Category Archives: Nature

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

Need a unique gift?
Birthday? Graduation? Marriage? Anniversary?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
Zoey the Cool CatZoey the Cool Cat

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

Need a unique gift?
Marriage? Anniversary? Birthday? Special event?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

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

Out & About—San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Encinitas, California

Out & About

I remember the first time I heard the word Lagoon. Such a funny-sounding word. I was 7 or 8, living in Brigham City, Utah, at the time, and we were going to Lagoon, which was an amusement park in Farmington, 44 miles south of Brigham City and 17 miles north of Salt Lake City.

A couple of weeks ago, grade schools started up again after the end-of-year break, which meant that after-school enrichment programs would be starting up, too. I teach chess in five grade school enrichment programs.

One of the schools that I will be teaching at this term is a new school for me. Whenever I have a new school, I get there early to find parking, check out the neighborhood, get through the school’s security protocols, and find my room. This time, I got there way too early. I think many people were still on end-of-year vacation, so freeway traffic was very light.

As I was driving around the neighborhood looking for photography subjects, I found a little cul-de-sac with lots of brush, trees, and a little trail. Ah, trails. I just can’t resist trails. I parked the car, grabbed my camera, and went for a little hike.

I had not gone too far when I saw a couple of signs:

San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego, California

San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego, CaliforniaPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I saw several rattlesnakes and one mountain lion:

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake

Mountain lion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, the rattlesnakes and mountain lion that I saw were at the San Diego Zoo the next day. That’s why I love the Zoo and SeaWorld—I get to see wildlife that I would never see otherwise.

I didn’t hike very far because I could see that the trails seemed to go on and on and on. (Hmmmm. Maybe the Energizer Bunny is out there somewhere.) I couldn’t get lost in the menagerie and not make it back to school on time to teach chess to that wildlife known as “rugrats.”

I did come upon a lonely bench, which turned out to be very photogenic:

Lonely bench

Lonely bench

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I got home, I used Google Maps to determine that I was on the outer edges of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County, comprising 915 acres. There are six plant communities within the Reserve: coastal strand, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, riparian scrub, coastal sage scrub, and mixed chaparral. The diversity of wildlife is enormous: more than 300 species of plants, at least 23 species of fish, 26 mammal species, 20 reptiles and amphibians, more than 80 invertebrates, and 300 bird species.

San Elijo Lagoon is part of the Escondido Creek Watershed, comprising about 54,000 acres, stretching from the foothills to the coastline. It includes the last remnants of an imperiled coastal scrub habitat connecting the northern and southern parts of a globally important ecological region. The coastal scrub habitat is vital to the persistence of some of Southern California’s most endangered species, many of which occur nowhere else on Earth.

All of which means that, of course, I shall be making a more extensive visit sometime soon.

img_9301 stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Marriage? Anniversary? Birthday? Special event?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
Zoey the Cool (Book) CatI'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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

Need a unique gift?
Marriage? Anniversary? Birthday? Special event?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
Zoey the Cool (Book) CatI'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

7Friday Flower Fiesta 4-5-13

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

8Strawflower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

9Purple iris

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

10Lily of the Nile

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

11Yellow rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

12Stapelia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Birthday? Graduation? Marriage? Anniversary?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
Zoey the Cool CatZoey the Cool Cat

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

Need a unique gift?
Marriage? Anniversary? Birthday? Special event?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

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

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

3Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

4Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

5Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

6Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

7Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

8Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

9Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

10Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Birthday? Graduation? Marriage? Anniversary?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat