SAVED!

Did you know?

My hometown for the last nine years used to have a beautiful downtown area called The Village.

There were mature trees every three to five parking spaces, and I do mean parking spaces, as shown in this photo from Google Maps:

la mesa village trees

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that the two red-arrowed trees are actually planted in the street! It made for a unique downtown experience and provided lots of shade on a hot day.

La Mesa, California, The Jewel of the HillsSadly, about a year ago the City of La Mesa started removing all the trees with the last trees removed a few months ago. The citizenry was in an uproar when it was announced that the trees were to be removed but, as usual, elected representatives and other powers-that-be know best…………………..smh.

Since I have a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Texas A&M University, there’s a special place in my heart for trees. I’m always saddened when the electric company comes along and tops trees near electric lines, virtually killing them, or when apartment and condominium complexes decide to remove trees due to “maintenance issues.” In other words, they don’t want to maintain the trees, preferring concrete or dirt.

When I go to extraordinarily rich neighborhoods, though, it’s a pleasure to see that the inordinately wealthy seem to understand how much trees add to the beauty of the environment.

While I was up in a wealthy La Jolla beachside residence recently, I found evidence of the care that some people exhibit toward their trees.

In this first picture, many people would simply have chopped that pine tree down in order to have their view of the ocean. These people, however, did exactly what I like to do—they laced the tree so that they could see through it, making the tree look like a monster bonsai.

img_3025 tree la jolla stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice the bottom center of the picture where it looks like a huge branch is coming out of the wall. It looks like that because that is exactly what these people did, saving the huge branch by building the wall around it:

img_3027 tree wall stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those are my type of people!

When I was a senior at Texas A&M University, my senior project in Urban Forestry was to determine how much value trees added to real estate. My group chose to do our research in River Oaks, the wealthiest area in Houston at the time, and probably still. After eight weeks of monitoring the real estate market there, we were able to determine that a mature tree (usually Texas Live Oaks) added between $50,000 and $75,000 to the value of a home in River Oaks. That was in 1977!

Trees need carbon to survive, so while we humans are breathing in oxygen and expelling carbon, trees via photosynthesis are using carbon and expelling oxygen, one more reason why we need our trees, especially the mature ones! Plants are the air-purifiers for planet earth. So, please, if you have a mature tree on your property, find a way to save it instead of chopping it down!

Here is another mature tree, this one a coral tree, in the same neighborhood:

img_3040 la jolla tree stamp

SAVED!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Here a mural, there a mural

Out & About

It would be fun just to drive around San Diego County all day and take pictures of the billions and billions and billions of murals.

Here is one that is two stories tall and many, many parking spaces long:

img_2345 panorama solana beach mural

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I had to take 32 pictures to get the complete mural and then have Photoshop merge them together to get the panorama. You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

The wonderful people who created the mural:

img_2377 solana beach mural stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And its location:

mural location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_2316 zoey the cool cat happy july

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Mardi Gras, New Orleans, 1995

Picture of the Moment

Moving is like archaeology. You’ll discover things that you never knew you had or that had been lost for years, maybe even decades.

Which reminds me of a home inspection I did many years ago for an 87-year old woman whose children were forcing her to downsize from the large home that her husband had built. After coming out of the attic I commented to her that there still was one piece of luggage in the attic. She exclaimed, “No! Everything was supposed to be brought down. Can you bring it down?”

I did.

She started crying.

The luggage had all sorts of memorabilia and family heirlooms in it that she thought had been lost over 50 years ago when they moved into their new home.

Happiest person in the world at that moment, and her children were pretty happy, too.


Back in 2004 I started scanning photographs in my photo albums and saving them as digital files. Once I had something scanned, I threw the item away.

Then, I suffered the Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005. Lost everything. All of those pictures—mom, dad, siblings, relatives, pets, places, events, things—all gone.

However, apparently I had not finished scanning everything because yesterday I discovered a stack of old photographs, including this one of New Orleans Mardi Gras in 1995:

1995 Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That was the first Mardi Gras that Jim and I went to together. We had been an item for just ten months at that time, so this is a nice picture for us to have.

Now, of course, all my digital files, especially my collections of music, photos, and Photographic Art are backed up multiple times.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (6-29-15)—The dead heart lives here

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

One of the things that I am doing with my vast music collection is equalizing it, making the quiet songs louder and the loud songs quieter. I can then listen to my music without constantly adjusting the volume for each song.

I also am equalizing the channels. The Beatles, in exploring stereo separation, have some of the worst songs with unequal channels. Not in my music collection!

Two things I have noticed about equalizing channels and songs:

First, the words are clearer, and since I’m a singer, I really enjoy being able to hear AND understand the lyrics. That particularly applies to heavy metal songs where the words often are obscured by the music, leaving one to simply nod (thrash?) one’s head and hum along.

Second, the intricacies of the music are more noticeable. It’s like taking a picture into Photoshop and using various filters to discover details and colors that did not appear to be in the picture as it came out of the camera:

img_2034 wagon wheel stamp

img_2034 wagon wheel altered stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Such was the case this morning when I listened to the album “Diesel and Dust” by Midnight Oil, a band out of Australia that was active from 1976 to 2002.

Arguably their best album, it is a concept album about both the struggles of indigenous Australians and environmental causes. I had no idea, mainly because I never could understand all the words and never had the motivation to find all the lyrics to all the songs.

When I equalized the album this morning and then listened to it, words were understandable, and listening to the words caused me to do a little research about the album and songs.

My favorite song from the album used to be “Beds Are Burning.” Here it is unequalized from YouTube:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Beds Are Burning” was the second single from the album but the first to chart in the United States, reaching #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also is their highest charting single in the U.S., of only three that charted here.

Other countries liked the song much better than the Americans. It reached #1 in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa; #2 in Belgium; #3 in the Netherlands; #5 in France; #6 in Australia and Great Britain; and #11 in Ireland. Interesting that New Zealand liked the song better than the Australians did….

According to Wikipedia, “Beds Are Burning” is a protest song about giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, among the last indigenous people to come in from the desert. The Pintupi moved from the Gibson Desert to settlements and missions in the 1930s with more forcibly moved in the 1950s and ’60s to the Papunya settlement. They returned to their own country in 1981, establishing the Kintore community which currently has a population of about 400.

After listening to the equalized album, I’m liking “The Dead Heart” better than “Beds Are Burning.” Here’s the unequalized song from YouTube:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wikipedia again: “The song deals with the mistreatment of indigenous Australians and the nonrecognition of indigenous cultures in Australia, and was part of efforts to raise awareness of Australia’s Stolen Generations—the forcible removal of Australian Aboriginal children from their families between 1909 and the 1970s.”

Here is the entire “Diesel and Dust” album (unequalized) should you like to listen to it:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—Windansea Beach in La Jolla CA

Out & About

I had a home inspection in La Jolla this afternoon at 1:30, so I left at 6:00 this morning. Granted, the property in La Jolla is only 30 miles from me but, as my wise old grandmother always said, “You can never be too early!” (Although in my later years I discovered that yes, you can be too early!)

Actually, as many readers probably have already guessed, I can’t go north of Interstate 8 without turning the trip into a photographic adventure. Why should today be any different?

After discovering Del Mar Shores beach last week, my goal this morning was to find more beaches. And I did!

Surfers were out all along the coast. I found the Pacific Beach Surf Club at Tourmaline Beach and the Windansea Surf Club at Windansea Beach. Windansea was a larger beach, and had better breakers and more surfers this morning.

img_3054 surfer windansea la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_3059 surfer windansea la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Windansea Beach and the surrounding neighborhood were after the 1909 oceanfront Strand Hotel when it was renamed Windansea Hotel in 1919. The Windansea Hotel, located on Neptune Avenue between Playa del Sur and Playa del Norte, burned down in 1943. Surprisingly, I could find no historical pictures of either the Strand Hotel or the Windansea Hotel.

The beach is defined geographically as extending north of Palomar Avenue and south of Westbourne Street.

windansea beach map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The distinguishing landmark at Windansea Beach is a palm-covered shack originally built in 1946 by Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon, and Don Okey. Looks like this:

img_3059 windansea shack la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“The Surf Shack at Windansea Beach” was designated a historical landmark by the San Diego Historical Resources Board on May 27, 1998.

Although there is limited parking at the Beach, there is plenty of parking on neighborhood streets. Also, there are no drinking fountains, showers, or public restrooms although the main drag through La Jolla (La Jolla Boulevard) is just one or two blocks away. There you should be able to find drinking water, showers, and public restrooms.

Windansea Beach has a storied past, serving as home beach to many notable surfers, including Joey Cabell, Del Cannon, Pat Curren, Mike Diffenderfer, “Longboard Larry,” Mickey Muñoz, Chris O’Rourke, and Butch Van Artsdalen.

The Windansea Surf Club was founded by Chuck Hasley in 1962 and included members such as The Endless Summer star and first Vice President Mike Hynson.

img_3053 windansea shack la jolla

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14G: Casa de Machado y Stewart

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Old Town San Diego State Historic ParkWithin Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (San Diego Historical Landmark #14) are many historic buildings and rebuilds. We’ll explore nine of them since they also have been designated San Diego Historical Landmarks.

The seventh landmark, San Diego Historical Landmark #14G, is Casa de Machado y Stewart.

img_8738 la casa de machado y stewart stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The museum was undergoing renovations when I was there, which means two things: (1) I don’t have any good pictures, and (2) I will get to go back!

img_8739 la casa de machado y stewart stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Casa de Machado y Stewart was built around 1835 (some sources say as early as 1830) by José Manuel Machado, a retired soldier from the presidio. Its walls are sun-dried adobe bricks, and the home originally had just a bedroom and a living room.

Rosa, José’s youngest daughter, and her husband, Jack Stewart, a sailor and carpenter from Maine, moved into the home after getting married in 1845. During their residence there—it was their only home—they added rooms, lime washed the adobe walls, built a barrel clay tile roof, and added wood-paned windows and a rear piazza (columned porch) for outdoor gatherings. It should also be noted that they raised 11 children in the home.

The building was listed as a California Historic Landmark in 1932, but its historic integrity and appearance had been significantly changed by previous large-scale alterations. For example, in 1911, Frank “Pancho” Stewart, Machado’s grandson, completely remodeled the home. He built a new wooden porch, covered the exterior adobe walls with wood siding, and laid interior wood board ceilings and tongue-and-groove floors. He also added a fireplace at the building’s west end to go along with an outdoor oven. By the late 1930s, the building didn’t look anything like an adobe building:

1937 view la casa de machado y stewart

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The house was occupied by descendants of the Stewarts until 1966. The California Department of Parks and  Recreation acquired the building in 1967 and hired Coneen Construction to repair and restore it to its original appearance circa 1835-1845.

The building underwent more significant repairs in 2011 and, since I was there in December 2014, we know that it was undergoing repairs then.

Casa de Machado y Stewart is one of five adobes in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Adobe buildings require regular maintenance so it’s not unusual for such a building to appear to be undergoing constant repairs. Inspections are critical especially after San Diego’s rainy season. In fact, Mrs. Carmen Meza, the last resident of the home, was forced to leave it due to severe damage sustained in the rains of 1966.

la casa de machado y stewart

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the San Diego Historical Landmarks series, go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (6-26-15)

Friday Flower Fiesta

A selection of Photographic Art flower postage stamps that I’ve created this past week.

IMG_2245 pink hibiscus faa stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

flower (5)-500 iceland poppy stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_1023 faa amaryllis stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_1747 faa stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

_000 rose (7) faa yellow rose stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

yellow pincushion faa stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

yellow lily faa stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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