Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sun bear at the San Diego Zoo

All tuckered out

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although many of the larger animals at the Zoo were out and about, many of them seemed to be all tuckered out after Thanksgiving:

Immature flamingoImmature flamingo at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

KoalaKoala at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

CamelCamel at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

LlamaLlama at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Striped hyenaStriped hyena at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sun bearSun bear at the San Diego Zoo

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?
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Bornean Sun Bear at the San Diego Zoo

What’s all the hubbub about?

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Our Thanksgiving tradition here is to spend the day at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, or SeaWorld.

Yesterday we did the Zoo and found this Bornean Sun Bear whiling away his time, wondering what all the hubbub was about:

Bornean Sun Bear at the San Diego Zoo

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, BRE #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

Silver Strand Training Complex

But what is it?

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was in Imperial Beach a couple of days ago, I walked out to the end of the Imperial Beach pier. It was an extraordinarily clear day, and looking back at shore, I saw something I’ve never seen before:

Silver Strand Training Complex

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That thing is huge! How could I have missed it all these years?

After I saw it from the pier, I first though, “What is it?” Then I rushed back to my car to go find it. Alas, I did find it, but there is no way we mere mortal citizens can get to it. That’s because it’s the Silver Strand Training Complex for the United States Navy. I had to take the following picture through a very high chain link fence.

Silver Strand Training Complex

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

According to Wikipedia, the Silver Strand Training Complex is the premier training facility for U.S. Special Operations Forces. The large, circular fencing is actually a Wullenweber direction finder antenna used until 1999 to provide direction finding, primary communication links for U.S. Navy submarines. It is known locally as the “elephant cage.”

Created in 1920 as the Navy Radio Compass Station, it has been renamed several times during the ensuing years: Navy Direction Finder Station (1940), Naval Radio Receiving Station Imperial Beach (1953), and Wullenweber Circular Disposed Antenna Array (1965). It was the last of its type to be built and was decommissioned in 1999.

The area owned by the U.S. Navy comprises 450 acres and provides an excellent training environment with its waterborne approaches from both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Ship systems testing occurs offshore, and the city-like layout of the base (see map below) provides a realistic site for critical urban warfare training.

Silver Strand Training Complex

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since 2010, Navy training at the Silver Strand Training Complex has increased, involving mine-sweeping training, amphibious operations, special warfare operations, and Littoral combat ship training for antisubmarine warfare.

There has been a lot of environmentalist opposition to the increased use of the Silver Strand Training Complex because of nearby populations of endangered wildlife species, such as the California Least Tern, the San Diego fairy shrimp, and the Western snowy plover.

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, BRE #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

Lonely sentinel

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t get sick very often, but when I do, it lasts sooooooooooooooooooooo long, as if it’s trying to make up for all the other times that I should have gotten sick but didn’t.

While I’ve been sick, I haven’t been able to add much to my photograph collection but I have had time to catalog a lot of pictures and post-process them in Photoshop CC.

I came across a picture late last night that was begging for me to have some fun applying various filters to it, especially since the picture’s focus was, as photographers say, soft.

I never throw such pictures away because the technology in today’s photo editing programs is just too powerful. With a little effort one can make something beautiful out of something so-so.

Here’s the original picture as it came out of the camera:

Lonely sentinel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think it has great composition, taking full advantage of the rule of thirds, but, along with the soft focus and lack of detail, it’s kind of flat and lacking contrast, especially for a landscape picture. Dull, boring, and uninteresting…. blah….

I did my initial post-processing in Adobe Camera Raw, as I always do, and got this:

Lonely sentinel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Much better contrast and colors, especially in the sky and tree. However, after doing that, I decided that I wanted more from that purple mountain majesty in the left third of the picture, and possibly even from the other mountains.

I took the second picture to the Topaz Adjust plugin for Photoshop and started applying filters to it to see if I could get something more significant in that purple mountain majesty. Here are the ones I liked:

Topaz Adjust classic collection detail medium filterLone sentinel with topaz classic collection detail medium filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust classic collection photo pop filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust classic collection photo pop filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust HDR collection dynamic brightness filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust HDR collection dynamic brightness filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection bold filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection bold filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection clarity filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection clarity filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection crisp filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection crisp filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection detail strong II filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection detail strong II filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection dramatic filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection dramatic filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection gritty I filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection gritty I filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection neutralizer filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection neutralizer filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection portrait drama filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection portrait drama filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I liked the detail in the mountains using the Vibrant Collection Gritty I filter best (third picture from the bottom). However, when I selected the mountains and then applied the Gritty I filter to them, they looked out of place with the rest of the picture. I needed detail but more purple mountains majesty. Next I chose the Vibrant Collection Bold filter, and I liked what it gave me. Here’s my final rendition:

Lonely sentinel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last picture, then, is a three-selection composite:

I first selected the marsh and the tree and applied the Topaz Adjust Classic Collection Detail Medium filter to them. That increased the contrast and detail. Next, I decreased the yellows just a smidgeon. My lens, a Tamron 28-300mm lens, has an overall yellow cast to it which the Adobe lens correction profiles knows about. However, I didn’t want to apply the lens correction to the whole picture, so I applied it manually just to the vegetation.

My second selection was the sky because I really wanted to increase the contrast between the blue and white to show how dramatic the clouds were. Great clouds are something we don’t see often in San Diego. I applied the Topaz Adjust Vibrant Collection Dramatic filter to the sky.

Lastly, I selected just the mountains and applied the Topaz Adjust Vibrant Collection Bold filter to them.

There you have it. Masks and layers are extremely powerful, letting you do some magnificent things to photos that otherwise would be simply snapshots. Most every good photo editing program has masks and layers. Learn how to use them and you can Wow! all your friends with the magnificence of your photography.

Smile if you know what song purple mountains majesty is from….

Location of the lonely sentinel:

Location of the lonely sentinel

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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, BRE #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

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Bibbey’s Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I love walking through a shop that sells seashells and other ocean- and beach-related items.

It’s amazing the variety of life that is in the oceans.

So when I found Bibbey’s Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, right across from the Imperial Beach Pier, I couldn’t resist spending some time there, especially since the outside of the shop is wrapped in ocean-themed murals, and I’ve really become a fan of murals during the past few years since I’ve had my camera.

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since Bibbey’s is in the most southwesterly city in the continental United States, Bibbey’s might be the most southwesterly shells, rocks & gift shop in the continental United States!

Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Just because the name is Bibbey’s Shell Shop doesn’t mean shells are all you can buy. Check out some of the other great items you can buy in the following pictures. My favorites are the seashell hot pads and the gold amethyst.

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shell Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And look at the cute nodding birds for your beach-front home or even for your landlocked garden:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

Bibbey's Shells, Rocks & Gift Shop in Imperial Beach, California

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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, BRE #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

Armadillo ambassador at the San Diego Zoo

Music on Mondays (11-25-13)—I wanna go home with the armadillo

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I recently discovered some Jerry Jeff Walker songs in my collection that are live recordings with no studio recordings to match.

So I went off in search of studio recordings.

I found L.A. Freeway:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I remember spending many an afternoon and evening during my junior and senior years at Texas A&M University (1975-1977) sitting in the Dixie Chicken playing 42 and pool, drinking beer, eating Deathburgers (still my all-time favorite hamburger!), and singing along to Jerry Jeff Walker.

Charlie Dunn

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Trivia: Charlie Dunn was a real person who made custom boots in Austin, Texas, for several decades. Friends sang “Charlie Dunn” at his funeral in 1993.

Gettin’ By

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Trivia: Jerry Jeff Walker’s real name is Ronald Clyde Crosby. Just doesn’t have the same country ring as Jerry Jeff Walker….

Desperados Waiting For A Train

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sangria Wine

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

London Homesick Blues

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Armadillo ambassador at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Smile if you played with armadillos as a child.

The Dixie Chicken opened in 1974, so by the time I discovered it, it was already a year old. Thirty-nine years later and it’s a Texas Aggie tradition.

Trivia: Jerry Jeff wrote Mr. Bojangles, covered by singers and bands both pop and country—Garth Brooks, Harry Belafonte, The Byrds, Jim Croce, Sammy Davis Jr., John Denver, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, and Dolly Parton, among many others.

Perhaps the most recognized version is that by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band which took it to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Trivia: Walker was inspired to write Mr. Bojangles while in a New Orleans jail for public intoxication in 1965. A homeless white man also in jail called himself “Mr. Bojangles” to conceal his identity from the police. “Mr. Bojangles” told a sad story about his dog, causing a cellmate to ask for something to lighten the mood. Mr. Bojangles obliged with a tap dance. Listen to the lyrics for the full story.

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, BRE #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