The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was created by Kinzuchi Fujii between 1935 – 1940 for Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns. Fujii (1875 – 1957) designed and built Japanese landscapes across Southern California in the first half of the 20th century. The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden (located in Pasadena, California) is his only remaining garden. It is also the only intact example of a major Japanese-style garden created before World War II for a residence in Southern California.
This pond-style stroll garden features a fifteen-foot waterfall and a formal teahouse on approximately two acres of land. The garden is considered by many to be a masterwork and it demonstrates the adaptability of Japanese culture in modern America. Under the direction of Dr. Takeo Uesugi, landscape architect, professor emeritus at Cal Poly Pomona and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was faithfully restored from 2007 – 2013.
The rain started during the night… yes, actual wet stuff! It’s been raining on and off all day and is still raining this evening. It may be tapering off now and there is no more rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future. It’s been chilly too, only a high of about 48° F (about 8.8° C). I’ve been thinking about snow and how wonderful it would be if it snowed for just one or two days in the flatlands of Los Angeles (we do get snow in the mountains and foothills). Well, that is unlikely and also fortunate because people don’t know how to drive in the rain, let alone snow! But in the meantime, I’m looking back at my trip to Yosemite National Park in February 2018.
On the last morning of our trip I woke up early (as I usually do), opened the drapes and was surprised to see it was snowing. It had been cold but we weren’t expecting snow. I woke up my roommate by yelling, “It’s snowing!” She stirred in her bed and said, “Yeah, right,” and went back to sleep. She didn’t believe me.
I ran outside with my camera and started shooting. Such a wonderful sight. The scene above was the view from our window. It doesn’t get much better than that! I was back in Yosemite at the same time this year but no snow in sight.*
Yosemite is magnificent in any weather but in the snow it is magical! I feel fortunate to have been there at the right time in 2018.
*Correction: just to set the record straight, looking at my photos from this year I now remember there was some light dusting of snow at the higher regions but nothing we could walk in.
With my knowledge of Los Angeles a friend suggested I should make short videos of the neighborhoods. I’m very new to making videos so I can only improve from here. This is a walk I did on March 22 at Culver City Park which is just a couple of blocks from my house at the end of the street. Right now I’m staying in my own neighborhood but when we get the all clear for the coronavirus lockdown I hope to be walking around other parts of LA. I did hardly any narration on this but I intend to talk about the architecture and history of the areas I visit.
Anyway, this is my first experiment. If you stand up and march in place you will get an 8.5 minute outdoor workout without leaving home!
These days I post my photos to Facebook because it’s easier. But I have those holdout friends who don’t want to utilize FB for whatever reasons… so I am acquiescing to their requests to see my photos of my latest trip to Yosemite. Y’all had better appreciate this!
I feel very fortunate that I was able to visit Yosemite in February. It was between the virus that ate the Ahwahnee Hotel in January and the coronavirus that closed the park in March.
This is the first view we always see when coming into Yosemite on the motor coach. Half Dome and a peek at the valley.
We arrived at the Yosemite Lodge just as the Golden Hour descended on the mountains. I rushed outside with my camera.
The next day we hiked up the Bridalveil Fall trail. Because of the lack of rain the Merced River was just a trickle but it gave us a chance to see the beautiful rocks.
Good thing I brought along my crampons and ice pick! Ha ha ha… no chance…
My friend and I ate lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel Saturday and Sunday. I ordered the same sandwich both days… I think it was called the Californian or something like that… a salad between two pieces of bread plus a side salad and purple/orange chips. Worked for me!
Half Dome through the trees.
Besides the natural beauty of Yosemite I always love all the plane trails overhead.
Because of the drought there was very little water in the Merced River but still enough for good reflections.
Mountain climbing lessons are offered at Yosemite. See the teeny weeny people halfway up? I’ll enjoy the view from ground level, thank you.
Beautiful stained glass windows in the lobby of the Ahwahnee with a view of the mountains outside.
All we had to do was step outside the back door of our room at Yosemite Lodge to walk along the trail by the Merced River. Paradise.
Ahwahnee Hotel through the trees.
Below are images of the plane trails as the evening crept up on us. You can call them plane trails if you like, but I think it’s the spirits of the mountains sending messages to commune with the universe.
My friend did a couple of quick sketches in our room. I liked them and asked her if I could share them. See below.
Yosemite Falls: walking back from the Ahwahnee.
View from our patio.
Me just before we boarded the bus to head home. I’m ready to go back already!
Of course, I have a ton more photos that I can post at a later date but these will have to do for now.
We were very fortunate to be able to visit in February just after the virus attack at the Ahwahnee in January and the Coronavirus that shut the park down in March. I had three other trips planned this year that have all been canceled. But I’m grateful to be stuck in Culver City! It could be so much worse…
I picked two photos from each month of 2019 to represent my year in photography. Just like last year, some months I had too many choices and some months it was hard pickings. So these aren’t necessarily my very best photos but I tried to show a variety of different places.
The photo above is reflections in a puddle at Culver City Park at the end of my street. We had a lot of rain last winter after a seven-year drought.
Red hot poker plants at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Some friends bestowed upon me a gift membership for which I am very grateful… and I am able to take a friend with me which makes it a doubly wonderful gift!
I was clearing junk out of the garage in February as I was planning to move. That didn’t happen but it allowed me to get rid of a lot of stuff. I took a photo of this painting with my point & shoot before I drove it over to Goodwill. I must have painted this in the 1970s! I hope somebody bought it and is enjoying it. I may print it out and hang it on a wall to give it a new life.
A random photo of the boys. Frankie The Monster, who of course bagged the most comfy spot. And Freddie The Giant Cat who is so laid back and always lets Frankie get what he wants.
The Broad is a contemporary art museum in downtown LA. This was a booth by Yayoi Kusama constructed of mirrors. My selfie is on the right. My friend BG was standing at the other side of the booth so you can see her face in some of the other circles.
I’m not usually good at doing things on the spur of the moment but my friend LA decided she wanted to see the wildflowers. So as long as she was driving I said okay. Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore is about 85 miles from Culver City. We went on a Wednesday and made pretty good time. It was a fabulous day. On the way home we came as close as I have ever come to being killed in an accident. In my mind I was already dead. Make the most of every day because you never know when it will be your last. It just wasn’t our time.
Next door to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is La Brea Tar Pits with ongoing excavations. The site goes back to the Pleistocene Age. The extinct animals discovered at La Brea Tar Pits were trapped in the asphalt between 11,000 to 50,000 years ago. Outsiders always accuse Los Angeles of having no history… excuse me, we go back a lot further than most places in the US!
I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind when they named the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles, adjacent to Culver City. But I always enjoy looking at this utility box on my walk to Sprouts Market on the LA side of Venice Blvd.
I made several trips to Echo Park Lake this year. Paddling around on these swan Paddle Wheelers is now one of my favorite things to do in LA. It’s relaxing and good exercise at the same time with splendid views of the downtown skyline. I hope can cajole more friends into going with me in 2020. Wanna come along?
I’ve been wanting to visit the South Coast Botanical Gardens for many years. Finally made it in May. It was really delightful. We only saw a small area as my companion wasn’t able to walk far. But I’ll definitely be back to see the rest of it.
My friend SB and I were waiting at the harbor to take the boat back from Santa Catalina to San Pedro. This couple walked by. I loved the way they looked so I asked if it was okay to take their photo. She had made their matching outfits with fabric she had bought at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. She said she often made them matching outfits. How adorable is that?
I am a member of the Natural History Museum and it’s a short train ride from Culver City so I often pop in there, often on my own if nobody else is available or interested. This lovely guy was on display in the special exhibit on Antarctic Dinosaurs, the 25-foot-long, “cold-crested killer,” Cryolophosaurus. The exhibit featured an ongoing scientific expedition from the NHM and Chicago’s Field Museum as they dig for fossils today. La Brea Tar Pits is also part of the NHM.
Rode the Amtrak train to Ventura with a group of friends. We hiked up the trails in the Ventura Botanical Gardens which is still recovering from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. Lovely views from the top. Ate lunch on the pier at Beach House Fish then walked along the pier watching people fishing.
BG and I made an overnight trip to Santa Barbara. Stayed at an historic estate, drove around the area, ate dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant, Due Lune Cucina, across from the beach as the sun was setting. Next day ate lunch on the pier before heading home. Wonderful experience.
Mount Rushmore has been on my bucket list ever since I saw the movie North by Northwest with Cary Grant and the marvelous James Mason. So now I can say been there, done that! It was a trip to look up and see those monumental faces… it’s impossible to imagine how that can be achieved. As you are chiseling away you would only be able to see a miniscule part of what you are working on. Amazing.
We arrived at Old Faithful in Yellowstone in the evening. The glow of the setting sun was a magnificent backdrop to the geyser. This was my second visit to the park. This time we had the privilege of staying inside the park at the Old Faithful Inn. You just walk out the front door and there is Old Faithful right in front of you. Magnificent.
Second Home Pavilion was a temporary exhibit which I visited on one of the hottest days of the year at Hancock Park between LACMA and La Brea Tar Pits. I asked the young lady sitting at the entrance how she was doing and she indicated not too well. I enjoyed walking through the colorful maze of tunnels.
BG and I hung out at LACMA visiting several galleries. At Mary Corse: A Survey in Light we had a little fun as we became the artwork.
The celebration of El Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite times to visit Grand Park. This year there were about 40 altars all personally and culturally relevant to Los Angeles honoring those who have passed over. It coincides with halloween and is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and helping support their spiritual journey. In Mexican culture, death is viewed as a natural part of the human cycle. Mexicans view it not as a day of sadness but as a day of celebration because their loved ones awake and celebrate with them.
Several friends met at the Sunset/Vermont Red Line station and rode the shuttle up to the Griffith Observatory. Half the group attempted the hike to Inspiration Point but it was too hot for me so I sat and chatted with the other half at the cafe and enjoyed the views. The hikers only made it half way before being forced to turn back. So I was glad I didn’t attempt it. I’ve suffered from heat stroke before and have to be careful.
GM, EA and I made reservations for an early lunch at Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. I had eaten there previously and talked so much about it they wanted to experience it too and weren’t disappointed. Perch LA is a French-inspired rooftop bistro with unobstructed views of Downtown Los Angeles for guests to experience the feeling of floating along the skyline. The elevated spaces offer outdoor fireplaces, rooftop fire pits, indoor and outdoor dining experiences, and lounge seating to experience the city skyline views. The food isn’t bad either! This is just one of the many views when you walk around the outside area.
Several members of the Culver City Art Group met at the Getty Center to visit the exhibit Manet and Modern Beauty. You gotta love the staircase with the Manet image leading up to the exhibit. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the artist but I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of his paintings… many I was not previously familiar with.
A friend is a member at Descanso Gardens. She very graciously picked me up at Union Station and drove the rest of the way… I took the E (formerly known as the Expo) Line to the Red Line… one of these days, probably not in my lifetime, the E Line is supposed to go all the way to Union Station. The gardens were beautifully decorated for the holidays. Of course I imagine it is really spectacular all lit up at night but it was pretty good during the day too.
Last but certainly not least, I led my 3rd Annual Downtown Holiday Decorations Walk ending with lunch at the Biltmore Hotel (at left). There were 13 participants… all women this year… but not too surprising. This lovely Christmas tree was located at the southeast corner of Pershing Square. Lined up correctly the star appears between the US Bank Building (Library Tower) and the Deloitte Building (the Gas Company Building). I had to pay those pigeons to take flight just at the right moment!
Thanks for bearing with me. Some months there were a few more photos I really wanted to include… but I had to keep to two from each month and not cheat… you wouldn’t have known if they didn’t appear in the correct months but I would have known!
I wish you all a very healthy, happy and adventurous 2020!
Floating down the Snake River affords some great views… and the scenery is spectacular too! Aside from being very cute, our float guide was personable and knowledgeable and made the trip even more interesting. The Snake River flows from Yellowstone National Park meandering southwards to the Grand Tetons.
Established in 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park in the world. Now over 90 countries have national parks. This 2,219,766 acre park contains almost 300 geysers and over 10,000 hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots. Moose, elk, bison, bears and wolves roam the area. (From the Caravan itinerary.)
We stayed two nights at Old Faithful Inn. I could have stayed a week. Elevation here is 7300 feet.
Old Faithful Inn is a massive building within a short viewing distance of Old Faithful Geyser, the most famous geyser in the United States. The building is an exposed log and wood-frame structure of rustic design and gigantic proportions: nearly 700 feet in length and a central core seven stories high. The building was constructed in three major phases: the 1903 original section (known as the Old House) with the imposing gable roof, dining room and kitchen wings to the south, and small guest-room wings to the east and west; the 1913-14 east wing; and the 1927 west wing. The building faces north, oriented toward the old “circuit road” rather that toward the geyser. The building was designed by architect Robert Reamer.
Old Faithful Inn undoubtedly is the queen of rustic hotels in the national parks. Its use of natural materials, allusions to pioneer building techniques, and strong ties with its site through the use of onsite materials are three key principles of rustic design with which National Park Service architects worked through World War II.
It was fabulous to watch Old Faithful as evening settled in.
From Wikipedia: On the afternoon of September 18, 1870, the members of the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition traveled down the Firehole River from the Kepler Cascades and entered the Upper Geyser Basin. The first geyser that they saw was Old Faithful. Nathaniel P. Langford wrote in his 1871 Scribner’s account of the expedition:
It spouted at regular intervals nine times during our stay, the columns of boiling water being thrown from ninety to one hundred and twenty-five feet at each discharge, which lasted from fifteen to twenty minutes. We gave it the name of “Old Faithful.”
In the early days of the park, Old Faithful was often used as a laundry:
Old Faithful is sometimes degraded by being made a laundry. Garments placed in the crater during quiescence are ejected thoroughly washed when the eruption takes place. Gen. Sheridan’s men, in 1882, found that linen and cotton fabrics were uninjured by the action of the water, but woolen clothes were torn to shreds.
Three years ago my same traveling companions and I took a Sierra Club trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. It was an in depth look at these areas with plenty of hikes and walks. This trip with Caravan only touched on the places at those two areas. But we got to visit some other places we didn’t see on the previous trip. You lose some, you win some. And in general I was very happy with what we saw on this trip.
I have to admit that the stop at Mammoth Hot Springs was pretty disappointing. It is such a spectacular area. On the Sierra Club trip we started at the top and walked all the way down to the bottom with plenty of time to stop for photo ops. On this tour we were dropped off at the bottom and we had only a short time to view the springs on the lower level.
I felt sorry for the people who had never seen Mammoth Hot Springs before and would never come again… but on the other hand, what they don’t know, they probably wouldn’t miss! I counted my blessings I was able to see the whole of the Springs on my previous trip.
Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine in Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution). Because of the huge amount of geothermal vents, travertine flourishes. Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas. – Wikipedia