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.

Contact the Editor

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

Monday, 24 April 2006
Hollywood Set Detail
Topic: Oddities

Hollywood Set Detail

An odd detail in the main courtyard of Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills - Tuesday, April 18, 2006, late morning. A good number of movies have been shot here, and on this day they were shooting another, or a commercial, or music video, or something. There was no way to tell. The set was closed. No one was talking - just "filming in progress" signs here and there.

Since scenes from Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995) were shot here, it's surprising Stone didn't work in this guy. He captures the tone of the film.

Fountain (detail), courtyard, Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills

Posted by Alan at 7:29 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Sunday, 23 April 2006
Off the beaten path...
Topic: Insider Stuff

Off the beaten path…

Back in Rochester New York, the home of the Kodak Corporation, where the modern photographic industry was born, we used to joke that the movie industry ended up in southern California because, with all the sunshine, it's the world's largest soundstage, while the actual film industry stayed in Rochester, as it was the world's largest darkroom. Yes, it's often a dreary place.

When you're in Rochester you can visit the Eastman House. It's pretty cool. Out here, Eastman Kodak, the world's largest maker of photographic film, has always been a part of Hollywood. Of course the new home of the Oscars is the Kodak Theater at Hollywood and Highland. That's for the tourists. Where the real work is done is at Eastman Kodak's Hollywood campus down on Santa Monica Boulevard, where they have just under four hundred people who supply the movie industry with that they need. It's not on any Hollywood tour.

Here's how it looked April 14, 2006 - one of the rare rainy days in Los Angeles, when Hollywood looked a lot like Rochester.

Eastman Kodak - Hollywood - Santa Monica Boulevard

Note, when George Eastman got fed up with dry-plate photography his solution was to coat paper with a layer of plain, soluble gelatin, and then with a layer of insoluble light-sensitive gelatin. After exposure and development, the gelatin bearing the image was stripped from the paper, transferred to a sheet of clear gelatin, and varnished with collodion - a cellulose solution that forms a tough, flexible film. So that was that. Then he worked out transparent roll film and the roll holder, and folks out here were in business.

This photograph was taken with a digital camera - no film involved at all. No wonder the Kodak folks aren't doing that well these days.

Posted by Alan at 6:51 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006 7:14 PM PDT
Saturday, 22 April 2006
Color Study
Topic: Color Studies

Color Study

Photographed in the gardens of Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills, on Tuesday, April 18, 2006, late morning - another color study in extreme close-up.

Bloom in the gardens of Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills

Posted by Alan at 1:40 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Friday, 21 April 2006
At the Walt Disney Concert Hall Garden
Topic: Landmarks

At the Walt Disney Concert Hall Garden

Flowering tree at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Garden, downtown Los AngelesThe Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, taking up the whole block bounded by Hope Street, Grand Avenue, 1st and 2nd Streets, is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. It's a Frank Gehry building and around the time it opened, on October 23, 2003, there were a few photos and reviews of the thing in these pages here. From January of this year you'll find a long shot of the building, in its context, here (bottom of the page). The Los Angeles Philharmonic used to perform at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion across the street, a dead hall with lousy acoustics, and everyone says this one is not only better, it's wonderful. Reviews of the exterior are mixed.

The place looks a bit like Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, which is covered in titanium (see this). The Los Angeles building, designed first but completed later, is covered in stainless steel.

That was a problem -
After the construction, additional expenses were incurred to correct the design flaw caused by the concert hall's unique choice of polished stainless steel covering concave surfaces. Residents of the neighboring condominiums suffered significant glare caused by the sunlight that was reflected in the manner similar to a parabolic mirror. The sunlight made the rooms of some nearby condominiums unbearably hot, and caused the air-conditioning costs of these residents to sky-rocket. Also during certain points of a sunny day the reflective surfaces caused the temperature of some adjacent sidewalks to rise to almost 140 degrees Fahrenheit. After complaints from neighboring buildings and residents the county government stepped in and asked Disney to come up with a solution, their response was a computer analysis of the building's structure, after the offending surfaces were identified, they were sanded to reduce glare in 2005.
And that makes it an odd place to have a pocket park, but they have one, the small Walt Disney Concert Hall Garden, on the east side of the building. What grows there are species that thrive in full, brutal sun. Anything else would get cooked dead - even after dulling the reflective steel panels it's viciously hot there.

These shots are from Thursday, April 20, late morning. More will follow in this Sunday's Just Above Sunset. This is just a taste.

This is spring in Los Angeles.


A coral tree - Erythrina x sykesii - native to Australia, so they like this place.

Coral tree - Erythrina x sykesii - at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Garden, downtown Los Angeles

Here's a shady spot -

Interior walkway at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Garden, downtown Los Angeles

Posted by Alan at 4:47 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Saturday, 22 April 2006 1:44 PM PDT
Thursday, 20 April 2006
America and China: Los Angeles' Chinatown
Topic: Landmarks

America and China: Los Angeles' Chinatown

Dragon at the entrance to Los Angeles' ChinatownPresident Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao met in Washington on Thursday, April 20, 2006. It didn't go that well, as noted below.

As they were meeting this was the scene in Los Angeles' Chinatown, starting with the dragon at the gate.

By the way, this is the "new" Chinatown, as the original one was torn down in the thirties to make way for Union Station. This one opened on June 25, 1938, with some touches provided by Cecile B. DeMille himself - full details here. This one has become mixed - Vietnamese and others moving in. The bulk of the Chinese in Los Angeles are out east, in Monterey Park.

Regarding events in Washington, from the Associated Press, China Mistakenly Called By Taiwan's Name -
The meeting between President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao began with a gaffe Thursday when an announcer referred to China by the formal name of Taiwan, which China considers a rebellious province.

As Bush and Hu stood at attention outside the White House, an announcer said, "Ladies and gentlemen, the national anthem of the Republic of China, followed by the national anthem of the United States of America."

"Republic of China" is the formal name of the island 100 miles off the Chinese mainland. China is known formally as the People's Republic of China.

Taiwan is a most delicate issue for China. Beijing claims sovereignty over the self-governing island, which split from the mainland in 1949 as civil war ended on the mainland.

The losing nationalists fled the communists and established their rump state on the island and for many years claimed to be the rightful government of all China. Recent Taiwan governments have spoken of trying for formal independence, which China has said repeatedly might be met by military force.

And then the other matter, explained here by the BBC's Jonathan Beale -
... Okay, this was not the official state visit that the Chinese government had wanted, but when President Hu arrived in Washington DC he still received a 21-gun salute, a guard of honor and marching bands - all witnessed by every senior figure of the Bush administration.

But it then all unraveled. The Chinese may have been willing to overlook the foul-up as their National Anthem was introduced as that of "the Republic of China" - the other name for Taiwan - the part of China that has rebelled and broken away from the mainland and sought security from the United States.

But to have their president's speech interrupted by not just a protester, but one from the banned quasi-religious group Falun Gong, would have been difficult to swallow.

In Beijing, television screens showing the BBC and CNN went to black as the cameras focused on Wang Wenyi shouting out "President Hu, your days are numbered".

President Bush apologized to his Chinese guest for this unfortunate incident - but it showed the gulf that remains between these two countries.
No kidding. But everything was fine in Los Angeles.

Lanterns in Los Angeles' Chinatown

Rooftops in Los Angeles' Chinatown

The answer to the issue of our more than two billion dollar trade deficit with China -

Sincere Imports, Los Angeles' Chinatown

One of the problems Chinese President Hu Jintao might have with Los Angeles' Chinatown -

Statue of Sun Yat-Sen, Los Angeles' Chinatown

But no place is wonderful, as you by these signs on the fence at the elementary school on College Avenue in the middle of our Chinatown. Choose your language.

Signs on the fence at the elementary school on College Avenue, Los Angeles' Chinatown

Posted by Alan at 7:19 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006 7:27 PM PDT

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