Twenty-fifteen was a most successful year with lots of wonderful travel experiences and, let me not forget, a total backyard redo. It is hard to say which we enjoyed more. The backyard is a pastoral sight to behold each time we look outside. Since we really are home more than away (hard to believe), that investment will be appreciated many years into the future.
To celebrate the end of 2015, we decided to enjoy a long weekend visiting museums and attractions in Los Angeles. Some might say that it is not possible to have an enjoyable stay in busy Los Angeles, but Jane and I did very much enjoy our exploration of the City of Angels. Our home-away-from-home for this long weekend get-away was the Hotel Angelenos, just off the I-405 at Sunset Boulevard.
We did have some specific objectives. First, we wanted to tour the Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and enjoy a performance in this acoustically excellent venue. Our second objective was to spend some time at both of the J. Paul Getty museums, the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu. Other than that, we meandered about a bit, visiting the La Brea Tar Pits, Santa Monica, downtown, and Larchmont Village where we had an excellent lunch at Louise’s Trattoria.
For night time entertainment, we ventured to the nondescript Gardenia Room Restaurant and Lounge. This little know gem of entertainment is a classic piano bar lounge where we enjoyed the musical production “Little Things You Do Together” performed by Vincenzo Lodato, Angela Wolcott, each of whom have performed in numerous Broadway productions, and Nancy Dussault, perhaps better known as Murial Rush from the TV series “Too Close For Comfort” and an original co-host for the Good Morning, America program. I go for this kind of up-close and personal style of entertainment, just three vocalists and a piano.
To cap off 2015, Bruce Hollingsworth and I traveled to Morro Bay on California's central coast. Our objectives were to photograph migrating monarch butterflies at a grove of cypress and eucalyptus trees in Pismo Beach and giant elephant seals at their Piedras Blancas colony. Morro Bay is situated about half way between these photo locations.
Early morning light was best for photography at the elephant seal colony and late morning light best at the monarch grove when the sun was able to penetrate the tree canopy. Our days were planned around these time sensitive events. We were up before dawn to be at the seal colony when the sun broke over the distant hills to the east. Then, an hours's drive back south to Pismo Beach to catch sun lit clusters of monarch butterflies clinging from eucalyptus branches.
Afternoons were spent looking for photo ops around Morro Bay. There we found a long, wide, sandy beach filled with shorebirds and we were able to creep close enough to capture images of the diminutive sanderling. We also photographed along the Morro Bay State Park boardwalk. There we photographed the even smaller blue-gray gnatcatcher. Our leisurely stroll along the boardwalk included a surprise when a cautious coyote came sauntering towards us through the sparse brush adjacent the boardwalk.
For a short, five day, trip, this turned out to be a productive venture. I certainly added some "keepers" to my collection of images. Images from this trip can be found in the Piedras Blances gallery in the Wildlife Refuges group and the Butterfly gallery.
BEST WISHES FOR ALL IN 2016