RMW: the blog

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


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Magical Memories – #6 – Miami 2013

Palm trees before a storm is my favorite photo from a trip to Miami in April 2013. I had my DSLR for about 4 months and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was still using it in Automatic mode like a point & shoot camera and only shooting JPEGs, not in RAW. I didn’t know much about photo composition either, but as an artist and graphic designer I suppose it was innate. Nevertheless, looking at this photo today I can see if I had moved around a little I could have done a better job positioning the buildings. I had it printed on canvas and hung it in the bathroom where I still enjoy looking at it. 

You can view the original posts (4 of them) with more photos by starting here: https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/miami-an-unexpected-love-affair-part-one/


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Monday Magical Memories – #4 – Snow in Yosemite 2018

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.

 

 


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Monday Magical Memories – #1 – Lake Waterton in the Smoke 2018

After spending over an hour to get back to WordPress Classic here I am! I hope I can remember how to do this next time. I’m told WP will support this version until at least 2022 or “as needed.” I will require that “as needed!” I was about to build my own website from scratch as creating one with HTML and CSS and doing all the layout and graphic design would be easier for me than figuring out this Gutenberg block content manager mess. But that’s just me!

Anyway, as I won’t be doing any traveling for a while I thought it would be a good idea to start a weekly (or whenever I can get to it) post with some photos from previous travels. I’ve been having fun re-processing some of my older photos as I gain more experience with Lightroom, Photoshop and Topaz. Although I adore going places and taking photos, my bigger pleasure is in the post processing.

In my twenties I set up shop in the bathroom at night with a makeshift darkroom with all the stinky chemicals… I fancied myself as the female Ansel Adams! My long-suffering partner at the time had to make an appointment to get access to take a pee. But hey, I had to put up with his stuff too… so it was more than an even exchange as far as I was concerned! Probably not from his perspective… 

In 2018 some friends and I took a trip to the Canadian Rockies with wild fires raging all around us. There were times we weren’t sure if we could access certain areas. After spending a night in Calgary in Alberta, Canada, we left the next morning for Waterton Lakes National Park.

When we got out of the bus and stood on the shores of Lake Waterton I was so disappointed. The smoke blocked our views. But I just kept clicking to see what I could redeem in Adobe Lightroom when I got home. Chances were I wasn’t coming back.

I shoot in RAW and JPG. The top photo is the interpretation my Canon DSLR camera served up as a JPEG. The next photo is what I managed to salvage in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Not too bad.

But as I am now using Topaz Labs (an amazing program in so many creative ways) as a third step after Lightroom and Photoshop, I wanted to push the image a little further.

And I’m happy with this dramatic version. When I took the photo my eye was attracted to the snowy ridge behind the lower ranges of mountains and that’s what I wanted to focus on. The camera can only do so much. It’s up to me as the artist/photographer to present what I saw in my mind’s eye! 

 

 

 


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Beauty around the neighborhood

As a member of the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, I miss strolling through the acres of plants, trees and flowers during the closure. In the meantime I feel fortunate to live in a beautiful neighborhood where a lot of homeowners take their landscaping seriously. Last Saturday I took my 50mm fixed lens for a stroll along Braddock, looped around Carlson Park and back along Farragut… a little over 2 miles.

Here are the results:

When I first bought the 50mm (1.4) lens I thought I had made a mistake. I didn’t like being trapped in that focal length after being used to my go-to 18-135mm lens. But as usual, with the camera equipment I buy, I left it too long to return the lens. So I had to make the best of it. Now it’s my second favorite lens next to my zoom. It forces me to see everything from one perspective. I have to physically walk up to my subjects or back up to get the view I want. It’s a challenge I enjoy.

Within the next week or so I intend to retrace my footsteps with my 18-135mm lens and see what I can capture at the wide angle and telephoto ends. Of course when I walk the neighborhood I am safe. I am wrapped up from head to toe like a mummy. I am sure I look like the angel of death with a black hat, black face mask, scarf, wearing a high neck sweater and jacket, etc. I notice since I have been wearing my face mask people tend to distance themselves from me more often, which is fine with me!

During this strange time in our lives we need all the beauty we can get. I hope you can all step (safely) outside in your own neighborhoods to appreciate the gifts nature gives us.


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An eight and a half minute walk down the ramp at Culver City Park

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!


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Canadian Rockies – Day Six – Banff to Jasper

Moraine Lake

On the sixth morning we left Banff to move on to Jasper. We visited two beautiful lakes. First was Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks.

Next on the agenda was Lake Louise, filled with turquoise colored water from Victoria Glacier. Click on image below for slide show:

We bought a salad and sandwich at the Fairmont Chateau than found a bench along the Lakeshore Trail to sit and eat lunch taking in this magnificent view.

In the afternoon we drove along Icefields Parkway to Jasper. On the way we stopped to look at waterfalls, Wolf Lake and the Athabasca Glacier. Click below to start slideshow:

At the end of the journey we entered Jasper Park, Canada’s largest national Park at 4,200 square miles (1,622 sq km). We checked into Jasper House Bungalows on the shore of the Athabasca River, my favorite hotel of the entire trip. We were there for two nights but I could have stayed there for a week!

Unfortunately, the amber-colored trees were the result of pine beetle.

We fell asleep listening to the river outside our window, ready for another adventure the next day.

 


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Canadian Rockies, Day Two

Prince of Wales Hotel

Prince of Wales Hotel

What happened to Day One? Well, that was getting there. My alarm went off at 2:00am. I called for my taxi at 4:21am and arrived at LAX ready for the 7;25am flight. We landed in Calgary around 1:20pm after a change of planes in Salt Lake City. That evening my three friends and I met our tour guide and the other 40 people on the Caravan tour.

 

Waterton Lakes National ParkIn the morning we left Calgary for Waterton Lakes National Park. The trip there was well, let’s just say it was hazy!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Looking down at the town of Waterton

Thank goodness for photographing in RAW format and photo processing in Lightroom with the “dehaze” function and some other tweaking!

Waterton Lakes National Park

This is what the scene above actually looked like!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Another view of the Prince of Wales Hotel

I was told there were approximately 500 wildfires raging across Canada.

Waterton Lakes National ParkThe smoke was so thick I heard it was like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Flower bouquets at our hotel

 

Once settled in our hotel, we embarked on a cruise of Waterton Lake.Waterton Lakes National Park
The world’s first International Peace Park, formed in 1932 by combining Waterton Lakes Park in Canada with Glacier Park in Montana. These two parks form Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a celebration of friendship between Canada and the US. Let’s hope!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton  Waterton Lakes National Park

Even though it was very hazy I made the decision I was going to keep snapping away and hope I could bring out some of the details in Lightroom when I got home. That turned out to be a great decision.

Waterton Lakes National Park

The cruise was very peaceful and just what I needed after the frenzied day before running for flight connections and getting to the hotel in Calgary. And previously that day we had a long, very boring bus trip from Calgary to Waterton. Compared to all that, this was truly blissful.

Click on an image below for images of the lake cruise

You’re not seeing double, I just wanted to show this image again to point out this photo of the line cut to demark the border of the US and Canada.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park

I liked this photo showing the “Thumbs Up” Canadian flag!

Waterton Lakes National Park

I always love reflections on the water.

Waterton Lakes National Park

We arrived at our destination on the Montana side of the lake. We were able to stretch our legs for a while. Click on an image below.

Then back on the boat to Canada!

We enjoyed a delicious dinner with a beautiful view. Then back to our hotel room.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Our patio furniture

Lovely view of lake from our room

View of the lake from our room. We sat outside for a while in the evening, sucking it all in.

And last, the three lovely ladies who made my trip so enjoyable!


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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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Yosemite – part four – my dream come true… SNOW!

yosemite

Sunday night the dark clouds rolled in and made for some dramatic skies.

 

yosemite

Monday morning I opened the drapes and voila… SNOW. Well, not exactly.

yosemiteDuring the night we thought we heard heavy rain beating down. Turned out it was hail.

Yosemite

Walking over to breakfast it was a tad slippery!

yosemite

But it was great to see white stuff on the mountains.

Yosemite

And eventually snow began to fall. This is what I’d been waiting for.

Yosemite

I was actually glad Mother Nature had waited until the last day to present us with snow. I don’t think I would have enjoyed hiking in the snow. I’ve hiked in the snow many times in the past (although not at Yosemite) and now I’m more concerned about slipping and falling.

Yosemite

But it was certainly wonderful to see it dusting the trees and mountains.

Yosemite

I loved the contrast of the greens and browns of the trees against the whites and blues.

Yosemite

Yosemite

Seeing the Yosemite Falls with snow and ice was pretty spectacular.

Yosemite

Yosemite

Yes, we are still in California! This Chevy provided the perfect contrast of colors.

Yosemite

So at last my vision of snow in Yosemite was realized… dreams do come true! Yosemite is splendid under any circumstances. But with snow it is extra special.

Yosemite

I do hope to visit Yosemite again at some point in the future. But now I don’t have to be disappointed if the weather doesn’t cooperate.