Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

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

Out & About—Manzanita Trail in San Diego’s Pacific Ranch Highlands

Out & About

Saying that something is located in San Diego can be misleading since San Diego stretches from the Mexico border to the Safari Park, a distance of about 70 miles north to south and a total area of about 372 square miles.

The other day I was teaching chess at Solana Ranch Elementary, about 25 miles north of downtown San Diego yet still in the city of San Diego. I got there later than usual so I had to park a few billion miles away from the school and walk.

That walk, however, allowed me to find the Manzanita Trail. After class, still with 90 minutes of daylight left, I went to explore. Here is some of what I found on my short one-mile hike:

Manzanita Trail in Pacific Highlands Ranch in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manzanita Trail in Pacific Highlands Ranch in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manzanita Trail in Pacific Highlands Ranch in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I had a specific goal because I kept seeing a cool building from a distance. That cool building was not a building at all. Instead, it was an underpass, possibly ranking as the coolest hiking path under a road that I’ve ever seen. You take the high road and I’ll take the low road….

Manzanita Trail in Pacific Highlands Ranch in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manzanita Trail in Pacific Highlands Ranch in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manzanita Trail in Pacific Highlands Ranch in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosManzanita Trail was created by the subdivision’s HOA. I found it on Google Maps, and it seems to go on forever. I suspect that in some areas it has a name change, the complete trail being a consortium of smaller trails like Manzanita.

Manzanita Trail

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Encinitas, California

Out & About

I remember the first time I heard the word Lagoon. Such a funny-sounding word. I was 7 or 8, living in Brigham City, Utah, at the time, and we were going to Lagoon, which was an amusement park in Farmington, 44 miles south of Brigham City and 17 miles north of Salt Lake City.

A couple of weeks ago, grade schools started up again after the end-of-year break, which meant that after-school enrichment programs would be starting up, too. I teach chess in five grade school enrichment programs.

One of the schools that I will be teaching at this term is a new school for me. Whenever I have a new school, I get there early to find parking, check out the neighborhood, get through the school’s security protocols, and find my room. This time, I got there way too early. I think many people were still on end-of-year vacation, so freeway traffic was very light.

As I was driving around the neighborhood looking for photography subjects, I found a little cul-de-sac with lots of brush, trees, and a little trail. Ah, trails. I just can’t resist trails. I parked the car, grabbed my camera, and went for a little hike.

I had not gone too far when I saw a couple of signs:

San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego, California

San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego, CaliforniaPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I saw several rattlesnakes and one mountain lion:

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake

Mountain lion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, the rattlesnakes and mountain lion that I saw were at the San Diego Zoo the next day. That’s why I love the Zoo and SeaWorld—I get to see wildlife that I would never see otherwise.

I didn’t hike very far because I could see that the trails seemed to go on and on and on. (Hmmmm. Maybe the Energizer Bunny is out there somewhere.) I couldn’t get lost in the menagerie and not make it back to school on time to teach chess to that wildlife known as “rugrats.”

I did come upon a lonely bench, which turned out to be very photogenic:

Lonely bench

Lonely bench

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I got home, I used Google Maps to determine that I was on the outer edges of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County, comprising 915 acres. There are six plant communities within the Reserve: coastal strand, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, riparian scrub, coastal sage scrub, and mixed chaparral. The diversity of wildlife is enormous: more than 300 species of plants, at least 23 species of fish, 26 mammal species, 20 reptiles and amphibians, more than 80 invertebrates, and 300 bird species.

San Elijo Lagoon is part of the Escondido Creek Watershed, comprising about 54,000 acres, stretching from the foothills to the coastline. It includes the last remnants of an imperiled coastal scrub habitat connecting the northern and southern parts of a globally important ecological region. The coastal scrub habitat is vital to the persistence of some of Southern California’s most endangered species, many of which occur nowhere else on Earth.

All of which means that, of course, I shall be making a more extensive visit sometime soon.

img_9301 stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Out & About

My wise old grandmother introduced me to the joys of gardening, so anytime I see a plant nursery or anything related to plants, including pottery, I tend to stop and take a look.

When I found Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, a little sign was zooming by me at about 50 miles per hour…………Wait. Maybe I was zooming by it………!

Therein is the problem. The poorly marked entrance to Pottery Canyon Natural Park is on a curve on one of La Jolla’s busiest roadways. If you don’t plan your method of attack appropriately…. an accident in the making. Not only that, but Pottery Canyon Natural Park is not on any map anywhere. Here’s where it is, though:

Location of Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The little stub of a street on the right side of Torrey Pines Road is Pottery Park Driveway. Although there is a traffic signal there, I have never been through there on Torrey Pines Road where the signal was anything other than green with cars going up the hill at 50 mph or more. That presents a problem if you’re coming out of Pottery Park Driveway because the light is always red for the Driveway and traffic on the other side going south backs up from all the traffic signals at the messy Torrey Pines Road/La Jolla Parkway intersection. As you’re leaving the Park, I recommend turning right and going north to La Jolla Village Drive to get back to Interstate 5. Otherwise, plan on a long wait at the traffic signal in order to go south.

Pottery Park Driveway leads to a small parking lot big enough for four motorcycles or two Mini Coopers or one 2002 Toyota Camry V6, black.

With that said, what did I find at Pottery Canyon Natural Park? Well, it’s a eucalyptus grove with a hiking trail that is wide, mulched, and short, maybe a half mile, round trip. Easily hiked. Heck, even my husband, Jim, went hiking with me and he’s not the outdoorsy type like me.

That’s it.

Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There is history behind this little park, though. According to research, there is a sign about the history. I couldn’t find the sign, which is kind of odd since the park is so small. Nonetheless, according to the La Jolla Historical Society, here’s what the sign apparently says:

Cornelio Rodriguez, an accomplished potter, came to La Jolla in 1928 from Tomatlan in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. He was looking for a suitable site where he and his brothers, Abraham and Ubaldo, could start a pottery works. Here, at the bend of what was then called La Jolla Canyon Road and which was the main route to Los Angeles, he found potter’s gold, the perfect clay deposit, otherwise known as “barro.”

Mission San Diego de AlcalaHe purchased the property, and he and his brothers established the La Jolla Canyon Clay Products Company and built it and their houses here. Their families and their company flourished. They produced handmade roof tiles, unglazed floor tiles, and adobe brick for more than 20 years. Tiles used in the restoration of Mission San Diego de Alcala [picture ►], the construction of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and La Jolla’s Mary Star of the Sea church came from here, as did the roof tiles of numerous houses of the Mission Revival architectural period.

In the 1950s, the brothers were no longer able to use the large oil-fired kiln of earlier days. Many in the large family moved, but Abraham and Cornelio lived out their days here. Cornelio and his wife, Matiana, continued making pots and other clay products on a more limited scale. Using hand-dug clay shaped on a potter’s wheel and fired in a circular wood-burning kiln of ancient Roman design, they supplied the community with unique pottery and delighted generations of school children with deomnstrations of their skill.

All that remains of the original tile works is the old wood-burning kiln, which continued in use until the 1980s.

Sadly, I did not find the old wood-burning kiln either. The missing sign and kiln makes me wonder how long ago that was written by the La Jolla Historical Society.

Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (1-26-15)—I don’t want to get thin

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My wise old grandmotherToday would have been the 104th birthday of my wise old grandmother (1911-2003).

In her honor, I thought I would feature some songs that were popular in 1911 when she was born.

I thought that I wouldn’t find anything and would have to resort to modern renditions of 1911 songs.

Well, there actually are recordings on YouTube of original versions from 1911.

The first song I discovered was by Sophie Tucker (1887-1966), and since I knew the name, I decided to delve more into who she was. Once I started researching her, I decided to feature her instead of songs from 1911. I think my wise old grandmother would be okay with that….

Sophie Tucker (neé Sonya Kalish) was a Ukrainian-born American singer, comedian, actress, and radio personality. She was bornto a Jewish family en route to America from Tulchyn, Vinnytsia Region, Russian Empire. The family appropriated the last name Abuza, settled in Hartford, Connecticut, and opened a restaurant. She was one of the most popular entertainers in America during the first half of the 20th century, widely known by the nickname “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas.”

Here is the first song I found:

“Some Of These Days” by Sophie Tucker (1887-1966)

“Some Of These Days” was entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995. “Some Of These Days” also is the title of her 1945 autobiography.

Considered “big and ugly,” Sophie Tucker in 1908 started including “fat girl humor” in her burlesque shows.

Two of her most famous fat girl songs are “I Don’t Want To Get Thin” and “Nobody Loves A Fat Girl.”

Listen closely to the lyrics from 104 years ago. Seems when it comes to “fat girls,” nothing has changed in over a century. That, in my view, is a sad commentary on society, or maybe a sad commentary on a male-dominated society. I think we need more Sophie Tuckers in the world….

“I Don’t Want To Get Thin”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Nobody Loves A Fat Girl”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Little Free Libraries in San Diego County

Out & About

Little Free Libraries are a community movement that offers free books housed in small containers to members of the local community. They are also referred to as community book exchanges, book trading posts, pop-up libraries, and Noox (Neighbourhood bOOk eXchange).

The Little Free Library phenomenon, according to Wikipedia, started in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin.

“Todd Bol mounted a wooden container designed to look like a school house on a post on his lawn as a tribute to his mother, who was a book lover and school teacher.”

Recently I found a Little Free Library at Chollas Lake, but it also has nice chairs to sit in!

Little Free Library

Little Free Library

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Quoting Wikipedia again:

Little Free Library owners can create their own library box, usually about the size of a doll house, or purchase one from the [Little Free Library website]. Libraries may be registered for a fee and assigned a number at the organization’s website. Libraries can be found through their GPS coordinates. Owners receive a sign that reads “Little Free Library”. They often have the phrase, “Take a Book. Leave a Book.”

As of February 2013, all 50 states and 40 countries worldwide have been involved in the literary program.[6

The original goal was the creation of 2,150 Little Libraries, which would surpass the number of libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie. As of January 2014, there are over 15,000 Little Libraries worldwide, including all 50 states and 40 countries.

Here is a list of Little Free Libraries that I know of as of January 25, 2015:

2727 Southampton Road, Carlsbad
2357 Summerwind Place, Carlsbad
4190 Sunnyhill Drive, Carlsbad
2605 Unicornio Street, Carlsbad
911 Rutgers Avenue, Chula Vista
601 Crescent Drive, Chula Vista
200 Stratford Court, Del Mar
1902 Quidort Court, El Cajon
1332 Whitsett Drive, El Cajon
1650 Sunburst Drive, El Cajon
107 Woodshadow Lane, Encinitas
744 Quiet Hills Farm Road, Escondido
2356 Heather Point, Escondido
660 East Grand Avenue, Escondido
1263 Canter Road, Escondido
611 El Norte Hills Place, Escondido
1683 Calle Candela, La Jolla
Little Free Library4622 Grandview Terrace, La Mesa
10733 Itzamna Road, La Mesa
4424 Nabal Drive, La Mesa
4351 Parks Avenue, La Mesa
4630 Palm Avenue, La Mesa (picture ►)
10615 Snyder Road, La Mesa
317 Hoover Street, Oceanside
16285 Oak Creek Trail, Poway
13130 Woodmont Street, Poway
12133 Sage View Road, Poway
13423 Cricket Hill, Poway
3412 Quince St, San Diego
2611 Grandview St, San Diego
3343 Harbor View Drive, San Diego
2263 Pentuckett Avenue, San Diego
4963 Canterbury Drive, San Diego
1079 Cypress Avenue, San Diego
3314 Karok Avenue, San Diego
2153 Pine Street, San Diego
2731 Amulet Street, San Diego
12655 Pacato Circle South, San Diego
4523 Cather Avenue, San Diego
815 Avalon Court, San Diego
10444 Cheviot Court, San Diego
4567 East Talmadge Drive, San Diego
5854 Malvern Court, San Diego
3530 Cooper Street, San Diego
2341 Whitman Street, San Diego
4649 Biona Drive, San Diego
9505 East Harland Circle, Santee

If you have a Little Free Library, you can register it to make it official.

Little Free Library

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The Birds

Out & About

When I was eight and living in Brigham City, Utah, mom and dad came home one afternoon talking about the birds. I have always loved birds, and all animals actually, but what they were saying about the birds really had me upset. I couldn’t picture birds attacking people, killing them, and eating them. That’s not like any birds I’ve ever seen. Eventually I found out that they were talking about a movie.

Ah, movies. A couple of friends and I used to sneak into the local movie theater to watch movies free since we couldn’t afford the 25¢ ticket.

Ever since then, whenever I’m in the midst of billions and billions of birds, I think of Alfred Hitchcock and “The Birds.”

So when I was at Chollas Lake Park the other day feeding the birds, yep, flashbacks.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (1-23-15)—Spring has sprung!

Friday Flower Fiesta

Spring has sprung here in San Diego….

Flowers are bursting out in color everywhere!

Here are 12 of my best pictures of flowers bursting out:

1Unknown flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2

Unknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

3Flower bud

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

4Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

5Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

6Flower and rain drops

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

7Friday Flower Fiesta 4-5-13

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

8Strawflower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

9Purple iris

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

10Lily of the Nile

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

11Yellow rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

12Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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