Category Archives: Flora

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

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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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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

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7Friday Flower Fiesta 4-5-13

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8Strawflower

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9Purple iris

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10Lily of the Nile

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11Yellow rose

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12Stapelia

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Out & About—The La Jolla tide pools

Out & About

Any time is a great time to visit the San Diego coast, but when the low tides get really low, it’s time for a visit to the various tide pools along the coast. One of the best is the La Jolla Tide Pools.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

La Jolla Tide Pools, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The lowest of the low tides, and the highest of the high tides, present the best opportunities to see (low tide) or witness (high tide) things that normally can’t be seen or witnessed. To find the low and high tides for San Diego, visit San Diego Tides.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (1-16-15)—It’s aloe season in San Diego!

Friday Flower Fiesta

The San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park both are internationally recognized zoos, but they also are internationally recognized arboretums and botanical gardens, too.

Now is a great time to see both the critters and the plants because it’s aloe season here in San Diego.

Here are some recent aloe pictures:

1Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

2Aloe

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3Aloe

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4Aloe

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5Aloe

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6Aloe

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7Aloe

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8Aloe

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9Aloe

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10Aloe

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#10: Torrey Pines Area, part 2

San Diego Historical Landmarks

If you missed Torrey Pines Area, part 1, here it is.

Let us start at the far north of the Torrey Pines Area as defined by this map:

Torrey Pines Area

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That blue just below Carmel Valley Road is Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. It’s a great place to go train watching since Amtrak, Coaster, and BNSF freight use the single track through the marsh.

Amtrak under the Del Mar Bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach near San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those trees you see on the hill behind the bridge are torrey pines in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

The torrey pine (Pinus torreyana) is the rarest pine species in the United States. It grows only in a small area here in San Diego and on Santa Rosa Island, one of the islands in Channel Island National Park off the coast of Southern California.

Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)

Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I went to the Reserve at 7:00 one morning and did everything within my power not to just sit out there and watch the trains go by. Long-time readers probably realize how difficult it was for me to ignore the trains. Nonetheless, here’s a walk through a couple of the trails in the Reserve:

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The first time I visited the Reserve was back in May 1993. As I remember it, there was very little sunshine to be found on the trails since it was a fairly dense forest of torrey pines. Sadly, the pines slowly are losing their fight for existence due to drought, insect attacks, and pollution from nearby developments and roadways.

There are two named beaches below the 400-foot cliffs of the Reserve: Torrey Pines State Beach and Blacks Beach. Blacks Beach is one of the world’s largest and best naturist beaches. It is difficult to get to because one has to navigate trails down the 400-foot sandstone cliffs, and each time you go, the trails are different due to erosion from human traffic and rainfall during the winter weeks.

My knees don’t like me going up and down cliffs anymore, so these pictures are from a trip a couple of years ago:

Blacks Beach

Stairs to Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

Blacks Beach in San Diego, California

IMG_7122 framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Torrey Pines Golf Course is San Diego’s best and most beautiful course, and it’s a municipal course! It is where Tiger Woods won his last major championship, the U.S. Open, back in 2008.

Torrey Pines Golf Course

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Overlooking the golf course is The Lodge at Torrey Pines, a AAA Five Diamond hotel:

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) is in the Torrey Pines Area. UCSD was established in November 1960, and in just 54 years has risen to prominence among universities worldwide, with U.S. News & World Report recently ranking it as the 18th Top World University.

The campus has many unique buildings and public art, and is worth spending a day just walking around gawking at everything. The library, shown in the first picture, is named after Theodore Geisel, better known as “Dr. Seuss.” Geisel was a La Jolla resident when he died, and many of his works are in the Geisel Collection in the library.

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

UCSD Sun God

University of California San DiegoUniversity of California San Diego

Computer Science & Engineering Building at University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Across the street from the campus is the historic Torrey Pines Glider Port. I have been known to sit there for hours at a time and just watch the hang gliders.

Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego

Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego

Torrey Pines Glider Port

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On the beach below the Glider Port is the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, founded in 1903, and one of the world’s foremost oceanographic institutions. The Institution is now a part of the University of California San Diego, and also includes the Birch Aquarium. Take an afternoon to visit the Aquarium because the view of the beach and ocean is unparalleled, and the aquariums and fish are pretty nice, too!

Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego

Scripps Institute of Oceanography, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At the very south of the Torrey Pines Area is the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:

Salk Institute, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Salk Institute was founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine. It often is ranked as the premier biological & biomedicine institute in the world.

Constant praise is heaped upon the architecture, but I find it to be absolutely atrocious. Bare concrete everywhere; just depressing and oogie.

Salk Institute in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There you have it. An absolutely gorgeous and historic area, so if ever you are in San Diego, take a day out of your schedule and go visit the Torrey Pines Area in La Jolla. You won’t regret it.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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