RMW: the blog

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


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Magical Memories – #7 – Santa Fe, New Mexico 2014

April 2014 I attended a photography conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I extended the stay by a couple of days so I could walk around on my own to take some photos. This was my third visit to the area and at the time I decided I didn’t need to go again. But six years later if somebody asked me to accompany them on another trip I wouldn’t turn them down! 

The top photo was taken on Canyon Road where a lot of artists live and there are many galleries of all kinds. 

I discovered this lovely doorway as another student and I were wandering around town on a break between classes.

I got out of the general tourist area and found myself at the railway station just as the Railrunner Express was pulling in to make the perfect photo.

To see more of my Santa Fe photos from this trip, follow this link!

 


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Monday Magical Memories – #5 – Visiting the Parthenon in Athens of the South 2014

When I visited Nashville, Tennessee in January (2014) the last thing I expected to be doing was walking up the steps of the Parthenon, temple of the Greek goddess Athena.

On a tour the day before the International Tour Management Institute symposium started, we had driven past Nashville’s replica of this iconic building in Centennial Park. I knew I had to come back on my own and investigate. So on the last day I skipped the seminars and farewell luncheon and trudged up to the park in the bitter cold. There was actually a heatwave that day… a high of 35 degrees F (1.66 degrees C)… twenty degrees warmer than the previous few days!

To see all my photos from this visit, please click here: https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/visiting-the-parthenon-in-athens-of-the-south/


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Santa Barbara – part one – a saunter through Lotusland


A friend and I drove up to Santa Barbara last week partly to visit Lotusland, which has been on my bucket list for a while, and partly to enjoy the city. Lotusland is actually located in Montecito, an affluent unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California, east of the City of Santa Barbara.


I first heard of Lotusland while visiting Santa Barbara for the Summer Solstice Festival in June, 2017. That was quite a different scene with thousands of people thronging the streets. Click here to view my blog post of that event.

Lotusland sits on 37 acres and unless you are a member you must walk through it on a tour with a docent.

It is billed as one of the top ten most beautiful gardens in the entire world. Well, it is very nice and I enjoyed the visit but I’m not sure I would go that far. Maybe we are spoiled for lovely gardens in Southern California but other gardens in other parts of the world spring to mind. Top 100 might be more realistic although I haven’t traveled enough to back that up! But it was worth seeing, for sure.


I took 240 photos during the walk and it was very hard to decide which ones to display… I could easily have included 100 in this post… but I decided to spare you and cut it down to a mere 56 with as much variety as possible… which means some of my favorites hit the cutting room floor… that hurt!

This turquoise glass slag lines the pathways… a very effective and beautiful border.

Lotusland contains about 21 different garden areas with more than 3,000 different plants from around the world. Please click on an image below to begin the slide show.

I’ll be uploading a couple more posts of our trip to the Santa Barbara area so stay tuned!


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Christ Cathedral walk around

Christ Cathedral under renovation so I couldn’t get up close and personal. Crean Tower peeking out behind stands 256 feet tall.

Howdy everybody! The last time I posted on this blog was December 29, 2018… that’s almost half a year ago. I’ve been wanting to come back to WordPress but it’s been one thing after another. The past couple of weeks I decided I either had to start posting again or close up shop forever. So here we are for better or worse! I’ve missed all my WordPress friends!

Designed by Philip Johnson, this stunning 236-foot stainless-steel mirrored spire stands over 18 stories tall and houses a magnificent 52 bell carillon. The Arvella Schuller carillon was named in honor of her 35 years of service in bringing beautiful music to the church. This remarkable collection of bells range from six inches to nearly six feet and were forged by the Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in the Netherlands.

This past Saturday some friends and I visited Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, which is the former Crystal Cathedral headed by Robert Schuller. Now it is owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The cathedral itself was completed in 1980. In all that time I have wanted to visit! The plan was to view the Sistine Chapel Exhibition. I was not interested as I didn’t want to dilute my previous experiences with this artwork both at the Vatican and in England. Reminder to self: I need to post the photos from the church I visited in Worthing, Sussex.

Christ Cathedral

Designed by Richard Neutra and his son Dion, the 13-story Tower of Hope first opened in 1968. Named after New Hope Ministries, this building housed the very first 24-hour suicide prevention hotline.

The cathedral itself is not open right now as it is undergoing renovations. The dedication is set for July but it won’t be fully opened until 2020 after the organ has been completely tuned. I intend to return at that time as they will be resuming docent tours. However, I knew I would find plenty of photographic opportunities wandering around the rest of the campus while my friends enjoyed the exhibit. BTW, the consensus of the others was that the exhibition was just okay… so I was happy with my decision. There is no greater joy for me than exploring with my camera.

Christ Cathedral

The Cultural Center completed in 2002 was designed by world renowned architect Richard Meier, also known for his commission of the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Jubilee Church in Rome, Italy.

As there was construction going on all over the complex it was pretty much impossible to twist my camera around to avoid it so please excuse the intrusion of chain link fences or scaffolding or equipment. I did crop some of it out which also necessitated cropping out parts of the scene. Enough with the excuses! Click on an image below to start the slide show.

The ladies restroom is one of highlights of the complex. A female parishioner was fed up with the lack of enough facilities for women. She donated one million dollars to build the best possible womens restrooms that amount of money could buy!

 

 

 


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A tour of the NoMad Hotel in DTLA

NoMad Hotel

Another interesting day in downtown Los Angeles. My friend KJ and I went on a private tour of the NoMad Hotel organized by Eleanor Schrader. This was particularly meaningful to me as when I was a docent with the Los Angeles Conservancy I would bring people to the building in its various incarnations.

(Just an anecdote, I remember many years ago when I was leading a tour, some movie company was shooting a film outside the building. They removed the tree that you see in the above photo. I was really mad. But as you can see, they did it carefully so they could replant it when the shoot was over, and today it is still healthy!)

NoMad Hotel

The 1920s were the glory days of downtown LA and the building known as Giannini Place, the home of the Bank of Italy, was no exception. The building morphed into the Bank of America, then attempts were made to renovate it for offices until it became derelict.

NoMad Hotel

So I am very happy this historic building has been totally renovated in the spirit of its original design to become a boutique hotel.

I popped downstairs to the restroom to discover that the vault had been converted to bathrooms!

NoMad Hotel

Click on an image to start a slide show of some photos of the hotel:

The interior of the hotel is gorgeous. But my favorite part is the roof bar and pool area with some great views of the city! Click on an image below:

 

NoMad Hotel

Above is the coffee shop decked out for the season.

freehand hotel

It was suggested that we should visit the sister hotel down the street for lunch, the Freehand Hotel in what was originally the 1920s Commercial Exchange Building. It’s so great to see these wonderful Beaux Artes buildings coming back to life as apartments and hotels after standing empty for decades.

 

The ambience of the Freehand is totally different from the NoMad. We both felt like we were in an Asian take on Yosemite! The wait staff emphasized that the chef was half Mexican, half Chinese which influenced the cuisine. We both chose the Tunisian sandwich which was a delicious take on a nicoise salad.

I love downtown Los Angeles.


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Super afternoon at Hauser & Wirth

hauser & wirth

Detail of capitol of pillar

Four members of the Culver City Art Group shared a lovely visit to Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, an art gallery in the Arts District neighborhood of downtown LA. Three of us, B, K and me, rode the Expo Line to the Red Line to the Gold Line and met R there. She drove. Maybe next time we can get her on the train!

Mark Bradford

The first exhibit was artwork by Mark Bradford. I’ve seen his work at another art museum and fell in love with his images. See my blog post about that exhibit here.

Mark Bradford

Some contemporary art I can walk right by and other work sucks me in. His images are definitely of the latter variety.

Hauser & Wirth

The gallery was originally an old flour mill built from 1896 to 1929. Fortunately the gallery has left a lot of details from that time.

old flour mill built in phases from 1896 to 1929

Bradford’s work is very complex. It’s spectacular from a distance but you need to view it close up to really get it.

hauser & wirth

Looking up at the skylight in the first gallery

hauser & wirth
I can’t help it, I was as captivated by the details of the building as I was by the art work!

hauser & wirth

Shadows and reflections on the window screen.

hauser & wirth

No visit to an art gallery or museum is complete without lunch. We ate at Manuela, opened since my last visit. For a look at the original post, April 2016, click here.

hauser & wirth

My choice for lunch was the polenta with mushrooms and egg. Delish.

hauser & wirth

Can’t go wrong eating outside on a beautiful Southern California April day!

hauser & wirth

Love nasturtiums. Just some of the edible plants and veggies growing in the planter garden used by the restaurant.

hauser & wirth

Metal gate

hauser & wirth

Building on view from across the street.

  hauser & wirth

Manuela raises their own chickens for the egg dishes.

hauser & wirth

Very happy birds…

hauser & wirth

The beauty of old brick and peeling paint.

hauser & wirth

Geta Bratescu

hauser & wirth

Metal exit doors

hauser & wirth

The galleries are spacious.

hauser & wirth

Sometimes it’s hard for me to distinguish the artwork from the architecture…. or maybe there is no distinction.

hauser & wirth

hauser & wirth

hauser & wirth
So happy somebody had the vision to incorporate the details from the old factory. This is very satisfying to me.

hauser & wirth

Let’s not omit the wall in the Ladies Room!

hauser & wirth

hauser & wirthI’ll leave you here. Just a great day of visual delights with good friends who love art as much as I do!


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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.

yosemite

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

yosemite

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.

yosemite

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.

yosemite

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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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!


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Deck the Halls of DTLA again – with views from the Wilshire Grand Hotel

christmas downtown los angeles

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Two days before Christmas I repeated the Downtown Los Angeles Christmas Tree & Decorations Tour. Click on this link for last week’s walk. This time there were five of us. I know there were other people who wanted to come but due to illnesses, injuries and other commitments, could not make it.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Don’t know what kind of tree this is but the red berries made it very festive. At California Plaza.

So I’m thinking maybe I should do this again in 2018! I’m also thinking about a Christmas Decorations walk through Beverly Hills. I did a photo walk a couple of years ago, see the post here.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Another view of the red berry tree

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

California Plaza includes two skyscrapers, both of which are shown in the above photo.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

My four companions on the walk at California Plaza

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Lobby of the US Bank Building with the Central Library in the background.

In February or March I’m hoping to put together a tour of the Central Library and then use the 50% off coupons I have to visit Skyspace, the open air observation deck at the top of the US Bank Building.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

A view of the Central Library with the new Wilshire Grand Hotel (with the mast) peeking up behind it.

The US Bank building (also known as Library Tower) was able to build to 72 floors by trading air space with the Central Library. So the library can never build higher than its present height.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Millenium Biltmore Hotel lobby

Yup, you saw the above tree in my previous post. But it’s so gorgeous it’s worth seeing again! Do you recognize that ceiling? It was used in The Poseidon Adventure.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations  

Hands-on dad assisting his daughter with the Penguin helper at Pershing Square

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

There’s construction going on everywhere these days. More people, more traffic.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Hotel Clark as seen from Pershing Square

The Hotel Clark was built sometime around 1912-ish. It was a transient hotel for many years and in pretty bad shape. It’s really good to see its new life as a boutique hotel with a rooftop restaurant/bar. I have to see if I can get up there at some point.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Tree on 70th floor of Wilshire Grand

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

View from the 70th floor of the new Wilshire Grand Hotel

If you read my previous blog post, the first time I made it to the 70th floor lobby of the Wilshire Grand Hotel I had a terrible case of vertigo that crippled me, so I couldn’t take any photos. This time I was still a little queazy but I was able to wrap my brain around the fact that I was up so high and it was okay. The above view looks out to the Santa Monica Mountains and towards Malibu.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

The main part of LA is known as the Los Angeles Basin. You can see how the name originated as we are surrounded by mountain ranges. On the other side of the mountains is The Valley… still a part of the City of Angels.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

And then there are the freeways. Pretty light traffic for a Saturday. Everybody has parked their cars at the shopping malls for Christmas shopping!

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

The ocean on the horizon… from Palos Verdes to Santa Monica. The ocean is about 15 miles (24 km) from the Wilshire Grand.

I know the color is awful on these photos. I’m still having problems with color calibration and Lightroom… and reflections through the windows didn’t help. A triple whammy.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

You might notice the heli-pad on the building next door. Until recently there was a requirement to have a helicopter landing place on every building in downtown for emergencies. Since that ruling has been lifted we are seeing some more architecturally interesting rooftops.

Downtown Los Angeles decorations

This last photo is a zoomed-in look at Echo Park Lake, approximately two miles (3.2 km) from the hotel. That white object sticking up in the center of the lake is the Olympic Fountain installed for the 1984 Olympics. You can see photos of the lake on my blog post here.

Be sure to see my post about the previous week’s walk-through of downtown decorations at Deck the Halls of DTLA.

 


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Deck the halls of DTLA

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Los Angeles City Hall at right mirrored with Christmas tree

Thanks to my friend SB for walking around Downtown Los Angeles (otherwise known as DTLA) with me today. It’s no secret I love downtown and I especially love it at Christmas… otherwise know as “The Holidays.” As anybody who knows me is aware, I embrace all religions and follow none. But I was brought up with Christmas, so that’s the way it is!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

The above photo advertises El Dia de Los Muertos which is celebrated at Grand Park with installations honoring the dead, a Mexican tradition. The N.Y.E.L.A. poster is for the New Years Eve party hosted at Grand Park. At right is the reflection of the fountain.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

A reflection in a window of the fountain with Christmas decoration on the left half. I always love Christmas with palm trees! After being too hot, today the temperature was around 70F (21C), my perfect temperature!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We walked over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This was the window of the gift shop. We assumed the colorful tubes represent the pipes of the organ in the hall. And you can see the reflection of City Hall peeking up behind the pipes.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Decorations in the window of the gift shop with reflections of clouds and palm trees. How Southern California is this?

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

The exterior of the Broad Museum mirroring a reflection of the building next to it.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We walked over to California Plaza to look at the decorations. The Angels Flight train was coming up the track.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

City Hall in the background.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas trees reflected in the pool at California Plaza.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas tree and wreath inside the building with reflections from outside.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Another tree inside lobby of a building with reflections from outside. Obviously I’m obsessed with reflections!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Decorations inside the lobby, yes, with more reflections!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Looking upwards from California Plaza

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Next we moved on to Grand Central Market. Loved this neon ad for Frontier Whiskey!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Grand Central Market Christmas Tree

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

One Bunker Hill didn’t disappoint with their decorations. But the coffee bar was closed for the weekend.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations
One Bunker Hill is one of my favorite buildings any time of the year.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

A very decent tree at the US Bank Building, the “real” tallest building in LA.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We then transported ourselves over to the Biltmore Hotel. We had lunch there at Smeraldi’s. We each ordered the mushroom bisque.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Absolute heaven. And we split the prawn sandwich. Equally as good. Just enough food. Would do that again for sure!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

I adore the Biltmore. I could live there!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Now this is what I call a Christmas tree. The photo really doesn’t do it justice. Sorry.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations
They do a really great “tea” in the afternoons.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas in LA cannot be complete without a visit to the skating rink at Pershing Square. The little kids have “penguins” to hold on to. It’s great to see them fall and get up again and still enjoy themselves. A lesson there for all of us!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Looking up from Pershing Square.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Pacific Mutual always has some good decorations. I love all the 1920s buildings in downtown but this one is special to me as when I did my LA Conservancy training this was the building I had to present in order to become a docent. It’s hard for me to believe now but I was so nervous I almost decided to quit the program before I had to give my talk. Glad I didn’t!

After this we visited the brand new Wilshire Grand Hotel. We took the elevator up to the lobby on the 70th floor. I had a bad vertigo attack looking out of the windows as there are no railings to hold on to. Why not??? In any case it was horribly hazy from all the fires so I could not have taken any photos anyway. But it would certainly be an impressive view on a clear day. Some other time, for sure!