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Southern California Photography by Alan Pavlik, editor and publisher of Just Above Sunset
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Photos and text, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

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Visitors from February 28, 2006, 10:00 am Pacific Time to date -


Saturday, 18 November 2006
At Work on Saturday
Topic: Nature and Botanicals
At Work on Saturday
Someone out here in Hollywood is working on Saturday morning…

Close-Up of common bee…


Posted by Alan at 2:24 PM PST | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
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Thursday, 19 October 2006
Beverly Hills Duck
Topic: Nature and Botanicals
Beverly Hills Duck
At the lily pond where Rodeo Drive meets Sunset Boulevard, across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel with its Polo Lounge, where the stars do lunch, this duck takes a rest in the sun. A Bentley or Rolls or Ferrari glides by, and the duck doesn't move. The sun is good.

Duck resting in the sun, Will Rodgers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duck resting in the sun, Will Rodgers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duck resting in the sun, Will Rodgers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above the duck, this would be a basic ordinary Beverly Hills palm tree, and in the foreground what is called pink floss silk tree, Chorisia speciosa. They're blooming all over town now, as they do between August and November. This year the less common white-flowered cousin, Chorisia insignis is also in bloom at the same time, which is unusual. The two trees usually blossom in sequence but this year they flowered in tandem in late September. No one know why - global warming or something. For a full discussion see the Los Angeles Times here. The duck doesn't care.

Pink floss silk tree, Chorisia speciosa, in bloom at Will Rodgers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills


Posted by Alan at 6:09 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Sunday, 8 October 2006
Visual Tension
Topic: Nature and Botanicals
Visual Tension
Nature is supposed to be all calm and that sort of thing. Not so - high tension shots in the deep shadows at the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden on the UCLA campus, photographed Friday, October 6, 2006.

Bloom in the deep shadows at the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, UCLA Campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squirrel at the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, UCLA Campus


Posted by Alan at 5:24 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Friday, 4 August 2006
A Gull
Topic: Nature and Botanicals
A Gull
"The Western Gull, Larus occidentalis, is a large white-headed gull that lives on the western coast of North America. It was previously considered co-specific with the Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens) of the Gulf of California. The Western Gull ranges from Washington and British Columbia to Baja California, and because of its convenient colonies on the coast of California it is well studied.

"The Western Gull is currently not considered threatened. However, they have, for a gull, a restricted range. Numbers were greatly reduced in the 19th century by the taking of seabird eggs for the growing city of San Francisco. Western Gull colonies also suffered from disturbance where they were turned into lighthouse stations, or, in the case of Alcatraz, a prison.

"Western Gulls are very aggressive when defending their territories and consequently were persecuted as a menace. The automating of the lighthouses, and the closing of Alcatraz Prison, allowed the species to reclaim parts of its range. They are currently vulnerable to climatic events like El Niño events and oil spills.

"The Western Gull was one of the antagonists in Alfred Hitchcock's famous movie, The Birds, which was filmed in Bodega, California. The biggest Western Gull colony, the Farallon Islands, is located some 35 miles southwest of Bodega."

Well, you could look it up. This one, on the beach at Malibu, seems more thoughtful than antagonistic.

Western Gull - Larus occidentalis - Malibu California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Much that is good and all that is evil has gathered itself up into the Western Gull. He is rather the handsomest of the blue-mantled Laridae, for the depth of color in the mantle, in sharp contrast with the snowy plumage of back and breast, gives him an appearance of sturdiness and quality which is not easily dispelled by subsequent knowledge of the black heart within. As a scavenger, the Western Gull is impeccable. Wielding the besom of hunger, he and his kind sweep the beaches clean and purge the water-front of all pollution. But a scavenger is not necessarily a good citizen. Call him a ghoul, rather, for the Western Gull is cruel of beak and bottomless of maw. Pity, with him, is a thing unknown; and when one of their own comrades dies, these feathered jackals fall upon him without compunction, a veritable Leichnamveranderungsgebrauchsgesellschaft. If he thus mistreats his own kind, be assured that this gull asks only two questions of any other living thing: First, 'Am I hungry?' (Answer, 'Yes.') Second, 'Can I get away with it? (Answer, 'I'll try.') - William Leon Dawson, Birds of California, 1923


Posted by Alan at 3:53 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Saturday, 5 August 2006 8:09 AM PDT
Wednesday, 2 August 2006
Odd Birds
Topic: Nature and Botanicals
Odd Birds
California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicusA pelican is any of several very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak belonging to the bird family Pelecanidae. Along with the darters, cormorants, gannets, boobies, frigatebirds, and tropicbirds, they make up the order Pelecaniformes. Like other birds in that group, pelicans have all four toes webbed (they are totipalmate). Pelicans can be found on all continents - except Antarctica - in inland and coastal waters. You just won't find them in the polar regions, or the deep ocean way out at sea, or on oceanic islands, or anywhere in inland South America. Others that that they're there if you look.

These at the Malibu Creek lagoon, at the edge of the Pacific, just before noon on Wednesday, August 2, are Pelecanus occidentalis californicus - the California Brown Pelican. Along with the much larger American White Pelican - Pelecanus erythrorhynchos - the California Brown is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The surf was up where the lagoon empties into the ocean, and there were maybe sixty surfers doing their thing. No one was paying attention to the pelicans, much less threatening them - these guys had nothing to worry about. And pelicans have been around for over forty million years. The surfers are transitory.

Make of this what you will -
In medieval Europe, the pelican was thought to be particularly attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood when no other food was available. As a result, the pelican became a symbol of the Passion of Jesus and of the Eucharist. It also became a symbol in bestiaries for self-sacrifice, and was used in heraldry ("a pelican in her piety" or "a pelican vulning (wounding) herself"). Another version of this is that the Pelican used to kill its young and then resurrect them with its blood, this being analogous to the sacrifice of Jesus.

That aside, this is a technical exercise - using the 70-300mm telephoto lens set to manual focus, and the automatic shooting mode set to sport (fast shutter speed and whatever else the D-70 does there), the idea was to keep far enough away from the birds so they weren't spooked, but to capture as much detail as possible, so you get a sense of what they're really like. Out here you usually see them from a distance, flying in a line above the surf, or plunge-diving solo for a quick bite of something herring-like. That's not good enough - you have to get up close and personal, relatively speaking.  

California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way home, on Lincoln Boulevard one block south of Montana in Santa Monica - Gallus gallus domesticus (domestic chicken), interpreted, and incorporated into an old Oldsmobile sedan that has seen better days. Just another bird.

The Chicken Car parked in Santa Monica


Posted by Alan at 7:11 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006 7:27 PM PDT

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