a next time!

I wrote a blog post back in December including a trip to the top of the Wilshire Grand, (you can visit it here) which is claiming to be the tallest building in Los Angeles. In fact, it is a few feet shorter but a mast attached to the top allows it to be called the tallest building. So it’s the fake tallest building in LA. The US Bank Tower is still in reality the tallest. Yes, it bugs me!

The best part is that you can look down on the fake tallest building from the real tallest building observation deck. The fake tallest building is, of course, the one with the mast sticking up above its roofline.

skyspace los angelesUnfortunately, this was a pretty smoggy/hazy day with limited visibility. Otherwise we would have seen the glittering ocean 15 miles away. I just checked Google maps and at 5:20pm (current time) on a Monday afternoon it would take one hour and 20 minutes to drive those 15 miles! Good luck!

skyspace los angeles

This shell-like image is taken by standing on a glass plate at the top of an old elevator shaft on the 54th floor looking down to the ground floor.

skyspace los angeles

So many stories (no pun intended) in these buildings both happy and sad.

Cylinders in the center comprise the 1974 Bonaventure… still one of my favorite hotels in downtown.

Of course, I have to leave you with a photo of the building itself!

us bank tower

One of my favorite views of the US Bank Tower, originally named the Library Tower, next to the Central Library building. These two buildings by themselves tell the story of architecture in Los Angeles.

The real tallest building in LA!

I’ve probably said it before but I will keep saying it: I love exploring downtown LA (and all of LA) as there is so much to discover and learn. I’ve lived in LA all my adult life and I’m still finding new, delightful and surprising things!