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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Deck time on a Saturday afternoon

my deck culver city

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

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

my deck culver city

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

my deck culver city

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

my deck culver city

my deck culver city

my deck culver city

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

my deck culver city

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

my deck culver city

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

my deck culver city

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

my deck culver city

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

my deck culver city

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

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

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

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

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


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A walk to the top

culver city baldwin overlookI’ve said it before, I’m sure I’ll say it again: I feel very fortunate to live where I do, just a couple of blocks to the south is Culver City Park that connects with Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and miles of hiking trails. Part of the California State Parks system, the Overlook opened in April 2009. For months I sat out on my deck with a glass of wine (not the same glass of wine) watching the multitudes of people climbing up to the top and thinking it would take a lot of time and effort to reach the summit.

culver city baldwin overlook

As it happens it is a half hour walk, more or less, depending on my energy level, from my front door to the very tippy top!

culver city baldwin overlook

There are three routes to the top. A hiking trail which is difficult for me as I no longer do well on uneven ground. A billion stairs which are also difficult because some of them are too steep for my old knees (however, I have done the stairs several times with the help of a hiking pole). And the route I prefer now, the paved road which is shared with cars.

culver city baldwin overlook

My pet peeve of the day: Despite this sign, which evidently no-one other than me has bothered to read, gives vehicles the right of way… this is a road! And the advice to walk on the left facing traffic is totally ignored. People either hug the right curb with their backs to the cars, or walk all over the road causing vehicles to either stop or drive at one mile an hour. I don’t get it. Am I the only one who feels it is safer to see the cars coming towards me. Yes, it’s tough being perfect in an imperfect world!

culver city baldwin overlook

These photos were taken in December, 2014 after one of the first rains. It’s fabulous to see the hills change from brown to green overnight!

culver city baldwin overlookSince then we’ve had a couple more storms and the hillsides are even greener… I just didn’t want to take these photos all over again.

culver city baldwin overlookWhen the park was created it was landscaped with native drought-resistant plants. So this is how it would possibly have looked hundreds of years ago when the Tongva Indians inhabited the area.

culver city baldwin overlookThis view shows the Sony Pictures “ziggurat” building just left of center. In the center is an approximately 160-unit (don’t quote me on that) apartment building being constructed at the end of my street over on the Los Angeles side. The red-roofed building at center right is Culver City City Hall. You can see my roof deck from up here but I’m not going to point it out!

culver city baldwin overlook Aaaahhh… the Pacific Ocean on the horizon. Looking out towards Playa del Rey and Marina del Rey. In the center is the tower of the Culver City Veteran’s Building and in the foreground the baseball field at Botts Field in Culver Park.

culver city baldwin overlookUpper center is the Blue Whale, the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

culver city baldwin overlookThis park is well used. On the one hand it is not the place to come to get away from people. But on the other hand I always feel safe with other people jogging and walking around me.

This park is well used. On the one hand it is not the place to come to get away from people. But on the other hand I always feel safe with other people jogging and walking around me. If you look very closely and squint you can see the Hollywood Sign in the distance at upper right at the top of Mount Hollywood. Behind Mount Hollywood are the Verdugo Mountains. And the highest mountains in the background are the San Gabriels.

culver city baldwin overlook

Walking back down with a feeling of accomplishment. Just above the girls’ heads you can see the Rainbow Sculpture at Sony Pictures (Sony is on the old MGM lot… need I say more?).

culver city baldwin overlook

Looking towards Marina del Rey. Culver City is five miles from the ocean.

culver city baldwin overlookWe are looking at the high rises in Century City which was built in the 60s on land that was previously the 20th Century Fox Lot. Fox Studios is still located there today.

culver city baldwin overlookThe interpretive center. I love browsing in here when it is open (I think mostly at the weekends) as there is a lot of information about the flora and fauna of the area and about the development of Southern California in general. They did a very nice job with the architecture. I see these buildings from my deck. They are lighted at night.

culver city baldwin overlookJust a view through the bushes to Century City.

culver city baldwin overlookLooking back to the interpretive center. The LAX control tower is in the distance.

culver city baldwin overlookThe long and winding road!

culver city baldwin overlookOn a clear day you can see forever (sing along now…). Downtown Los Angeles at right with a little snow cap on Mount Baldy.

culver city baldwin overlookI can never get enough of these views…. the Hollywood Sign splat in the middle at the top, above the SBE building in the center.

culver city baldwin overlook

Red berries make a nice contrast with the green. Very holiday-ish just a few days before New Year.

culver city baldwin overlook

Some kids and parents enjoying a soccer practice down below in Culver Park. I walk through there on my route back down the hill.

culver city baldwin overlook

I just walked up here yesterday and it was so much greener than this so you will just have to imagine how green it is. But in the summer it is 50 shades of brown!

culver city baldwin overlookI just happen to like this fence. Certainly not keeping anyone or anything in or out… maybe just designating private from public land…. I really have no idea.

culver city baldwin overlookI’ll be posting some more photos of another walk up here soon I am sure. Hope you enjoyed coming along on this outing!

You might enjoy an earlier post I wrote: Stepping up to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

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


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Stepping up to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook from my deck

For a couple of years I watched the construction of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook visitor center and adjacent buildings from my roof deck. At first I was very concerned about the natural line of the hill being destroyed. I have seen too many beautiful hilltops around southern California ruined by construction. And although I am not ever in favor of building anything on the crest of a hill, my fears were somewhat ameliorated when the job was far enough along to see the roofs of the buildings. The visitor center and surrounding edifices look like giant butterflies are resting on the top of the hill. So I guess I can live with it!

Part of the California State Parks system, the overlook opened in April 2009 and since then I’ve visited several times by car and on foot. When showing other people the splendors afforded by the park I drive and park in the lot behind the visitor center ($6). When on my own I go on foot.

The entrance on Jefferson Boulevard is a less than fifteen-minute walk from my home. There are various choices for walking to the top. Several times I have walked up the main road, which is the easiest route, although it is very steep and you have to watch for cars careening down the hill.

Each time I visit I am amazed, and pleased, that so many people have discovered the park and are not merely driving to the top for the view, but are using the steep hills for exercise.

Probably about halfway up

Today I decided to be a little more adventurous: I took the steps. All I can say is I am very glad I took along my third leg, my trusty walking stick. I’m not sure how many steps there are. I believe just before I reached the top there was a plaque with the number 375 on it, but I was so exhausted by then I could be mistaken. It certainly felt more like a thousand!

The part of the hill where the stairway is built is extremely steep and it goes straight up. The steps are uneven and some are so high that because of my various knee and hip injuries I could not have gotten my foot up without the stick. A couple of times I thought about calling 911 to send a rescue helicopter but after catching my breath for a few seconds at various intervals, I persevered to the top.

As I reached the last step two young women were starting their descent. “You are awesome,” one commented. All I could do was laugh and reply this was my first and last attempt up the steps. “No, you have to do it again… you are an inspiration!” she said. The other lady added, “I saw you at the bottom and when I looked back I couldn’t believe how fast you were coming up.” Oh well, flattery goes a l-o-n-g way with me, so maybe I will attempt it again! There is also a steep, but winding trail that works its way up, intersecting the stairs at several locations. So next time I will try that.

Looking down from top. Note teeny vehicles at bottom!

The walk up is always worth it as this must be the most fantastic scenery in all of LA (without a helicopter). From the five hundred eleven-foot peak you have a front-row view of downtown and beyond, the mountains, the ocean, and everything in between. It is truly breathtaking.

Looking towards downtown LA

The visitor center is staffed by friendly volunteers and offers a plethora of information about the area.

And once again I realize how fortunate I am to be able to walk out my front door and enjoy such a smorgasbord of interesting places to walk.

Website: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=22790

Map of park: http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/612/files/bhso%20simple%20map.pdf

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)