Category Archives: Photos

Friday Flower Fiesta (12-19-14)

Friday Flower Fiesta

A collection of twelve of my favorite flower pictures that I cataloged this past week.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#9: The Davis-Horton House

San Diego Historical Landmarks

The oldest building left in downtown San Diego, where “New Town” was started in the 1850s, is the Davis-Horton House at 402 Island Avenue.

Davis-Horton House in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego

Location of Heath-Davis House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

William Heath Davis (1822-1909) arrived in San Diego around 1850 and thought that the waterfront would be a much better place for San Diego than its location at Old Town. I believe he was right.

Along with building a wharf 600 feet long at the foot of Market Street, he built the house currently situated at 402 Island Avenue (some sources say 410 Island Avenue). I went looking for it this past Monday. My luck, as usual; the museum is closed on Mondays.

Gaslamp Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If one does not know the address, one can easily miss the building.

Heath-David House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The gate also was locked, so one can’t even enjoy the little park before 10:00 a.m. Look what I did see enjoying the park:

Heath-Davis House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Do you see it sitting on the bench at the left? A little sweetie pie….

The house is a pre-framed lumber “saltbox” home, shipped from the East Coast to San Diego around Cape Horn, Africa. Davis never lived in the house since it was built to be used as military officer housing.

It took a lot of research to finally discover that this house was the first home of Alonzo E. Horton, founder of San Diego as we know it today, and the only house in which he lived that still stands. It also served for a time as one of the first “County Hospitals” in San Diego. Apparently this is not its original location, having been moved here in 1873 by John and Margaret Mountain. I could find no other information about John and Margaret Mountain.

The house apparently is haunted:

Haunted Davis-Horton house

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The ghost is an unknown Victorian woman. If she’s unknown, I wonder how they know she’s Victorian. Hmmm.

A 1977 newspaper article interviewed the residents of the house at that time, and they claimed that lightscame on and went off by themselves. What’s interesting is that the house was not wired for electricity until 1984, so those “lights” were gas and coal oil lamps which have to be lit with a match. Hmmm.

This sounds like my kind of place, so I’m going to start saving $45 so I can go meet the ghost on January 24, 2015. I’ll have to do without quite a few happy hour margaritas to save that much money!

I’ll also make it a point to visit the museum so I can get some pictures of the interior.

Heath-Davis House

Davis-Horton house

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

Looking for a unique gift for Christmas?

Oh, dear, my wise old grandmother was wrong

My wise old grandmother

Some relevant words from my wise old grandmother:

There are no shortcuts in life.

If you want something, work hard to get it.

Well, recently I wanted to be able to see the road when I was driving at night or in the wee hours of the morning.

It’s pretty much not possible when your headlights look like this:

Headlights

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I stopped by Pep Boys to ask about cleaning them since I had seen the commercial on television and the Internet. I was pretty sure that whatever I bought to clean them wasn’t going to work and that I’d be spending several hundred dollars on parts and labor to buy new headlight covers.

The Pep Boys boy (he really could not have been more than 16 or 17) was very knowledgeable, assured me that “the stuff works,” and even explained to me why it works and why simply washing the car wouldn’t clean them.

Here’s the stuff I bought:

Turtle Wax headlight lens restorer

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It took about 15 minutes to do both headlights, and here is the result:

Headlights

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looks like my wise old grandmother was wrong! There was a shortcut, and I didn’t have to work hard to get what I wanted!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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When blogging friends come to visit

Picture of the Moment

I love it when blogging friends call to tell me they are in town and actually want to meet me!

Petals Daye and Russel Ray

That’s me on the right, just in case you didn’t know.

On the left, though, is Kelly, also known as Petals Daye, also known as Boomdeeadda.

Kelly is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We got together yesterday for 90 minutes and had a great time. She even brought me a little Canadian gift (that’s the red box in my hand). I heard from Jim that it was something edible but I wouldn’t know because by the time Jim finished telling me what was in the box, the box was empty.

Ah, well.

Thanks for a wonderful 90 minutes, Kelly!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Rainbow quintuplet

Picture of the Moment

I went to Old Town San Diego this morning at 6:00. Old Town is coming up very quickly in my San Diego Historical Landmark series and since I don’t like people in my pictures, I thought this morning would be a good time to get pictures without people in them.

Old Town is about ten miles from me, and halfway through the drive it started raining, hard, even though the part of the sky I could see was partly cloudy with three huge rainbows.

I tried to get a good picture but it’s difficult to do when you’re driving 65 mph in the rain. Without focusing I was pointing the camera and clicking. I got only two decent pictures, neither of them worth writing home about but certainly good enough for blogging:

Rainbow

Rainbow

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I suspect many of you see much better rainbow pictures on a daily basis. Here in San Diego we get excited if we see rain, much less rainbows!

I searched Google to see if there were any good pictures of the rainbow trio. Not a one. Then it occurred to me: It was 6:00 in the morning! No one except me was up! I could claim it was a rainbow quintuplet, get busy in Photoshop, post a rainbow quintuplet on Facebook, and probably no one would question it……..LOL

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (12-12-14)—Orbs (or making something out of nothing at all)

Friday Flower Fiesta

My main reason for creating Photographic Art is because my camera, a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i if you bought it in the United States) is a semi-professional camera that cost me about $700. My main camera lens is a Tamron 28-300mm macro zoom lens that cost me about $300. In other words, I have a whopping thousand dollars worth of camera equipment. Although I have 48 years of photographic experience, do I really think that I can compete with the professional with $35,000 worth of camera equipment and his own gallery downtown? No, I don’t.

So with the poor quality from the inadequate equipment, I create something unique, one of a kind images that no one else can create because they don’t know how I do it. They can try because they know I use Photoshop, and they might even come close, but unless they know the exact settings I use, they’re not going to get an exact reproduction of my Photographic Art. Heck, sometimes the Art is so unique that even I don’t know what settings I used, so even I cannot reproduce it!

Some of the pictures in my vast collection are what many photographers would call throwaways. However, a couple of things that my wise old grandmother told me back in 1966 has always stuck with me:

“What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”
and
“Don’t throw anything away. There is no away.”

Throughout the ensuing decades, I have learned to throw things away, but I take far less trash to the curb each week than my neighbors do. Maybe they just buy more crap than I do………….

Anyway, for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta, I thought I would take ten of my throwaway photographs and use them to make flower orbs in brushed aluminum frames. These pictures were out of focus, had poor composition, or are simply too small to use to make high quality Photographic Art. Here they are, with the original picture beneath each framed flower orb.

1

Framed flower orb

flower (226)

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

2

Framed flower orb

flower (253)

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

3

Framed flower orb

flower (269) original

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

4

Framed flower orb

flower (270) original

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

5

Framed flower orb

flower (301)

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

6

Framed flower orb

flower (302)

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

7

Framed flower orb

flower (312)

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

8

Framed flower orb

flower (334)

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

9

Framed flower orb

flower (342)

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

10

Framed flower orb

flower (350)

Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Number 5 is my favorite. It looks like a face, maybe something out of a Stephen King novel. Number eight is my second favorite, and then number 7 is third.

If you would like to learn how to create orbs, see my post here. It’s really easy; takes just a couple of minutes…. Unless you don’t have Photoshop…. Then it will take a lot longer!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#8: The Sherman-Gilbert House

San Diego Historical Landmarks

Even though San Diego was “discovered” in 1542 and “founded” in 1769, lacking in a historical perspective are old buildings.

Progress over the millennia sent buildings to the scrap heap of history in favor of new and improved.

The oldest buildings that remain are seven structures moved from their original locations to the Victorian Village (also called Heritage Row) in Heritage Park.

Heritage Park sign

Heritage Park location map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The seven structures include six homes and one temple, all built between 1887 and 1896.

Interestingly, the Heritage Park web site indicates that only two of the seven structures are San Diego Historical Landmarks. I know for certain that three of them are, and I won’t understand it if I discover that not all of them are registered historical landmarks. That would be weird to save a building, spend lots of money moving it, putting it in a place called “Heritage” Park, taking care of it, but not designating it as a historical landmark. Yep. That would be weird, weird, weird.

One that I know for certain is registered is San Diego Historical Landmark #8, the Sherman-Gilbert House, the first structure moved to Heritage Park in the Spring of 1971.

Sherman-Gilbert house in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The house was built in 1887 and first owned by John Sherman, a San Diego real estate developer and cousin of General William Tecumseh Sherman. Cousin John Sherman should not be confused with brother John Sherman, a significant politician and three-time presidential candidate.

The house is in the Stick Eastlake architectural style, sometimes referred to as Victorian Stick, a style that was popular in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Several characteristics of the Stick style include interpenetrating roof planes, bold paneled brick chimneys, wrap-around porch, spindle detailing, “panelled” on blank walls, and radiating spindle details at the gable peaks.

There are few survival examples of the Stick Eastlake style; the Sherman-Gilbert House is one of them.

Sherman-Gilbert house in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

From 1892 to 1965, the home was owned by sisters Bess and Gertrude Gilbert, significant San Diego patrons of art and music. While they owned the house, they brought internationally famous entertainers to receptions there, including Yehudi Menuhin, Artur Rubinstein, and Ernestine Schumann-Heink.

The house was marked for demolition in 1969. Concerned citizens formed the Save Our Heritage Organization and were granted a reprieve to raise funds and move the house from its original location at 139 Fir Street in Bankers Hill.

In the latter part of the twentieth century, moving historic structures in order to save them was commonplace. It’s now considered inappropriate to move them, which also means that sometimes historic structures are demolished rather than saved, usually in the name of progress such as highways, skyscrapers, and shopping malls.

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

Looking for a unique gift for Christmas?