Category Archives: Digital photo editing

Out & About—Not your typical San Diego stucco home

Out & About

Probably my greatest deficiency in life is that I am interested in everything, a true Jack of all Trades. Sadly, there’s not enough time in the days, the weeks, the months, and the years to develop all of my interests, and just as soon as I get started developing an interest in one area, another area comes along and carries my interest away with it.

Architecture is one such interest that I never took time to develop. Fortunately for me, the residential architecture in San Diego is pretty blasé, so there’s no need to develop anything. Most of our houses are stucco, a great material for the Mediterranean climate that we have. However, occasionally, if you keep your eyes open while you’re out and about, you can find houses made out of stucco, some with stucco, a few with stucco, and if you’re really lucky, that rare mansion made out of stucco.

So imagine my surprise when I’m out and about in one of those 1% neighborhoods and find a Victorian mansion with clapboard siding:

Birdrock Victorian mansion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I was pretty sure that Scotty had beamed me to somewhere in New England and that I was looking at a house straight out of a Stephen King novel. But no….

Upon recovering from my shock, I realized that I was still in San Diego. Everything else for miles around was stucco, stucco, and stucco.

San Diego mansion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-13-15)—Happy Friday the 13th!

Friday Flower Fiesta

These are more Photographic Art, significantly photoshopped using Photoshop and various Topaz plug-ins.

Eucalyptus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Eucalyptus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cactus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cactus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cactus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

African tulip tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Alstroemeria flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Roses

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Iceland poppy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_9164 daisy stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yucca

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last two are my favorites this week.

For comparison, here are the original pictures of the last two:

Daisies

Yucca

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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What comes out of the camera….

My wise old grandmother

When I was living in Utah with my mom, stepdad, and six other children, we rarely ate as a family at the table. In fact, in thinking back on those three years, I can’t ever remember us eating together as a family. That might explain why I stole so much food from the Food King right across the street. My friends were stealing toys; I was stealing food.

When my wise old grandmother adopted me, my youngest uncle (we’ll call him Doug since that was his name) was still living at home. Although he was in college, he knew that if he wanted to eat, supper was served at the dining room table at 6:00 p.m. Breakfast and lunch usually were served at the kitchen bar since everyone had different schedules for the day. But if you missed supper at the dining room table at 6:00 p.m., you pretty much starved until the next morning. It only took twice to realize that my wise old grandmother was serious….

After breakfast and through mid-afternoon, the dining room table belonged to my wise old grandmother. She would cut out patterns for the clothes she made, write letters to family and friends, read the newspaper, and, most important to her, put together her scrapbooks and photo albums.

Doug always found it funny how my wise old grandmother would create her scrapbooks and photo albums because there wasn’t a full-size picture in any of them. All of her pictures got cropped to meet a specific purpose that she had in mind. Cropping back in those days meant using the scissors to cut away parts that weren’t needed, and sometimes to cut out a person, a car, or a building.

Doug constantly was making fun of her but she never backed down. She knew what she wanted, she knew what she had to do to create what she wanted, and that was that!

Probably my favorite words of wisdom from my wise old grandmother are words that I have been using and practicing for at least forty years:

What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.

In today’s world, Photoshop is our scissors and our lightroom. No need to make a mess on the dining room table or get sick inhaling all the chemical smells in the lightroom. Just make a plate of nachos, grab a beer, put the cat on your lap, open Photoshop, and get started.

I am always after better or more time-saving ways to work in Photoshop, so I check out new software that comes on the market. Recently one of my favorite software companies, Topaz Labs, released a new plug-in for Photoshop, Topaz Restyle.

Following is a picture of the La Casa Estudillo Museum in Old Town. You’ll see and read more about it in an upcoming blog post, probably Saturday.

Casa de Estudillo Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That actually is a panorama comprised of six individual pictures, photomerged in Photoshop. I find it perfectly acceptable, but then I remembered the new Topaz Restyle software that I had just bought and had to go mess around some. I got a lot of interesting pictures but I liked this one the best:

Casa de Estudillo Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The original picture was taken at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2014. The Topaz Restyle picture also was taken at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2014, since they are the same picture!

The second picture certainly looks like it was taken at dusk the way the sunlight is reflected in the clouds, on the ground, in that left window, off the museum sign in the lower left, and off the exterior walls. Even to the right of the museum, it looks like the sun is shining a little more brightly over there, maybe because there were no trees providing any shade.

I love the Topaz rendition. I think it adds depth to the picture—look at the clouds through the arches in the bell tower—and a great deal more interest.

The Topaz Restyle plugin normally is $59.99 but you can get a $20 discount on it through the end of February by using the discount code FEBRESTYLE at checkout.

Topaz Labs is here.

All Topaz software has a free 30-day fully functional trial, so hop on over there, check out what they have, and let me know what you think.

Sadly, Topaz has not paid me for this testimonial….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-6-15)—Bromeliads

Friday Flower Fiesta

Spring sprung here in San Diego around January 2.

A sprung spring means that it’s bromeliad season.

The best places to see lots of unusual bromeliads are the San Diego Zoo, which is an internationally recognized arboretum and botanical garden as well as a zoo, and the Botanical Building in Balboa Park.

Here are a selection of bromeliads from both places, although these are pictures from the past that I cataloged today after finding them in my “these-are-really-bad-pictures-but-maybe-some-day-you-can-make-something-out-of-them-in-photoshop” folder.

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last picture uses the “out of bounds” effect. If you’re interested in learning how to create that effect, see my tutorial from October 22, 2013: Creating the out of bounds effect in Photoshop.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (1-30-15)—Epiphyllums, the orchids of the cactus world

Friday Flower Fiesta

My favorite flowers are those which are quite complex: orchids and epiphyllums. Epiphyllums often are called the orchids of the cactus world. They actually are succulents, which are basically cactus without thorns; while all succulents are cactus, not all cactus are succulents.

Today’s Friday Flower Fiesta features epiphyllums, but these are not just any epiphyllum pictures. These were in my throwaway folder, my “see-if-you-can-make-something-out-of-these-when-you’re-bored” folder. These were pictures that most of my photographer friends would have thrown away, deleted. Me? I keep them and eventually play around with them using various digital editing software and filters: Photoshop, Photo-Paint, PaintShop Pro, Fractalius, Topaz, Perfect Effects, Photomatix…. Some others, too, but those are the main ones I use.

So here you go, crappy photos made into Photographic Art stamps. The 12¢ is my favorite.

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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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—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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