RMW: the blog

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


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Countdown: my favorite dozen 2018 photos and a bonus

life is a canvas

San Gabriel Mountains from my roof deck in Culver City.

As if I don’t have enough to do, I decided to set myself the task of coming up with my twelve favorite photos for the year… one for each month. Some months I had fifty favorites and some months I wouldn’t have picked one for my top twelve… nevertheless I had to stick to my rule of one from each month. This exercise was a great lesson for me as I realized some months in 2018 I didn’t get out and about enough with my camera and I really struggled to find a photo. I need to be more consistent.

The above photo was taken from my roof deck on Christmas Day and is my New Year’s card to you all. One of my favorite quotes just happened to be floating around in the sky! Note the airplane just left of top center.

So here we go.

JANUARY

sunrise

Sunrise with resident crows from my roof deck, Culver City, California

FEBRUARY

Yosemite Upper Falls framed by tree branch. Yosemite National Park, California

MARCH

Huntington Library

Desert Garden at Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Los Angeles County, California

APRIL

Freddie and Frankie

A little out of focus but this photo really shows their true personalities. Frankie looking disdainful and obviously planning the next mischievous caper while Freddie is wide-eyed and innocent, ready to be splat in the middle of Frankie’s next big idea!

MAY

worthing seafront

Worthing Seafront, Sussex, England. The last place my parents and I lived before they decided to emigrate to the US.

JUNE

butterfly pavilion

Butterfly Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum

JULY

deck sunset

Sunset from my deck looking out on to downtown Culver City and Sony Studios

AUGUST

canadian rockies

Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canadian Rockies

SEPTEMBER

william s hart

The William S. Hart Park and Museum, Newhall, California. Detail of wall

OCTOBER

 

Los Angeles Flower mart

Succulents at Los Angeles Flower Mart, downtown

NOVEMBER

City Hall Christmas Eve

An early Christmas present to the people of LA as the tree at Grand Park mirrors Los Angeles City Hall.

DECEMBER

View from Baldwin Overlook

View of downtown Los Angeles and snow on the mountains from the highest point in Culver City, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (a California State Park).

I haven’t been on WordPress very much lately. I haven’t given up but I made a big decision and it’s going to be taking up a lot of my time. I probably won’t be posting much here but I will make the effort to go look at your posts to keep up with what you are doing. In the meantime, you can join me on my personal page on Facebook (Roslyn M Wilkins in Culver City). If you send me a friend request and I recognize who you are, I will respond. Or join me on my photo page by clicking on the Roslyn’s Photoart image in the right hand column.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019!

 

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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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Culver City Art Group 23rd Annual Holiday Art Show

culver city art group

It’s that time of year again! Every year I swear I’m not doing this next year, and then I do. It’s the only time I exhibit my photographs/artwork in person.

So most of my time right now is devoted to getting my photos ready to display. Printing them out on my Canon 100 13″ x 19″ printer to my exacting standards is harder than you can imagine!

If you’re in the area (Westside of Los Angeles), come on over!

Culver City Art Group website

 


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Feline Friday – #94 – farewell to P-55

frankie

Frankie is contemplating his next big project. Perhaps photographing elephants in Africa or bears in Alaska… or hummingbirds on the balcony? A nap always helps to rejuvenate the creative juices!

p-55 mountain lion

National Park Service

And in news from the Santa Monica Mountains, mountain lion P-55 sadly passed away recently at three years old. His claim to fame was crossing the 101 freeway at least twice. The cause of death can’t be determined because he was too badly decomposed by the time he was found.

Read the full article here.


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California Art Club at the Natural History Museum

I had previously visited the California Art Club 107th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition at the Natural History Museum with my friend SB when we stopped by the Butterfly Pavilion a couple of weeks ago. I liked it so much I suggested it as an activity for our Culver City Art Group
It’s so hard to get people to leave home. One other member, aside from BG and myself, showed up.
Too bad as they missed a super exhibit. I have to say I have never seen so many wonderful paintings in one place. The exhibit ended today. I only wish it went on longer as I would have visited it a third time!
Not only inspirational for painters but for photographers (like myself) as well.The composition is the same for a painter and a photographer. I get a lot of ideas from looking at paintings. This road cutting through Death Valley makes the painting. You probably can’t see it but there’s a car on the highway with red tail lights.
I love this bridge at Yosemite. I’ve taken a few photos of it!I enjoy taking photos of chairs and benches so this appealed to me.
Market Street in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities.california art club

This painting at the entrance to the exhibit was one of my favorites. After the exhibit we ventured outside where members of the California Art Club were painting scenes of the gardens.

BG recognized Xavier Gonzalez, a very talented artist who used to be a member of the Culver City Art Group. He was invited to paint with the California Art Club.

We stopped to talk to this gentleman, Donald Townes, who was painting a very colorful scene. You can see another spectacular ocean painting of his here.

One last painting of Malibu from the vineyards in the hills.

I’m a member of the Natural History Museum and I find it money well spent as I enjoy the permanent exhibits and the temporary exhibits like this one!


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BG and RMW’s big birthday bash

pershing square building

Pershing Square Building in downtown LA with PERCH restaurant/bar on the roof.

My birthday is in May and my friend BG’s birthday is in June so we decided to have a birthday bash this past Saturday. The last time we did a birthday bash was two years ago which I documented at this link.

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/belated-birthday-bash/

Left to right. US Bank Building, Deloitte Building (formerly Gas Building), new construction, California Plaza (in background), Title Guarantee Building, Pershing Square Building (peeking in at right side)

We’re in the middle of June Gloom (not to be confused with May Gray although very similar!). The good news is the sun usually comes out late morning/early afternoon.

downtown la

Not sure what building this is but I love the mural

We both live in Culver City so we took the Expo Line train to 7th Street Metro Center Station and walked a few blocks (we could have transferred to the Red Line and exited at Pershing Square but it wasn’t worth the effort for a one-minute ride).

downtown la

There’s construction going on all over LA these days… mixed use projects… too much traffic, too many people…

 

downtown la

Detail of the Pershing Square Building. The 1920s were the glory days of downtown… fortunately most of the beaux artes and art deco buildings still remain to live a new life today.

downtown la

We took the elevator to Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. We ordered our drinks. B liked the idea of the My Fair Lady with vodka. I ordered the gin Hemingway on the Beach. I don’t particularly like very sweet drinks and this fit the bill. We each had two cocktails (it was our birthday bash…).

downtown la

We both ordered the Huevos Rancheros. I happen to be an expert on this dish (!) and I have to say this was about the best I have ever laid eyes on and eaten! They came with Perch potatoes that melted in my mouth. I’m also a potato aficionado…

downtown la

I can only assume these were the original 1920s tile floors… exquisite.

downtown la

downtown la

If you love downtown LA as I do, you can’t go wrong with this view. As I was sucking up the huevos I was looking directly at the Title Guaranty Building. Originally built as an office building it is now re-used as residential lofts, as are many of the 1920s office buildings in downtown.

California Plaza in the center. Beneath it is the Subway Building. Yes, there was a subway in LA.

downtown la

Looking down on Pershing Square with the Biltmore Hotel at right middle.

It’s fabulous to see the revitalization of downtown which really began in the 1980s. Before that it had become a virtual dead zone. It’s weird to think that most of the people who now live downtown in converted lofts and apartments weren’t even on the planet when the area was pretty much desolate. But I remember!

la downtown

Detail of the Title Guaranty Building

la downtownWe were told that our table reservation could only be held for 15 minutes if we were late. We could see why as the place was packed for lunch on Saturday.

la downtown

We were entertained by Emma-Jane and her band. A lovely selection of songs.

la downtown

View of the restaurant interior and bar

la downtown

We visited the 16th floor which is a bar only. Looked very cosy. And the sun was coming out.

la downtown

US Bank Building, Biltmore Hotel,Deloitte Building, California Plaza

We could have stayed at Perch for the rest of the day as we felt so relaxed and comfortable. But it was time to move on.

la downtown
We were on our way to the Intercontinental Wilshire Grand. On the way we passed one of my favorite buildings, originally the Sanwa Bank Building, not sure what it is currently. It’s a beautiful 1990s homage to the art deco style of the 1920s.

la downtown

Street entrance to Wilshire Grand Hotel

la downtown

Entrance to Wilshire Grand

 

la downtown
Across the street, another of my favorite buildings, originally a Home Savings bank, the lobby is on the 6th floor to allow parking on the lower floors because the Red Line train station was built under the building where underground parking would have been. Maybe the new Wilshire Grand took a cue from Home Savings with their 70th floor lobby?

la downtownla downtownThe Wilshire Grand lobby offers fabulous views of downtown, an upscale bar and comfy seating.

la downtown

la downtownThis thingamajig is holding the building up!

la downtownThe first time I saw the view from these windows I had a bad vertigo attack. Now I’ve been up there a few times it doesn’t bother me. It’s all in the head.

la downtownView of Echo Park Lake, about 3 miles from downtown. This reminded me that I need to visit there before the Lotus flowers fade.

la downtown
We ordered drinks… some concoction with Roses Lime Juice. Very tasty but too sweet for me.

We ordered drinks  At 4:00pm the open air rooftop bar opened… we were on it! I felt like I was on a cruise ship. Hmm… it’s been a few years since I’ve been on a cruise… I think I’m ready to go again!

la downtown

The mast which makes this the fake tallest building in LA!

la downtown

B ordered another sweet drink but I went with a Gin Gibson to get that tart onion flavor. We shared an order of chicken wings for some much needed protein.

santa monica

It was a wonderful experience sitting on top of the world, but we wanted to go west to the Santa Monica Pier to finish up the day. Fortunately we were just a few footsteps away from the train station. So we jumped on the Expo Line and headed for the beach. The pier was jammed with people out for a summer evening.

la downtownWe were glad we weren’t driving and having to hunt for a parking space!

santa monicaAll the cars on Pacific Coast Highway were heading back into town.

santa monica

santa monica

Despite all the people I always love to see the ocean. There’s no way I could ever live far from it.

santa monica

santa monica

We walked back into downtown Santa Monica. santa monica

The Third Street Promenade was alive and well on a Saturday night. We were looking for ice cream but settled for milk shakes. I ordered a Kit Kat shake. The last time I had a milk shake was at a McDonald’s in Oregon in 2015. It was a vanilla shake and possibly the best thing I ever ate in my life! But this shake was even better. Maybe in three years I can have another shake!

We headed home to Culver City on the Expo Line, two very happy birthday girls…

 

 

 


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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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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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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 – #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.