Monthly Archives: May 2012

Turtle in the wild

I hope I made the right decision

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

When I was a child in Kingsville, Texas, turtles were backyard pests. They were everywhere.

In my eighteen years in San Diego I have never seen a turtle in the wild…..

…..until this afternoon!

Turtle in the wild

 

I’m not 100% certain but I think it’s a common box turtle. Since they don’t occur naturally in California, I’m thinking that it might have been someone’s pet that either escaped or was abandoned. I was torn between leaving him and taking him home, but since he was in a protected nature preserve, I left him. I hope I made the right decision.

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Bullying in the bird world

Bullying in the bird world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

After dining with Shamu at SeaWorld the other day, I found some mallard ducks that appeared to be playing around. Upon closer inspection, two males were bullying a female:

Bullying in the bird world

 

The mallard on the left — we’ll call him ML — was doing all the damage, even pulling out a huge mouthful of feathers from that poor female. The mallard on the right — we’ll call him MR — was merely standing guard. Eventually we saw why he was standing guard because that female’s mate showed up and took to ML and MR, running them off and snuggling up to his little gal.

There were young children watching this bullying. What are they going to think about bullying?

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Tall ships — Esmeralda (BE-43)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

I take requests!

Whitt Birnie (whitt88) asked if I could post some pictures of tall ships.

I started looking through my collection for four or five pictures and found four or five hundred.

Oh, dear.

I decided to choose a ship for this post: the Esmeralda (BE-43). Esmeralda is a steel-hulled, four-masted barquentine tall ship of the Chilean Navy. According to Wikipedia, Esmeralda is the second tallest and longest sailing tall ship in the world. However, Wikipedia also notes that a citation is needed on that claim, and I agree. Esmeralda was launched in 1953. However, we have here in San Diego the Star of India, a tall ship built in 1863 that sails twice a year. Maybe the Wikipedia entry should say something like “…..longest sailing tall ship in the world that is in regular service.”

Esmeralda visited San Diego in July 2011, and I was there taking pictures as she arrived.

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

 

B.E. Esmeralda visiting San Diego

I’ll have more tall ship pictures soon!

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Panorama of downtown San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How I Did It

 

I have taken a lot of pictures of downtown San Diego but none of them include all of downtown San Diego. When I use a super wide angle lens, it just looks weird.

Today, my daily 30-minute Corel PaintShop Pro X4 study was how to stitch pictures together to create a panorama. I took the following three pictures and tried to do it.

Downtown San Diego, north end

Downtown San Diego, north end


 

Downtown San Diego, middle

Downtown San Diego, middle


 

Downtown San Diego, south end

Downtown San Diego, south end


 

I made no adjustments to the three pictures because I wanted them to be as close as possible to each other in terms of brightness, contrast, etc.

I followed the steps on pp. 346-352 of Diane Koers’ book, Picture Yourself Learning Corel PaintShop Pro X4, which, by the way, might be the best How-To book I’ve ever read about anything.

In about five minutes, I came up with this:

Panorama of downtown San Diego

Panorama of downtown San Diego


 

I made some brightness and contrast adjustments after stitching. Look very closely and you can see where the three pictures were stitched. However, with the quality that I got here in only five minutes with three not-meant-for-panorama-stitching pictures, oh how my mind is wandering…………………. like a 360° panorama from the same spot where those pictures were taken.

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

butterfly (3)

Identifying butterflies

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Snippets

 

I was trying to identify two butterflies earlier today using the butterfly books in my nature library. What a chore! To the rescue comes the Internet and a simple Google search.

I found an awesome site that is straightford, easy to use, and accurate:

Gardens With Wings

Give it a shot next time you’re trying to identify a butterfly.

In fact, try it right now with the following five butterflies:

 

 

 

 

 

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Zoey the Cool Cat

May I go outside?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

I grew up believing that cats could not be trained. That was the main reason why I had always been a dog lover. Tell a dog to roll over and give him a few treats, and he’ll roll over forever. Cats? No.

Several years ago I went to SeaWorld and visited the Pets Rule show. Anyone who doesn’t believe that cats can be trained to do just about anything needs to go see that show. And it’s not just cats.

Ever since then I’ve been doing my best to train Zoey the Cool Cat (ZCC) to do rather mundane things that make life easier for both of us. She loves to go outside on the back patio, but at 13 pounds, keeping her on my lap for too long causes numb legs. I don’t let her on the ground (Fleas…. no!) so that didn’t leave too many options.

As part of my back yard gardening this year, I wanted to re-arrange the patio so that ZCC could have some chairs and benches to play on. I easily got her to understand that the chairs and benches were hers but she was not to get down on the ground.

Then I trained her to come ask me to go outside, and when I opened the back door, she was to jump from the inside floor to the nearest chair. After that she could have free range from chair to bench to chair……….

Now she has determined that the optimum time on the back patio for sunshine is around noon, and she is pretty determined with her meows that she is going to get out there to enjoy the beautiful flowers and sunshine.

Zoey the Cool Cat

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Artichoke

If you can resist eating it….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

If you can resist cutting and eating your artichoke,
this is what you eventually will get:

Artichoke

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Unidentified bird

Unidentified bird pictures for my birding friends

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out & About San Diego

 

These are the last of my “save but try to do something with in Photoshop” bird pictures from birding the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve on March 23, 2012.

Southwestern United States

View Larger Map

 

Unidentified bird

Picture 1


 

Unidentified bird

Picture 2


 

Unidentified bird

Picture 3


 

Unidentified bird

Picture 4


 

Unidentified bird

Picture 5


 

Unidentified bird

Picture 6


 

I think Picture 1 might be a hawk and Picture 2 might be a kite, but that’s about as far as I can get with my identifications.

These pictures were taken at the 250mm end of a 55-250mm zoom lens. Serious cropping and adjustments were done in Photoshop CS6 to get something where I could at least make an attempt at identifying the birds.

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Osprey

What big eyes you have

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture of the moment
PICTURE OF THE MOMENT

 

An osprey tending its nest:

Osprey

 

….and looking not too happy that I was right below it.

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California

What do you do during a power outage?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out & About San Diego

 

I usually have a lot of fun on holidays, and Memorial Day was no exception.

Made SeaWorld in the morning to stand in line for an hour to experience the new Manta ride.

Line for the new Manta ride at SeaWorld San Diego

 

The new Manta ride at SeaWorld San Diego

 

Played with the dolpins. First time I’ve ever petted one.

Dolphin at SeaWorld San Diego

 

Went over to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery because I’ve always wanted to get a picture of the headstones, each with a little flag in front of it. About 65,000 of them.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California

 

Visited Cabrillo National Monument for the best views of San Diego while standing on the ground (flying’s better).

San Diego from Cabrillo National Monument

 

Back to SeaWorld to dine with Shamu:

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorld

 

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorld

 

“Dining with Shamu” at SeaWorld San Diego has to rank as one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The food was far better than I expected for a theme park, and it was a buffet. Along with the one-hour meal came a 30-minute private show by two Shamus (note that there are eight “Shamus” at SeaWorld San Diego). The meal and show is only $39 per person (adults).

When we got home it was dark:

Darkness

 

I mean dark! The condominium complex where I live was the only place without electricity. According to my neighbors, there was a loud explosion around
2:30 p.m. San Diego Gas & Electric had seven huge trucks and about fifteen people here trying to figure out what was wrong. Power was restored a couple of hours ago at 3:40 a.m. Thirteen hours without electricity, which also means no Internet! And it was a noisy 13 hours with all the racket going on.

San Diego Gas & Electric

 

Poor Zoey the Cool Cat didn’t know what to do.

 

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions