Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

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

2015 Photographic Art calendars—Little Cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I made a calendar today featuring little cats, but I have so many great pictures of little cats that I’m thinking of doing one of two things: (1) make several calendars featuring little cats, or (2) letting people choose which 12 pictures of the little ones they want on their calendar. I’ll have to think more on #2 and figure out a way to make it easy to choose. I’ve found throughout life that if you give people too many choices, they just leave. Anyways….

Here’s my calendar featuring little cats:

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Surprisingly, I haven’t found enough good pictures of butterflies to make a butterfly calendar. I know I have enough; it’s just a question of finding which directory they have been misfiled in….

Current list of calendar subjects:

Birds
Butterflies
Little cats
Big cats
Dogs
All other wildlife
Sunrises & sunsets
Orchids
Roses
Hibiscus
All other flowers
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Great houses (idea provided by a reader)
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)
More little cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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2015 Calendars—Birds

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now that I have templates for the twelve months of 2015, it was fairly easy to create a second calendar.

I chose to do birds today, so I have two calendars finished:

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Below was the first calendar, which I’ll name Standard, and which will be the first one I print and hang on my wall:

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So now I can cross Birds off my list of calendars, which I guess means I’m doing Butterflies today:

Birds
Butterflies
Little cats
Big cats
Dogs
All other wildlife
Sunrises & sunsets
Orchids
Roses
Hibiscus
All other flowers
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)

For more on the calendars, see SNIPPETS 5 in yesterday’s post.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

SNIPPETS (10-21-14)

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

For the past six months, I have been visiting up to 400 blogs a day and leaving likes and comments. That takes time.

With Julian gone (see Someone’s missing from Photographic Art), I need to use the four hours a day that he was working to find a substitute for home inspections (my main source of income) that will pay my bills. That means I’m going to have to cut down on blog visits.

Since I’m following 3,302 blogs, the result is that it’s going to be a longer time between my visits to your blog.

My records (yes, I really am that AR!) indicate that over the course of my WordPress blogging (since January 7, 2012), I leave one comment for every four LIKEs. I’m going to change that and try to make it one comment for every like.

For the near future, then, blog camping is on an extended vacation, but I hope to make up for it by leaving more comments when I do visit.

SNIPPET 2

Ever since Random Acts of Kindness came about (Wikipedia says it was 1982 or 1983), I have been a huge fan.

Well, last Thursday at 2:40 p.m. I had a tire blow out at a high rate of speed. Having never experienced that before but having visualized it hundreds of times, I had no problem slowing down and getting off the freeway.

I pulled onto a side street in front of a high school and proceeded to try to change the tire. My left shoulder is not capable of provide the torque necessary to operate the jack to raise a 4,400-pound car and untighten the five lug nuts.

I was hot and sweating by the time school started letting out at 3:00. A teenage girl stopped, said hello as she was looking in her backpack, and pulled out a bottle of water, giving it to me along with her kind words, “I know it’s hot out here and you look like you’re struggling.”

Well, I was struggling so I gave up and called AAA to change the tire for me.

I don’t know the girl’s name or even the name of the high school, but I wanted to give a shout-out to some fine parents raising that girl, not to mention to that fine girl herself.

SNIPPET 3

I moved to San Diego in April 1993 specifically so I could live my life as an openly gay man, something I didn’t see myself doing in my native Texas.

Never in my wildest dreams 21 years ago did I think I would ever be legally married, yet that happened when Jim and I got married, legally, in California on October 30, 2008. Prior to that, we had dated for 2 years, lived together for 9 years, and were domestic partnered (such an ugly term) for 5 years.

As of a few days ago, gay marriage is now legal in 31 states and the District of Columbia, covering about 61% of the American population.

gay marriage

It’s only a matter of time before gay marriage is legal across the land. I’m going to guess less than two years.

What amazes me is that gay marriage was legal in Iowa before California, and that Utah won’t be the last state carried screaming and kicking into the modern world. I’m predicting that the southeast will be last, all joining at the same time due to an Appeals Court decision covering those states, basically a repeat of history from June 12, 1967, when the United States Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional:

Interracial marriage

SNIPPET 4

California allows permanent voting by mail:

California mail ballot

It doesn’t mean that I have to return my ballot by mail, but I can. I usually simply drop it off at a polling place on election day since there’s one just two blocks from me.

I was a registered Republican from 1976 to September 2013. I was trying to work within the system to change the Republican Party, but with the advent of the so-called Tea Party taking over control of the Republican Party, I finally gave up and registered as a Democrat last year.

Today I will be filling in those little dots on my ballot.

SNIPPET 5

I have finished my first Photographic Art calendar. This will be the one that I print and hang on my wall:

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I plan on creating several more calendars:

Birds
Butterflies
Little cats
Big cats
Dogs
All other wildlife
Sunrises & sunsets
Orchids
Roses
Hibiscus
All other flowers
Scenes from San Diego County
Railroads & Trains
Custom (you pick any 12 Photographic Art from my Fine Art America galleries)
Double Custom (you provide 12 of your own pictures)
Stamps (pictures will be framed like stamps)

Note that calendar weeks begin with Monday and end with Sunday, keeping the weekend together.

I will be offering two versions: one without designations such as New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day…. Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. and one with such designations.

I have plans for one other version but it will be complicated to produce so I’ll not announce that yet, waiting until I’m sure I’m going to do it. I’ll do January this week and then decide.

I have looked at calendar-creating software online and am not happy with any of it. I have also looked at prices to buy calendars and can assure you that I will price my digital calendars for less. I am also considering having some printed for promotional purposes, maybe even for sale. I’ll keep everyone informed.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Music on Mondays (10-20-14)—All is now right with the world

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music has been an integral part of my life since I was two years old.

My maternal grandmother played the flute, my maternal grandfather played the violin, and my mom played the piano and organ.

Mom started her children on piano lessons when they reached age two, with her as the teacher. When we entered first grade, we had to choose a second instrument. I chose the violin. That was in Brigham City, Utah, in 1962.

I took a greater interest in the violin; my last piano recital was at our neighborhood Mormon church in Brigham City, but I have no idea what pieces I played. Here’s the church, though, which I tracked down using Google Maps, Google Street View, and Google Images:

Mormon church in Brigham City Utah stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although I don’t remember my first violin recital, I do remember the first medal I won for my violin playing. The medal still hangs on my office bulletin board. Looks like this:

UIL violin solo medal

That was in the eighth grade in the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition. Sadly, when I went off to college at Texas A&M University, my wise old grandmother sold all of my personal belongings that I left behind, including my other medals from grades 9-12. This first medal, then, is the only one I have left because it has always stayed with me.

Of course, we got comments on our performance:

UIL violion solo comments

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Stand up straight hold your violin up!
Leggiero means off the string (bounce)
You pay no attention to dots
d# in meas 68 also 92
This is just barely a I performance
make an effort to solve all the problems next year
You are on the right track”

The piece I played was “Tambourin” by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), one of the most important French composers and music theorists from the Baroque era. The comment sheet adds “Kreisler” to Rameau’s name, probably meaning that I played a variation by Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962).

Here is a performance of the piece that I found on YouTube:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I searched for decades to find that piece, but all I could remember was Fritz Kreisler. I looked at hundreds of sheet music and listened to YouTube videos but could never find it, obviously because the composer was Rameau rather than Kreisler. Not until recently when I was exploring some of my old treasure chests did I find the comment sheet with the title and composer names. All is now right with the world….

I continued to play violin until April 1993 when I moved to San Diego unexpectedly. My orchestra career including playing with the Texas A&I University Symphony while still in high school, the Corpus Christi Symphony in 12th grade, the Houston Symphony for six months in 1973-1974, and the Brazos Valley Symphony in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Someone’s missing from Photographic Art

A Piece Missing

Julian back at workSadly, Julian Rey Saenz is no longer with Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos.

I had capitalized the company as a full-time enterprise for six months, and Julian was working 20-24 hours a week.

We couldn’t get the company to grow as fast as I wanted it to, so I have taken it to a part-time enterprise, which meant that Julian’s job was eliminated.

Of course, I need to find something that will pay the bills. I don’t know what that’s going to be right now. I just know that it can’t be home inspections because my 59-year-old knees and shoulders just don’t like crawling around under houses and up in attics anymore. The money I make from home inspections is being spent on aspirin and Ibuprofen to alleviate the pain. Hmmm. Maybe I should buy stock in the pain-killer manufacturers……..

Julian Rey SaenzI have every confidence that Julian will find his next great job very quickly. In my 48-year business career with 33 companies—most of them startups—and over 1,100 people hired, I would put Julian at the very top, number one with a star.

Never did I have to explain anything to Julian more than once. He has one of the best memories I have ever witnessed, is an extraordinarily good typist, and knows his way around computers, software, and the Internet. For those few things which he did not know, he learned very quickly, and his contributions were always clear and professional.

Thank you, Julian, for all that you did, and helped me do, and for simply being the AWESOME person you are.

thank you

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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photograhic art taking pictures making art

I think I like freeway art!

Did you know?

The first time I saw a freeway being built incorporating “public art,” I thought that the expense for incorporating the public art might better be spent on feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and healing the sick.

When I was in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, I saw some beautiful public art being incorporated. Looked like this:

Freeway public art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Freeway public art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Apparently there are two major reasons for incorporating public art into the freeway structure, both of them having to do with graffiti.

First, it is more difficult for criminals to scrawl their graffiti on the surface when it isn’t smooth.

Second, apparently vandalizing public art is a more serious crime than vandalizing public property, so criminals who scrawl graffiti on this public art get put away for a much longer time with a bigger ding in their bank account.

Hmmm. I think I like freeway art!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Need a unique gift?
Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.
photograhic art taking pictures making art

She was the sweetest docent ever!

curtains coming soon

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you made a request for a calendar page or a stamp and you have not received yours yet, have no fear. Demand was greater than I expected! I’m still working through them, so bear with me.

If you haven’t requested a calendar page or a stamp, why not? They are

Free

For instructions on making a request, see these posts:

Free calendar page, any month, any year

Free stuff for my loyal readers

To see an actual sample of calendar pages created for readers, go here: 2015 Photographic art digital calendars are on their way

Meanwhile….

Here is Photographic Art of a little sweetie from a home inspection a couple of days ago:

Docent cat

The property I was inspecting had four structures on it. She met me at the front door of the first one, and then walked me through it, out the back door to the next one, and on and on. Once we finished mapping out the structures and the interior rooms, she determined that her job was done and she went outside and sat there by the fence until I finished. As I gathered up my tools and ladders, she got up to say goodbye and went back inside.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Have Bare Wall Syndrome? Need a unique gift?Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.