Category Archives: Inspiration

It’s cute and adorable

Picture of the Moment

It’s no secret that most people put seagulls into categories such as “common bird,” “pesky bird,” “irritating bird,” “noisy bird,” and “go away bird.” Maybe others that I’m not familiar with.

When I went up to La Jolla recently to see Hillary Clinton, I spent some time walking around taking pictures. It’s a beautiful area, as you can see here:

La Jolla Cove panorama, La Jolla, California

Sunset at La Jolla Cove, 10-17-12, La Jolla, California

Sunset at La Jolla Cove, 10-17-12, La Jolla, California

I came across a seagull which obviously was on a nest:

Seagull on a nest

I didn’t want to disturb it but I was hoping that it would stand up and let me see the egg since I have never seen a seagull egg.

I found a large rock to sit on, about four feet from it, and sat, and sat, and sat, and sat…. all the while encouraging it to stand up and take a break so I could see the egg.

After what seemed like forever, it obliged.

Seagull egg

Several other gulls came over while it was standing….

not sure what that was about….

but it left the egg in my care and went to chase the other gulls off.

Seagull egg

After a couple of minutes, it came back, thanked me for taking care of its egg, and went back to work.

Seagull on a nest

I left by a different route from which I had come in, and saw a result of all the hard work those seagulls do:

Seagull chick

Aren’t they cute? Do you see the second chick sitting in the foreground?

They look like the spots from the eggs rubbed off on them.

Moral of this post: Take time to enjoy all that is around you, even the common stuff, because sometimes it’s so cute and adorable.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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About these ads

Featuring the Rock Ants Lonely Hearts Club Band

Did you know?

Remember when I went out to those fabulous gardens called Bird Song? Here’s the post: Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance

Remember the rock ants? Looked like this:

Bird Song rock ants

Bird Song rock ants

Remember the other garden sculptures? Like this lizard and scorpion:

Bird Song lizard

Bird Song scorpion

All made with rocks!

Well, when I was at the San Diego County Fair, which ended this past Sunday,

(the online attendance counter has been removed, but I took a screen shot of it before they removed it! 1,457,130 people attended, making it the second highest attended Fair ever!)

I was traipsing through the many gardens when I caught sight of this:

Rock Ants

I hurried over to see if Rock Ants were what I thought they might be. Indeed they were! They have rock scorpions, rock lizards, rock peacocks, rock ants, rock cats, and more!

Here is the Rock Ants Lonely Hearts Club Band playing, I’m sure, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles since we were at The Fab Fair honoring The Fab Four’s 50th anniversary of their first visit to the United States:

 The Rock Ant Band

Here’s a rock cat:

Rock Cat

If you want some interesting and unique ornaments for your garden—or anywhere else!—consider rock art by Rock Ants! Tell them Russel Ray sent you their way. Maybe they’ll give me a free Rock Band if enough people buy from them via me! Hint, hint.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance

Out & About

I belong to several meetup.com groups which give me the opportunity to meet people, and to do new and different things. Probably the best meetup.com group I belong to is the Pacific Photographic Society. As of this very minute (which will be a minute in the past by the time you read this), we have 1,423 members.

Last Wednesday, being a member got me into a private garden to walk around, admire, and take pictures. This wasn’t just any garden, though. The owners have been there since 1978, spending 36 years creating a fairy tale garden of beauty and whimsy. They call it Bird Song.

I took 105 pictures in just 65 minutes, a little under my average per minute, but I had to take time to dance like a fairy.

Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance

I never did find a good vantage point to take a picture of the house. The following is the best I got, and it’s a photomerge of four photos:

Bird Song

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We were invited to walk around at our own leisurely pace or join a tour led by the master creator of the gardens. I decided to walk around, albeit at a faster pace—I have found that being first allows me to get more pictures since I don’t have to wait my turn while others take their pictures.

Following is a collection of Photographic Art based on pictures of Bird Song. They don’t do justice to the gardens but they do show you some of the fantasy, whimsy, imagination, fun, and fairy tales of these beautiful gardens.

First up are some of the plants, for to be a garden, there must be plants!

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song

There was a pond with koi, a beautiful spa, and a water fall, which won me over. Listening to running water is so relaxing.

Bird Song waterfall

The best part of the gardens for me was the imagination and fantasy that was on display. These rock ants were awesome:

Bird Song rock ants

Bird Song rock ants

The wildlife was everywhere, not surprising for such beautiful gardens.

Bird Song frog

Bird Song frog

Bird Song frog

Bird Song lizard

Bird Song cat

Bird Song covey of quail

Bird Song fish

Bird Song goat

Bird Song snail

Bird Song  butterflies

Bird Song bird

Picture opportunities were here, there, and everywhere.

Bird Song bottles

Bird Song

Bird Song birdhouse

Bird Song  bench and pillows

Bird Song  stairs

Bird Song

Bird Song

Bird Song

Sometimes the plants helped complete the fantasy, as with the “hair” in these two Photographic Art:

Bird Song

Bird Song

Alice and her cohorts were present in their own Wonderland.

Bird Song

Bird Song

I am a home inspector in one of my professions, so the propane tank caught my attention, ranking as the most beautiful propane tank ever!

Bird Song propane tank

As I was rushing to leave, I saw one final picture opportunity at the gate:

Bird Song

I have known about Bird Song for a couple of decades now but have never had the opportunity to visit. Thus, I would be remiss if I did not thank the Pacific Photographic Society and Maxine Hesse for making it possible. Of course, a special thanks to Frank and Susan Oddo for letting 28 photographers traipse around their gardens for a few hours. The memories will last much longer than the experience itself.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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Blog Love (6-8-14)

I livew in my own little world

AzaleaIf you missed my initial post about Blog Love, you can read it here. If you get mentioned in my Blog Love series, it’s a sure bet that I’m following YOU!

During these past two weeks, I visited 1266 blogs, an average of 90 per day. I’m caught up with my blog visits after my Internet Explorer/WordPress problems of January, February, and March 2014, and I’m pleased to say that I only found 11 blogs that had been deleted, were inactive, or had gone private! They were deleted from my Excel spreadsheet.

Purple RoseI left 1,766 LIKEs and 313 comments, both totals down from recent blog love posts because every blog  that I visited these past two weeks are blogs that I had last visited sometime after March 27 when my blog camping problems were resolved.

The blogs where I left at least ten LIKEs and/or comments are listed below. Those bloggers who post pictures with very little text to read get the most LIKEs and comments, so it’s not unusual to find pet blogs and photography blogs high on the Blog Love list each week.

Canna and agapanthusClick on the link to go visit them, and be sure to tell them that Russel Ray sent you their way!

  1. Peace, Love, and Great Country Music – 56
  2. K’ Clips – 49 (Google翻訳のおかげ!)
  3. Old Books, Old Artists, and Other Interesting People – 40
    Fictional Machines – 40
  4. imaginecontinua – 39
  5. NJ Corporate Photographer – 38
  6. Paula Acton – 34
  7. The (Urban-Wildlife) Interface – 31
    Hello World – 31
    It’s Sew Anny – 31
  8. The Phoblography – 23
  9. Random Rose’s Blog – 22
    buffalotompeabody’s Blog – 22
  10. Lily of the NileBucket List Publications – 18
    Drawing Room Days – 18
  11. The Reading Bud – 17
    Adventures in Cheeseland – 17
  12. Nature and Travel Photography – 14
    Dean Whitehorn – 14
    Marsha Lee – 14
    Thoughts from an American Woman – 14
  13. Kev’s Blog – 13
  14. Gaston Bessette, Photographie – 12
  15. The Wine Wankers – 11
    ABIRDINTHEBANKSIA – 11
  16. The Paws N Reflect Blog – 10

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!

photograhic art taking pictures making art

Visit Russel Ray Photos.

Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
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Picture of the Moment–I want one!

Picture of the Moment

Yesterday, Jim and I went to the Spring fundraiser for Cat House on the Kings in Parlier, California, a suburb of Fresno.

Cat House on the Kings

View on Google Maps

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Cat House” is not just a cute name.

It’s a reality.

Here is the sofa in the living room.

Cat Couch

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I want one.

“One of what?” you ask.

Possible answers:

  1. One of those cats.
  2. A sofa with nine cat adornments.
  3. A cat house.
  4. a Cat House.

It’s never too late to donate to your local animal shelter to help with their expenses, or to adopt one of their residents. You can also adopt from Cat House on the Kings or donate to help defray their expenses in providing for their 700+ cats, a dozen dogs, and a handful of goats (cash; cat, dog or webcam sponsorship; items from their Amazon wish list; and more!).

And now, a message from Zoey the Cool Cat:

Adopt a dog or cat today

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?photograhic art taking pictures making art

Visit Russel Ray Photos.

Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

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I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
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Thank you!

Inspiration

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Alpha Phi OmegaMany decades ago I was heavily involved with Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity (APO). I had started my involvement as a junior at Texas A&M University. When friends asked me what the difference was between a service fraternity and a social fraternity, I responded,

A service fraternity spends 75% of its time doing volunteer work to help the campus, the community, and the country. The other 25% is spent drinking. A social fraternity spends 75% of its time drinking. The other 25% is spent doing volunteer work to help the campus, the community, and the country.

Always got a chuckle, if not outright laughter.

After college graduation, the extent of my involvement affected both my personal and business lives. Everything in my world came crashing down in 1982 and 1983, and that crash led to my lost decade of 1983-1993.

I quit my job because my boss was a jerk. In hindsight, he wasn’t a jerk. I simply wasn’t interested in my job in any sense other than that it paid my bills and let me play APO. He sensed that. However, I quit my job without having another job lined up.

At the same time, the rent on my apartment jumped $150 a month, to an even $1 a square foot. I had to look at either buying some property in Houston, or moving back to College Station (90 miles northwest of Houston) into property that I already owned but was renting to sorority girls from Delta Delta Delta.

I moved….

Still without having a job….

Also during this time, I was the Chairman for APO’s Section 42, which covered East Texas and comprised 15 or so chapters. It was a one-year position, so I would have to run for re-election to match my predecessors, which I wanted to do.

As I started contemplating running for re-election, students throughout the section told me that I was the best chairman they had ever seen, having shown up at their events more than any other chairman. Everyone encouraged me to run for re-election, and I did.

I lost.

I know why.

Since everyone wanted me to run, I thought they would vote for me. What I forgot to do was to ask them to vote for me and to thank them for their support. I still make the mistake of not asking for what I want or need, and not thanking people enough.

So here’s a great big

Thank you!

to all my friends, family, and business associates for being a part of my life. That includes my many blogging friends for you are a significant part of my family. I love y’all!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Consider Photographic Art!photographic art logoVisit Russel Ray Photos.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

But what is it?

Inspiration

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One of the interesting things that I have noticed during my stompings around San Diego County is the number of impromptu memorials (for lack of a better, or more relevant, term), such as this one:

Impromptu memorial

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I found that near some coastal railroad tracks where I had set up to watch the trains go by.

I was transfixed, mesmerized, inspired by it. It exuded peace and relaxation. Maybe that was its intent.

Is it a memorial? Is it religious? Anyone know?

DaturaThe reason why I ask is because I want to create Photographic Art from that picture but I don’t want to be using a religious symbol or memorial inappropriately. The other thing is that on the back of each Photographic Art print will be some fact/information/trivia about what’s presented in the art. For example, the back of a flower art print might have information about the flower or plant—datura and brugmansia, known as angel’s trumpet and pictured at the right, are toxic and can create severe skin problems if you get the sticky white sap on you. How can something so beautiful be so dangerous?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Leave only footprints

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many decades ago, when I was but a youth of 12 or 13, my wise old grandmother took me to Padre Island National Seashore in South Texas, about 15 miles due east from my hometown of Kingsville, 60 miles if driving on paved roads.

padre island

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Padre Island was where I first saw a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. Back then there were hundreds, maybe thousands of them, at certain times of the year.

As I was playing in the sand and surf, I found a mound of flowers. I picked a few to give them to my wise old grandmother.

She took them, said “Thank you!” and then admonished me for picking flowers at the national seashore. Loosely quoted, she said, “No one else will get to enjoy these beautiful flowers because they have been picked and will soon die. It is best to admire them where they grow and leave them for others to also enjoy.”

On the drive home, which was about 45 miles, the flowers sat between us on the bench seat (smile if you remember when cars had bench seats and you could slide over to be next to your loved one or, perhaps, keep some flowers between the two of you).

I felt so bad about picking the flowers and started talking about how sorry I was for taking them and preventing other people from enjoying them. That’s when my wise old grandmother told me something that I have never forgotten: “When you go to a national park, leave only footprints.”

Well, to honor the memory of my wise old grandmother, following are a dozen pictures of footprints from the beaches of San Diego.

Can you identify the footprints, like we did in Scouts?

One picture is of my footprints; which one?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Footprints in the sand

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Entitlement

I’m tired from too much thinking

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t take a lot of pictures that make one think. That’s not what I’m trying to do with my photography. However, today, while cataloging old pictures, I found one that made me think:

Entitlement

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t remember taking this picture although I recognize the squirrels and the location. The picture metadata says June 2009.

Obviously I purposefully did not include the person in the photo, and in thinking about the photo, I think it’s a more powerful picture without the person. His highly tattooed arm and his wheelchair makes me think. An injured war vet? If you look closely, he does appear to be wearing fatigues. Homeless since the location is a haven for the homeless? Compassion, sharing what little he has with a little squirrel? Even the little sparrow, looking away from the action, makes me think. Is the poor little sparrow used to being neglected because everyone loves and feeds the squirrels?

Now I’m tired from too much thinking, so it’s off for a catnap with Zoey the Cool Cat.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach pier

The Pier

Inspiration

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Poetry always gives me a certain feeling, a certain kind of inspiration.

I love it, then, when I find poetry in unexpected places.

Recently I found poetry on a pier….

….about a pier….

….on and about this pier:

Imperial Beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Following is the poetry, but you don’t have to try to read the picture. I have transcribed the poem below the picture.

The Pier, by J. J. Blakely

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Pier

Weathered and worn, dark pillars reach for the rolling sea
Ninety-six years have passed since she came to be
Fisherman’s lines, generations’ casts, pleasantly intertwine
Blue waters, white mist, etched warmly upon our minds

Summer’s breeze flows sweetly past to the shore
White gulls sail free, swooping, diving ever more
Frolicking black seals dip and rise with each Pacific wave
Majestic blue dolphins swiftly glide, leap and splash as they play

With every turn magnificent sights greet our eyes
North to west, and south to east is where they lie
Cabrillo’s house lights for the wayward soul
Loma’s point flashes for those it tolls

Carrier of gray, wings upon her deck, fades to earth’s horizon
Sails of white, blue and red bulge under the day’s sun
Deadman’s Isle, draped in eerie fog, resting his head to the west
Serpent Islands close in, snap at his feet with zest

White capped surf washes upon Playa de Tijuana sands
Bull ring rises by the sea, cheers gone from her stands
Huts of tin and board, poor and destitute masked from afar
Cries for help, for merciful change, fall silently hard

Ocean’s breeze rises upon mountains of sage brush and vine
Otay’s rocky peaks silhouette the eastern sky
Mount Miguel stoically stands watch over the sea
Hills run to the shore, brown hawks graciously soar free

Aroma of lemon trees past linger throughout the land
Cities Chula Vista, National and San Diego spread where they did stand
Blue of bay’s bridge lazily arches, touches Coronado’s coast
Crowns of red brightly sit atop the Del’s royal towers and boast

Strands of silver sand flow, gently caressing my soul
Sea’s waters rushing beneath planks of time, come and go
God’s mighty storms pound and push over the years
Standing strong, unshakable, haven for peace, the pier

J. K. Blakely, November 6, 2005

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The poem describes the many sights and sounds to be experienced from the Imperial Beach pier. Here are a few of the sights, although not necessarily taken from the pier:

Cabrillo’s house IMG_6335

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Carrier of grayUSS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) from the sky

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Playa de TijuanaPlaya de Tijuana

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue of bay’s bridge lazily archesSan Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crowns of red brightly sit atop the Del’s royal towersHotel del Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The pierImperial Beach pier

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos