Category Archives: Manmade

A visit to La Jolla, California, jewel of the Southern California coast

Out & About

If you have been following along with my recent posts, you might have detected that I was in La Jolla recently, several times since Hillary Clinton was here signing books a month ago.

Let us stay with the La Jolla theme for one more post.

Following are Photographic Art based on pictures in and around La Jolla, mostly along the coast and in the central business district.

Let’s start at the coast first, the La Jolla cove, which is where you’ll find billions and billions and billions of brown pelicans, white-breasted cormorants, harbor seals, and sea lions.

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

Look back at the very first picture, the panorama, smack dab (smack dab?) top center, you can see a little platform. Here is what was happening on that platform the morning I was there:

La Jolla, California

The coastline is awesome, so you can find all sorts of art for sale. Of course, the best La Jolla art is in the La Jolla Gallery of Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America! (I might be slightly prejudiced.)

La Jolla, California

There are many art galleries in La Jolla, and some of them put their art outside for the enjoyment of all:

La Jolla, California

Along with murals on exterior building walls….

La Jolla, California

….you can find “trash can” art. Virtually every trash can and public utility box is painted on all four sides….

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

Native Indians (the Kumeyaay and the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians) enjoyed La Jolla before the white man (actually Spaniards) ever got there. One trashcan’s art features an American Indian, and the feathers spell out the names of several areas along the San Diego County coast:

La Jolla, California

I find it amazing that we have so many murals, trash can art, and utility box art here in San Diego yet California schools continue to dismantle K-12 art (and music) programs. Of course, sports programs live on…. Sad….

You can find wall art at restaurants and on the front walls of many homes:

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

Some restaurants and stores make art out of plants:

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

Because of the cool, coastal climate, as well as natural watering via night mist and dew, virtually any plant will grow in La Jolla, and they make some beautiful Photographic Art:

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

Of course, La Jolla would not be a seaside, (rich) beach community without common seagulls:

La Jolla, California

La Jolla, California

If you plan to visit San Diego County, be sure your plan includes a trip to La Jolla for awesome views of the coast and the amazing wildlife which choose to hang out there. You might even see me walking around with camera in hand!

La Jolla, California

Visit La Jolla on Google Maps

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego

Out & About

This morning I went with the Pacific Photographic Society for a private tour of Petco Park, which is where the San Diego Padres profess to being a major league baseball team. Their current record as of today is 41-54, good enough for third place in the National League West, out of 5 teams in that division.

Oh, well.

At least the tour was much better than our major league baseball team is.

On the north side of the stadium is a statue of Tony Gwynn, also known as Mr. Padre. Looks like this:

Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego

Sadly, Tony Gwynn died on June 16, 2014, at the age of 54, after battling salivary gland cancer for about a year. I don’t know what caused the cancer, but chewing tobacco used by major league baseball players comes immediately to mind.

Gwynn was born in Los Angeles and attended college at San Diego State University where he played baseball for three years and basketball for four years. He was drafted on the same day in 1981 by both the San Diego Padres baseball team and the San Diego Clippers basketball team, ultimately choosing baseball.

Gwynn hit left handed and won eight batting titles, was an all-star 15 times, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards for his offensive skills and five Gold Glove Awards for his defensive skills. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.

Gwynn played in the World Series in 1984 and 1998, the only two World Series appearances in San Diego’s franchise history. He had a .338 career batting average and never hit below .309 in any full season. Gwynn retired with 3,141 career hits with the San Diego Padres, one of just ten players to reach the 3,000 hit club while only playing for only one team.

Following his retirement from professional baseball, Gwynn was hired as the head baseball coach at San Diego State University, which is when I got to know him as I hung out often at Aztec baseball games.

The Padres retired his #19 jersey number in 2004.

RIP, Tony.

Location of Tony Gwynn statue
Location of Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego, Californai

Go to location on Google Maps

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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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

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SNIPPETS (7-5-14)—Bigger is better

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Home, home on the range….

The range looks different in different states, sometimes even different in different areas of the same state. Here is a range from the central valley in California:

The range

SNIPPET #2

I was exploring a deconstruction site a few weeks ago when I found five windows that were the only windows left intact in the building that was being demolished. Following is what was on those five windows, with the glare removed from the pictures. I’m willing to bet that someone is going to save the windows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SNIPPET #3

Happy Fourth of July weekend to everyone!

Eagle and United States flag

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

The Magellanic penguins at SeaWorld San Diego are a joy to watch. This one was well camouflaged in the midst of the rocks and was playing peek-a-boo with the crowd:

Magellanic penguin at SeaWorld San Diego

SNIPPET #5

As you exit the Arctic penguin exhibit at SeaWorld, this is what you see:

Penguin flight

SNIPPET #6

It is hard to get good view of the mansions in Rancho Santa Fe because they are walled compounds behind gates. When I go out there on Saturday mornings to teach chess to four children, I always go early with an intent to explore the roads. I found a road leading up up up and got a fairly decent picture of the 11,700-square-foot mansion where I teach chess:

Here I come!

Since that is a fairly decent picture (take my word for it), you now understand the problems inherent in getting really good pictures of these mansions in one of the richest areas of the United States.

SNIPPET #7

Just outside the entrance to the San Diego Zoo is the Balboa Park Railroad. It’s a garden railroad that offers rides, and the area where the railroad goes has garden sculptures of zoo animals:

Garden sculpture at the Balboa Park Railroad

Garden sculpture at the Balboa Park Railroad

The tower you see in the first picture is the California Tower, one of San Diego’s most recognizable buildings. Read more about the California Tower in my blog post here: San Diego Historical Landmarks — #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3

SNIPPET #8

My wise old grandmother used to sit at the dining room table taking her pictures and cutting out parts she didn’t want, cutting them into interesting shapes, and placing the results very carefully in her photo albums and scrapbooks. She was the one who taught me that “what comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”

The following is Photographic Art of one the San Diego Zoo’s ambassadors, this one a turtle. The turtle was all grungy looking and the picture was all washed out due to where the sun was when I took the picture. Most people would have deleted it. Not me! Thank you oh great and wise old grandmother!

Turtle

SNIPPET #9

Someone more famous than me once said, “Bigger is better.” Obviously this leaf was paying attention:

Big leaf

SNIPPET #10

SNIPPET #9 was taken in the Botanical Building in Balboa Park, the nation’s largest municipal cultural park. I had gone to see the leftover orchids from an orchid show, as had this guy:

Taking a picture

I always feel guilty when I’m taking a picture with my big Canon 550D and someone else is taking a picture with their little smarty pants phone.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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San Diego County Fair or bust!

Out & About

It’s San Diego County Fair or bust!

Since the last day is Sunday, July 6, today is my last opportunity to make it to the San Diego County Fair.

This year’s fair is celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to America in 1964 with its theme “The Fab Fair,” so it’s definitely a year that I didn’t want to inadvertently miss.

If they are playing Beatles music throughout the Fair, I might break out in song & dance!

The San Diego County Fair is North America’s seventh largest fair based on 2013 attendance:

  1. Texas State Fair, Dallas—2,598,215
  2. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo—2,506,238
  3. Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul—1,731,162
  4. San Antonio Livestock Show & Exhibition—1,665,747
  5. Eastern States Exhibition, Springfield, Massachusetts—1,481,917
  6. Los Angeles County Fair, Pomona—1,438,514
  7. San Diego County Fair—1,425,200
  8. Orange County Fair, Costa Mesa, California—1,374,579
  9. Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto—1,360,000
  10. Arizona State Fair, Phoenix—1,178,515

I have been to #1 four times, #2 nineteen times, #4 six times, and #7 seven times. Sad that in 21 years in San Diego, I’ve only been 7 times. It’s not like it’s expensive ($14 for adults), but ever since Amtrak and the Coaster did away with their Fair stop, I haven’t been going. Driving is a hassle and parking, well, after trying to park and then trying to leave at the end of the day….

Polly wants a margarita

My favorite part of the Fair are the flower and gardening shows, and, of course, being a native Texan, the livestock shows.

Here are some pictures from past Fairs:

Dahlia at the 2012 San Diego County Fair

Piglets at the San Diego County Fair

Aliens at the San Diego County Fair

Aliens at the San Diego County Fair

Aliens at the San Diego County Fair

Aliens at the San Diego County Fair

Pigs at the San Diego County Fair

Mountain Lake Chess Club at the San Diego County Fair

Little did I know that after seeing the Mountain Lake Chess Camp at the Fair last year, I would be teaching chess for them just a couple of months later at after-school enrichment programs for K-6 schools.

Here’s my BFF chess set:

Succulent chess set at the San Diego County Fair

Julian, if you see my BFF chess set, leave a comment. There might be a monetary bonus in it for you!

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Robert Fremont's Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Turkey at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Floral arrangement at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Rose show at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Rose show at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

2013 San Diego County Fair

Amtrak at the San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 12

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

El Prado Area Designation

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Continuing on our west to east travel on El Prado, after the Timken Museum of Art is the most photographed building in San Diego, the Botanical Building:

Botanical Building in San Diego's Balboa Park

It is worthwhile to visit the Botanical Building anytime you are in Balboa Park because, along with the resident plants, there are seasonal displays created by many of the plant societies throughout San Diego County. The most recent display comprises leftover orchids from the latest show of the San Diego Orchid Society.

Orchid Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos of La Mesa California

Orchid Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos of La Mesa California

I could tolerate a few leftover orchids in my gardens!

The Botanical Building and the Lily Pond (aka the Reflecting Pool) were built for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-1916. The building is one of the largest lath structures in the world. Plantings include more than 2,100 permanent plants comprising mostly cycads, ferns, orchids, palms, and similar tropical plants. The meat-eating-plants bog is one of the best.

Pitcher Plants

The Lily Pond was severely damaged in late 2012 when someone promoted via Facebook a midnight party at the pond. The party turned into a drunken brawl, destroying all of the lilies and damaging the pond and its infrastructure to the tune of about $100,000. Sadly, the perpetrators have not been caught.

 Water Lily

Water Lily

Water lily

Just outside the two entrances to the Botanical Building are two tall, scraggly bushes. The flowers are beautiful:

Flower of the California milkweed

The bushes are Crown Plants (Calotropis gigantea), a member of the milkweed family, which means that throughout the year you can find monarch caterpillars, chrysalises, and butterflies.

Monarch caterpillars, September 2011, San Diego

Chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Not surprisingly, adults tend to walk right on by the scraggly bushes. Children, however, are quick to spot the butterflies and caterpillars. If only children didn’t have to grow up to be adults………..

The Lily Pond also is home to fish (mostly koi), the occasional turtle, and birds.

Koi

Sadly, many of the fish and turtles are unwanted “pets” that owners didn’t want anymore, so they dump them in the Lily Pond. The birds, however, come and go, and quite often you can find some Mandarin Ducks hanging out.

Mandarin duck

Admission to the Botanical Building is free. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. but is closed on Thursdays and holidays. Closing on holidays is somewhat strange because Balboa Park gets extremely crowded on holidays since it’s a regional attraction and destination.

Lotus

Botanical Building in San Diego's Balboa Park

For more about the monarchs of Balboa Park, see my post Monarch—Caterpillar to butterfly (WARNING: graphic content).

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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SNIPPETS (6-26-14)—Drill moms rule!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Recently I was at a mall that I had never been to before. After being there, I understood why I had never been there: It’s too difficult to get to unless you happen to live in the area.

As I was walking around the mall, I came across two large, tiled murals:

Tiled murals

Tiled murals

How cool it would be to visit your old neighborhood 20, 30, 40 years later and see a tiled mural comprising tiles of your high school friends, including one tile with YOUR name on it!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

I teach chess at after-school enrichment programs for a dozen elementary schools in San Diego County so I’m always pleased when I see people playing chess in unusual places, such as the waterfront in Coronado, across the bay from downtown San Diego.

Chess On The Waterfront

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

I don’t enjoy churches or religions because I think they waste too much money on things that don’t have anything to do with helping the poor, the needy, the sick, the homeless…. In fact, a couple of decades ago I quit my church when I found out the pastor had a million-dollar home and drove a Rolls Royce, but the church had no money to help feed the poor at Thanksgiving. You know, then, that I don’t have any patience whatsoever with people like Joel Osteen, living in a $12½ million Houston mansion and making over $40 million annually , tax free, as head of his church.

I have always enjoyed church architecture, though, such as this cute little country-style building in the middle of an older part of the City of San Diego:

Nestor Methodist Church

That’s the Nestor Methodist Church, and here’s Photographic Art of the steeple:

Nestor Methodist Church steeple

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

Jim has a listing at 5745 Friars Road, Unit 107, in Presidio Place, a large condominium complex with beautiful landscaping. They have some old ficus trees, old defined as with roots dangling from the branches, common to ficus trees.

One enterprising soul thought the roots would make a nice hanger for Mr. Sun:

Mr Sun

Jim’s listing is on YouTube, which means that I can embed the video here. Pictures are by, well, do I really need to say?

If you would like to move to Mission Valley, or buy a second home here, Presidio Place is in a great location at the western edge of Mission Valley. It’s quieter than the heart of the Valley yet still just minutes from major thoroughfares and freeways, San Diego Trolley stations, beaches, Old Town, University of San Diego, and SeaWorld.

SNIPPET #5

Speaking of SeaWorld, I try to go once a week, using my annual pass. SeaWorld San Diego opened in 1964, which means they are celebrating their fiftieth anniversary. They have new exhibits, new shows, and new signage.

Seaworld San Diego

Seaworld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

My main reason to have an annual pass is to ensure that I see ALL the wildlife because on any one visit, some might not be cooperative. Flamingos always are cooperative.

Flamingo at SeaWorld San Diego

As are the penguins:

Magellanic penguin at SeaWorld San Diego

I got my first good pictures of the African Crested Porcupine and the Nine-banded Armadillo at a recent visit.

African Crested Porcupine at SeaWorld San Diego

Nine-banded Armadillo at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #7

Anytime I see an armadillo, I spontaneously start singing “London Homesick Blues,” written by Gary P. Nunn. The following version by Jerry Jeff Walker is probably the best known version and features the Lost Gonzo Band, which included Gary P. Nunn on keyboards.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #8

Coming up on July 12 & 13 is the Reptile Super Show. Don’t let the name mislead you. Along with lizards, turtles, and frogs, they also always have spiders, such as this beautiful one from two years ago:

Tarantula

That reminds me of Mr. Alexander, my tenth grade biology teacher. He gave extra credit to students who brought in live wildlife for the day. After school, Mr. Alexander would be in the classroom interacting with the wildlife and talking with the students about the creatures.

Someone once brought a tarantula and, after school, Mr. Alexander was letting it walk up and down his arm. It was creepy but continued my wise old grandmother’s teachings about respect for all wildlife.

The advertisement in the San Diego Reader says that it is a fun & educational family event for ages 2-99. I think that if you’ve made it to 100, you should be able to go.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #9

If you are over the age of 55, or are a member of AAA, wherever you go, be sure to ask if they have senior discounts or AAA discounts. It’s amazing how many places do. Unfortunately, the discounts are not cumulative, so it’s one or the other. Hmmm. Alrighty, then, I choose to be a 16-year-old AAA member. Can anyone help me here?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #10

Julian on guitarJulian is in Texas spending money, which means he’s not here earning money working for Photographic Art! He’s only 16 years old but he’s awesome, and even from 1,500 miles away, he motivates this 59-year-old to do things that eventually will help both of us make some cool cash. So let’s see if Julian reads this blog post and finds this little snippet. Julian, if you find this, leave a comment and I’ll add a $10 bonus to your check for this week which means, of course, that since you’re in Texas all this week, your paycheck will be a whopping $10! Hey, that pays for 2½ gallons of gas for your new truck or motorcycle!

SNIPPET BONUS

When I’m working in the wee hours of the morning like this, Zoey the Cool Cat is always close by, either on the printer or on the desk.

Zoey the Cool Cat

It’s been several hours since I last saw her. I take a break every hour, and these past few hours I have used the break to look for her. Of course, she doesn’t come like a dog when you call her, so it’s all or nothing at each break.

She knows how to open cabinet and closet doors, so during my last break I went looking in the closets. Shoes and dirty clothes is all I found………………

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift?
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

Halls of History—Billions and billions served

Halls of History

When I started college at Texas A&M University in September 1973, I lived in Moore Hall, a dormitory just feet from a McDonald’s restaurant at Northgate. It became my go-to dining experience if I missed eating in Sbisa Hall, and for late evening, midnight, and after-midnight snacks.

Texas A&M UniversityWhen I moved off campus for my sophomore year, it was more of an effort to get to McDonald’s at Northgate, several miles away. Fortunately, there was another McDonald’s a half mile from me on Harvey Road. Since it was on the way to campus, it became my daily dining experience for the final three years of my undergraduate experience.

I lived in Houston from May 1977 to April 1983 and never did find a McDonald’s to call my own.

When I moved back to College Station in April 1983, McDonald’s on Harvey Road again became my go-to eatery…. for ten years!

When I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993, I immediately looked for a McDonald’s. Amazingly, there was one in Hillcrest right behind the Center for Social Services, which is where I “came out,” and where my life was centered for the next eleven months.

Recently, I discovered that the McDonald’s at 1414 University Avenue in Hillcrest was built in 1977 but is an original McDonald’s location from the 1960s. Here it is:

McDonald's in Hillcrest, San Diego, California

My discovery came about because two of the three original locations remaining in San Diego County were in the news.

One is at 1146 East Valley Parkway in Escondido, about 30 miles northeast of Hillcrest, and the building was recent demolished and rebuilt, now looking like this:

McDonald's in Escondido, California

That restaurant was not yet open when I went by on June 6. It should be open now.

The third oldest location, at 137 Canyon Drive in Oceanside, about 30 miles due north of Hillcrest,  is the one that was making the biggest headlines here. It looked like this on June 6:

McDonald's in Oceanside, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Along with it being an original location dating from the 1960s, it also has one of the few remaining signs stating how many billions of burgers had been sold:

Mcdonald's in Oceanside, California

If you look at your local McDonald’s, it probably says something like “BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SOLD.” The sign at the Hillcrest location says “BILLIONS SOLD.”

McDonald’s pre-corporation history started when Richard and “Mac” McDonald opened a barbecue restaurant at 1398 North E Street in San Bernardino, California, on May 15, 1940. The San Bernardino location is now an unofficial McDonald’s museum owned by the Juan Pollo restaurant chain (not related to El Pollo Loco).

McDonald’s as a corporation was founded on April 15, 1955, when Ray Kroc opened the ninth McDonald’s restaurant after, according to one source, having purchased McDonald’s equity and assets from Richard and Maurice. The real story of Kroc’s purchase might never be known because there is a lot of disagreement about how it came about.

Ray Kroc’s aggressive business practices were the subject of the song “Boom, Like That,” released in 2004 by Mark Knopfler, formerly the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Dire Straits.

Ray Kroc, who had joined McDonald’s as a franchise agent in 1955, lived much of his life, and died, right here in San Diego. He owned the San Diego Padres professional baseball team from 1974 until his death in 1984.

Just a mile down the road from me is The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which has one of San Diego County’s year-round ice skating rinks. Regretfully, the Salvation Army is quite homophobic so I have not been by to visit the facility and, thus, have no pictures of it. And you won’t find a link from my blog to their web site; you’ll have to find it on your own if you’re interested.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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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

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 11

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

El Prado Area Designation

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Next to the San Diego Museum of Art is the Timken Museum of Art.

Timken Museum of Art

Timken Museum of Art San Diego

Of all the buildings in Balboa Park, this one seems most out of place because its architecture does not match the predominant Spanish architecture. It was designed by San Diego architect John Mock and is considered one of the most important examples of mid-century southern California modernism, as well as one of the finest examples in the United States of the International Style. Construction materials include travertine, bronze, and glass, embracing the landscape of Balboa Park from its lobby, and making great use of natural light created by pioneer lighting designer Richard Kelly.

Putnam Foundation Art CollectionThe Timken Museum of Art houses the world-class Putnam Foundation Art Collection and is considered one of the great “small museums” of the world. It is the only museum in Balboa Park which does not have an admission fee. Donations, of course, are happily accepted, and memberships are available.

The Putnam Foundation Collection dates back to the early part of the 20th century when sisters Anne and Amy Putnam came to San Diego. During their extensive travels, they developed a love of fine art and spent decades acquiring European old master paintings, mostly for public collections in San Diego, but also for their own private collection. They established the nonprofit Putnam Foundation in 1951, and subsequent acquisitions became part of the Putnam Foundation Collection.

The Timken Museum of Art was founded in 1965 as a permanent home for the Putnam Foundation Collection, featuring paintings from European and American old masters. Notable artists represented in the collection include Rembrandt, Rubens, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, John Singleton Copley, and Eastman Johnson. The museum also is noted for its collection of Russian icons, icons here having a totally different meaning than in today’s computer world.

Since I only today realized that the Timken Museum of Art always has free admission, I scurried over to Balboa Park and made my way to the museum. I was quite impressed.

They don’t allow any photography whatsoever, so one either has to search for hours on Wikipedia or Google royalty-free images to find something, or you can go directly to the Timken Museum of Art online gallery.

I did find a royalty-free image of the one painting that I found the most impressive:

Death of the Virgin, Petrus Christi, Timken Museum of Art, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I couldn’t find a royalty-free image with the frame, so I used a picture and put my own antique wood, museum-quality frame around it.

This probably was the largest painting in the museum, measuring a whopping 67×54 inches. I am not much into religious paintings, but I found the history of this painting to be interesting. In art, a painting’s history is called its provenance.

Titled “Death of the Virgin,” Petrus Christus (unk.-1475/6) painted this from 1460-65 using oil on oak panel. It is his largest known work and was originally the centerpiece of a triptych. The two side panels were destroyed during World War II, a fate of many works of art during that time.

Its provenance has been traced back to the town of Sciacca in Sicily during the 16th century. Various families in Palermo and Bagheria, Sicily, owned it until it was sold to Knoedler & Company of New York in 1938. The Putnam Foundation acquired it in 1951.

It has not been registered as stolen or missing by the Art Loss Register database, nor is it known to be an art loss related to World War II. Barring any future research revealing it to be stolen or missing, it will most likely remain here in San Diego at the Timken Museum of Art.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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

►►►►◄◄◄◄

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

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►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray