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 -


Friday, 19 May 2006
Egrets in Context

Egrets in Context

Egret, Venice California, May 18, 2006
"An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets. The distinction between a heron and an egret is rather vague, and depends more on appearance than biology.

"Several of the egrets have been moved around from one genus to another in recent years: the Great Egret, for example, was traditionally classified as either a member of Casmoderius, Egretta or Ardea.

"In the 19th and early part of the 20th century, some of the world's egret species were endangered by relentless hunting, since hat makers in Europe and the United States demanded massive numbers of egret plumes and breeding birds were killed in locations all around the world.

"Several Egretta species, including the Eastern Reef Egret, the Reddish Egret and the Western Reef Egret have two distinct colors, one of which is entirely white. Little Blue Heron has an all-white juvenile plumage" - or so it says here.

These appear to be egrets, in the muck of an old silted-in canal in Venice California, Thursday, May 18, 2006, early afternoon. Which sort they are is a mystery, but they provided a chance to experiment with the telephoto lens and various shutter speeds.


Egret, Venice California, May 18, 2006



Egret, Venice California, May 18, 2006



Egret, Venice California, May 18, 2006



Nosey neighbor -

Egret, Venice California, May 18, 2006


Posted by Alan at 7:26 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006 7:30 PM PDT
Thursday, 18 May 2006
Wretched Excess: Another Ferrari in Malibu
Topic: Oddities

Wretched Excess: Another Ferrari in Malibu

Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, the stretch of highway where that crazy Swedish guy wrecked his rare Ferrari Enzo - high gas prices
Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, the stretch of highway where that crazy Swedish guy wrecked his rare Ferrari Enzo, snapping off a telephone pole at 162 mph and walking away from it all with just a cut lip. He's been arrested - the Ferrari wasn't really his, he was in the country illegally, he had an unregistered gun in the car, his electronic games company is bankrupt and all sorts of creditors are after him, and he already has a criminal record, having spent time in jail in Europe for fraud and such, before he became the CEO of the electronics thing.

He seemed to think coming to California and pretending he was cool, rich and successful would make it all better. This is where people reinvent themselves, after all. But he drove a bit too fast. It's kind of classic. They write songs about such things, like the Eagles' classic "Life in the Fast Lane" - the words of that number (here) will do nicely.

This is Thursday, May 18, 2006 - late morning with fog off the Pacific a few hundred feet to the left. Note the gas prices here a few feet from Malibu Colony where all the stars live. Business was fine, thank you. It doesn't matter.

Below, across the street at Malibu Creek Plaza, there was this parked by the local Starbucks - a Ferrari 456M. These were produced from 1992 through late 2003, and this may be one of the last, with its front-mounted 436-horsepower 5.5-liter V-12 (no mid-engine crap here), a top speed of 186 mph, and one of the better Pininfarina bodies. The original retail price was just shy of two hundred thirty thousand.


Ferrari 456M parked at coffee shop in Malibu



Contrasts - palm trees reflected in the glass, the Just Above Sunset staff Mini, and a surfboard.

Ferrari 456M parked at coffee shop in Malibu



Note - they do have brakes. You can slow down, and even stop.

Ferrari 456M parked at coffee shop in Malibu, wheel detail


Posted by Alan at 4:47 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006 4:49 PM PDT
Wednesday, 17 May 2006
Orange in the Shadows
Topic: Technical Exercises

Orange in the Shadows

In the shadows at Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, at the north end of Rodeo Drive, just across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Polo Lounge – an exercise in low light. Tuesday May 16, 2006.

Orange blooms in the shadows at Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills


Posted by Alan at 10:10 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Tuesday, 16 May 2006
Hollywood Nympheas
Topic: Light and Shadow

Hollywood Nymphéas

Nelumbo nucifera, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills From The Independent (UK), May 17, 2006, this from Marina Bradbury in Paris -
Claude Monet's water lilies, among the most celebrated paintings of the Impressionist movement, will be revealed in their original glory when the Orangerie museum in the Paris Tuileries gardens reopens today. Created especially for the museum, the monumental work, entitled Nymphéas, has been hidden from the public eye for six years, during extensive renovations. The giant frieze, made up of eight separate paintings which together stretch almost 600 feet around the gallery, has not been seen in the way the artist intended for more than 40 years.
There are no Monet water lilies here, and our default Giverny will have to be Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, at the north end of Rodeo Drive. just across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Polo Lounge and all that. The visuals are similar, except the water lilies we get floating here are a slightly different subspecies of what Monet was painting, lotus blossoms, and the reflections in the water are, here, of palm trees. It'll do. Air France has two or three flights a day from LAX to Paris, non-stop, but these lotus pools are just a short drive down Sunset Boulevard.

What you're looking at, in terms of scientific classification -

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Proteales
Family: Nelumbonaceae
Genus: Nelumbo
Species: N. nucifera
Binomial name - Nelumbo nucifera

Notes -
Nelumbo nucifera is known by a number of common names, including Sacred Lotus, Red Lotus, Indian Lotus Bean of India and Sacred Water-lily. Botanically, Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is sometimes known by its former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.), or Nymphaea nelumbo. This plant is an aquatic perennial. In ancient times it was common along the banks of the River Nile in Egypt along with the closely related Sacred Blue Lotus of the Nile (Nymphaea caerulea); and the flowers, fruit and sepals of both were widely depicted as architectural motifs where sacred images were called for. The Pharoic Egyptians venerated the Lotus and used it in worship. From Egypt it was carried to Assyria and became widely planted throughout Persia, India and China. It may also have been locally indigenous throughout Indo-China but there is doubt about this. In 1787 it was first brought into horticulture in Western Europe as a stove-house water-lily under the patronage of Sir Joseph Banks and can be seen in modern botanical garden collections where heating is provided. Today it is rare or extinct in the wild in Africa but widely naturalized in southern Asia and Australia, where it is commonly cultivated in water gardens. It is the National Flower of India.
"One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water." - Bhagavad Gita 5.10

Ironically, the lotus pools are in the same little park where, on April 7, 1998, George Michael (who sang with the quite forgettable group Wham!) was arrested for performing a lewd act in front of an undercover Beverly Hills cop in the park's public restrooms, a cute little stucco structure with a red tile roof.

Nelumbo nucifera, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills



Nelumbo nucifera, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills



Nelumbo nucifera, Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills





Further notes on the park here, saying you should not get this park confused with Will Rogers State Historic Park, six miles west and also on Sunset, Will Rodgers' old ranch. This one is five acres, and that one is enormous, with polo fields you might have seen in "Pretty Woman" and other films. The little park with the lotus pools was a five-acre gift from the Beverly Hills Hotel, in 1915, so the land that became the City of Beverly Hills' first park had been part of the hotel's front lawn. Will Rodgers lived a block away and in the mid-twenties, before he moved down the road to his ranch, he was, informally, the honorary mayor of Beverly Hills. Everybody liked him. After he died the city named this small park after him, even though he had moved out in 1927. No hard feelings.
Will Rogers Memorial Park on Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills
Trivia from the link -

Actor Michael Caine tells of seeing John Wayne land in a helicopter in this park, then watching the Duke head across the street to the Beverly Hills Hotel - while wearing his cowboy duds! (Caine was surprised that John Wayne recognized him, but apparently he had just seen Caine's hit movie, "Alfie.")

This is the park where rock singer Rod Stewart proposed to his wife, model Rachel Hunter back in 1990. They were later married at the nearby Good Shepherd Church.
Good Shepherd is six blocks south and the last time it was in the news was the Frank Sinatra funeral there. Whatever. It doesn't matter.


Posted by Alan at 8:07 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006 8:20 PM PDT
Monday, 15 May 2006
Pink, Blue, Green, Red
Topic: Insider Stuff

Pink, Blue, Green, Red

Southern California colors - Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas a few blocks north of Melrose Avenue on Thursday May 11, late morning. This is down in "the flats," the mixed-use industrial area with Paramount and lots of sound and post-production shops, and Kodak and auto repair shops and small restaurants and strip malls and low, fifties-style apartment buildings, and grit. Hollywood Center Studios is a minor Hollywood studio, not affiliated with any particular motion picture company - these guys rent out the back lot and twelve sound stages to whoever has the cash for movies, television, music videos and whatnot. It was built in 1919 - Howard Hughes shot "Hell's Angels" (1929, silent) here, with Jean Harlow in her first movie role. Mae West and Harold Lloyd made many of their films here. There's more detail below this shot. The photograph is more an exercise in framing and color than in history.

Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas a few blocks north of Melrose Avenue on Thursday May 11, late morning



The website "Seeing Stars" has more detail here -

Other early movies shot here included "Pennies From Heaven" (1936, with Bing Crosby), "The Thief Of Baghdad" (1940), "The Jungle Book" (1942 with Sabu), and "Angel On My Shoulder" (1946, with Paul Muni). Shirley Temple had her film debut at this studio.

In the 1930's, it was known as General Service Studios, and produced countless b-movies and independent films. in the late 40's Cagney Productions (Jimmy, and his brother William), owned a large part of the studio.

In 1951, the studio turned to television. The first two years of "I Love Lucy" shows were shot here on Stage 2 (before Lucy & Desi moved Desilu studios over to RKO and moved the show over to Ren-Mar). In fact, the studio's sandwich shop next door to Stage 2 is called the "Babalu Cafe." The "Burns & Allen" show was also filmed here.

More recently, the studio was the scene of a noble failure, as Francis Ford Coppola (the director of "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now") began his ill fated Zoetrope Studio here. Alas, Zoetrope didn't last long; when Coppola's first new release, "One From the Heart," bombed at the box office in 1982, he lost the studio. (Although Zoetrope still exists as a production and post-production company in San Francisco, and online at http://www.zoetrope.com.)

As a rental studio, numerous classic TV series were shot there, including "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction," "Mr. Ed," "The Bob Cummings Show," "Ozzie & Harriet," "Our Miss Brooks," "The Addams Family," "The Lone Ranger," "Baretta," "The Rockford Files"... and more recently, "The Cosby Show," "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Boy Meets World" and "Soul Train." "

"The Burns and Allen Show" was also shot there, and George Burns had an office at the studio which he visited almost every day until he died (at age 100). In fact, the Burns office is still there.

Modern films shot here include: "The Shaggy Dog" (with Tim Allen), "Cursed" (with Christina Ricci), "The X-Men," "Bad Santa," "Zoolander," "Dumb And Dumberer," "What Dreams May Come" (with Robin Williams), "Scream 2," "The Out of Towners" (with Steve Martin), "A Walk in the Clouds" (with Keanu Reeves), "Con Air" (with Nicolas Cage), "When Harry Met Sally" (with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan), "The Running Man" (with Arnold Schwarzenegger), "Frances" (with Jessica Lange), "Shampoo" (with Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn), "Save the Tiger" (with Jack Lemmon), "The Player" (with Tim Robbins), "The Karate Kid" and 1997's "Spawn."
There are no public tours. This is a working studio in an ugly part of town - think Steubenville with palm trees. It's not tourist territory.

On the other hand, if you need stage space, and rigging and lighting, and union grips and gaffers and such, for your own next major film, television show or music video, the Hollywood Center Studios website is here. They'll be glad to accommodate you. The site also lists all the films made on site, starting with "Smiling All The Way" in 1920 through the 2005 remake of "The Shaggy Dog" (the long list is here). The list of television productions is here and includes everything from Sky King to the show with the talking horse, Mister Ed - and the Mel Brooks series Get Smart. Very odd.

Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas a few blocks north of Melrose Avenue on Thursday May 11, late morning


Posted by Alan at 6:21 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006 6:27 PM PDT

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