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 -


Thursday, 27 April 2006
The Birds and the Bees
Topic: Nature and Botanicals

The Birds and the Bees

Duck at the edge of the sheltered lagoon in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles County
The bird - Thursday, April 27, 2006, at the edge of the sheltered lagoon in Playa del Rey - is this duck that just woke up in a bed of alyssum, a bit unhappy to be disturbed. (Playa del Rey - "the beach of the king" - is the first beach north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), between the airport and Marina del Rey, about twelve miles west of Hollywood.)









The bee is nearby, working away in the "ice plant" that grows in the sand at the edge of the beach parking lots. Ice plant? That would be carpobrotus edulis, a creeping, mat-forming succulent, a member of the Stone Plant family Aizoaceae and one of about thirty species in the genus Carpobrotus. It is also known as the Highway Ice Plant, Pigface or Hottentot Fig, and in South Africa known as Sour Fig. It's used all over out here, mainly to hold down hills and loose sand (thus the "highway" name), and as a firebreak (it is a succulent after all, and full of water). It requires next to no care and needs little rain, which is fine because we average little rain out here anyway. And like many things in California, it's very flashy. The bee is just an ordinary bee.

Bee pollinating ice plant blossom in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles County




Birds and bees lead to families. These might be Marbled Godwits.

A late note, Sunday, April 30, from a reader in upstate New York - "Of course the top picture is a beautiful Mallard drake. In the lower pictures, you have two kinds of birds. I am guessing the larger (on left) are Long-billed Dowitcher and the smaller ones, Western Sandpiper."

These are not Marbled Godwits at the edge of the sheltered lagoon in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles County



These are not Marbled Godwits at the edge of the sheltered lagoon in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles County


Posted by Alan at 6:34 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006 2:40 PM PDT
Wednesday, 26 April 2006
A Little Geometry...
Topic: Color Studies

A Little Geometry...

Been here fifteen years, living just above the Sunset Strip, and have yet to figure out what's in this round green building down by Tower Records.

Green building on Sunset Strip



Green building on Sunset Strip


Posted by Alan at 4:45 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006 5:46 PM PDT
Tuesday, 25 April 2006
Losing the eye...
Topic: Light and Shadow

Losing the eye...

A dreary cloudy day in the Hollywood Hills, when nothing catches your eye. There's just visual clutter.

Visual clutter in the Hollywood Hills



You just need to rest your eye on where the clutter isn't.

Glass Study, still life


Posted by Alan at 7:09 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006 4:26 PM PDT
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
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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
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Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006 7:14 PM PDT

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