Category Archives: Uncategorized

A short visit to Galleta Meadows in Borrego Springs, California

Out & About

On my 476-mile journey through Southern California on August 12, I had several goals. While seeing three friends in three cities distant from each other was high on the list, seeing the collection of life-size prehistoric creatures out in the desert was #1 on my list:

Prehistoric elephants in Borrego Springs, California

Those three mammoths are part of Galleta Meadows.

Galleta Meadows

Millions of years ago the desert was a lush jungle and home to all sorts of strange animals: Mammoths; saber-toothed cats (often wrongly called saber-toothed tigers); huge birds; prehistoric horses, pigs, and dogs; sloths; camels….

Mammoths

Wild pig

Galleta Meadows was created by Dennis Avery (1940-2012), one of Southern California’s great philanthropists who lived in Borrego Springs and owned various parcels of land around the community. I’ll have more about Avery in an upcoming post because I just found out that a place I visited a couple of years ago was founded by Avery.

Raptor

Bird and prey

Desert birds

The steel-welded sculptures were created by Ricardo Breceda, creator of Perris Jurassic Park that rises alongside Interstate 215 in Perris, about 90 miles away. Breceda moved his sculpture and welding enterprise to Borrego Springs in December 2013.

Wild horses

Known as “The Sky Art Project,” it started in 2008, originally intending to feature species which once lived, or still live, in the area. After a while, other animals, some of them imaginary, joined the collection, as well as sculptures of people relevant to its history, such as a gold miner, a Spanish padre, and Native Americans.

Wild horse and foal

I did not know the name of the collection before heading out to Borrego Springs, only that it existed. I came home with what I thought was a lot of pictures (27) and only now found out that there are about 150 sculptures scattered throughout the desert community surrounding Borrego Springs. This, of course, means that another trip is required….

Fighting horses

Wild horse

It took me a couple of hours to explore the sculptures I found, and I was only able to do that because you’re allowed to drive from sculpture to sculpture. Trust me, you don’t want to walk in the sand in that heat.

In a few areas, though, driving means four wheel driving. I nearly got stuck in a couple of places and gave up when the going got tough….

Horses fighting

Wild horses in the desert

Sculptures that I missed this first trip include prehistoric dogs, Gymphotheriums, dinosaurs, and a 350-foot long sea serpent—that’s longer than a football field!

Borrego Springs is a dark sky community, meaning that it is sufficiently clear of light pollution to allow for naked-eye astronomy. I have seen some pictures of these desert sculptures taken at dusk and at night—long exposures—and the effect is awesome. I might have to make an overnight trip to Borrego Springs.

Prehistoric horse

Sabre-toothed cat

Sabre-toothed cat

Cat fight

Borrego Springs location

See location on Google Maps

There are several routes to Borrego Springs. Take the route I’ve highlighted on the map above because it will take you through Cuyamaca State Park and by Lake Cuyamaca, as well as through Julian, home of the world’s best apple pies—my favorites are the apple/peach crumb and the apple/cherry crumb.

Sabre-toothed cat

The chase

In the clutches

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Do you have Bare Wall Syndrome? Need a unique gift?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

photograhic art taking pictures making art

About these ads

Music on Mondays (9-22-14) Second Edition — Julian’s Music

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Hello, all of Russel’s loyal WordPress followers. It’s Julian, number two over here at Russel Ray Photos.

Me at this very moment:

picture009

I have not spoken to y’all in quite some time, and moreover I’ve never made a blog post on here besides to promote our pages on Facebook and Twitter (those are here and here in case you haven’t seen/liked/followed them already).

However, Russel is currently a little under the weather. He already posted one Music on Monday today, but I offered to post a blog so he wouldn’t have to strain his creative thinking process in the midst of his illness in order to produce a second blog. He liked that idea, and said I could create another Music on Monday today if I so wished. So, here I am.

I have no central theme for this music post, however, what I do have is an audience that hears about me quite frequently without really having a good idea of who I am. My plan here is to take advantage of this opportunity to both supply you with bonus Monday music, and hopefully provide you with a better sense of who I am as a person. I think one’s taste in music has a fair amount to say about who they are. I’ll let you decide that for yourself.

To begin, I figure it would be appropriate to post what I’m listening to currently. As you may know, Russel listens to all of his music chronologically. We just finished the end of his “modern” collection, and therefore have just looped back to the forties, fifties, and early sixties. I thought I appreciated music from that time period more before I actually had to listen to it for more than ten minutes at a time, and by the second hour I couldn’t stand it and had to plug my headphones in and return to my music comfort zone.

Right now, I’m really getting into alternative rock band from Kentucky, Cage the Elephant. They’re best known for their big hit “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” that was released off of their debut album back in the summer of 2008. I thought their initial stuff was alright, but what I’m really appreciating are their two latest albums, Thank You, Happy Birthdayand MelophobiaMost of today I’ve been listening to this song on repeat:

I would highly recommend looking further into their material. I was quick to judge on just the hits, and was kicking myself when I found out how quality their other material was.

Hailing from NYC, one of my very favorite bands of all time is another alternative indie rock band, The Strokes. Their first three albums, Is This It, Room on Fire, and First Impressions of Earth, are my favorites. They are best known for their hits off of their debut album:

Along with the Strokes, another of my all time favorites is CAKE, from Sacramento, CA. They have received a ton of radio play from their variety of hits, including the Distance, Short Skirt Long Jacket, Never There, Let Me Goand Love You Madly, all of which I loved extensively enough to explore their entire discography. As is usually discovered when exploring a band beyond their hits, their lesser known material was just as good if not better. Here are a few tracks worth listening to:

Some of the lesser smash hit bands/musicians I love include Tokyo Police Club, an indie rock band from Canada:

Manchester Orchestra:

Beach Fossils:

Bright Eyes:

And hundreds more. I could go on and on and on about all the music I love, but this has already gotten quite lengthy and my shift is almost ending. Perhaps I may expand more on my personal taste in music some other Monday in the future, but for now I leave you with this small sample of the bands and musicians I am particularly fond for (there are still so many bands I want to talk about, so secretly I’m hoping I get to do this again). Anyway though, I hope all of you enjoy the rest of your week. Keep rockin’ the free world.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Have Bare Wall Syndrome? Need a unique gift? Choose Photographic Art!

Photographic Art logo

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

Music on Mondays (8-25-14)—Look at granny run (still got run over by the reindeer, though)

 

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

When my wise old grandmother died in 2003, her three living sons (my dad died in 1961) disinvited me to the funeral. Now stupid me didn’t realize that you could only go to funerals if an invitation to attend had been extended to you. Stupid, stupid me.

The funeral was to be in Kingsville, Texas, the farming and ranching community where she had lived since 1937. My three uncles, one from Kingsville, one from Houston, and one from Los Angeles (where he had lived since 1967) all thought that I would bring Jim and we would be dressed in drag and making out in the front pew of the Catholic Church. Seriously, that’s what they were afraid of….

My wise old grandmotherIt was more than that. Much more. You see, Jim and I had been to Kingsville many times (yearly from 1995 to 2003) to see Grandma. Jim knew all three uncles and had been out to eat with them many times. Jim had even been to the family reunion for my Grandma’s side of the family…. Twice! So it’s not like no one knew that Jim and I were an item.

Sadly, my Kingsville uncle (we will call him Rodney since that’s his name) warned me that he couldn’t guarantee that nothing would happen if Jim and I came to the funeral. Then in his next sentence he had the gall to ask me to be a pallbearer. That, of course, would mean going to the funeral without Jim, and since Rodney had more guns than the United States Army, I took him at his word and did not go the funeral. My disappointment was assuaged by a friend who told me, “Funerals are for the living, so don’t go if they don’t want you.”

Not only did I not go, but in September 2004, I legally changed my name to Russel Ray (from Russel Ray Kirk). Names are for the living, too! I wanted to change it to Bryan Lynn Austin but Jim (and others) convinced me to just drop my last name and take my middle name as my last name. So there you have it. To this day, I’m estranged from everyone on my dad’s Catholic side of the family except a gay cousin (and from everyone on my mom’s Mormon side of the family, too).

In honor of my wise old grandmother, and grandmothers everywhere, I thought that we’d listen to songs about grandmothers for today’s Music on Mondays. In order to do this, though, I have to break my rule that songs featured in Music on Mondays are songs that I have in my music collection. After listening to these songs, I understand why none of them are in my collection………..

“Look At Grandma” by Bo Diddley

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Hey, Grandma” by Moby Grape

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Funky Granny” by Kool & The Gang

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Boomin’ Granny” by The Beastie Boys

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Let’s Go See Gran’ma” by Joy & Dave

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Look at Granny Run, Run” by Howard Tate

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” by Elmo & Patsy

I leave you with this thought that my wise old grandmother told me in 1966:

“Ten percent of the people will love you because that’s the kind of people they are. Ten percent of the people will hate you because that’s the kind of people they are. Eighty percent of the people will love or hate you based on your words and actions, so speak and act lovingly.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift? Choose Photographic Art!

Photographic Art logo

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

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

SNIPPETS (8-14-14)—It’s so confusing

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Julian convinced me NOT to publish two posts a day here at my Southern California blog. Instead, daily specials on Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America will be announced, more appropriately, at RusselRayPhotos.com. I know, it can get confusing, having a Russel Ray Photos blog at RusselRayPhotos2.com and a separate RusselRayPhotos.com web site. Notwithstanding the web site names, look at the title of the web sites and you’ll see

Russel Ray Photos (here)
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos (there)

For the best access to Daily Specials, though, follow us over at Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos, too.

SNIPPET #2

When I went to the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden a year ago, I got so many pictures that it’s taken Julian and me this long to catalog everything. There is an outdoor dining area called Peacock Plaza. No one was dining there but I did get a (poor) picture of a peacock at Peacock Plaza.

Peacock Plaza

There is so much wrong with that picture. You know me, though. I never throw anything away. Comes from my wise old grandmother constantly saying, “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”

Note that the tile mosaic above the peacock has two peacocks in it. That mosaic is what I really wanted a picture of. I had another picture of the mosaic, and I tasked Julian with taking the two pictures and making a great piece of Photographic Art out of them. Here’s what he came up with:

Twin Peacocks

Julian keeps doing things that encourage me to keep him around….

SNIPPET #3

During the winter it will actually snow in the mountains of East San Diego County. Sadly, it only snowed there once this past winter. Global warming or something like that….

Here is another Photographic Art created by Julian of Lake Cuyamaca in the mountains covered with ice and snow:

Lake Cuyamaca

If you come to San Diego, try to make time in your schedule to go to the mountain community of Julian via Interstate 8 and State Highway 79. You will go right by Lake Cuyamaca, and it’s a great stopping point to relax and watch the wildlife—raptors, mountain lions, deer….

Remember to have an apple pie by the Julian Pie Company while you’re there. Best apple pie I have ever had. My favorite—ah who am I kidding? I like them all, but I do like the apple/peach crumb, apple/strawberry crumb, apple/raspberry crumb the best. That reminds me that I was going to make some peach cobbler last weekend…. Task for later today.

Google maps says Julian is about 71 miles from downtown San Diego, but the winding roads mean it will take you two hours to get there.

SNIPPET #4

I always feel so sad when I see fish out of water.

Fish Out Of Water

SNIPPET #5

My favorite tree in the world (not that I’ve seen every tree in the world, or even seen the world!) is the Century Oak at Texas A&M University. It’s now about 130 years old. I lost all of my pictures in the Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005, but this tree at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reminds me very much of it:

Beneath The Tree

SNIPPET #6

When you to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, take lots of money with you. They have some really interesting rides but they are expensive. They are worth it, but expensive nonetheless, such as the Balloon Ride:

San Diego zoo Safari Park Balloon Ride

The Balloon Ride takes you up about 400 feet into the wild blue yonder, and from there you can see everything for miles around. The best view, though, is directly below you where you can see lions, tigers, elephants, and giraffes, all looking like little ants from 400 feet up.

SNIPPET #7

Speaking of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the new Tiger Trail exhibit opened recently. Financed mostly by Conrad Prebys, one of two of San Diego County’s most generous benefactors (Irwin Jacobs is the other). Tiger Trail is fine, fine, fine, allowing you to get within inches of Malayan Tigers, only a big glass window separating you from them.

Malayan Tiger at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

If you come to San Diego, be sure to contact me. I often have free or discounted tickets to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld, and with enough notice, I can usually play docent for a day.

SNIPPET #8

A couple of different pictures from the Tiger Trail exhibit:

The Way Down Blooming Palm

Remember that the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park both are acclaimed botanical gardens, too, so stop to admire the vegetation while walking from exhibit to exhibit.

SNIPPET #9

This is the San Diego County Administration Center:

San Diego County Administration Center

It has the best view of the waterfront. It’s also where Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008.

SNIPPET #10

My wise old grandmother was a master at re-purposing things, although some of her re-purposing, such as her toilet and bathtub planters, never really appealed to my tastes……..LOL

At the San Diego County Fair back in June, I was pretty sure that my wise old grandmother had come back to life and was happily re-purposing tires for the garden exhibits:

Repurposed

As my wise old grandmother often said: “Don’t throw anything away! There is no away!”

SNIPPET #11

Remember to follow us at Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos for daily specials on our work at Fine Art America.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Need a unique gift?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

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

It’s the largest I’ve ever seen

Picture of the Moment

One interesting thing that I noticed while driving 476 miles throughout Southern California this past Thursday is that crosses are very popular in the desert, specifically crosses marketing spots where people died, probably from car accidents, although all of the crosses I stopped at did not have names or circumstances posted.

Excepting crosses on top of churches, here is the largest cross I have ever seen built as a memorial of some type along the roadside:

Wooden Cross

Julian made a beautiful piece of Photographic Art out of it, and prints (matted, canvas, metal, acrylic, or unframed) are available for purchase in my Religious gallery at Fine Art America.

Be sure to like us on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/russelrayphotos?ref=hl

Check out our galleries at Fine Art America, too!
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-russel-ray.html?tab=artworkgalleries

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?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

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

Friday Flower Fiesta (8-22-14)—Throwback

Friday Flower Fiesta

Julian Rey Saenz and I are extraordinarily busy, so I’m going to reach into the past, way into the past, for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta. In other words, you’re getting previously used flowers today!

#1
Friday Flower Fiesta 

#2
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#3
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#4
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#5
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#6
 Friday Flower Fiesta

#7
Friday Flower Fiesta 

#8
Friday Flower Fiesta 

#9
Friday Flower Fiesta 

#10
Friday Flower Fiesta

#11
Friday Flower Fiesta

#12
Friday Flower Fiesta (September 13, 2012)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

click here to like us on facebook

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
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

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

Of biblical proportions

Picture of the Moment

My trip yesterday (476 miles!) through the wild unknowns of Southern California was interesting, to say the least.

It rained on me in the high desert…. big rain drops…. hard rain drops. I haven’t seen that kind of rain since the last afternoon thunderstorm I went through in Texas back on April 15, 1993.

As the road through the desert was gently undulating, just before we went down into troughs, signs warned us about flash floods. I understood.

Towards the end of the desert but still out of view of civilization, I came across this sign:

Flooded

As far as the eye could see, there was but sand and desert vegetation. I’m thinking the flood was of biblical proportions….

Be sure to like us on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/russelrayphotos

Check out our galleries at Fine Art America, too!
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-russel-ray.html?tab=artworkgalleries

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and I approve this post.
Now go like their Photographic Art Facebook page!
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?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

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray