Category Archives: Birds

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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2015 Birds Digital Calendar now available

I have been working all day on my digital calendars for 2015, trying to get my Photographic Art blog set up as an e-commerce site with shopping cart, payment processing, and instant download.

I believe I have succeeded.

Check it out:

2015 Monday-Sunday Birds Digital Calendar

Ninety percent of all product notices will be at Photographic Art, not here, so be sure to subscribe/follow me over there!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Adobe Falls now off limits

Out & About

San Diego doesn’t have many natural waterfalls. I think it has something to do with needing water to fall from the skies in order for water to flow along the ground and create waterfalls. Just a hunch.

The waterfalls that we do have, however, are pretty nice. The problem is how to get to them safely.

Inevitably when the rains come (another four weeks or so) and the waterfalls start falling, people who have no appreciation for the outdoors tend to make their way to the waterfalls, destroying everything in their path and sometimes destroying the waterfalls, too.

One of the rare year-round waterfalls here in the County is just a mile from me and at the side of Interstate 8, but it is extremely difficult to get to because it’s in a small canyon surrounded by highway and houses.

The reason why it is year-round is because it’s in a small canyon occupied by the San Diego River. It’s called Adobe Falls.

Adobe Falls location

It also happens to be on land owned by San Diego State University.

Because of the damage and destruction to houses and environment caused by those trying to get to the waterfalls, SDSU has decided to make the waterfalls off limits to the extent that anyone caught on that little sliver of land will be arrested.

The grapevine tells me that they mean it and have been backing up their words. Thus, I will not be going to the waterfalls this year, so you’ll simply have to enjoy these pictures from past trips.

Adobe Falls

Adobe Falls

There’s a huge building on the SDSU campus with a magnificent view of the little canyon where Adobe Falls is located, although the Falls is hidden from view in the midst of all the palm trees and brush:

SDSU building overlooking Adobe Falls

Adobe Falls

Even though there is a 12-lane freeway between Adobe Falls and that building, wouldn’t that be a great place for SDSU to station lookouts to keep an eye on trespassers to the Falls?

On my last trip to Adobe Falls, I found this little guy:

Green heron at Adobe Falls

I’m pretty sure that is a Green Heron, and it was not in the least bit frightened of me. It let me get within a few feet to get that picture! Just kept one eye on me, seeming to say, “Yeah, I’ve seen your kind around here before. I’m keeping an eye on you.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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SNIPPETS (10-21-14)


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts


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.


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.


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


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.


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:

Little cats
Big cats
All other wildlife
Sunrises & sunsets
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

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2015 Photographic Art digital calendars are on their way!

curtains coming soon

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have been cataloging pictures like crazy this past week, and with the response I got from offering free calendar pages (choose month, year & picture!), I have decided to make a 2015 digital calendar. I will be offering five different calendars:

1. Scenes from San Diego County
2. Little cats
3. Big cats
4. Birds
5. Wildlife from the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, & SeaWorld
6. You choose 12 pictures from my galleries at Fine Art America
7. You provide up to 12 pictures and choose the others

These calendars, while digital, are sized for 8½x11-inch paper, so they can easily be printed. If you’re in a country where paper size is slightly smaller, you can easily have your printer scale the page to fit your paper size with no loss in quality.

For this first iteration, I will be be selling #1 through #5 for $9.99 each, payment via PayPal preferable, but check, cash, and money order also accepted. Payment with credit card can be done through PayPal, and PayPal does not require you to have an account to send money to someone.

I will be selling #6 and #7 for $19.99. Same payment methods.

Here are two calendar pages that I made for a couple of my blog readers:

January 2015 Photographic Art calendar page

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June 2015 Photographic Art calendar page

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pages will have six weeks, filled in as displayed. No need to flip backward or forward to see the most recent past or future. Note that the week starts on Monday so that Saturday & Sunday are together, like weekend days should be!

You can print one page and hang it on the wall, or print all pages and hang them on the wall. No more having a calendar that is too heavy and constantly falling off the wall!

In future posts for the next couple of weeks, I will be featuring some of my best Photographic Art that I am considering using for calendar pages, such as this one of a spoonbill:


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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You expect me to swim in that?

Picture of the Moment

I have had so many problems in the past whenever I upgraded Adobe Photoshop. Thus, when Photoshop CC (2014) was released in June, I resisted the temptation to upgrade.

That temptation overcame me today, which means that I started upgrading at around 6:00 this morning and just finished a few minutes ago.

Upgrading for me meant that I had to install a new version of Photoshop CC since it’s a major upgrade and does not install on top of any older versions.

A new version doesn’t recognize Actions, Extension Panels, Plug-ins, etc.

Since I have a lot of that stuff for my Photographic Art enterprise, I had to re-install or re-create everything. So burdensome. One would think that in today’s technological world, a few good programmers would be able to make things go more smoothly. Not the case….

Anyways, everything seems to be working, so I’m back in action. Here’s my first Photographic Art creation using Photoshop CC (2014):

You expect me to swim in that?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Plastic bags banned (mostly) in California effective 7-1-15

Did you know?

California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation today that makes California the first state in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags. Interestingly, the news about the legislation says that it will prohibit “large stores” from using the sacks beginning in July 2015. I could find no definition of “large stores,” but the news article states, “The law applies to stores that sell groceries and pharmacies— think Safeway, Target, Walmart, Rite Aid— but not stores that don’t sell those items, like Macy’s.” Hmmm. I think Macy’s qualifies as a “large store.” I’m confused, but government often confuses me, so no big deal there.

Over 120 local California cities and counties currently ban plastic bags. I know the bags are dangerous to our wildlife, but so are the plastic rings that occupy the top of your six packs of canned beer and sodas…. and string…. and rubber bands…. and fishing line…. I don’t see anyone rushing to ban those. Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

Last night, Zoey the Cool Cat had an incident that frightened her, as well as Jim and me. I found a sack stuffed in a cupboard so I put it on the bed for Zoey the Cool Cat to enjoy:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Does she not look happy and satisfied, probably having pleasant dreams of finally catching the mourning doves outside our office window.

I mention the plastic bags because wildlife often get tangled up in them and die. Last night, Zoey the Cool Cat got tangled up in that sack. See the two handles? She got her head through one and couldn’t get out. She took off through the house, trying to get rid of the thing around her neck, frightened and howling. She finally got stuck in a corner where I was able to reach her and get the sack off her neck. It took about 30 minutes of me holding her and talking to her before she calmed down, though. Poor kitty….

I can only imagine what the wildlife outside goes through when they get their necks, feet, and wings caught up in plastic bags, plastic ring tops, fishing line, and string.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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