RMW: the blog

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


18 Comments

Feline Friday -#70 – LA’s famous mountain lion P-22

P22

P-22

This is not P-22, obviously, but a similar mountain lion.

While I was at the Natural History Museum the other day to visit the Extreme Mammals exhibit, I saw the new display about P-22, the mountain lion who lives in Griffith Park.

From the Natural History Museum website:

In the hills of Griffith Park, a mountain lion roams. His name is P-22.

Born in the western Santa Monica Mountains, P-22 crossed both the 405 and 101 freeways, eventually reaching Griffith Park. He lives alone in this small territory by the Hollywood sign, surrounded and confined by the city of L.A. P-22 was first spotted by now NHMLA Citizen Science Coordinator Miguel Ordeñana in 2012 as part of the Griffith Park Connectivity Study, a joint effort of Cooper Ecological and the U.S. Geological Survey. 

P22

P-22, and other big cats like him, are often blamed for encroaching on people’s homes. The truth is, people are the one’s encroaching on the home of the mountain lions.

P22

This is a map of the LA area and the city these lions have to deal with. The dark red splodge at lower right shows P-22’s habitat. Basically he is caged in by the freeways all around him. Many cats have lost their lives trying to cross them.

P22

A closer look at P-22’s area. He lives in Griffith Park all by himself.

P-41 is also hemmed in by freeways all around.

P22

The inability to move around to other territories is the cause of inbreeding, as with P-19, who, having no choice, mated with her father. This doesn’t bode well for the survival of the species.

P-22

Wildlife crossings over the freeways have been proposed for years but so far nothing has been done. It isn’t just the big cats that suffer from being penned in, it’s all the species of animals, insects, plants that are stuck in small habitats. My answer is, let’s keep people trapped in their own neighborhoods and let the animals roam freely!

Just as important is the habitat of insects like the Delhi Sands fly. If just one small part of the eco-system is endangered it causes a domino effect for all of us.

One fly, one species… and then the human species. We live in dangerous times!

 

Advertisements


9 Comments

Malibu Creek State Park test run

malibu creek state park

This coming Saturday I am enrolled in a photography class taking place at Malibu Creek State Park to learn how to get the best shots of marine birds. So today I took the Metro bus #534 from Culver City to Malibu for a test run to scope the area. Now I feel confident about being able to get there on time.

malibu creek state park

This information board tells us that Malibu Lagoon is a seasonally tidal wetland. Water slowly fills the lagoon during summer months. The water level in the lagoon moves up and down daily with the tides.

malibu creek state park

The walking path looking back towards Pacific Coast Highway. The bridge over PCH to the right.

malibu creek state park

The first half of the photos were taken with my wide angle 10-18mm lens. I am loving my new purchase!

malibu creek state park

Sculptural fence looking south over the lago0n.

malibu creek state park

Santa Monica Mountains in the background.

malibu creek state park

As I was walking around the lagoon I felt so grateful to be alive. I struggle with depression and the best “medication” for me is to force myself out of the house to be in nature. Photography is a wonderful excuse to get outside. Life is beautiful.

malibu creek state park

Who would want to be dead when there is so much beauty to be enjoyed?

malibu creek state park

I feel so fortunate to live where I do. I can hop on a bus and be in a whole new world in a short period of time!

malibu creek state park

I was at Malibu Lagoon in the afternoon. Our class on Saturday will be in the morning when there are more birds out and around. I can’t wait to get some good shots.

malibu creek state park

I tripped on some rocks and nearly fell flat on my face at this point. Fortunately I was able to save myself before embarrassing myself in front of some foreign tourists! What a beautiful day!

embarrassing

Yup, this is the famous Surfrider Beach, dedicated as the first World Surfing Reserve on October 9, 2010. It has some spectacular surfing waves, but not today.

 it was dedicated as the first World Surfing Reserve on October 9, 2010

It is also known for catching a good grunion run. “Grunion leave the water at night to spawn on beaches during the spring and summer months. For four consecutive nights, beginning on the nights of the full and new moons, spawning occurs after high tides and continues for several hours. As waves break on the beach, grunion swim as far up the slope as possible. The female arches her body and excavates the semi-fluid sand with her tail to create a nest. She twists her body and digs into the sand until she is half buried, with her head sticking up. She then deposits her eggs in the nest. Males curve around the female and release milt. The milt flows down the female’s body until it reaches and fertilizes the eggs. As many as eight males may fertilize the eggs in a single nest. After spawning, the males immediately retreat toward the water while the female twists free and returns with the next wave. While spawning may only take 30 seconds, some fish remain stranded on the beach for several minutes.” From California Grunion Run.  

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/grunionschedule.asp

Up on the hill, Pepperdine University, a Christian university. You can see the cross at the right.

http://www.pepperdine.edu/

Malibu Sport Fishing Pier in the center where you can charter a fishing boat.

malibu creek state park

View of the bridge over Malibu Lagoon, Pacific Coast Highway.

malibu creek state park

Snowy egret looking for dinner.

malibu creek state park

Gazillions of pelicans.

malibu creek state park

Gazillions of pelicans up close!

malibu creek state park

More gazillions of pelicans.

malibu creek state park

How wonderful it would be to be flying free over the ocean. Santa Monica skyline in the distance.

malibu creek state park

Snowy egret looking for dinner. I had not eaten since breakfast and I was feeling a little peckish myself so I empathised.

malibu creek state park

Some residences in the Malibu Colony. Do you watch Two and a Half Men. This is where Charlie lived. In its heyday this was, in my humble opinion, the funniest show on TV. Too bad it went on too long.

malibu creek state park

Oh, those pelicans!

malibu creek state park

Don’t know what these birds are. At this point I was shooting with my 18-135mm lens. This is my favorite general lens that I use 90% of the time. I can’t wait to come back on Saturday with my 70-300mm lens and get some close ups of these birds.

malibu creek state park

The building in the center is some kind of software company… can’t remember the name. Not a bad place to work. But personally I wouldn’t want to be driving up PCH every day.

malibu creek state park

Another view of that sculptural fence.

malibu creek state park

I liked the curving fence. I walked back to Malibu Country Mart to catch my bus. The ride back at 4:00pm was almost twice as long in traffic. Glad I was not driving!

The park was the center of Chumash Native American life for centuries and was once used to film numerous movies and TV shows, such as Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H.

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!

 

 

 


18 Comments

Walking with the Valley bikers

valley cicLAvia 2015

CicLAvia is a City of Los Angeles event where streets are closed to motorized vehicles allowing people to walk, bike and skate through the open streets that are usually clogged with traffic. CicLavia is a nonprofit organization formed to promote the awareness of riding bicycles and taking public transportation instead of driving around in cars.

The first Valley event (as in the San Fernando Valley) was held yesterday and I decided to join some friends who were planning to walk the route. valley ciclavia

I took the Expo Line to the Red Line to meet up with everybody at Universal Studios Station which is the penultimate stop on the Red Line. It was the perfect weather for walking or cycling as the temperature was in the low to mid 70s F (low to mid 20s C) and overcast. My kind of weather! The sun broke through early afternoon to brighten everything up but by then we were on the return leg so it worked out well.

CicLAvia Valley

Some nice bougainvillea along the way.

The City of Los Angeles is divided into two major land masses cut in two by the Santa Monica Mountains. South of the mountains is the LA Basin. North of the mountains lies the San Fernando Valley.

So the Red Line train travels under the mountains from the Hollywood and Highland Station to arrive at Universal Studios in North Hollywood.

CicLAvia Valley

Once I transferred to the Red Line it was obvious I was going in the right direction. The station platform was jammed with people and their bicycles all squeezing on to a train that was already jammed with people and their bicycles! As I had not eaten breakfast I decided to get off at Hollywood & Highland to grab a bagel. That set off a chain reaction of people having to move their bikes along the car to let me out!

valley cicLAvia

I don’t have any really stunning photos from yesterday. But it was cool to see so many bikes in place of cars on a major thoroughfare like Ventura Boulevard. Above is a photo of Chase Bank that was formerly a Home Savings. Millard Sheets is well known in Southern California as an artist and designer who designed a multitude of buildings for Home Savings. This is one of his many beautiful mosaics at the entrance.

valley cicLAvia

CicLAvia has been going since 2010, planned as an annual event but as the first one turned out to be so popular, in 2011 and 2012 there were two each year. In 2013 and 2014 there were three. And this year there will be four events.

The turnout for the Valley CicLAvia was estimated between 50,000 to 75,000 people. From what I understand, some of these events have attracted up to 100,000 participants. It would be fun to know how many Valley-ites actually took part as opposed to the number of people coming in from other areas. But not everybody wants to trek all the way out there!

valley cicLAvia

This was the turnaround point. We had walked about 3.5 miles by now. But don’t worry, we had stopped a couple of blocks earlier to refuel at Jerry’s Deli. I ordered a mushroom omelette and was ready for the walk back. Maybe you can tell from the photo that the sun was starting to peak through.

valley cicLAvia

We were entertained by this marching band. Many of the cyclists were giving them the thumbs up in appreciation as they rode by.

The route included Studio City, Universal City and North Hollywood. As we walked through Studio City I noticed the sidewalk was imbedded with plaques to commemorate the “B” movies made by Republic Pictures that had been located in that neighborhood, and also some TV shows filmed at the Studio City branch of CBS.

People coming from out of state always think of the LA district of “Hollywood” as being that magical place from where all movies and TV shows originate… but that could not be further from the truth as the studios and movie industry are spread out all over the Los Angeles area.

By the time we had turned around and reached our starting point we had walked seven miles. It was good to be back on the train and sitting down. I don’t have much reason to spend time in the Valley so it was nice to be out there walking around on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains! As LA is so vast one of the aims of CicLAvia is to get people out of their own neighborhoods to visit other parts of town.

I just found out that one of the 2015 CicLAvias will have its starting point in Culver City…. I am assuming at the Culver City Expo Line Station. The end point will be at the ocean in Venice. So I will be sure to take part in that one on August 9. Make your plans now and I’ll meet you at the station!

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!


5 Comments

An encore visit to Malibu Family Wines at Saddlerock Ranch

malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

My previous visit to the Malibu Family Wines at Saddlerock Ranch was in July of 2011 when I was part of a group of tour guides on an exploratory trip. You can see my post about that here. This time I was back for a photography opportunity with a group of fellow photography students.

malibu family wines at saddle rock ranch

Visitors from out of town, and even Angelenos, are surprised to learn that we have vineyards in our own backyard. This area is a mere 34-mile drive from my house in Culver City. No need to fly all the way to Napa Valley in Northern California!

malibu family wines at saddle rock ranch

The vineyards consist of approximately 60,000 vines on 65 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

According to the website: With the high altitude and separation from the coast, along with an ideal blend of weather conditions and rich, rocky soil, it’s the perfect environment for growing premium wine grapes.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

The Saddleback Ranch area affords many photographic opportunities like this vintage Yellow Cab no longer in operation.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

These Airstream trailers look like the makings for a dream vacation… but they are merely props to remind us of a bygone era.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Beautiful grassy area ideal for an event. Your wedding?

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

With our Mediterranean climate Southern California is like being in Italy or Greece or Spain. And whenever I visit those places I feel like I am still back in Southern California!

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

As a wino, it is lovely being in the midst of grape growing country. On my previous visit I tasted some of the wines and they have a Syrah that tastes like it is made in heaven. Well, Southern California is pretty close (when you are not fighting traffic!).

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

This area is home to a lot of rocky outcrops formed by, you got it… earthquakes…

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Classic Airstream with 50s pink flamingo… wouldn’t you love to spend a week here? Well, a weekend, anyway…

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Sunlight on the grape leaves. My parents used to grow grapes in their patio and I would pick the luscious leaves every year, brine them and stuff them with rice and raisins… oh yum.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Another kind of trailer. I could see myself getting up before dawn, sitting in that rocking chair and watching the sun rise across the vineyards with a good cup of coffee.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

I love this photo. It says what this area is all about. Even though there are no people in the photo it expresses the idea of you and I relaxing in the midst of the grape vines. One of my favorite photos of the day.

Part Two will be about the animals on the ranch. Stay tuned!

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!


4 Comments

Lagoon at Playa del Rey on a brilliant November day

playa del rey lagoonPlaya del Rey is directly south of Marina del Rey and the Lagoon is merely a few feet south of the end of Ballona Creek that runs about five miles from Culver City to the Pacific Ocean. A bike path borders the creek.

Playa del Rey Lagoon

The Lagoon supports a varied assortment of bird life from Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets to ducks and geese. Mud hens (American coots) love the area too. And don’t let’s forget pigeons and seagulls.

In the photo above you see a clear view of the Santa Monica Mountains in the background.

As much as I love visiting other parts of the US or the world, I appreciate the various and sundry neighborhoods of Los Angeles just as much. And I feel fortunate to live in such a diverse area.

Playa del Rey Lagoon

As we were eating lunch at a restaurant a short walk from the Lagoon, all these pigeons suddenly descended on the power lines. A few minutes later they were gone.

Playa del Rey Lagoon

The lagoon is surrounded by apartments and condos. Not a bad place to live.

Click on any of the photos below to start the slide show.

 


2 Comments

Art of the Santa Monicas at the King Gillette Ranch in Malibu

king-gillette-ranch

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” ― Lewis Carroll.
That certainly sums up my life. Although, who wants to sit around on their thumbs complaining about being bored? That will never be me!

king-gillette-ranch

So on Sunday a friend and I drove the 27 miles from Culver City out to King Gillette Ranch in Malibu. A mutual friend was exhibiting her artwork at the Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains & Seashore art show on the property. As I have wanted to visit the King Gillette Ranch for eons (well, for at least a year since I first heard of it) this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

king-gillette-ranch

If you are interested in the history of the ranch, you can go to the website. But very briefly, the 588-acre ranch opened to the public in 2007. It was owned by the razor magnate King C. Gillette (yes, that Gillette) in the 1920s who hired the famous architect of the day, Wallace Neff, to design some of the buildings.

king-gillette-ranch

This is the courtyard of the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center where the art was displayed. What could be a better setting for art of the Santa Monicas?

king gillette ranch

From the brochure: “The broad meadows and low ridgelines serve as a wildlife corridor in the geographic center of the Santa Monica Mountains range. Several sensitive species are present. Raptors and other birds forage and nest among the plant communities of valley and coast live oak savannah, grassland, costal sage scrub, chaparral, riparian woodland, and southern willow riparian vegetation.”

king gillette ranch

Some of the neighbors hanging out in the hood.

king gillette ranch

The leafless Sycamores competing with the artwork for attention. I guess the trees won!

king gillette ranch

And a parrot poking his beak in too!

king gillette ranch

Sycamore trees seem even more beautiful without their leaves.

king gillette ranch

After viewing some lovely plein aire and landscape paintings in the exhibit, it was time for lunch. We found a quiet, shady spot among some oak trees.

king gillette ranch

I had brought El Pollo Loco and it never tasted so good. Why does food always taste so much better at a picnic? Even a lowly hard-boiled egg turns into a sumptuous feast.

king gillette ranch

My friend noted that she was completely at peace in this setting.

king gillette ranch

If you can’t get enough privacy in this tree, you can check into the bird motel.

king gillette ranch

Taking time to stop and look at the details is part of the wonder of being out in nature.

king gillette ranch

I liked the shadows thrown by the bare branches. And people think we don’t have seasons in southern California. The trees tell us otherwise.

king gillette ranch

A dry creek reminds us we are living in the arid climate of southern California.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

This is the reservoir built next to that dry creek. Love that sparkly light on the water.

king gillette ranch

Shady road winding past the picnic area.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

This is the seminary built by the Claretian religious order in 1955 including dormitories, classrooms and a chapel. A prime example of what I call “southern California eclectic” architecture. A mixture of Moorish arches, Corinthian capped columns, Mexican tile roof and a very traditional front door.

king gillette ranch

The back side of the seminary building.

king gillette ranch

A hazy, sunny southern California March day. The ranch is splat in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains.

king gillette ranch

Lest we forget we live in Hollywood, “The Biggest Loser” sign over the door of this building reminds us of that fact. The show is filmed here.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

The 25-room Gillette Mansion built in 1928 by Gillette was purchased by the movie director Clarence Brown in 1935. He added a pool, tennis courts and an airplane landing strip. A nice little retreat away from the bright lights of Hollywood.

king gillette ranch

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.” John, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Returning home and browsing through the brochure (printed, by the way, on 100% post-consumer waster recycled paper with soy ink) I realized we had missed the Botanical Center… rats. Well, only an excuse to visit another day.

We also missed the Trail to Inspiration Point. But that was my fault as I had stupidly not changed into my trail shoes which were sitting in my car. When I saw the first part of the trail I realized I could not take a chance walking up there in my running shoes. I have too many injuries to my ankles, knees, hips, etc. to risk doing any more damage. Next time I am putting on those shoes and making the trek as apparently there is a not-to-be-missed 360 degree view of the surrounding Las Virgenes Valley.

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, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!