The Rock

I have a large rock in my backyard. It was here when we moved into the house. We landscaped a few years ago and the designer was so impressed with this rock, he reused it. He also mentioned that rocks this size are quite expensive, so we lucked out.It is a wonderful prop for my photos, be they grandchildren….… who play next to them with trucks.Or run by it.It is a great place to pose, showing off a new dress.That goes for me as well. It is a lovely backdrop for my knitted shawls.Or small quilted items.For a rope basket, A knit bunny.And a fabric cat.

Use what you have, I happen to have this lovely rock that works very well as a backdrop.


Christmas Lights

It is all well and good to enjoy Christmas decorations during the day, but really they are meant to be seen at night. Bringing light and joy to a world that gets dark way too soon.P1120918I walked the nieghborhood with my camera, snapping away, trying to figure out how to capture the lights without a flash.

P1120915One house has a row of these, this is what they look like during the day as well as at night.

P1120914Technology moves on, they switch to this as well as blue and green.

P1120919There are the decorations that don’t light up, but sparkle in the moonlight.

P1120922Colored lights on a fence.

P1120929As well as ones with the old fashioned bulbs.

P1120925This yard is full of lights and decorations, from the train

P1120926To the reindeer.

P1120927As well as swag on the fence. This is the same house that had the bats during Halloween.

P1120931The next door neighbors have young boys, so along with traditional lights, a minion peeks through.

P1120928I love how lights will frame a porch or roofline. I was playing with my photo editing program, Picmonkey, they have a filter called Bokeh that is supposed to highlight the lights. Well the lights looked like this without any filters, but I did add the stars.

P1120932Love the internet, I found instructions on how to get the Bokeh affect with my camera, and here we have it with the few lights I have on my own porch. I love learning new techniques and will probably play with this one a little more.

A merry Christmas to all.



Shira’s quilt, finished.

Well,  almost finished, I do need to make a label.

I decided to mix things up and go to the park for the photo shoot.P1120056Here I am, quilt in bag and camera already set up.P1120058I just saw instructions from Quiltcon about how not to photograph your quilt. This is an example. I’m not submitting this to any show, so I actually think that capturing these different angles are a fun way of showing it off.P1120059Or this way, where you can see both front and back.P1120046OK, so here is the kind of photo that is necessary when applying to shows.  It gives the chance to show off the whole quilt without distractions. As well as show the  border quilting, which I did do with a ruler, not a walking foot. I’m pleased with the corners.  There are always options and this is what I chose.P1120049Here is a close up of the corner and the edge quilting. As well as the turquoise circle – where I used ruler work. I’ve been taking a craftsy class on ruler work, sometimes these classes teach you what you don’t want to do.  I am happy with how my free motion quilting is getting better and I’m glad I have learned some ruler work – but I won’t be investing in a slew of different rulers, the inaccurate look works for me.P1120051The reason the backing of my quilts are pieced is because I’m too cheap to buy more fabric just for the back.  I’d rather use up fabric and then go buy some new fabric that I’ll enjoy in another quilt.P1120052A nice thing about a large solid fabric on the back is that you can really see the quilting.  Since I use prints so often, the quilting can get lost.  Very impressive quilting if I may say so myself.  Practice is really helping.P1120044That Aurifil thread works like a charm!

And now for some more artistic shots, simply because I had so much fun at the park

P1120040P1120041P1120043There actually were kids at the playground, but somehow I managed to get these pictures without getting any children in them.   That in itself is an accomplishment and yes, I think I will go farther afield than my own yard for future photo shoots, it was fun!


Color at the Vintage Fair

I went back to the Topanga Vintage Market.  One persons’ junk is another’s treasure. This time it was all about capturing color on camera.P1110972Why is most old crochet done in acrylic??? Oh that’s right, back in the 70s that is what was available. Thankfully today many crocheters are using the same wonderful wool yarns that knitters do – and the results are obvious. At least I can say how much I love the colors here.P1110968I never understood the wire beaded flower craze.  My grandmother had some of these in a vase. No she didn’t make them herself, maybe nostalgia will prompt someone to buy these.P1110978I’m sure someone will wear this, to me, it was just the explosion of blues that caught my eye.P1110969Ah, crewel embroidery. Not a bad job, but once again, modern embroiderers have finessed the art. There is something very clunky about this.P1110970This I would wear! P1110975Some things shine and sparkle and reflect color, even if they have no color of their own.P1110973Now that I look at this picture, I’m really noticing how lovely this silver spoon is. I’m glad I have the picture, not the actual item – to much work to keep shiny. Even on the sale table the tarnish shows.


Eastern Columbia building

Eastern columbia buildingMy Art Deco tour ends at this building, on the corner of 9th and Broadway. One of the most beautiful Art Deco buildings, or any style of building for that matter in LA.Eastern Columbia BuildingDid you know that many buildings actually own the sidewalks?  They do, and in many cases are generous enough to let the city/public use them. Back in the 1930s they often decorated them, here in colored Terrazzo, including the name of the building.Eastern Columbia buildingWhat it is really known for, aside from the blue and turquoise terra cotta is the four sided clock tower.  This clock tower rises 114 ft about the height limit for buildings in Los Angeles. (Limit of 150 ft was in place until 1959), 114 ft billboard, the space couldn’t be rented out, it could house elevator or air-conditioning equipment, but had to remain empty otherwise.So between the height and the color, this building really stood out on the skyline of downtown.Eastern Columbia buildingToday the building is getting crowded in by new construction. I used to park in that parking lot, but now with the fencing around it, they are already digging for foundations for a very tall building.  New construction in downtown is happening on every parking lot.  So I had to rush and get as many images as possible.P1070006Images like this are still possible, but very soon, it won’t be empty blue sky in the background.P1090742It will be glimpses through alleyways.1913564_188921264041_816896_nThis is all you can see from across Broadway, impressive, but missing the pyramid.  P1090738Side view. The clock says Eastern on all sides. The building was built by Adolph Sieroty, a Polish Jew who arrived in California in 1892 along with his brothers and cousins. He was 16 at the time. Together they started the Eastern Clock company – which sold appliances, home furnishings and clocks. By 1894 (Adolph is 18) he moves to Los Angeles, and opens another store – Columbia – this one selling soft goods, clothes, linens and other such household items.1913564_188921249041_3020968_nThe two businesses did very well, by the late 1920’s Adolph decided to build a flagship store and headquarters. The stores would remain separate but he would combine the business side, buying, shipping and such.

The building would not only have the colored terra cotta (Gladding McBean) but real gold and copper.  In 1929 prices, he paid  $25,000 for the gold alone. The copper has oxidized to somewhat match the tile.IMG_4334One reason for all the details is to give work to people during the depression. He hired the Architect Claud Beelman who had already built many of downtowns Art Deco office buildings. IMG_4337Most of the gold is used in the entrance. The vestibule is two stories high with an incredible sunburst.  I need a better picture, the band above the door is embossed with the date the company started, 1892, the date this building was completed, 1930 as well as the name of Adolph himself.IMG_4338Great detail was given to the terrazzo chevrons here.  During the 25 years that the two stores occupied the building, there was a long hallway that ran the length of the building, The Eastern was on one side and the Columbia on the other, so shoppers could easily go from one to another.IMG_4373I am rarely downtown at night so to get this images is a treat. Ten years ago the building was converted to loft apartments and is one of the most successful residential buildings downtown. I have been fortunate to visit two of them. The apartments themselves are very spare – of course each owner can do as they wish, but initially you are given concrete walls and floors.  Yes, Johnny Depp does own four of the lofts on the penthouse level.  People who live in the buiding have confirmed seeing him in the elevator.  Another improvement is that now the clock tower is being used. A pool, jacuzzi and workout room are up on the roof.

I think it was 18 years ago that I interviewed here for a textile job, the building had a very different feel at the time, as did the whole area. Change is always happening,  although no longer the tallest building at this end of Broadway, it is still a gorgeous, well loved, well used landmark in downtown.

New addition, got those photos I was missing.Eastern Columbia BuildingP1090972


Falcons in action

P1090182P1090193Preparing the falconP1090192Launching. Taking flightP1090208
P1090206P1090203P1090215The bird is coming in right under her arm, but she swings it away.P1090217And he has to go back for another roundP1090221P1090350

In the raptor world, females are much larger than males, apparently the same is true of spidersP1090279Two birds leaving at the same time.

Yes, I have more pictures but I think I’ll stop now.


Falcon Force

P1090029Saturday was an amazing day. Joel and I got up at 3:45 am and drove over an hour to a remote field in the Antelope Valley.  We were there for a demonstration of the use of falcons and other raptors as bird abatement.  Go check out Falcon Force, I love human ingenuity. Over 4000 years ago the Chinese tamed and trained falcons as hunters to put food on the table, then for years, Falconry was the sport of kings. Today this sport is being turned into a way of controlling pest birds in agriculture, airports and even pigeon removal.  Thank you also to Obscura Society LA for arranging this field trip.P1090031Vahe with Shaman, a peregrine falcon.P1090074Becky, sorry don’t remember the name of this bird.

It takes special people to be falconers – it’s not easy to get a license, and then to care for these birds is a full time job.  Both Vahe and Becky are hunters, their respect and love for these birds is abundantly evident.P1090233There is a lot of training,  the birds learn to come to a lure, which is a tennis ball with pigeon wings attached.  They learn that once they catch the ball, they are immediately rewarded  with food – not much different from training any other animal – like dogs or orcas.P1090241And he takes flight! The birds are outfitted with homing devices. This is very important, Vahe has lost birds and was able to retrieve them because of the homing device. The safest  place is a small backpack which is what you see here. Leg devices can get damaged easily or can kill the bird if he accidentally lands on a electrical wire.P1090242This bird has both homing devices on right now.P1090164Some of the falcons can fly up to speeds of 280 mph,  so the handlers have to be very swift themselves with the ball.  The raptors have an incredible sense of space, their eyesight is like a telescope, one flew right by Joel’s head – without touching him – they are that good.P1090337Once the raptor catches the ball, he is rewarded with pigeon meat.P1090131P1090302When the bird is first released, it flies far and wide. The idea is to have them fly over a vineyard, or orchard and frighten away the birds.  Vahe doesn’t want them to come right back, when he wants them he calls and twirls the pigeon ball.P1090154Two birds at once, notice one is right below Vahe,  meanwhile Becky is photographing the other one in flight.  Yes, photography is another profession of theirs.P1090340P1090151Sometime the bird ignores the ball, hey they all have their own personalities, here he is simply tempting him back with a piece of meat.P1090152P1090178P1090351Training the birds to fly from one spot to another.P1090354This is very important for places like Sea World, pigeon and seagull abatement. There are raptors there full time, flying back and forth and keeping the birds at bay. You probably never even notice them.  A few years ago, we were in Trafalgar Square, a Falconer was walking around with a falcon on his gloved arm.  Never let it go, just walking around movingthe pigeons.  They immediately when a hunter is around.  Most people never saw him, unlike me, who is always looking around carefully at my surroundings.

One of the audience is a woman who runs a little hotel in Hermosa Beach, their pigeon problem in out of control. Falcon Force are not cheap, but they are trying them for abatement. They just started a few days ago, so they have to give it time to see how well it works,  she was extremely impressed by the demonstration.

I’m breaking this into two posts, more birds!


Jerusalem moments

Taking my camera on a walk around Emek Refaim street in Jerusalem, you never know what little gems you’ll see.P1080557This is the wonderful architecture the German immigrants built in the mid 19th century. Included of course is local tile.P1080558Close up, this is straight from the Izniq tradition in Turkey, for all I know, these tiles may have come from there. At the time Israel was part of the Ottoman empire.P1080657A beautiful rondel.P1080658No, not an operating fountain, love how it’s askew. An orange tree in the background doesn’t hurt.P1080664I think this is a mailbox.P1080689Clock, streetlight. This is the old Switch station at the train station, now a restaurant.P1080662Love this bird, I should turn this into embroidery.P1080690Love the painted wagon.P1080692And a wagon wheel.

I’ve said this before, what photography has done for me is forced me to really look around at my surroundings and find the unique this is around all of us.


The Desert

P1080481This is what the desert looks like in it’s natural state.P1080494Add water from natural springs and this is what you get.P1080475Plant a viable crop, date palms and now you have a name – Palm Springs.P1080512These crazy trees don’t offer much shade, but in the desert, being in the shade makes all the difference in the world.P1080496
P1080504Gives you a few minutes to enjoy the rock formationsP1080513And see who finds this to be a perfect home.P1080483Add a little sugar water and the humming birds come out. This is an unusual one. Love the collar.P1080486Actually managed to capture him in flight. Yay! My camera skills are improving!P1080490The wings are a blur they move so fast.P1080503Dragonflies love the water too.P1080505As tall as palms gets, they aren’t really trees. Here is one chopped down and split open, it looks like a sponge, not a dense hardy tree trunk.P1080507Gnarled wood is always fascinating.




Passover starts tonight, I’m busy cooking, wishing a wonderful holiday to my friends, whether they celebrate Passover or Easter.
P1070815RoseP1070813Clivia, this is unusual, this flower is most often orange.P1070804No idea what this is, seen at Farmer’s Market.

And finally, learning how to use the camera. I’d say through a lot of trial and error and simply using the camera, I’ve gotten pretty good at isolating the focal point with in a blurred setting.  Next task,  learning how to capture motion.P1070822These fans are up for Easter,  with the slight wind blowing, I was able to capture it in motion. P1070824Full motion!P1070823Changing the settings, yes, this was just a moment after the previous picture, still spinning, but this time, I stopped the motion.

I know, time and experience and I’ll be good at this as well.