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 -

Tuesday, 30 May 2006
Mediations on the Past, in Color
Topic: Color Studies

Mediations on the Past, in Color

Color study, Travel Town Museum, Griffith Park, Los Angeles
Color studies from the Travel Town Museum, an outdoor transportation museum on the other side of Griffith Park, beside Forest Lawn, and across the bone-dry Los Angeles River from Warner Brothers and Disney studios - the Burbank side of the park. The focus here is the history of railroad transportation in the western United States from 1880 to the 1930s. The place opened on December 14, 1952, and now has fourteen steam locomotives and twenty-six other pieces of rolling stock. The website is here, with history of how the museum came to be there here, and a list of what's on display here.

The locomotives, and more, will appear in these pages later, and in next weekend's Just Above Sunset. These are a few of the color studies. They were taken at noon, Monday, May 29, 2006, a dry hot day with harsh sun.

To the right, the side of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe caboose, number 999110, built in 1928 by American and Foundry.

Trivia: "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" - music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Johnny Mercer - was written for the 1946 movie, The Harvey Girls and won the Academy Award that year for Best Song in a Movie. There were versions in the late forties by Mercer, Bing Crosby, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and Judy Garland and the Merry Macs, and now even one by Harry Connick, Jr. Add John Denver and Frank Sinatra too. You can find the lyrics here, including the French version (Jacques Plante) and the German version (Knud Schwielow). You can listen to a clip of the song from the soundtrack of The Harvey Girls here, but those days are long gone.

Pink: Detail of Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority 1543, built in 1911 by American Car and Foundry -

Color study, Travel Town Museum, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Western Pacific Caboose, number 754, built in 1910 by Haskell & Barker -

Color study, Travel Town Museum, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Locomotive detail -

Color study, Travel Town Museum, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Posted by Alan at 7:21 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 7:24 PM PDT
Monday, 29 May 2006
Long Light
Topic: Light and Shadow

Long Light

Sunset, Sunday evening, May 28, 2006, from Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles
Sunset, Sunday evening, May 28, 2006 - location, Mulholland Drive, the two-lane road along the ridge of the mountains that separates the Los Angeles basin to the south and the San Fernando Valley to the north.

This is the view from a turn-out between the winding roads up out of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, to the west, Coldwater Canyon, and Laurel Canyon, to the east. This is looking north with Studio City immediately below, the western edge of Burbank in the middle, and Pacoima and the mountain communities in the far distance.

Consider this a technical exercise in light and shadow, and seeing how the Nikon D70 with the AF-5 Nikor 18-70 mm lens handles the various levels of intensity.

Sunset, Sunday evening, May 28, 2006, from Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles

Sunset, Sunday evening, May 28, 2006, from Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles

Sunset, Sunday evening, May 28, 2006, from Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles

Posted by Alan at 9:12 AM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006 9:22 AM PDT
Sunday, 28 May 2006
The Pause That Refreshes
Topic: Oddities

The Pause That Refreshes

Hollywood Boulevard, Friday, May 26, 2006 - detail across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Just a touch of the third world in what is otherwise the most American of places.

Painted Coke sign at hostel for foreign students, Hollywood Boulevard, across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Posted by Alan at 5:04 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Saturday, 27 May 2006
Classic Hollywood
Topic: Historic Hollywood

Classic Hollywood

The El Capitan theater on Hollywood Boulevard - Friday, May 26, 2006
At the historic El Capitan theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Friday, May 26, 2006 - noted without comment.

History -
The El Capitan Theatre is a fully restored movie palace at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company.

When the theater opened in 1926 as "Hollywood's First Home of Spoken Drama," it featured a Spanish colonial exterior designed by the architectural firm of Morgan, Walls and Clements, and a lavish East Indian interior by theatre designer G. Albert Lansburgh. It was later completely remodeled in the moderne style. In 1941, "Citizen Kane" made its world debut here. Senator Richard Nixon delivered his famous Checkers Speech from the theater in 1952, then a NBC studio.

After many years of disuse, The Walt Disney Company purchased the theater and paid for a fourteen million dollar renovation. The theater reopened in 1991 with the premiere of "The Rocketeer." In recent years, many of Disney's feature films have premiered here, accompanied by live stage shows.
Dumbo is back. Nixon isn't.

Entrance Detail -

Entrance detail, the El Capitan theater on Hollywood Boulevard

Entrance detail, the El Capitan theater on Hollywood Boulevard

Posted by Alan at 4:03 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2006 4:06 PM PDT
Friday, 26 May 2006
An Odd Hollywood Star
Topic: Landmarks

An Odd Hollywood Star

The Miles Davis star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Friday, May 26, 2006, and Miles Davis would have been eighty today. This is his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on his birthday. It's on south side of the street, just west of Sycamore. The local jazz station, KJZZ out of Cal State Long Beach, was playing his music all day.

The Wikipedia has most everything you might want to know about Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 - September 28, 1991), at least the highlights, here, including this detail -
Miles Davis was born into a relatively wealthy African-American family living in Alton, Illinois. His father, Miles Henry Davis, was a dentist, and in 1927 the family moved to a white neighborhood in East St. Louis. They also owned a substantial ranch, and Davis learned to ride horses as a boy.

Davis's mother, Cleota, wanted Davis to learn the violin - she was a capable blues pianist, but kept this hidden from her son, feeling that "negro" music was not sufficiently genteel. At the age of nine, one of Davis's father's friends gave him his first trumpet, but he did not start learning to play seriously until the age of thirteen, when his father gave him a new trumpet and arranged lessons with local trumpeter Elwood Buchanan and, later, a man named Mone Peterson. Against the fashion of the time, Buchanan stressed the importance of playing without vibrato, and Davis would carry his clear signature tone throughout his career.

Clark Terry was another important early influence and friend of Davis's. By the age of sixteen, Davis was a member of the musician's union and working professionally when not at high school. At seventeen, he spent a year playing in bandleader Eddie Randle's "Blue Devils". During this time, Sonny Stitt tried to persuade him to join the Tiny Bradshaw band then passing through town, but Cleota insisted that he finish his final year of high school.

In 1944, the Billy Eckstine band visited St. Louis. Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker were members of the band, and Davis was taken on as third trumpet for a couple of weeks because of the illness of Buddy Anderson. When Eckstine's band left Davis behind to complete the tour, the trumpeter's parents were still keen for him to continue formal academic studies.

... In 1944 Davis moved to New York City, ostensibly to take up a scholarship at the Juilliard School of Music. In reality, however, he neglected his studies and immediately set about tracking down Charlie Parker.
And the rest is history.

The connection to Hollywood? He was married to actress Cicely Tyson in 1981 and they were divorced in 1988. And Davis was the very first subject of a Playboy magazine interview - the interviewer was Alex Haley. Playboy's Heffner lives out here of course. The Playboy Jazz Festival hits the Hollywood Bowl in a few weeks. A Hollywood sidewalk star will do nicely.

Previously in these pages see Something for a Hot Day in Los Angeles, from last July, a discussion Louis Malle's first film, "Elevator to the Gallows" - with its Miles Davis score. And two years earlier, this on that film score, now available on CD -
The album is rather fine. Moody, "cool" and spare late fifties jazz. It holds up well. It's a lot freer and less mannered than the stuff on the album that is so famous. It's better, and sounds just fine now. Odd that when I hear it I know this is what is known as the "West Coast Sound," born here in Los Angeles with The Birth of the Cool album. Recorded in Paris for a French film, this might just as well have been recorded at the old Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach.
Cool. And note that for the birthday there's a new four-CD boxed set available, Miles Davis - The Legendary Prestige Quintet Recordings. From the mid-fifties you get Davis with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. All recorded by Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, digitally remastered in from the original analog masters, with bonus CD of eight previously unavailable radio and television audio performances - two tunes from The Tonight Show With Steve Allen among others. The cover art is by Davis - the painting "New York by Night" - and you five complete transcriptions of Davis' solos. Buy it? Just a thought.

The Hollywood Boulevard palm trees looking down on the Miles Davis star.

Palm trees with reflections, Hollywood Boulevard at North Sycamore

And Marilyn Monroe is showing off for him.

Small statue of Marilyn Monroe on the Hollywood plinth - the traffic island at Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea

Posted by Alan at 5:57 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Updated: Friday, 26 May 2006 6:03 PM PDT

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