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 -


Monday, 22 May 2006
Things That Aren't What They Seem, or Are
Topic: Oddities

Things That Aren't What They Seem, or Are

Rocket Science Laboratories, 8441 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069 - the only signage
A reality television production company - Rocket Science Laboratories gave us the reality shows Joe Millionaire, Temptation Island, and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé. They've got this little sign by the door, but no other indication they're inside. This is the only sign. It's very mysterious. But in 2003 the company entered a multi-year overall production deal with the FOX Broadcasting Company. Rocket Science Laboratories was founded by partners Jean-Michel Michenaud and Chris Cowan, who, given what they named their company, obviously have a sense of humor. What they do is not exactly rocket science, as they say. In fact, it's somewhat the opposite, and has made them rich. They seem to enjoy the joke.

They're just down the street, on Santa Monica Boulevard, next to Barney's Beanery, where one night Janis Joplin had a few drinks (two screwdrivers) before she went up the hill to the old Landmark Theater, played a few sets, and died. She was not a rocket scientist herself.

Rocket Science Laboratories
8441 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
__

Next?

Stephanie Mata has this store around the corner from the Groundlings Theater on Melrose Avenue. And it's true. The LA Weekly says this about her -
With 20 years of coddling VIPs, hard-assing too-cool-to-pay-a-cover scenesters and managing everything from crowd control to the cash box at Hollywood's most rockin' nightclubs, Stephanie Mata, who currently works the Viper Room and Key Club, knows all when it comes to the dynamics of the door. The store owner (she's got a by-appointment-only shop below her Melrose apartment called the Never Open Store)/mother/door diva supreme has manned the entrances of some legendary joints over the years, including metal haven the Cathouse, the retro-à-gogo 1970 and the Pretty Ugly Club, to name a few. And though the locales have changed, the stuff coming out of people's mouths definitely has not. "The worst possible thing you can say at the door, and people always do, is 'I know so-and-so...' or 'I'm friends with so-and-so?' If I hear that, I usually let 'em have it." Mata says, even if it is a friend, "no one gets in for free all the time at my door," and she has no qualms about asking pals to kick down when necessary. After all, "clubs are there to make money," she says. Toting her ever-present clipboard, Mata is one of the few women you'll actually see out in the trenches (as opposed to inside the club, sheltered in a booth or behind a table), and her straightforward, no-bullshit approach commands respect, often striking fear into the hearts of even the burliest male club-hoppers. Still, even those who've endured her wrath seem to respect her sharp-witted and vivacious demeanor, traits that have surely helped her stay in the biz for so long. "All I have is my personality," she says. "But I come from the school of 'the customer is always wrong,' so I'm really not cut out for a traditional job. I'll probably end up the world's only 100-year-old door girl."
Her store reflects her personality, doesn't it?

Stephanie Mata's Never Open Store, just off Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles


Playa del Rey, late April. Well, duh!

Hidden traffic sign, Playa del Rey, late April



Posted by Alan at 6:59 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006 7:10 PM PDT
Sunday, 21 May 2006
Sad News

Sad News

Faithful companion and partner for more than seven years, Harriet-the-Cat passed away this morning, Sunday, May 21, 2006. One hopes there are fresh shrimp in cat heaven. A good cat. The best.

Harriet-the-Cat


Posted by Alan at 3:18 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Saturday, 20 May 2006
At a distance...
Topic: Technical Exercises

At a distance...

More experimentation with the telephotos lens and fast shutter settings - Venice California, Thursday, May 18, 2006, early afternoon - low light due to moderate ground fog and the persistent marine layer.

Bird Study - Venice California, Thursday, May 18, 2006, early afternoon



Bird Study - Venice California, Thursday, May 18, 2006, early afternoon



Bird Study - Venice California, Thursday, May 18, 2006, early afternoon



Posted by Alan at 7:49 AM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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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

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