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


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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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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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Reflections in a pond and art gallery

huntington library reflections

On Thursday I took advantage of another free day at the Huntington Library in San Marino. I didn’t take a lot of photos this time as I was concentrating on the art galleries.

huntington library reflections

But while I was waiting for a friend I took these pics of the reflections in the pond (lake?) at the Chinese Gardens.

huntington library reflections

And as much as I love to see the Lotuses in bloom, I’m always fascinated by the dry, brown winter versions of the plants. Just as beautiful in their own way.

huntington library reflections

Before and after catching up with my friend, I wandered through the galleries. Probably the most famous paintings at the Huntington are The Blue Boy, (1770) by Thomas Gainsborough and Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie (1794). But I can’t say they are my favorites.

In the same gallery are some other stunning portraits from that era by Joshua Reynolds, George Romney and Thomas Gainsborough. I’m really not usually a fan of this kind of painting, but when I spent some time studying each one instead of just breezing by I was stunned by the skill and craftsmanship. I especially enjoyed Anne Killigrew, Mrs. Kirke by Anthony van Dyck (scroll down the page).

There are also some paintings by two of my favorite British artists, J. M. W. Turner and John Constable. On one of my trips to England my friends took me to “Constable Country” so I stood in front of a painting of the Stour, remembering my visit.

I’ll probably wait until the spring when all the flowers are out before my next visit. But since discovering how easy it is to get to the museum by train (although it is quite a trek with three trains and two long walks) AND being able to take advantage of the free days, the Huntington is becoming one of my favorite haunts.

You may be interested in previous posts: In hot water at the Huntington Library and Thirsty afternoon in the desert garden at the Huntington Library.

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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In hot water at the Huntington Library

lily ponds huntington gardens

After my parched walk through the Desert Garden at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, I headed over to the lily ponds to cool off.lily ponds huntington gardens See my post about the Desert Garden here.

lily ponds huntington gardens

Aaahhhh, as much as I love cacti and desert plants I have to admit if I was some kind of flaura I would have to live near water.

lily ponds huntington gardens

The koi were very friendly and came up to say hello! lily ponds huntington gardens

I grew up in a cool, but not cold, temperate climate on the south coast of England and I never acclimatized to heat. Now I live on the west side of Los Angeles which is at least ten degrees cooler than downtown LA and twenty degrees cooler than the Valley. But things are heating up here too and I don’t like it!

lily ponds huntington gardens

But I love living in Los Angeles… well actually Culver City… a small town surrounded by the big city.

lily ponds huntington gardens

When I can take the train and get to places like the Huntington Library or the bus to the Getty I am in heaven!

lily ponds huntington gardens
I love lily ponds. Maybe because Monet is one of my favorite artists. I think of him whenever I see the ponds.

lily ponds huntington gardens
If I came back in the next life as a koi I would want to be this colorful guy. I would love to be swimming around in the cool water admired for my beauty!

lily ponds huntington gardens

This koi made me think about a painting by Matisse. I couldn’t think what it was. I went downstairs to the kitchen and this is the magnet I have on my fridge door. Not exactly a koi, but it is a fish!

I often make associations with artwork even when that association isn’t quite 100% on.

lily ponds huntington gardens

A lady was feeding this turtle some popcorn. This is not fair to the turtle who shouldn’t be eating junk food. People think this is cute. It is a death sentence to the turtle.

lily ponds huntington gardens
Beautiful reflections in the water.

lily ponds huntington gardens
So wonderful hanging out here on a weekday. I’m always mindful of the price I paid working as a slave in the corporate world for so many years.

lily ponds huntington gardens

If this is what those years of corporate slavery bought me, was it worth it? I don’t know but I have to say yes for my sanity.

lily ponds huntington gardens
All I can say is that I am happy now and I live for today.

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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Thirsty afternoon in the Desert Garden at the Huntington Library

huntington-library-090414-018-C-850pxI see it’s been a month since I posted on my blog. A lot of things happened and I could write about 30 posts! But for now I’ll keep it down to this one!huntington library cactus garden

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Los Angeles has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to museums, galleries, gardens, parks, etc. And I feel fortunate that I could spend the rest of my life going out every day and visiting these places and still not be done. But because of other responsibilities and priorities I don’t get out and around enough and I am always missing exhibitions and events that I really want to see.

huntington library cactus garden

This fruit looks just like grapes but the sign warns that it is poisonous.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino (next door to Pasadena) is a place I could visit once a week and still find something new. Once a month they have a free day. But you have to be on the phone or email the nanosecond they open up the reservation lines in order to get a ticket. Ticketing opens at 9:00 am the first day of the previous month. By 9:02 am they are sold out! I was lucky enough to score a pass for September 4.

huntington library cactus garden

Getting there from Culver City without a car is quite a trek. But you know I love public transportation so I left my beautiful car at home and set out for a long and twisted journey by train. My ticket was good for a morning entrance anytime before noon. Sometimes in the mornings time gets away from me, and my goodness, it surely did this morning. I knew I had a two and a half hour trip ahead of me and I left the house at 9:30!huntington library cactus garden

A twenty-minute fast walk got me from my front door to the Culver City station platform. Then a change from the Expo Line to the Red Line. Then from the Red Line to the Gold Line. Normally I enjoy all the “training” but this day I was in a sweat because time was ticking by. Not to mention it was a very warm, humid day. We won’t go into that…

huntington library cactus garden

I arrived at my destination, Allen Station in Pasadena, at 11:20. I knew it was a 30 minute walk to the Huntington gate, then probably another ten minutes through the parking lot to the entrance. Huff puff, huff puff. If somebody had thrown a bucket of ice on me at that point I would have been grateful!

huntington library cactus garden

I did see a bus go by but it turned a few blocks ahead of me so it wouldn’t have helped much. I like to walk. I just don’t like it when I have no time to spare.

huntington library cactus garden

I arrived at the entrance minutes before my ticket supposedly expired. I handed it over and the guy didn’t even look at it… gaaah, I could have sauntered in there at 2:00pm and nobody would have cared. Oh well, I know I got there on time and that’s all that counts!

huntington library cactus garden

The park closes at 4:30 so even though I wasn’t there as early as I would have liked (I intended to be there by 10:30) I had several hours to saunter around taking photos. I knew I wasn’t going to hit any of the galleries this time… that will be another blog post. I primarily wanted to take some shots of the Desert Garden as that is my favorite area.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

I don’t know exactly what the temperature was on this day. San Marino, tucked up against the mountains and far, far away from the ocean, can get pretty much beyond my tolerance for heat… which is why I live in a more temperate climate. For instance, today the temperature is soaring to 97 F (36 C) degrees in San Marino and only 85 F (29 C) in Culver City. Anything above 80 F (26 C) degrees makes my blood boil.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

Whatever the temperature was it was certainly perfect for the cacti and other desert plants. I had to take a couple of photos then dive for the nearest patch of shade. I didn’t have water with me but there were drinking fountains in strategic locations which saved me from turning into bacon.

huntington library cactus garden

huntington library desert garden

As you can see, I love taking shots of winding paths and there are plenty in the Desert Garden. It’s easy to get lost!

huntington library cactus garden

The Desert Garden covers ten acres. It began 100 years ago with plants from local nurseries, private residences, public parks, and from collection trips to the Southwest and Mexican deserts. Today it has grown to over 5,000 species.

huntington library desert garden

huntington library desert garden

In our severe Southern California drought, this is the kind of garden we should all have…. dig up your lawns and plant a desert garden!

huntington library desert garden

Desert plants aren’t exactly roses bushes or geraniums in their flowering patterns so when you do see a little splash of color it is that much more exciting.

huntington library desert garden

I think I probably enjoy cactus as I was brought up in England and didn’t see one growing in the wild until I was a teenager. In all their various shapes and configurations, desert plants never cease to fascinate me. If we do find life on Mars my guess is they will be growing cacti in their front yards!

huntington library desert garden

I would have loved to linger longer in the Desert Garden but the heat was really getting to me. The water in the drinking fountains I encountered was warm and I needed deep shade.

huntington library desert garden

So although this bench was tempting for a little rest I decided my best option was to find an area with water… like the lily ponds.

huntington library desert garden

Fortunately the ponds were just a few yards away so I reluctantly said farewell to my prickly friends and headed over there.

huntington library desert garden

I’ll sort through the photos from the rest of my day at the Huntington and be back with some cooler images on another post.

huntington library cactus garden

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the Desert Garden!

huntington library desert garden

huntington library desert garden

huntington-library-090414-185-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-186-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-189-C-850px

huntington-library-090414-191-C-850px

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!