Monthly Archives: July 2013

Agave

DogDay — You are the world to your dog

DogDay

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Upcoming events for Second Chance Dog Rescue, an organization for which I volunteer:

  • August 3, Pet Adoption Event at Petco, 3495 Sports Arena Boulevard, San Diego, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • August 3, Fundraiser at the Grand Re-opening Party for Your Dog’s Groomer, 10783 Jamacha Boulevard, Suite 3, Spring Valley, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • August 5, Fundraiser at Slater’s 50/50 Burgers By Design (an excellent restaurant!), 2750 Dewey Road, Suite 193, Liberty Station, San Diego.
  • August 10, Pet Adoption Event at the 8th Annual Dog Days of Summer at 101 Main Street, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • August 10, Pet Adoption Event at Petco, 8501 Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

A selection of dogs currently available for adoption from Second Chance Dog Rescue (click on the dog’s name to go directly to its dog adoption page):

Abricot

Abricot

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Adler

Adler

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Agave

Agave

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Alberta

Alberta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Analise

Analise

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ares

Ares

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Armando

Armando

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Axal

Axal

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you want a dog for your family, please consider adopting from Second Chance Dog Rescue. All of the dogs with Second Chance Dog Rescue are in foster homes. There is no central location or shelter where all of them are kept, so they would love for YOU to take them to their forever home.

Visit Second Chance Dog Rescue to see pictures and find information about all the dogs that are available for adoption. Currently there are 160 adoptable dogs listed on the Second Chance Dog Rescue web site. Following is a selection of eight dogs; I took the original picture and created a black & white drawing with Photoshop CC. Click on the dog’s name or the drawing to go directly to the original picture on the Second Chance Dog Rescue adoption page.

Second Chance Dog Rescue is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and can always use donations of time, food, leashes and collars, pet gates, and, of course, money. Click on the Donations page for further information. Donations make a difference in the lives of our fine, furry, four-legged friends.

T-shirt seen at a recent dog adoption event:

You are the world to your dog

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

P.S. I have added a comment to my previous video art post explaining where the video was taken. Click here to go directly to the comment.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Video art

video logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I first started using my Canon 550D to take videos, I wasn’t comfortable with the medium because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, what I wanted to accomplish.

Now I’m a few months into videos and having a lot of fun with “flash videos,” such as this one:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Any idea what you’re watching?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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Walrus

SeaWorld visit on July 28, 2013

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have been so busy with home inspections this summer that I have neglected going to SeaWorld. That changed on Sunday when the scheduled home inspection was postponed at the last minute.

Some of my competition charge a cancellation fee if the cancellation is less than 24 hours before the scheduled inspection. I do not. As I often tell prospective Clients and Realtors: “If you have to cancel the inspection at the last minute, I’ll simply take a little mini-vacation and go to the Zoo or SeaWorld. That’s how I’m able to make myself available to you 24/7 down the road.”

A lot changed at SeaWorld between Sunday and my previous visit on April 19, 2013. The entrance has been moved, and the exit has been moved to near the entrance. Trying to get out of SeaWorld on a busy weekend day is horrible…. one exit line (and it was a line!) versus about twenty entrance lines…. mass confusion…. It’s like SeaWorld is trying to prevent people from leaving….

Following are a few pictures of the wildlife at SeaWorld, including a couple of flash videos.

Eurasian Eagle-Owl

Eurasian Eagle-owl

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Harris’s Hawk

Harris's Hawk

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walrus

Walrus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Magellanic Penguin (adult)

Magellanic Penguin

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Magellanic Penguin (chick)

Unknown bird

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flipper about to chow down on a fish

Flipper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

American Beaver

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manta roller coaster

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manta Rays

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Seagull

Music on Mondays — Begin by knowing that you have already arrived

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For today’s Music on Mondays, I thought we’d listen to (relaxing) music from one of my favorite Neil Diamond albums: “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” released in November 1973. Diamond wrote the music for the movie based on the book by Richard Bach. I can highly recommend the book, the movie, and the music. The book is a mere 112 pages but has great lessons for life within those pages.

From Wikipedia:

SeagullThe book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food, the meaningless materialism, conformity, and limitation of the seagull life. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads an idyllic life.

SeagullOne day, Jonathan is met by two gulls who take him to a “higher plane of existence” in that there is no heaven but a better world found through perfection of knowledge, where he meets other gulls who love to fly. He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn make him “pretty well a one-in-a-million bird.” In this new place, Jonathan befriends the wisest gull, Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous learning, teaching him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the Universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to “begin by knowing that you have already arrived.” Not satisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like him, to bring them his learning and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, gathering around him others who have been outlawed for not conforming. Ultimately, the very first of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, becomes a teacher in his own right and Jonathan leaves to teach other flocks.

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

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walrus at SeaWorld San Diego

Reward for spitting?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you are heading to SeaWorld San Diego, you can buy tickets online.

If you have a smartypants phone, you can show them your ticket on your smartypants phone.

However, a recent trip to SeaWorld San Diego (a few hours ago) revealed that paper tickets and smartypants phone tickets are not created equal.

There are dozens of lines to get into SeaWorld, but the paper ticket lines are much shorter than the smartypants phone ticket lines.

So…………………..

If you want to get into SeaWorld quickly, print your ticket on paper.

If you enjoy standing around in long, long, long, long lines, just keep it on your smartypants phone.

Finally!

I knew eventually someone in the world would give preference to those of us without smartypants phones!

That’s a big walrus at SeaWorld San Diego. Walruses can get up to 3,700 pounds, which is, I believe, a tad more than that lady rewarding this one for spitting.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool CatThis 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

Regulated garbage in San Diego, California

Regulated garbage

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My birth state of Texas claims it is a business-friendly state.

In the case of the massive fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, which killed 15 (current count), injured about 160, and damaged or destroyed about 150 buildings, that business-friendly environment apparently meant that federal regulations were summarily dismissed and ignored, perhaps since 1985 according to some reports.

Is that the kind of business-friendly environment we want?

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation, but the plant apparently has a long history of theft. Reports indicate that people were stealing anhydrous ammonia to make methamphetamine. Despite the thefts, the plant had no security guards or burglar alarms, and didn’t have a surveillance system until 2009.

West Fertilizer Company is a private company owned by Adair Grain, another private company. Interestingly, Governor Rick Perry is anti-government (federal government that is, certainly not anti-himself and anti-his-state-government). But each time a disaster happens in Texas, he’s the first to go running to the federal government for assistance (fighting the wildfires a couple of years ago) and he never misses an opportunity to ask the federal government for financial help in cleaning up after the disasters.

Even with a private company, Gov. Perry went to the federal government and asked for help in rebuilding the private company’s infrastructure and caring for their employees. Hmmm. I’m a pretty compassionate individual, having spent most of my life volunteering with Red Cross, American Heart Association, ASCPA, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and many others, but I’m thinking that a private company ought to have appropriate insurance to cover things like this. Of course, they don’t. They play the odds in saving annual premiums while knowing that something like this is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Much has been made of FEMA’s June 13 decision not to provide additional aid to the city of West. The key word there, missed by so many people, is “additional.” On April 22, five days after the explosion, President Obama issued an Emergency Declaration which gave Texas aid with 75% federal funding. People don’t understand what an Emergency Declaration is, and rarely read through the news reports since Emergency Declarations are usually issued in the aftermath of an event, an aftermath which usually has many people nationwide involved in recovery efforts.

California is the exact opposite of Texas. We have lots of regulations here.

Regulated garbage in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California still has 38,041,000 people living here, and more moving in each day. Sure, there are people and businesses leaving California, such as Buck Knives, founded in San Diego in 1902, moved to Idaho in 2005. There are new businesses being founded every day and for some strange reason, the population keeps increasing.

I find it interesting that California seems to be affected only by natural disasters such as earthquakes and events caused by criminals known as arsonists. I haven’t been able to find anything in recent California history of an event like the West Fertilizer Company explosion, or infrastructure collapsing like the I35W bridge in Minneapolis in 2007. In fact, after the 1989 World Series Earthquake which destroyed several Interstates in the Bay Area, Californians passed more taxes (note that I said “Californians” — people — and not “California,” which would have implied “the government”) to be proactive in retrofitting highway bridges in the State, all of them. Minnesota, on the other hand, has done very little in the ensuing six years to address the outdated bridges in the State, and since most of them were built in the 1960s and ’70s, the future probably holds more such disasters.

As Mr. Spock said so quaintly in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” One can ignore problems, but they won’t go away, they won’t fix themselves all on their own, fixes are not free, and cleaning up after ignoring the fixes definitely isn’t free.

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

African Lion at the San Diego Zoo

Caturday — Big cats

Cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Some recent big cat pictures from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.

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Jaguar

Jaguar at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Snow Leopard

Snow leopard at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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African Lion (male)

African Lion at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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African Lion (female)

African lion at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Cheetah

Cheetah at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Fishing Cat

Fishing cat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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African lion (female)

Africa lion (male) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Caracal

Caracal at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Siberian Tiger

Siberian Tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Black Jaguar

Black Jaguar at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Jaguar
This is a mommy with two cubs,
which might explain the look on her face.

Jaguar at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool CatLooking 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

History Through Philately — Happy birthday to the United States postal system!

History Through Philately stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On this date in 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the United States postal system. That was almost a full year before the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776.

According to History.com:

Today, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with over 700,000 career workers, who handle more than 44 percent of the world’s cards and letters. The postal service is a not-for-profit, self-supporting agency that covers its expenses through postage (stamp use in the United States started in 1847) and related products. The postal service gets the mail delivered, rain or shine, using everything from planes to mules. However, it’s not cheap: The U.S. Postal Service says that when fuel costs go up by just one penny, its own costs rise by $8 million.

Following are some of my favorite United States postage stamps, one from each decade.

Benjamin Franklin
My favorite scientist born in the current United States (Boston).
Scott #1, issued in 1847

Scott #1 Benjamin Franklin

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite president, possibly because he also was a scientist.
Scott #29 issued in 1859

Scott #29 Thomas Jefferson

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Steam Locomotive
Any stamp with a train on it is going to be a favorite!
Scott #114 issued in 1869

Scott #114 Locomotive

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zachary Taylor
Most early stamps had pictures of people in profile.
This was the first non-profile picture stamp that I added
to my stamp collection. At the time it cost me a whopping
$300, but the few other stamps that had non-profile
pictures cost $1,000 or more. So I had to settle.
Scott #179 issued in 1875

Scott #179 Zachary Taylor

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry
This was the first stamp for which I paid over $1,000 for.
It was also my first stamp with a face value higher than ten cents.
Scott #218 issued in 1888

Scott #218 Commodore Perry

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Christopher Columbus
This was the first stamp in my collection with a face value over $1.
Scott #245 issued in 1893

Scott #245 Christopher Columbus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Empire State Express
Notice that the train is upside down. This was caused
by multiple pass printing, i.e., the sheet of paper was
printed first with color and then run through again
to be printed with black. Called an “invert,” they are
rare and expensive. I never owned this one because it
was simply too expensive, currently costing around $60,000.
Scott #295a issued in 1901

Scott #295a Empire State Express

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Golden Gate
A couple of decades before the Golden Gate Bridge was built.
Scott #399 issued in 1913

Scott #399 Golden Gate

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Head of Freedom on the U.S. Capitol Dome
Bicolor stamps were a favorite of mine.
Scott #573 issued in 1923

Scott #573 Head of Ffreedom on the Capitol Dome

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Texas Centennial featuring Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin
I was born in Texas, so Texas stamps were another favorite of mine.
Scott #776 issued in 1936

Scott #776 Texas Centennial

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

John Philip Sousa
Even though I played the piano and the violin,
I have always been in love with march music,
and there’s no one better than John Philip Sousa.
Scott #880 issued in 1940

Scott #880 John Philip Sousa

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Railroad Engineers of America
My dad was an engineer with Missouri Pacific Railroad.
Scott #993 issued in 1950

Scott #993 Railroad Engineers of America

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Chief Joseph
This was one of the first multicolored postage stamps.
Previously stamps were one- to four-color printing.
Scott #1364 issued in 1968

Scott #1364 Chief Joseph American Indian

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Canadian International Philatelic Exhibition
Also in the late 1960s, the Postal Service realized that they could make a lot
of money by catering to philatelists. All they had to do was issue lots of postage
stamps each year. Philatelists who collected unused stamps would buy every one
of them and store them rather than using them to require the Postal Service to
actually do work, like delivering mail. They went from issuing a dozen stamps
each year  to issuing many dozens, often attached to each other.
That’s when I quit collecting  unused stamps; not sure if the
USPS factored into their profits the people who quit.
Scott #1757 issued in 1978

Scott #1757 Canadian International Philatelic Exhibition

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Weaver violins
I played the violin from the age of 6 to 38.
Not good to take your violin to the beach.
Scott #1813 issued in 1980

Scott #1813 Violins

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue Jay
Screech owls and blue jays inhabited our yard when I was growing up,
and my wise old grandmother loved them both, as do I.
Scott #2483 issued in 1995

Scott #2483 Blue Jay

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Spay and neuter your pet!
Please! There are tens of thousands of dogs and cats
killed each year because there are not enough forever homes.
By spaying and neutering your pet, we can prevent that.
Scott #3670 issued in 2002

Scott #3670 Spay and neuter your cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Animal Rescue — Adopt A Shelter Pet
Throughout the years all of my adopted pets — Bosco, Bougher, Union, Pacific,
Zoey the Cool Cat — have come from animal shelters. Please adopt!
Scott #4454 issued in 2010

Scott #4454 Adopt a shelter pet

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

Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Friday Flower Fiesta — The 2013 San Diego County Fair dahlia show

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Our Friday Flower Fiesta today features Dahlias from the 2013 San Diego County Fair. Almost 1.5 million people attended the Fair during its three-week run, and the flower shows are always some of the most popular.

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last Dahlia picture below is a little different. It was the first one I worked on right after I had updated Photoshop CC with a quick download “to solve bug issues” according to Adobe. Well, after letting Photoshop CC update itself, I noticed that some of the Camera Raw controls were working a little differently.

Previously the Clarity slider would increase the clarity. “Logical,” Mr. Spock would say. Now it doesn’t seem to do much with clarity but appears to be more of a contrast control, controlling darkness and lightness, something that the Contrast slider always did quite well.

What’s more disconcerting, though, is that the Clarity slider now introduces a lot of noise. Previously I really didn’t have a problem with noise in 99% of my photographs. Now I seem to have a problem in all of them!

So with the final Dahlia picture (remembering that it was actually the first one I worked on), I was taking slider controls to their extreme to see what they did, and I think this one is a pretty good artsy picture:

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

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

 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

Castle at the beach in La Jolla, California

Castle at the beach

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This castle at the beach overlooks La Jolla Shores Beach, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, and The Marine Room (one of the finest places to eat, especially at high tide when the waters smash against the floor-to-ceiling windows).

Castle at the beach in La Jolla, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think it also overlooks Mexico, Japan, Thailand, China……….

I wonder if they will let me stay in the changing room at the bottom of the grand staircase.

Remember that if you are in California, you can walk on the beach up to the mean high tide line, even if the beach is fenced off and signs proclaim “No Trespassing.” California beaches are public property and always open to the public, notwithstanding homeowners’ signs, fencing, and other efforts to take possession of the beaches in front of their properties.

Castle at the beach in La Jolla, California

View Larger Map

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