RMW: the blog

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


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Feline Friday – #93 – Smile, you’re on Amazon!

amazon smile

Freddie, Frankie and I are too busy killing fleas to take time out for photos today. We haven’t had fleas here for at least five years. This year the fleas have organized their armies and invaded the house.

I applied a couple of half doses to the cats earlier on but it’s time to get serious. It’s extremely humid here and those fleas are in heaven.

I ordered a bunch of flea supplies on Amazon so this seems like a good excuse to spread the word about AmazonSmile. Maybe everybody already knows about this, but maybe not…

Through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. I chose SPCALA, a Los Angeles based animal rescue organization. So far I haven’t met a product that wasn’t eligible.

AmazonSmile offers the same products, prices and service as Amazon. So why not take advantage of it? You just have to remember to start out each time at AmazonSmile instead of Amazon. I still forget sometimes.

Happy Friday! Be cool, be dry, be flea-free!

(Just in case somebody out there is wondering, NO I am not getting compensated in any way for this plug for AmazonSmile!)


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Buttorfleoge or Flutterby… it’s Butterfly to me!

natural history museum butterflies

In researching the origin of the name “butterfly” I came up with two possibilities. 1. The Anglo-Saxons coined the word ‘butterfloege’ because the most common butterfly at the time was the yellow brimstone butterfly. 2. They were called flutterby (obviously because they fluttered by) in Victorian times and after a while the name was reversed to butterfly. Maybe a combination of both.

natural history museum butterflies

I make the effort to visit the Butterfly Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum every two or three years.

natural history museum butterflies

It’s somewhat of a meditative experience to mingle with the winged creatures for half an hour.

natural history museum butterflies

Our reservation was for 11:00am and I must say the creatures were very active at that time of day.

natural history museum butterflies

The docent informed us they were fluttering around looking for the right place to lay their eggs.

natural history museum butterflies

The butterflies can’t lay their eggs just any old place. It has to be the right plant or the eggs won’t hatch, or if they hatch they will die.

natural history museum butterflies

So every kind of butterfly has a specific plant to lay its eggs on.

natural history museum butterflies

So when humans wipe out certain kinds of plants the butterflies get wiped out too.

natural history museum butterflies

We humans continue to cause all kinds of havoc for nature.

natural history museum butterflies

In the pavilion there was plenty of mating going on.

Please click on an image below for slide show.

 

 


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Spidies, dragonflies and lions

spider-pavilion-093015-034-C-750px

It’s that time of year again for the annual Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. This year I was able to get the earliest time slot for my visit, 10:00am. Last year my slot was at 2:00pm (you can see that post here) and I wondered if a morning visit would be better.

los angeles county natural history museumAs it turns out I think the afternoon was a better time. It seemed like last year there were more and different kinds of spiders hanging out!

los angeles county natural history museum

I asked one of the guides and she mentioned that in the afternoon is when most of the spiders like to spend time repairing their webs and generally tidying up. In the morning they have just had breakfast.

I had intended to just pop in, say hello to the arachnids, then jump back on the train to go home as there were a lot of things I needed to work on.

los angeles county natural history museum

But once I was there anyway, I decided to wander through the Nature Garden. I am a member so (other than my $45 annual membership) I have free access to the museum.

I love spending time in the garden as there is something different to see with each visit.

This beautiful orange dragonfly (above) caught my attention.

los angeles county natural history museum

Then I saw this couple swooping crazily around the pond. They finally settled on this leaf to consummate their nuptials. Baby dragonflies coming soon?

los angeles county natural history museum

The original couple abandoned the leaf and moved on to a twig that was floating by.

Word got around and pretty soon another courting couple arrived. A dragonfly orgy.

I was using my 18 – 135 telephoto lens from afar and had to crop the photo down quite a bit so the quality is not that great.

los angeles county natural history museum

 

los angeles county natural history museum

You can see why I wanted to take a photo of this bush. Even with the dried up brown flowers it is still spectacular. And you may remember I was visiting Catalina Island recently. (See post here.) On this trip we didn’t go far enough inland to see any specimens. But now I know about it, I’ll be sure to look for it next time.

los angeles county natural history museum

I was very happy to see this fountain working again. On my last visit it was shut off and I was afraid it was a permanent situation because of the drought. But I see no reason why fountains with recycled water cannot continue to run. City birds (and other creatures) have come to rely on human-created water features. And I love to see water fountains myself.

california science center

Next door at the Exposition Park Rose Garden this normally exuberant fountain has been silenced while surrounded by well-watered, green lawns. What is wrong with this picture?

http://www.laparks.org/exporosegarden/rosegarden.htm

Meanwhile, back at the Natural History Museum, I wandered into the Gem and Mineral Hall. From the NHM website: The Gem and Mineral Hall displays more than 2,000 spectacular specimens within two large galleries that comprise what is considered to be one of the finest exhibits of gems and minerals in the world.

If you click on this link there is a good photo of the hall. My photo above is of the Quartz Crystal Ball, one of the largest flawless quartz crystal balls in the world at 10.9 inch (27.7 cm) diameter and weighing 65 lbs (29.5 kg).

los angeles county natural history museum

Photo of just one wall in the hall. Whenever I visit the museum I never miss the opportunity to see the gems and minerals. I never cease to be amazed at the different varieties and configurations.

los angeles county natural history museum

Some photographers travel thousands of miles at great expense to shoot pictures of wild beasts. I only have to swipe my TAP card on the Expo Line for a 20-minute ride to NHM! These black rhinos were kind enough to pose for me.

los angeles county natural history museum

And these African lions are having way too much fun.

The dioramas in the African Mammal Hall (and North American Mammals) have been maintained since the 1920s. I still have vivid memories of seeing them the first time I visited the museum in the 1960s (the first time my family moved to LA). Although exhibits like these probably wouldn’t be created today, they stand the test of time and I enjoy the opportunity to study the animals up close and personal.

At this point in time I was ready to go home.

And it so happens I’ll be back at the museum on Sunday meeting some friends for the Mummies Exhibit.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 

 

 

 


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Deck time on a Saturday afternoon

my deck culver city

I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my calendar Saturday morning and saw that the entire weekend was a blank page. As many of my friends are still doing the Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 grind, usually my weekends consist of running from one event to another to pack everything into two days. It’s a relief when Monday morning comes around!

I was happy, after all the ups and downs of the past few weeks, to end one month and begin another with no plans. So after puttering around in the morning, Saturday afternoon I poured myself a glass of some red substance, picked up my camera and opened the door to my roof deck.

my deck culver city

We’ve been having some rain lately so there were some nice views all around. Southern California is known for its postcard blue skies without a cloud in sight. But I love clouds, so whenever we have storms I enjoy being on my deck looking up at all the different formations.

my deck culver city

The first photo is looking south to Culver City Park and Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. The second photo is looking northwest “Over the Rainbow” and Sony Pictures towards the ocean. Gorgeous sunsets in that direction. The third photo was just looking up, I liked the striations.

my deck culver city

my deck culver city

my deck culver city

These three photos are of my beloved geraniums with a few cacti and kalanchoes. The roof deck is my favorite spot in the universe and I always feel so fortunate to be able to sit out there in the tree tops and watch the numerous birds, insects and planes flying around.

my deck culver city

These are the neighborhood parrots. You don’t have to see them to know they are flying overhead… their cacophonous squawking is enough to drown out a helicopter. I counted thirty birds in this pandemonium of parrots…. yes, that is what a flock of parrots is called… and for a good reason!

my deck culver city

Of course, when I am sitting out on my deck it isn’t long before I have company. Freddie was out here first when Frankie decided to stop by and say hello.

my deck culver city

Frankie says I’m not interested if you’re not interested.

my deck culver city

Look, we know we are both the handsomest cats in the universe but enough with the pictures, okay!

my deck culver city

Planes coming into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) fly in over my deck, then make a pass over downtown LA and fly all the way out to some place like Covina where they turn back to make the descent into LAX behind the Baldwin Hills Overlook (top photo).

I am situated halfway between LAX (to the south) and Santa Monica Airport (to the north) which is where private jets and smaller private planes land and take off. Those smaller planes fly in the opposite direction to the commercial airliners and from my perspective sometimes it looks like they are on a collision course.

Then there are the fighter planes at Edwards Air Force Base out in the desert. They fly at much higher altitudes and I enjoy the contrails they make cutting across the sky. And we mustn’t forget all the helicopters buzzing around.

So, I live in a very busy air corridor and I love watching all the activity… not to mention bird life from hummers and finches to hawks and crows… and low flying ducks. And, of course, the parrots. So anytime you are bored, just come on over and we’ll watch the skies together. BYOB, of course!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Spiders eating lunch at the Natural History Museum

natural history museum spider pavilion

Although I feel like I live in a spider pavilion myself, I decided to visit the Spider Pavilion exhibit at the Natural History Museum in the hope that I would see some more exotic specimens than the common house spiders that insist on living with me.

natural history museum spider pavilion

My wish came true and I have to admit I would not want to find one of these guys hanging from my bedroom curtains. Doesn’t look real, does it?

September 21-November 2, 2014

I thought these crickets at bottom left and upper right were hanging out waiting for a spidery supper. Duh, excuse my stupidity. Crickets are herbivores and it was the other way around… these juicy guys were waiting to BE supper for the spiders… and there was no escape… what a nightmare.

natural history museum spider pavilion

The visit to the Pavilion is with a timed ticket on the half hour and when your time is up they herd everybody out… not the spiders, the humans. We were allowed in five minutes late so I only had 25 minutes to roam around and shoot my photos.

natural history museum spider pavilion
The first time around I used my 18-135mm lens and the second time around I used my 60mm macro lens. I actually got some pretty good shots with both lenses. It was hard for me to hold the camera steady at all times. But I liked this slightly blurry guy anyway.

natural history museum spider pavilion

It was more scary getting up close and personal with the macro lens but I was assured (?) the jumping spiders were not interested in actually jumping on me…. shudder…

natural history museum spider pavilion

So, here is the proof that the crickets do indeed make a good fast food lunch.

natural history museum spider pavilion

My reservation was for 2:00pm. I imagine that at different times of the day you can see different types of spiders performing various activities. I would have liked to get there earlier in the morning but it wasn’t possible. By afternoon it was getting a little warm and I didn’t know if that was good or bad for arachnid activity.

 Sorry I can’t tell you the names of these little creatures.

natural history museum spider pavilion

As I was waiting my turn to enter the pavilion I did have time to wonder how I would react once inside. I’m not the kind of person who screams and runs when faced with an insect in my bathtub… BUT a tent filled with 300 spidies?

natural history museum spider pavilion

I didn’t have to worry. I felt quite secure behind my camera. And all the spiders seemed plenty busy spinning webs and trapping other flying critters so they had no interest in interacting with the humans.

natural history museum spider pavilion

A few months ago I had visited this same tent for the Butterfly Pavilion exhibit. The spider exhibit is on through November 2.

natural history museum spider pavilion

Spiders really are fascinating creatures, as are all members of the insect world. Why is it we enjoy looking at butterflies, but not spiders so much? When you look at them closely, spiders are gorgeous in their own way.

natural history museum spider pavilion
I think I’m going to sit out on my deck and wait for some of my spider friends to drop on by. Well, maybe not literally drop, okay?

natural history museum spider pavilion

Click on an image below:

Anytime you need a spider fix, please feel free to come back and browse!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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It’s butterfly time at the Natural History Museum

natural history museum butterfly pavilion

Since becoming a member of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County earlier this year it is more and more becoming one of my favorite places to visit. And every couple of years I look forward to the Butterfly Pavilion.

natural history museum butterfly pavilion

I packed my 60mm macro lens thinking I would need to use it. However, I ended up shooting only with my 18-135mm kit lens on my Canon T3i. I keep thinking I need to trade in the kit lens for a more professional version but really for my purposes so far it does the job.

natural history museum butterfly pavilion

And, with a little help from my friends Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, I am not complaining.

natural history museum butterfly pavilion

I was overhearing a conversation between two photographers saying how much they dread post-processing. To me, that is the really fun part. However, I am forcing myself to concentrate on taking the best photo possible in camera rather than pointing and shooting and saying, oh I’ll fix it in Photoshop. That’s a hard one for me!

natural history museum butterfly pavilion

From the NHM website: Some butterflies in the exhibit mate and lay eggs, however we regularly fill the pavilion with butterflies from all across the United States.

20 species of California natives such as the Monarch, Mourning Cloak, and Buckeye

10 species of subtropical varieties from south Florida and Texas, such as the Malachite and the Grey Cracker

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Butterfly Pavilion

Various butterflies are present at different points during the season and the plants will grow and change. This means that each visit to the Butterfly Pavilion throughout the summer can be a different experience!

Click on photo below to start the slideshow:

Butterflies don’t have very long lives, anywhere from a week to a year according to the species. But as one of the docents at the pavilion said, it’s a pretty good life. As caterpillars they get to gorge themselves on anything they can find to eat (I can appreciate that!) and then as butterflies they get to fly around in the sunshine snacking on delicious plants. Basically it’s the same as my life philosophy: enjoy the day!

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Butterfly Pavilion

Don’t know how this guy snuck into the butterfly paradise but he seemed to be enjoying himself safe from his usual predators.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Butterfly Pavilion

Coming in for a landing on the back of the chair.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Butterfly Pavilion

This guy was napping in the pathway. Not a good idea. We were instructed not to touch the butterflies as the oils from us humans would destroy their sense of smell. So in order to get the creature to move out of harm’s way we were supposed to stretch out our hands to create shade. This would cause the butterfly to fly off  into another sunny spot. Sure enough, it worked!

Tickets to the Butterfly Pavilion are sold for half hour time slots. I lingered for 45 minutes. After taking my photos, I put the cap on my lens. I wanted to just sit for a while taking in all the beauty and giving myself a few minutes of  peace.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Butterfly Pavilion
Hopefully I will return in another couple of years.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!
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