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 -


Wednesday, 2 August 2006
Odd Birds
Topic: Nature and Botanicals
Odd Birds
California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicusA pelican is any of several very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak belonging to the bird family Pelecanidae. Along with the darters, cormorants, gannets, boobies, frigatebirds, and tropicbirds, they make up the order Pelecaniformes. Like other birds in that group, pelicans have all four toes webbed (they are totipalmate). Pelicans can be found on all continents - except Antarctica - in inland and coastal waters. You just won't find them in the polar regions, or the deep ocean way out at sea, or on oceanic islands, or anywhere in inland South America. Others that that they're there if you look.

These at the Malibu Creek lagoon, at the edge of the Pacific, just before noon on Wednesday, August 2, are Pelecanus occidentalis californicus - the California Brown Pelican. Along with the much larger American White Pelican - Pelecanus erythrorhynchos - the California Brown is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The surf was up where the lagoon empties into the ocean, and there were maybe sixty surfers doing their thing. No one was paying attention to the pelicans, much less threatening them - these guys had nothing to worry about. And pelicans have been around for over forty million years. The surfers are transitory.

Make of this what you will -
In medieval Europe, the pelican was thought to be particularly attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood when no other food was available. As a result, the pelican became a symbol of the Passion of Jesus and of the Eucharist. It also became a symbol in bestiaries for self-sacrifice, and was used in heraldry ("a pelican in her piety" or "a pelican vulning (wounding) herself"). Another version of this is that the Pelican used to kill its young and then resurrect them with its blood, this being analogous to the sacrifice of Jesus.

That aside, this is a technical exercise - using the 70-300mm telephoto lens set to manual focus, and the automatic shooting mode set to sport (fast shutter speed and whatever else the D-70 does there), the idea was to keep far enough away from the birds so they weren't spooked, but to capture as much detail as possible, so you get a sense of what they're really like. Out here you usually see them from a distance, flying in a line above the surf, or plunge-diving solo for a quick bite of something herring-like. That's not good enough - you have to get up close and personal, relatively speaking.  

California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way home, on Lincoln Boulevard one block south of Montana in Santa Monica - Gallus gallus domesticus (domestic chicken), interpreted, and incorporated into an old Oldsmobile sedan that has seen better days. Just another bird.

The Chicken Car parked in Santa Monica


Posted by Alan at 7:11 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006 7:27 PM PDT
Tuesday, 1 August 2006
More Kites
Topic: Unusual Events
More Kites
This is a supplement to the previous item, The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier there, Sunday, July 30. The link above covers the basics of the event, with a lot of items you can click for even more information, and has nine photos. One reader requested more kites - he seems to need a bit more relief in this weary world - so here they are.

Arrive at the pier around one, find a place to park (not easy), grab the camera bag and head over to the crowd, and there are these guys doing dual acrobatics, or kite dancing, to something loud being pumped in - new age meets techno. They were having a blast, the two kits bobbing and whipping around together. The crowd cheered, but getting it right would require video, with sound. This will have to do.

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest was just kites (the third is very mysterious) -

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier, Sunday, July 30, 2006


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Air traffic (the Cessna 172 is pulling a banner promoting the local comedy club) -

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier, Sunday, July 30, 2006 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Wind power -

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite - Redondo Beach at the pier, Sunday, July 30, 2006


Posted by Alan at 7:02 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006 7:14 PM PDT
Monday, 31 July 2006
History: Henry Made a Lady Out of Lizzie
Topic: Oddities
History: Henry Made a Lady Out of Lizzie
Restored 1931 Ford Model A - Redondo Beach, CaliforniaThis restored 1931 Ford Model A was parked at a strip mall in Redondo Beach, with no one around, so a few shots were easy. It's an exact match for this one at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, a Deluxe Roadster with the two-door body and folding top. It has a forty horsepower four-cylinder engine, which was pretty good in 1931. And this one has all the accessories - side-mounted spare tires and rear-view mirrors, and the glass wind vanes beside the windshield, in this case etched glass wind vanes. The optional hood ornament is supposed to be a quail in flight.

The history -
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Ford Model A was one of the most publicized and best-selling cars in America. It was sporty, attractive, well-built, and smooth-running compared to the Model T, which it replaced in the 1928 model year. Thousands of people were eager to see for themselves that "Henry's made a lady out of Lizzie," and they stormed Ford showrooms when the Model A debuted on December 2, 1927. In less than two weeks there were 400,000 orders, and Henry Ford could not keep up with the demand for his latest "gift" to an increasingly mobile nation. Despite the onset of the Depression, Model A production remained strong at 1,261,053 cars in 1930 but fell to 626,579 cars in 1931, the last year that the Model A was produced.

This one has been lovingly restored, or perhaps obsessively restored. It may be "better than original" - or at least what a new 1931 Ford Model A looked like on its best day, fresh from the factory and as yet not driven a mile. The ideal Ford? This one didn't seem real. And no one was around to explain what it was doing there, all alone. It's a mystery.

Restored 1931 Ford Model A - Redondo Beach, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restored 1931 Ford Model A - Redondo Beach, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restored 1931 Ford Model A - Redondo Beach, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restored 1931 Ford Model A - Redondo Beach, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restored 1931 Ford Model A - Redondo Beach, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Restored 1931 Ford Model A - Redondo Beach, California


Posted by Alan at 7:35 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006 7:42 PM PDT
Sunday, 30 July 2006
The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite
Topic: Unusual Events
The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite
The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006Thursdays the Los Angeles Times publishes the weekend guide to what's up out here, and on July 27 there was this -
You don't have to be serious about kites to feel as if you have the world on a string.

Thousands for whom the airborne wonders are a flight of fancy will join scores who have made kites a lifelong passion on Sunday at the 32nd annual Festival of the Kite, with the skies around the Redondo Beach Pier promising to turn into a montage of brightly hued objects of all shapes and sizes.
The silly prose is from one Sondra Farrell Bazrod, - who also quotes Burt the Chimney Sweep from "Mary Poppins" - but she quotes even sillier words from Mel Hickman, who is Executive Director of the American Kitefliers Association (yes, there is such an organization) -
Kites are more popular than at any time in history, and festivals are growing around the world. It's a great hobby and is inexpensive, and kites are easy to make and teach the maker about the physical world.

The best thing is that you don't care what color a person is or of what political party or gay or straight. The wind either blows for you or it doesn't, and there's nothing you can do about who you are that can change that. It's a very "communizing" factor, and so kite fliers tend to be a lot less caught up in themselves than maybe other groups. It's also a great tension reliever to stand there with a kite and watch it play with the clouds. If you're near the water when you fly your kite into a setting sun it's almost mystical.
Ah, world peace and universal brotherhood (or sisterhood or whatever) would be at hand if everyone just went to the beach and flew kites. Or so says this fifty-five-year-old man who heads an organization four thousand strong. One wonders what his day job is. Well, this is California.

The Redondo Beach event is a showcase for Tom Fine, a man in his mid-forties, who has owned Sunshine Kites on the pier for ten years now. Sunshine Kites sponsors the festival. Fine once built a kite twenty-five feet wide and sixteen feet tall, so you know he's serious about this kite stuff. California is full of alternative careers choices. But then Benjamin Franklin and the Wright brothers did work with kites that led to all sorts of things. Perhaps one shouldn't scoff.

Bazrod also cites clinical psychologist Sidney Walter -
For adults, kite flying is an expression of freedom from the grounded mundane life experiences. For children it's the same idea of freedom from control of their immediate environment. Kids can control with strings. All flying, especially the kite, is an expression of freedom and complete abandonment of earthly things.

For a time I dated clinical psychologist. They don't talk like that in real life. That's just how they talk to reporters from the Times.

The trip from Hollywood to the Redondo Beach Pier is a tad over twenty-one miles, but those are hard miles - either on the crazy-making 110 Freeway right through the heart of the city, or on the 405 past Los Angeles International Airport with all the befuddled travelers trying to figure out how to return their rental cars, or on surface streets though some really seedy parts of Los Angeles - but Sunday, July 30, catching a kite festival seemed to be a fine idea.

The festival site is here, and there's Mel Hickman's American Kitefliers Association and the Ventura County Kite Flyers and the Up Up & Away Kite Club down in Seal Beach. Who knew? And the Times lists five thriving kite stores - the one on the pier in Redondo Beach, and other stores in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach and Dana Point. It's an industry.

Here are some shots from the festival. There will by a full array in next Sunday's issue of Just Above Sunset.

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 




































The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirty-Second Annual Festival of the Kite, Redondo Beach, California, Sunday, July 30, 2006


Posted by Alan at 10:05 PM PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
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Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006 10:40 PM PDT
Saturday, 29 July 2006
A Wedge
Topic: Geometric Shapes
A Wedge
Just a little geometry - an office building at 401 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, Saturday morning, July 29, with a flowering tree -

An office building at 401 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa, with a flowering tree


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