Category Archives: Fauna

Some might consider having their nails done

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And I thought my toenails looked bad….

Picture 1Foot fetish

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Picture 2Foot fetish

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Picture 3Foot fetish

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Picture 4Foot fetish

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Picture 5Foot fetish

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Picture 6Foot fetish

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Picture 7Foot fetish

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Picture 8Foot fetish

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Picture 9Foot fetish

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Picture 10Foot fetish

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Picture 11Foot fetish

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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La Casa Tortuga in Borrego Springs, California

Out & About

Homes in the Southern California high desert are a little different from normal rural or urban homes.

A few weeks ago when I was in the high desert, I found La Casa Tortuga. Looks like this:

La Casa Tortuga

At the left frame, you can see some colorful signs. They tell you how far you have to go to escape the desert heat:

Where to go to escape the desert heat

La Casa Tortuga means “Turtle House,” and they had lots of turtles in the front yard:

Garden turtle

I would expect them to have desert tortoise garden art since the desert tortoise lives in the high desert. However, that looks like a Galapagos Tortoise to me, although I’m no biology expert on garden art….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Sun God: The biggest and most colorful bird ever

Out & About

These past few posts about larger-than-life public art reminded me of the Stuart Collection at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

I went digging in my huge collection of cataloged but unprocessed pictures and found the UCSD Sun God.

Looks like this:

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sun God was created by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) a French sculptor, painter, and film maker, and was the first work commissioned by the Stuart Collection. It also was her first outdoor work in North America.

Although born in France, she lived in New York from 1933 to 1951 and again in the 1960s. She lived and worked right here in La Jolla from 1992 until her death in 2002.

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

The vibrantly colored “bird” is fourteen feet tall and stands on a concrete arch fifteen feet tall on a grassy area between the Faculty Club and Mandeville Auditorium.

Sun God is a landmark on the UCSD campus and often is the target of various embellishments: giant sunglasses for the summer; a cap and gown for graduation; and earphones and a radio/tape player, turning the statue into a “Sony Walkbird.”

Sun God is the host of the annual Sun God Festival in the Spring, now the largest event sponsored by the UCSD Associated Students. Unfortunately, the Festival has become quite rowdy recently, resulting in many safety-related accidents and injuries. It’s also presumed that drugs and alcohol play a part in the Festival, a presumption that played out sadly when a student died of a drug overdose after attending the 2014 Sun God Festival. It looks like some changes are coming to the Festival for 2015.

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 16

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 9
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 10
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 11
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 12
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 13
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 14
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 15

El Prado Area Designation

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last place to visit on the north side of the El Prado on our easterly trek is the San Diego Natural History Museum:

San Diego Natural History MuseumPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Natural History MuseumNatural history, of course, is just about anything that doesn’t involve humans, such as minerals and wildlife.

They often have exhibits specifically for schoolchildren, so it’s not unusual to see huge crowds of schoolchildren waiting to go in together. This fall they have “Weekly Science Sundays with Ms. Frizzle” and

I don’t go as often as I should, and I don’t really know why because I really enjoy natural history.

The museum has a huge collection of preserved reptiles:

Preserved reptile specimens

(I’d rather see living reptiles, and for that I go to the San Diego Zoo.)

My favorite exhibits are usually the traveling exhibits, such as the All That Glitters exhibit from a few years ago. Here are a few butterflies from All That Glitters:

butterfly (4)

butterfly (3)

butterfly (2)

butterfly (1)

The upper floors also feature artwork, of which this was my favorite when I was last there:

Dogs

The museum occasionally has somewhat whimsical art on exhibit, such as this man climbing a rope on the north side of the museum:

Man on a rope

No. It wasn’t a real man but it was garnering a lot of attention from passersby.

The upcoming exhibit that I want to see is The Discovery of King Tut, opening October 11, 2014. I missed King Tut when he toured the world a decade ago. Not this time. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for being closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Admission is $17 for adults, $15 for those age 62 and over; $12 for military with ID, college students with ID, and youth age 13-17; $11 for children age 3-12; and free for children under the age of 3. There also are discounts for groups of ten or more, but reservations must be made in advance.

Visit online at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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A long time ago in a land far away

Picture of the Moment

Archaeological diggings indicate that, many millions of years ago, the Southern California deserts were more tropical than desert.

About 90 miles east of San Diego, a rather wealthy individual has created several dozen actual-size sculptures of wildlife that existed in the tropical Southern California—mastodons, wild horses, sabre tooth tigers, extremely large birds of prey….

When I embarked on a 476-mile journey through Southern California a couple of weeks ago, one of my goals was to finally go see these sculptures. They are well off the beaten track, but I think the extra time spent to go see them was well worth it.

I now have a huge picture collection of these sculptures and am only now beginning to go through them to pick out the best with which to make Photographic Art. Here’s one of them, two mastodon frolicking in the sand.

Mastodon

I will have a more extensive post about these sculptures a little later, probably this weekend, after I finish cataloging all the pictures. It’s really a fascinating area.

Sadly, I was the only one that day wandering around taking pictures. Considering how much families and children love the dinosaurs up on Interstate 10 (see my post here: Dinosaurs in Southern California), I bet everyone would love these, too. Unfortunately, they simply are too far off the beaten path.

image002.jpg

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Don’t be cruel to your family pet

Out & About San Diego

Near one of the places where I go walking quite often is a colony of feral cats. During bad economies, the colony grows because people who can no longer afford to feed or care for their cats drop them off at the mouth of the San Diego River where this feral colony lives.

During one visit in 2009 I counted 187 cats. This morning I counted only six, and not a single one was photogenic. Thus, I returned home with not a single new picture of a fine, furry, feline friend.

Not to fear, though, because I have many pictures from past visits, and I’ll share eight of my favorites with you today.

1Feral cat in San Diego, California

 

2Feral cat in San Diego, California

 

3Feral cat in San Diego, California

 

4Feral cat in San Diego, California

 

5Feral cat in San Diego, California

 

6Feral cat in San Diego, California

 

7Feral cat in San Diego, California

 

8Feral cat in San Diego, California

 

Remember, folks, if you don’t want your family dog or cat, or can no longer take care of it, please take it to a no-kill animal shelter rather than dropping it off in an isolated location. That’s just plain cruel.

If you have an unusual pet—snake, bird, lizard, etc.—take it to a pet store. Many of them will buy your pet from you or take it in on consignment, providing you with a commission when it sells.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The first I’ve seen in 21½ years in San Diego

Picture of the Moment

As much as I love wildlife of all kinds, one of the things that I really disliked about my native home state of Texas was the number of bugs.

You DID NOT want to go outside at night because you would have to turn an outdoor light on, and that meant you would be walking out into billions and billions and billions of flying bugs.

I know we have nighttime flying bugs here in San Diego, but I think they go to sleep at night just like I do.

And ants! I hated ants. Especially fire ants. I remember one time when I went with a friend to Lake Houston to go sailing on his brand new sailboat. Out in the middle of the lake we jumped in to go swimming….. right into a bunch of fire ants! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE! That day ruined me forever on going sailing and going to Lake Houston.

The last time I saw an ant colony here in San Diego was July 6, 2009. You’re laughing, aren’t you? You think me knowing the date is funny. I know the date because I took a picture, and the metadata tells me that I took it on July 6, 2009. Now you’re laughing because I took a picture….

Ants

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Should I talk about roaches? Ack! When I moved to Houston in 1977 after graduating from Texas A&M University, my first apartment was next to a bayou. Add in lots of palm trees, and it was roach city. My roommates and I used to cook greasy food each night, collecting the grease in bowls and cans to spread around the apartment. Then and only then could we get a good night’s sleep because the roaches would go after the grease, climb in the bowl, get stuck and drown. The next morning, those bowls had 20 or 30 roaches in each of them. We only stayed there three months, and those three months ruined me forever on living near lakes, rivers, streams, and palm trees in Houston.

I can count on one hand the number of roaches I have seen in 21½ years in San Diego.

Then we come to spiders. I love spiders. Except daddy longlegs. For some reason, I find daddy longlegs to be creepy. My wise old grandmother, though, taught me an appreciation for all wildlife, explaining to me the food chain, so when I find spiders inside that don’t belong inside, I shoo them back outside. Hmmm. Some day I’ll have to let Julian video me shooing a spider back outdoors. That video probably would go viral….

The spider I miss, though, is the big garden spider, the one that builds a huge, beautiful orb web at night so that when you go to get the paper in the morning, you walk into a huge web, forgetting about the paper while running yelling to the shower.

I have never seen a garden spider here in Southern California…. WAIT! I lie. I saw one in Pacific Beach last weekend! I was so excited that people were rushing over to where I was taking pictures to see what was going on. I’m pretty sure most of them all of them thought I was weird. Nonetheless….

Following is Photographic Art of my beautiful garden spider. You may tell me in a comment how beautiful it is….

Garden spider

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