Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Forty-five years as a photographer, beginning with yearbook staff in sixth grade.

Music on Mondays (7-6-15)—It’s a small world

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

As I was listening to 1988 music this weekend, a song reminded me that I did an inspection in 2007 for someone whose name was familiar.

At the end of the inspection I said, “I went to high school with a guy named __________ but that was in Kingsville, Texas.”

He looked shocked, and after catching his breath, said, “I went to King High. I knew a Russel but his last name was Kirk.”

“Well, in 2004 I dropped my last name Kirk and took my middle name as my last name. So you’re looking at the former Russel Kirk, now Russel Ray.”

We talked about what brought him to San Diego (the Navy in the late ’70s) and why I changed my name (estrangement from the Kirk relatives).

Here is the song that reminded me of that event:

“Small World” by Huey Lewis & The News

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The lyrics have absolutely nothing to do with my situation, but I had never really listened to the words. I just remember my wise old grandmother always telling me that “it’s a small world” in the context of meeting someone from your past in a faraway place.

The words do have a lot to do with what currently is going on in the world, even right here in the United States with health care, gay marriage, the Confederate flag, this whole group of Republican nuts running for President, etc.

Lyrics

All around the world
There are people like you and me
From the poorest beggar in the street
To the richest king and queen

Some people take
And then they never give
You gotta learn to give and take
If you wanna learn to live
In a small world
Small, small world

Now we can
Fight one another
Like they to on T.V.
Or we can
Help one another
The way it’s supposed to be

If we all give a little
It could really mean a lot
It’s a small world
But it’s the only one we’ve got
Small world
Small, small world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I could not rescue all of them

Out & About

Today is the last day for the 30-day run of the San Diego County Fair, the nation’s sixth-largest fair.

I was afraid that I was going to miss it this year but at the last minute I scored a free vendor/exhibitor ticket courtesy of the Pacific Photographic Society. It’s not that tickets are expensive but it’s always inconvenient to try to find a place selling tickets or to stand in the ticket line at the Fair to buy a ticket. Since my time is a little more valuable right now because of the Big Move, I figured I would just skip it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to.

The garden displays and the flower shows always are my favorite, specifically the bonsai and the dahlias. Here is one of each:

img_3201 bonsai stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_3215 dahlia stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Friends know that two of my favorite food items are bacon and jalapeños, so imagine my sheer joy when I came up bacon-wrapped jalapeños:

img_3196 bacon wrapped jalapenos stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although I didn’t see any with my name on them, I’m pretty sure I heard all of them screaming, “Take me! Take me!”

Sadly, I could not rescue all of them….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The lemon pie tasted horrible!

Out & About

Not too far from our new home is a new 55+ complex with two utility boxes at the street.

Recently the utility boxes got painted, not that they needed painting since they are new, but we love to paint our utility boxes here in San Diego County.

img_2063 lemon pie stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_2061 life gave you lemons stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_2062 lemon pie stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although I live in La Mesa, across the street from me is Lemon Grove.

Sadly, the lemon pie tasted horrible!

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Friday Flower Fiesta (7-3-15)

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

IMG_2913 water lily faa stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_4375 hibiscus stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_4733 faa roses stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_5158a dahlia faa stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_5427 cup of gold solandra maxima faa stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_5430 floating faa stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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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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