RMW: the blog

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


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White Sands, New Mexico and an unplanned ode to the Sierra Club

 

white sands

Out of the tour bus at White Sands National Monument

I’ve been a member and supporter of the Sierra Club for almost forty years. Politics aside, the Club has been very good to me. Over the years I’ve participated in hundreds of hikes, events, activities and trips. And most importantly, I’ve made many good friends (including a couple of boyfriends and a husband!).

White Sands

A forensic nightmare: the perpetrator walked across the sand so we can identify the pattern on the soles of his shoes…

The Sierra Club has played an important part in my life. I was a hike leader for many years, editor of various newsletters and a volunteer at many fund raising events.

White Sands

The tenacity of plant life

It has also taken me on numerous wonderful trips around the USA and allowed me to discover the great National Parks of this country that I would never have seen on my own.

White Sands

Waves of sand. You can imagine the ocean in the distance but Santa Monica is more than 800 miles (1287 km) away

I’ve been on cruises, hiking trips, camping and just plain sight-seeing. This is an easy way for me to support the Club while having a good time myself.

White Sands

I’ve lived in Los Angeles continually since 1965. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains, but other than hiking the trails of Griffith Park (which are not to be sneered at) I had never really ventured into the Santa Monicas or the San Gabriels or the Verdugos. Around 1980 I discovered the Sierra Club and that all changed. I became addicted to hiking at least twice a week. One weekend my car wouldn’t start and rather than spend the time to get it fixed I convinced my father to loan me his car so I could go on a hike!

White Sands

The sun was already fading and the contrast between light and dark was making it increasingly difficult to capture the landscape

I can’t trust myself to do any heavy duty hiking anymore. My ankles, knees and hips took a beating with all the running I did for several decades. But that is totally okay. I have fabulous memories of trudging around the mountains in awe of the beauty of Southern California. I look up at the mountains now as old friends and we smile knowingly at each other.

White Sands

The purple flowers in the center stand out in this stark landscape

Sometimes I start writing and I get off on a tangent. So I just let it flow. This post was supposed to be all about my Sierra Club trip to southern New Mexico last year. And White Sands National Monument in particular. All the photos you’ve been looking at are from that area. We had a limited amount of time but as I’ve said before, there is always a trade-off when on a motor coach tour. On the one hand you have no responsibility and all the stress is on the shoulders of the leader. On the other hand, you don’t get to decide where to go or how much time to spend at any given location. But I did manage to take one prize-winning photograph at White Sands and that made the whole trip worthwhile for me!!!

White Sands
From the website: Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.

White Sands

As the sun went down the shadows were getting longer which made some interesting photographs

White Sands

On the photo above I liked the way the tendrils seemed to wave around as if the plant was under water and the shadows added extra interest.

White Sands

Hey, we saw some native wildlife! This beetle was making his own tracks over the imprints left by human visitors.

The original photo

White Sands

Playing a little in Lightroom and Photoshop

Although I love the act of taking a photo and making it the best composition I can, I have to admit the real fun begins for me in the post processing. When I saw this tree I also immediately imagined the possibilities. By itself it’s a perfectly acceptable photograph. But in my opinion the trip through Lightroom and Photoshop makes it magical!

White Sands

This leaf also had a little help from Photoshop with the posterization filter. This is my go-to filter to really make the image pop.

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Got to love those shadows. Although the light was getting a little difficult, it also added a little drama!

White Sands

White Sands

I had wandered off quite a ways by myself to take photos. I came back to see the group having fun sliding down the dunes. Good for them. My fun is in making art. To each their own, yeah?

Click on an image below for slide show.

Original photo

White Sands

A little fun with Photoshop

By now the shadows were REALLY long. I couldn’t resist taking this photo of my shadow. I didn’t even notice the person standing at the top until I played with the image in Photoshop. Totally serendipitous. This won first prize in the member’s theme at the Culver City Art Group Holiday Show. And I think it also helped me win for best body of work. You never know when you are out shooting what photos are going to turn out best and which ones are going to miss the objective. It really is a hit and miss shooting match!

White Sands

Like all the trips I take, I always think I’ll have the opportunity to return and take more time. But I never do. So I have learned to soak in as much as possible whenever possible.

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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!


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A quick visit to San Francisco from Coit Tower to Pier 39

coit tower

In July I visited my good friend Judy who moved from Orange County in Southern California to Walnut Creek in Northern California a few years ago. Every year I said I was coming up to visit but you know how that goes. So this year I said this is it, I’m going.

I flew into San Francisco International Airport and took the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train to Walnut Creek where Judy picked me up. Simple! Why couldn’t things be that easy and civilized in Los Angeles? By the time we get a direct connection into LAX I probably won’t still be on the planet! Good thing I live fairly close to the airport so it’s a relatively short ride by taxi.

coit tower muralsI had read about the renovations of the 1934 murals at Coit Tower so I wanted to visit there as part of my trip up north. Fortunately, Judy was willing. So one day we took BART back into the city. I love San Francisco. Although it’s totally different from London, when I’m there I feel the same vibe.

coit tower murals

The bad news was the line for the elevator up to the top of Coit Tower was long. The really good news is that while you are waiting you have the opportunity to see the fabulous murals up close.

coit tower murals

Also some nice views out of the doors at the ground level. Of course, Coit Tower is at the top of a steep hill. So even though you may be at the base, there are still commanding views of the bay.

coit tower murals

So it was a toss up which was more fabulous… the spectacular views or the amazing murals.

coit tower

How often do you have choices like that?

coit tower murals

And on top of everything else, I had the privilege of spending time with my lovely friend Judy!

coit tower murals

From the website: The murals inside the tower’s base were painted in 1934 by a group of artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project, a precursor to the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and depict life in California during the Depression. When violence broke out during the 1934 longshoremen’s strike, controversy over the radical content in some of the panels became quite heated. Some of the most controversial elements were painted over, and the tower was padlocked for several months before the frescoes were finally opened to the public in the fall of 1934.

coit tower murals

The artists (including Maxine AlbroVictor Arnautoff, Ray Bertrand, Rinaldo Cuneo, Mallette Harold Dean, Gordon Langdon, Clifford Wight, Edith HamlinGeorge Albert HarrisOtis OldfieldSuzanne Scheuer, Hebe Daum, Jane BerlandinaFrederick E. Olmsted Jr., Jose Moya del Pino and Frede Vidar) were committed in varying degrees to racial equality and to leftist and Marxist political ideas strongly expressed in the paintings. (Wikipedia.)

coit tower

When you get out of the elevator at the top of the tower there are a few more steps. Then some good views of San Francisco. I was having a little problem with my vertigo but managed to get a few good shots with my point & shoot anyway.

I purposely left my DSLR at Judy’s place that day as before I left LA I read that a 70-year-old photographer had been murdered near Coit Tower recently for his camera equipment and I wasn’t taking any chances! Apparently there are roving gangs of thieves in San Francisco attacking tourists for their photography gear. I have a very basic Canon DSLR but in the moment a thief may not have time to check out my model number!!!

coit tower

We had walked up to the tower but were in no mood to walk all the way down. We saw car after car (presumably Uber or Lyft) arriving to pick up groups of people. But we had already determined we could get back down to the waterfront for just a few cents by public transportation. And pretty soon the bus arrived. I don’t understand why anyone would want to pay taxi fare when the cost of a bus ride is so cheap. Most people are too hung up on riding in cars!

Some info from Wikipedia: Coit Tower, also known as the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower, is a 210-foot (64 m) tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San FranciscoCalifornia. The tower, in the city’s Pioneer Park, was built in 1933 using Lillie Hitchcock Coit‘s bequest to beautify the city of San Francisco; at her death in 1929 Coit left one-third of her estate to the city for civic beautification. The tower was proposed in 1931 as an appropriate use of Coit’s gift. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 29, 2008.

pier 39

The bus took us all the way down to the waterfront and we had a nice walk to Pier 39. It was pretty crowded.

I really enjoyed seeing all the sea lions and the crowds of spectators appreciating them too. We had a lovely seafood lunch and afterwards another nice walk to the Ferry Building and back to the BART station.

Along the way we saw these vintage trolley cars still doing their duty.

san francisco

I’ve always loved San Francisco and just wish it was possible to visit more often. It’s just a matter of time and money!


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Photos I’m showing at the Culver City Art Group Show

The first five photos are in the main show:

Lion at the Los Angeles Zoo

 

Tree at White Sands

 

White Sands Landscape

 

Canoes for rent at Avalon, Catalina Island

 

culver city art show

William Jefferson Clinton Pedestrian Bridge, Little Rock, Arkansas

 

Entry for the Members’ Theme: Let there be light

White Sands

My self-portrait at White Sands, New Mexico

These will be on view Saturday, November 11 at Playa Vista.


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Last day of Extreme Mammals

natural history museum

It’s been a while since I posted anything on WordPress. Several reasons, which I won’t go into! Let’s just say I needed a rest.

So many things have happened since my last post that I decided to work backwards with the latest happenings first, for the most part.

I seem to have a habit of leaving things to the last minute. This includes museum exhibits. Often I attend exhibits on the last day even though I know about them months in advance. So, my visit to Extreme Mammals at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (NHM for short) was on September 10, the last day.

I didn’t know for sure I was really going up until about an hour before I left for the train. But as I’m a member I hate to miss any exhibits that are part of my membership. So I went on my own (except for the company of my Inner Child, of course).

From the website:  For over 200 million years, mammals have inhabited the Earth. In this epic evolutionary journey, mammals lived with—and even ate—dinosaurs, swam in the ocean, flew in the air, and became the fastest land animals of all time!

natural history museum

The photo at the top of the page is of an Indricotherium, the largest mammal to ever walk the earth. It weighed up to 20 tons and lived about 23 million years ago. However, a larger mammal lives today: the Blue Whale, ten to twenty times the size of the Indricotheriume . It can grow that large due to the buoyancy of water. The Blue Whale is the largest animal, mammal or otherwise, ever known!

natural history museum

Batodonoides was the smallest mammal, living about 50 million years ago. It could climb up your pencil (if you were around 50 million years ago and there were pencils) and was as light as a dollar bill.

As the sign states, there are more than 5,400 species of mammals alive today.

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This sign board  explains a lot!

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This Synthetocerus tricornatus doesn’t look terribly cuddly. In all instances, horns evolved in animals whose ancestors had no headgear at all.

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For millions of years plant-eating glyptodonts the size of cars roamed North and South America. Their closest living relatives are armadillos.

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This Macrauchenia was known for being very nosy… sorry…

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Yes, a walking whale!

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Mammoths living on the islands off the coast of Ventura (just north of Los Angeles) were half the size of mammoths on the mainland due to their isolation, lack of big predators and limited food resources.

 

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Jaws of a Columbian Mammoth and a Pygmy Mammoth.

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Ellsmere Island, a mere 600 miles from the North Pole, 50 million years ago. A great stopping place for a cruise.

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Beautifully preserved Scarrittia lived in Argentina 29 to 24 million years ago.

extreme-mammals-091017-043-C-500px

Paleontologists have unearthed more than three million fossils at La Brea Tar Pits (next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, shells, and plants.

extreme-mammals-091017-045-C-500px

Ninety-nine percent of all mammals and other species that have ever lived on Earth are extinct.

Pretty soon it’s going to be 100% including you and me! Maybe not quite 100%… the cockroaches will survive…

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Feline Friday – #67 – three big cats

LA Zoo big cats

I was at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens last week with a group of photographers. Guess which animals are my favorites. You got it, the big cats!

Freddie

Freddie says: If I was a big cat in a zoo I would demand my own cardboard box to take a nap in!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. 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 Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Thundery Sunday at the Huntington Library and Gardens

Huntington Library Gardens

Four of us brave souls called the weather gods’ bluff and despite a forecast for rain, thunder and lightning made the trip out to the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, depending on the route you take, less than 25 miles from Culver City. When I go by myself I take the train and my feet but this day we drove.

Huntington Library Gardens

Since my last visit a couple of years ago they have installed a whole new garden near the entrance. And they have upgraded the dining options, always a good thing!

Huntington Library Gardens

No matter how many times I visit the Huntington, I always leave wanting more, looking forward to the next trip out there.

Huntington Library Gardens

We pretty much managed to avoid the rain until the very end. As we were sitting in the restaurant for lunch, the heavens opened up and provided us with some great thunder and lightning entertainment. When lunch was over, so was the rain. It’s all in the timing.Huntington Library Gardens

One of the cool temporary exhibits is the Orbit Pavilion… a sound experience that allows you to listen to the movement of NASA’s earth science satellites as they pass across the sky above you.

Huntington Library Gardens

This structure captures the sounds as you stand inside.

I wonder, as we are listening to them, are they listening to us?

Huntington Library Gardens

When I came up on this scene I wondered what all the baby bunnies were doing hanging out on the lawn with the geese. New glasses, Roslyn! These are goslings under the care of two napping grownups… yes, I imagine looking after all these cute little guys would be quite exhausting.

As you know from posts about my previous visits, I’ve taken gazillions of photos at the Gardens. I just enjoy wandering around shooting whatever takes my fancy. So here are a gazillion more random photos:

One last stop at the Conservatory and as we emerged, the rain started up. We took cover hoping the storm would pass but it was relentless.

Huntington Library Gardens

We gave up and made a run for the parking lot. We got soaked but at least we didn’t have to take the bus… we could be soggy all the way home in the comfort of our car!

Visit my other posts about the Huntington Library and Gardens:

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/in-hot-water-at-the-huntington-library/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/thirsty-afternoon-in-the-desert-garden-at-the-huntington-library/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/reflections-in-a-pond-and-art-gallery/

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. 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 Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Roses get their close-ups

roses

I was visiting the Natural History Museum nature gardens last week to take a few photos with my macro lens. I’ve had the lens for a while but I don’t use it very often. So I decided to force myself to take photos with only that lens. Although I was enjoying doing that my attention was drawn to the rainbow of colors next door at the Exposition Park Rose Garden.

rose garden

Probably because of the heavy rains we have experienced after years of drought, the roses are apparently blooming early. The garden was a gorgeous sight to behold.

rose garden

The best estimate I can find is there are 200,000 bushes and over 200 varieties of roses in the 7-acre garden.

rose garden

The Rose Garden is next door to the Natural History Museum, in front of the California Science Center and across the Expo Line railway tracks from the University of Southern California.

rose garden

And it’s a short Expo Line trip from Culver City. Walk across the tracks from the station and you are there!

rose garden

It was such a beautiful April day in LA and I was grateful to be alive!

rose garden

Please click on an image below for slide show.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. 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 Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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The New Frontiers of George Takei and a dash of black velvet

george takei

I have been a Star Trek fan since Season One, Episode One of the original show. That show broke a lot of boundaries, not the least of which was the character of Lieutenant Sulu. The Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles, is currently paying tribute to the actor and activist, George Takei with an exhibit of his personal memorabilia from the many facets of his life.

FROM WIKIPEDIA:

George Hosato Takei (武井 穂郷 Takei Hosato, /təˈk/; born April 20, 1937) is an American actor, director, author, and activist of Japanese descent. Takei is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and one episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

Takei’s involvement in social media has brought him fresh attention. As of February 2017, his Facebook page has over 10 million likes since he joined in 2011, and he frequently shares photos with original humorous commentary.

Takei is a proponent of LGBT rights and is active in state and local politics. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.

george takei

The poster reads: Like his most famous character, helmsman Hikaru Sulu of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, George Takei has voyaged through many worlds.

He has not only experienced some of the most critical moments in our nation’s history, from politics and pop culture to activism and the arts, he has also become a driving force behind some its most transformative changes.

This exhibition will take you through events that shaped 20th and 21st-century America, allowing you to experience them through Takei’s eyes, voice, and memories.

george takei

I have visited the JANM on a previous occasion. So I didn’t linger in the other areas of the museum which speak to the experience of Japanese people in America, including their internment during World War II… both Japanese and American citizens… which was a part of Takei’s young life.

george takei

As I was there with a group of friends we had a time limit before heading off to lunch in Little Tokyo and I decided to focus on George!

george takei

Helmsman Sulu’s chair. I am in need of a new office chair and this does look pretty comfy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try it out.

Although on a tour of Paramount Studios many years ago I had the great privilege of sitting in Captain Picard’s chair on a Star Trek set. No matter what amazing things happen (or indeed have happened) in my life, those few moments will always be a highlight!!!!!

george takei

Sulu’s uniform and a photo of him wearing it. Who knew way back then, in 1965, before most people were even born (!) this show would become such a phenomenon with far-reaching influences.

Viewing this exhibit was a fascinating look at an interesting man who has lived, and is living, quite an adventurous life.

After lunch four of us decided to hop on the Gold Line to Chinatown just two stops away. On a previous walk through the area we had stumbled upon the Velveteria, The Museum of Velvet Paintings. We didn’t go inside but vowed to come back, so as we were so close by this was the opportunity.

velveteria

The owners, Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin (click on the website link above to see their photos), own a 3,000 piece collection, with about 450 paintings displayed.

velveteria

These are not your typical Tijuana tourist velvet paintings. Most of the ones we saw on display are portraits of celebrities like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

velveteria

Didn’t see any images of George Takei in this museum but no worries, Star Trek is still well represented with Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) and the USS Enterprise!

velveteria

And you’ve got to have a glow-in-the-dark velvet painting for your bedroom! Well, maybe not…

velveteria

A velvet museum would not be complete without a portrait of Liberace. I don’t know, but it just seems appropriate.

By then we were ready to jump on the Red Line to the Expo Line and home. Just another day exploring downtown Los Angeles…

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