Monthly Archives: June 2013

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks show

2013 Fourth of July events throughout San Diego County

curtains coming soon

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christmas wreathChristmas is right around the corner.

Even closer than Christmas, though, is the Fourth of July!

Following is the latest list of Fourth of July events throughout San Diego County.

Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show San Diego – The 13th annual show launches the largest fireworks display in the county for 18 minutes at four locations. Accompanied by patriotic music on 105.7 “The Walrus” FM radio. 9 p.m. at Coronado Landing, Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Shelter Island, and Harbor Island. Free.

Coronado Independence Day Celebration – Coronado – Celebrations include Art in the Park, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Spreckels Park; Independence Day Parade at 10 a.m. along Orange Avenue, and fireworks show at 9 p.m. over Glorietta Bay. Free.USS Midway in San Diego, California

USS Midway Museum Family Fun 4th of July Celebration – Downtown San Diego – Live entertainment, family activities, and a fireworks viewing spot of the Big Bay Boom on the flight deck of the historic USS Midway. Doors open at 6 p.m. USS Midway Museum, 910 N. Harbor Dr. $15 general admission & $10 youth and museum members.

SeaWorld San Diego Fireworks Show  – Shamu presents an extended fireworks show to patriotic music at 9:30 p.m. 500 Sea World Drive Cost is park admission but you can watch this show from various points throughout Mission Bay, including just across the waterway on Fiesta Island, a spot I can highly recommend if you get there early. The far eastern ends of the SeaWorld parking lot are also a great viewing place. If you want to practice taking pictures of fireworks, head out to SeaWorld any night at 9:45 for a 10-minute park-closing fireworks show. Then you’ll be ready for the big events on the Fourth of July.

2012 SeaWorld fireworks showOceanside’s 125th Anniversary Fireworks Show – Fireworks launch just north of the El Corazon Senior Center, 3302 Senior Center Drive, with fireworks viewing at Rancho Del Oro Rd. Parking is limited. 6 to 10 p.m. on July 3 (note the date!). Free.

Red, White and BOOM! – Legoland – An all day event begins at 10:00 a.m. and includes a building competition, dance party, lawn games, stroller parade, and fireworks show at 8:30 p.m. ark admission.

San Diego County Fair July 4th Celebration – Fourth of July events start with Opening Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at O’Brien Gate, Hometown Heroes Parade at 7 p.m., and fireworks show at 9 p.m. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. Cost is Fair admission. This is another show that offers viewing spots from throughout the area if you don’t want to pay the $10 parking fee and the $14 (adult) entrance fee at the Fairgrounds.

Del Mar Independence Day Parade – This is a parade down Coast Boulevard at 9:30 a.m. Families are welcome to decorate their bikes, scooters, wagons , golf carts, and baby strollers, and join the parade! Powerhouse Park, 1658 Coast Blvd., Del Mar. Free.

Fireworks over San Diego CountyLa Jolla Cove 4th of July – La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation (LJCFF) host the annual fireworks show along the coast. Live music and fireworks display at 9 p.m. 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, 1180 Coast Blvd., La Jolla. Free.

4th of July Fireworks Celebration – Poway – Live music and games begin at 7:00 p.m. Fireworks show at 9 p.m. Poway High School Stadium, 15500 Espola Rd., Poway. $2 general admission & kids under 11 are free.

Spirit of the Fourth – Rancho Bernardo – Community fair at 7 a.m. featuring 35 vendors, live entertainment, patriotic pet contest, veterans memorial service, Rancho Bernardo idol winners, and fireworks show at 9 p.m. Bernardo Heights Middle School and various locations in Rancho Bernardo. See the web site for detailed locations. Admission for evening events and fireworks is $10 per person or $20 per family.

Fourth of July Celebration – Escondido – Live entertainment and kids activities start at 4:00 p.m. with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Grape Day Park, 321 N Broadway, Escondido. Free.

Ramona Community Fireworks & Family Picnic, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Activities include games, food, live entertainment, and fireworks show at 9 p.m. Olive Peirce Middle School, 1521 Hanson Lane, Ramona. Free.

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks showSantee SalutesLive music, food, inflatable toys, carnival rides, and games. Fireworks show at 9 p.m. Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Dr., Santee. Free admission, parking $5-15, and minimal cost for food and activities.

4th of July Celebration – El Cajon – Kiddie train rides, live entertainment, crafts, and family games. 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. John F. Kennedy Park, 1675 E Madison Avenue, El Cajon. Free.

Fourth of July Carnival – National City – Annual carnival from July 3-7. The weeklong event will feature games, rides, food and drink items for sale, and live entertainment. 5 to 11 p.m. on July 3; Noon to midnight on July 4; 5 to 11 p.m. on July 5; 1 to 11 p.m on July 6 & 7. Kimball Park & Recreation Center,  148 E. 12th Street, National City. Free admission, fees for food and activities.

Note that Imperial Beach has chosen not to be a part of the Big Bay Boom this year, and I can’t find any other Fourth of July activities scheduled for them.

Remember that fireworks are illegal throughout San Diego County. If you are caught using fireworks, the penalty can be as high as a $50,000 fine and a year in the slammer. Don’t do it, even though fireworks are cheap across the border. It’s not worth it. Go to one of the approved events listed above and enjoy time with your family and friends.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

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SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks show

Where to enjoy the Fourth of July nationwide

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks showCardHub, which promotes itself as “The Web’s Best Credit Card Resource,” has released a list of the Top 30 recommended destinations to enjoy the Fourth of July. CardHub compiled its list by using eight metrics — hotel prices, traffic congestion, walk score, number of arts establishments, weather forecast (chance of rain and expected temperature), and number of bars (a critical metric!) — among common vacation destinations to come up with its list. Here is the list:

30 – Kansas City MO (Don’t get lost and end up in Kansas City KS because it didn’t make the list!)

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks show29 – Baltimore MD

28/27 (tie) – Orlando FL and Tampa FL

26 – Pittsburgh PA

25 – Sacramento CA

24 – San Antonio TX (My favorite destination in Texas because of the River Walk)

23 – Houston TX

22 – Riverside CA

21 – Cincinnati OH

20 – Cleveland OH

19 – Las Vegas NV

18 – Dallas TX

17 – Denver CO

16 – Phoenix AZ

15 – St. Louis MO

14 – Washington DC

13 – Philadelphia PA

12 – Miami FL

11 – Atlanta GA

10 – Seattle WA

9/8 (tie) – Detroit MI and Portland OR (I think you’ll have more fun in Portland, but if you go to Detroit you can also go across the river to Windsor and have loads of fun!)

7 – San Diego CA (I can highly recommend this one. If you fly in, sit on the left side of the airplane. When you get here, you better call me! I’ll be really upset if I find out you came to San Diego and didn’t call, but at least I’ll know where I stand with you…….lol)

6 – Boston MA

5 – Minneapolis MN

4 – New York NY

3 – San Francisco CA

2 – Chicago IL

Fireworks over San Diego County1 – Los Angeles CA (not sure how L.A. got to #1 if they were using traffic congestion as a metric…. just saying ……. but they do have the greatest number of bars, 25,008 of them! I hope the entrepreneur who is opening his bar tomorrow, July 1, writes CardHub to let them know that he is #25,009.)

Remember that fireworks are dangerous, and in many areas, illegal. Here in California, only State-approved fireworks are allowed and even then there are only 295 communities that allow them. Fireworks of any kind are illegal throughout San Diego County, so if you have this intense desire to see fireworks, head on out to a community-sponsored and officially sanctioned fireworks show.

SeaWorld San Diego crowds for the 2012 fireworks show

SeaWorld San Diego crowds for the 2012 fireworks show

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If your State allows you to buy and use fireworks, please use them responsible. We don’t need any more wildfires like those that often hit California and those currently raging through Colorado.

I will have two more blog posts today, first about where the officially sanctioned fireworks displays will be in San Diego County, and then my personal recommendation on how to capture fireworks on film ooops, I mean with your digital camera.

SeaWorld San Diego 2012 fireworks show

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Turkey at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

They’re going to kill them all

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I always feel so sad after coming home from a livestock show because I know the the only purpose for the livestock most of the time is to kill them so that I can have my barbecued beef, barbecued chicken, barbecued turkey……. Maybe if I quit eating……..

Following are some pictures and three flash videos taken yesterday of the livestock at the 2013 San Diego County Fair.

Turkey at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Chickens at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rabbit at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sheep and lamb at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goats at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goat at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Goats at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pig at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Piglets at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cattle at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cattle at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This next cow, a steer named Spot, was the biggest cow I have ever seen in my life. I’m going to put him in the few thousand pounds category. He was huge!

Spot at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Spot is an 11-year-old Shorthorn X. He was a 4-H show steer in 2003 and was purchased at the Junior Livestock Auction and given a pardon by “Grandpa Bob.” Spot now lives the good life grazing in a lovely pasture in the Valley Center boondocks. You can follow Spot’s adventures on Facebook.

Following is a flash video of Spot.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As much as I liked Spot, and all the livestock, it was the Pig family which won my heart yesterday. Two flash videos of the Pig family acting like, well, pigs:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

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

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me to get out to the San Diego County Fair each year. Over 1.5 million people attended last year, making it the fifth largest fair in the United States, surpassed only by the State Fair of Texas, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Minnesota State Fair, and the Los Angeles County Fair. I mention that because I am a native Texan and have been to the two largest ones many times.

I’m used to going to these things and would think that since the San Diego County Fair runs from the second week of June to July 4 each year, it would be pretty easy to put just one day on my schedule! Surprisingly, it’s not that easy. After missing the Fair last year, I made it today! Yahooooooooo!

At this point in my life, I’m not into the games and rides much. I usually spend my time photographing the flowers, the unique gardens, and the animals.

Magnolia at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Garden at the San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pigs at the San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One difference this year is that Jim went with me. I usually have to go by myself because (1) he doesn’t like the sun and heat that is prevalent in June, (2) he doesn’t like the crowds, and (3) he doesn’t like the smell of nature in the pig, chicken, turkey, goat, and cattle pavilions.

He does, however, like the flowers and the gardens. Since I was taking photographs of everything that existed (341 photos and flash videos in three hours), Jim was wandering ahead of me. That’s when he found my favorite vendor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair:

Robert Fremont’s Unique Island Style Decor

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some of my personal favorites:

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

What attracted Jim to Robert Fremont’s Unique Island Style Decor were some light fixtures. You can see them smack dab in the center of the first picture, the colored spots. He had two different styles, one for $39 and one for $79. I guess you know which style Jim liked.

Yes, we bought one:

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I figured that since Jim is closing an escrow in a few days, and I have had a magnificent June in my home inspection business, I’d let him buy the light for his early birthday present (birthday is July 18).

If you need some unique island style decor for your pool, spa, tiki room, garden, or man cave, stop by Robert Fremont’s Unique Island Style Decor at the 2013 San Diego County Fair. It’s in the pavilion with all the spas, the rose competition, the dahlia competition, and the floral design competition. You can’t miss it!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Friday Flower Fiesta — A lily a day keeps romance in play

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Today’s Friday Flower Fiesta comes to you from the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden (LACA&BG) which is where Jim and I spent our 19th anniversary this past May 26.

I took so many pictures that it might take me until next May 26 to catalog them all and let you see most of them!

I still have the orchids and the bonsai to get to.

Meanwhile, though, following is a great collection of day lilies, looking prettier than the great majority of day lilies that are planted along San Diego’s freeways and streets.

All from the LACA&BG.

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day lily at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and I approve this post.This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition

How to relax when it’s 97°F

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The thermometer says that it got up to 97°F today, which made me wish I was back at the beach where I took the following two pictures last weekend at the Surf Dog Competition in Imperial Beach.

Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

Adobe Photoshop CC: Smart objects and perspective cropping

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Along with crappy skies (see Major disadvantage of living in San Diego: Sunshine), another pet peeve of mine is sloping buildings. If the sloping is so obvious that you know the picture was taken with a fisheye lens or the building is hundreds of feet tall, then the sloping is okay. It’s sloping as in Picture 1 that bugs me:

Picture 1Sloping building

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sloping is called “perspective” since your perspective of the building is that it’s sloping. Obviously, it’s not but it sure looks like it.

There are three slopes going on in Picture 1 which I show you in Picture 2 using red lines.

Picture 2Picture slopes

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those slopes are really annoying to me so I try to correct the perspective to give me nice squares and straight lines. I would prefer to do it quickly, too, and therein lies the problem. I never could find a quick way that would do a great job, until late yesterday.

Previously I would use the Perspective crop tool shown in Picture 3.

Picture 3Perspective crop tool

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If one tries to do too much at one time with the Perspective Crop Tool, it can get really nasty. For example, I tried to correct all three perspective problems at one time in the above picture and got Picture 4:

Picture 4Perspective cropped

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 4 is not bad but something about the perspective still bugs me. I see myself flying around like Peter Pan looking down on those people. Maybe the top of the picture is coming towards me. I don’t know, but it bugs me.

I have discovered that the best way to use the Perspective Crop Tool is:

(1) Reduce the picture to the size you’re going to use. The Perspective Crop Tool seems to work better on smaller pictures.

(2) Instead of doing one perspective crop, do three perspective crops, one on the horizontal line, one on the left line, and one on the right line.

When I sized the picture to 600 pixels tall and did three perspective crops, I got Picture 5.

Picture 5Perspective cropped

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t know if you can tell the difference on a blog picture, but in Picture 5 the perspective seems to be that I’m looking straight at the “Baja Betty’s” on the building instead of down on the people as in Picture 4.

Yesterday, though, I found a great way to let Photoshop do everything, do it well, and do it very quickly. It involves working with Smart Objects.

I had always wondered why so many menu items were grayed out and inaccessible. It’s because they only work on Smart Objects. So the first thing to do when you get your JPG into Photoshop is to convert it to a Smart Object. With your Layers panel open, right click on your background layer and then click on Convert to Smart Object, as shown in Picture 6.

Picture 6Smart Object

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With your file converted to a Smart Object, many more menu commands are now available. Two such commands are the Free Transform and the Transform commands. When you click on Free Transform, you get a bounding box around your picture with a big X through your picture, shown in Picture 7.

Picture 7Free Transform bounding box

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Click on any handle (the little white squares on the bounding box) and drag, and you can transform the picture any way you please.

You can also modify how the bounding box is transformed by holding modifier keys down as you click and drag the handles. Modifier keys include Shift, Ctrl, Alt and combinations of those three keys, such as Ctrl Shift Alt simultaneously. Try it and have some fun distorting your images.

If you click on EditTransform, you’ll have many more menu options, one of which is Perspective.

Picture 8 is what I see after clicking on Edit ► Transform ► Perspective and then holding Ctrl Shift Alt down simultaneously while clicking and dragging the bounding box handles:

Picture 8Boudning box

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

After accepting the changes, I’m left with Picture 9, which I’m happy with.

Picture 9Final perspective crop

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The main difference between the Perspective crop on a standard picture and a Perspective crop on a Smart Object is that the Smart Object takes far less time and, I think, Photoshop does a much better job of filling in cropped areas with its Content Aware function.

This tutorial was created using Photoshop CC but I discovered that this also works in Photoshop CS6.

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, DRE #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