First Annual St Patricks Day Block Party at Caseys Irish Pub and Grill 2011

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These four lovely young ladies were handing out beads to all comers, courtesy of BudLight.

These four lovely young ladies were handing out beads to all comers, courtesy of BudLight.

Downtown Los Angeles’ Financial District celebrated what was billed as the First Annual St Patrick’s Day Block Party, with tribute bands, beer, food and more. Thousands of people attended, and things appear to have remained peaceful throughout.

I’ll be periodically posting more shots from this event. Enjoy!

White Rose and Red Rose

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I found a friend for the red rose of the other day, and decided to take some pictures of them together. I thought they contrasted nicely. Again, in comparing them with and without “dew”, I found they stood out much better after having been misted nicely. As you can see, the red rose suffered no harm from its first misting two days earlier.

I welcome your questions and comments and look forward to hearing from you about what you think.

Is there anything else you’d like to see me try, photography-wise? Let me know. If it’s a reasonable request, I’ll see what I can do.

Roses

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I pulled my tabletop studio and tripod out and had some fun with the only mostly perfect (red) rose I found at the store that was being sold as a single stem. The rest definitely had more than a few problems.

I used diffused lighting and a black and red scarf to play with the lighting, which was a lot of fun. I tried using a green scarf and a blue scarf, but they didn’t bring out the color of the red rose as much as the black and red one. Go figure. :)

I like the effect that spraying the rose gives to the bud, as it definitely helps to give it more definition. Dry, it just didn’t seem to have the same character.

The Opinionated One…

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She just got a new place to hang out in the house, and she just had to roll around, be downright cute, and, of course, comment on my apparent need to take multiple pictures of her.

I’m just glad she’s so tolerant of me.

Those eyes are awfully yellow, aren’t they?

This little girl really seems to enjoy having her picture taken, and will pose for very nearly as long as I’m willing to continue snapping pictures. 

I’m sure there are parents of human children out there who wish their own children would stand still long enough to have their pictures taken repeatedly.

If you’re curious, she’s lying atop a desk upon which I’ve laid a piece of carpet.  It makes a soft bed for her while protecting the desktop from careless claws.

This child is fascinated with plastic, but it could have been anything that caught her attention and had her check out the top of the thing.

She has a very healthy curiosity, and we’re fortunate she doesn’t make a habit of knocking things over.

Herself is such a pretty little girl.  Unlike her siblings, who are sizeable, she’s quite dainty and soft of foot, taking more after her mother than they. 

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose…As Well They Should Be…

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I had some fun at Hollywood Forever cemetery with a cluster of flower pots that were gathered outside the Cathedral Mausoleum.  I’d gotten a new Nikkor 50mm 1.8D AF prime lens, and wanted to play with the excellent bokeh this lens offers a photographer.  I’ve been using a Nikkor 18-105mm VR AF lens for my almost-macro photography, and had been wanting something more appropriate for those kinds of shots.  I’m certainly not disappointed.

I captured the shot of this second rose in the same cluster of flowers.  As you can see, these were live pots of flowers, rather than the cut variety.  There’s always a very definite different between live and cut specimens.  I’m glad that I was able to permanently capture the beauty of these miniature Suns.

To finish off this set, this last photo is from a bush on the grounds of the cemetery.  The flowers are white, but it’s worth noting that the buds are kissed with a pale pink blush before they open into lovely white blooms.  I took several shots of various roses in this particular bush, but this was the only result I really liked.

I keep telling people that you can take over a thousand shots and will often be lucky to get even a few that are worth being proud enough to share with others.  I’ve taken to sitting some of them down to show them the truth of that statement.

The Angels of Angelus Rosedale Cemetery

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On my second trip to Angelus Rosedale, I searched a bit further afield and discovered some lonely treasures scattered about the grounds.  The first two such treasures, a pre-1900 female Angel sculpture and a pre-1890 male Angel sculpture with a star gracing the crown encircling its brow, stood guard over a hillside that looked down upon yet more graves on the premises.

I decided to render the pictures in black and white, which brings the pictures into strong relief, making them even more striking than had they been shown in their original daylight aspect.  It takes away distractions and helps the viewer to see the deeper details of the work.  The female Angel’s wings, for example, show incredible detail work.  The spines of the feathers themselves are even visible, along with the artist’s carefully rendered flaws in the edges of those feathers.   It seemed right to adopt her as the masthead, so to speak, of Illiterati Photography.

It’s funny when you look into the face of the female Angel, and if you allow yourself to see it, you’ll recognize the features of actress Drew Barrymore, who wouldn’t even be born until decades hence. 

Makes you wonder.

The male Angel, however, is a stronger figure.  He stands guard with a strong yet gentle expression.  He wears a star-capped crown, lighting the way of the souls that people the grounds.  You can see that he’ll keep them all safe and sound.

The final figure is of an angelic watcher who kneels atop the marker over one of the graves.  Unlike the previously mentioned Angels, it’s more difficult to see her wings, which seem to peek out from over her shoulders.  She seems to see inside you, wanting to know what your business is at the cemetery.  I found myself greeting her respectfully and even asking if it was okay to take her picture.

Silly, I know, but you had to have been there.  If and when the time comes that you do see her, you may find yourself doing the very same thing.

Last of the Red Hot Hippies?

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This young woman caught my eye with the eccentric color combination she wore.  It’s not bad, just delightfully different.  In fact, there was a certain kind of “fun” to her appearance.  It was a look that said to me “I’m comfortable and happy, and that’s really all that matters!” 

I suspect that her companion caught that I was taking pictures of his friend, but he apparently said not a word, as she never even turned to catch my eye.  Their attention was primarily riveted on a pair of panhandlers wearing Mickey and Minnie costumes and offering photo opportunities for “donations”.  Actually, I’m not too terribly sure about the legitimacy of the word “donations”, as if you didn’t pay them this “donation”, they would turn their backs to thwart picture taking.

It’s really rather sad when you see people taking advantage of others this way.

The Birdman of the Santa Monica Pier?

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An elderly gentleman attracted a large crowd of seagulls quite literally to his hands as he offered them probably half the small lunch that sat next to him on his bench.  These are only a few of the dozen or more seagulls who enjoyed their unexpected, but very welcome tasty treasure.  

Normally, even cocky seagulls will be very wary of human contact, however, these particular birds were so accustomed to his presence that in some cases they would hover near his hand, gently taking from his fingers, small bits of the sandwich he offered.

This particular formation in the picture to the left was so wonderful that I had to share it here.  They almost appear to be a time lapse photograph of a single bird coming in for a landing, and the detail of the wings is very interesting to study.

Though I realize that the local pier authorities likely did not appreciate the elderly man’s generosity toward the seagulls, it afforded me a fantastic opportunity for some truly unique photographs.

The level of trust depicted in this bottom right photograph is particularly striking.  These seagulls must be quite accustomed to being shooed away or chased by children, but they trust this man so much that they very nearly touch his fingers in the process of accepting the food he offers.

The Coast of Santa Monica As Seen From the Santa Monica Pier

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There was only a slight haze that day as I took my photos, and this view of Santa Monica wasn’t to be ignored.  So much of the coast is undeveloped, either deliberately or through the high cost of land in the area.  Either way,  it pleases me that so much is still relatively virgin land.

The overcast day made for some very nice contrast between the blue of the water and the varied greens of the rolling hills.  Homes line the shore, offering spectacular views of daily sunsets and Moon risings and settings.

As you may well imagine, the property tax rate for these seaside homes is astronomical, and sadly, you always see “For Sale” signs along the road.  The bad economy has affected far more people than just you and I.

Another Trip to the Santa Monica Pier

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Imagine my pleased surprise when I again visited the Santa Monica Pier and found the parrots of my previous entry were again on display.   The day was brighter, so the birds appeared to be much happier.  This guy’s feathers were so vivid that I couldn’t resist snapping another shot of him and he didn’t much seem to mind, as you can see.

I thought it would be fun to remove the color from the other aspects of the shot in order to further bring out his brightness and personality.  Like all parrots, he enjoys the attention, which you can see from his rapt expression whilst he surveys his petitioners.  I would wager there were at least a dozen people ooh’ing and aah’ing over him.

I would have included the photo information, but for whatever reason, it’s not available.

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