Monthly Archives: June 2014

We come in threes

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yes, Jim and I made it to opening night for the San Diego Nighttime Zoo yesterday.

In three hours I took 141 pictures and 13 videos.

It was the night of threes, though.

WE COME IN THREES

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Nighttime Zoo starts today!

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Today marks the beginning of the San Diego Nighttime Zoo for 2014. Instead of being open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m each day., the Zoo will stay open until 9:00 p.m. each and every day through September 1, 2014.

I love the Nighttime Zoo! Yahoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! (Smile if you think I’m excited!)

Remember that if you come to San Diego on business or vacation, contact me because I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, or SeaWorld. With enough notice, I can usually play docent for a day!

Also, if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the plane. The view of downtown San Diego as you are landing is awesome!

Following are some of my favorite pictures from past visits to the Zoo. Eventually, Photographic Art will be created from these pictures and Julian will upload them to my galleries at Fine Art America for purchase in many different forms (traditional prints, prints on metal or acrylic, posters, cell phone cases, etc.).

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Necking flamingos at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Albino burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocellated turkey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hippopotamuses at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giant panda at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bakka, cheetah ambassador of the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Koala female and one-year-old joey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bald eagle in residence at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Woma at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Maned wolves at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sudanese striped hyena, San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Polar bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingo chick at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cape clawless otter, San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Malayan tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hibiscus blooming in November at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monkey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red kangaroo at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Camel at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red Panda at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Serval at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Desert Bighorn Sheep at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Knobbed Hornbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Female red-cheeked gibbon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bornean Sun Bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Elephant at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Striped hyena at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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SNIPPETS (6-26-14)—Drill moms rule!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Recently I was at a mall that I had never been to before. After being there, I understood why I had never been there: It’s too difficult to get to unless you happen to live in the area.

As I was walking around the mall, I came across two large, tiled murals:

Tiled murals

Tiled murals

How cool it would be to visit your old neighborhood 20, 30, 40 years later and see a tiled mural comprising tiles of your high school friends, including one tile with YOUR name on it!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

I teach chess at after-school enrichment programs for a dozen elementary schools in San Diego County so I’m always pleased when I see people playing chess in unusual places, such as the waterfront in Coronado, across the bay from downtown San Diego.

Chess On The Waterfront

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

I don’t enjoy churches or religions because I think they waste too much money on things that don’t have anything to do with helping the poor, the needy, the sick, the homeless…. In fact, a couple of decades ago I quit my church when I found out the pastor had a million-dollar home and drove a Rolls Royce, but the church had no money to help feed the poor at Thanksgiving. You know, then, that I don’t have any patience whatsoever with people like Joel Osteen, living in a $12½ million Houston mansion and making over $40 million annually , tax free, as head of his church.

I have always enjoyed church architecture, though, such as this cute little country-style building in the middle of an older part of the City of San Diego:

Nestor Methodist Church

That’s the Nestor Methodist Church, and here’s Photographic Art of the steeple:

Nestor Methodist Church steeple

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

Jim has a listing at 5745 Friars Road, Unit 107, in Presidio Place, a large condominium complex with beautiful landscaping. They have some old ficus trees, old defined as with roots dangling from the branches, common to ficus trees.

One enterprising soul thought the roots would make a nice hanger for Mr. Sun:

Mr Sun

Jim’s listing is on YouTube, which means that I can embed the video here. Pictures are by, well, do I really need to say?

If you would like to move to Mission Valley, or buy a second home here, Presidio Place is in a great location at the western edge of Mission Valley. It’s quieter than the heart of the Valley yet still just minutes from major thoroughfares and freeways, San Diego Trolley stations, beaches, Old Town, University of San Diego, and SeaWorld.

SNIPPET #5

Speaking of SeaWorld, I try to go once a week, using my annual pass. SeaWorld San Diego opened in 1964, which means they are celebrating their fiftieth anniversary. They have new exhibits, new shows, and new signage.

Seaworld San Diego

Seaworld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

My main reason to have an annual pass is to ensure that I see ALL the wildlife because on any one visit, some might not be cooperative. Flamingos always are cooperative.

Flamingo at SeaWorld San Diego

As are the penguins:

Magellanic penguin at SeaWorld San Diego

I got my first good pictures of the African Crested Porcupine and the Nine-banded Armadillo at a recent visit.

African Crested Porcupine at SeaWorld San Diego

Nine-banded Armadillo at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #7

Anytime I see an armadillo, I spontaneously start singing “London Homesick Blues,” written by Gary P. Nunn. The following version by Jerry Jeff Walker is probably the best known version and features the Lost Gonzo Band, which included Gary P. Nunn on keyboards.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #8

Coming up on July 12 & 13 is the Reptile Super Show. Don’t let the name mislead you. Along with lizards, turtles, and frogs, they also always have spiders, such as this beautiful one from two years ago:

Tarantula

That reminds me of Mr. Alexander, my tenth grade biology teacher. He gave extra credit to students who brought in live wildlife for the day. After school, Mr. Alexander would be in the classroom interacting with the wildlife and talking with the students about the creatures.

Someone once brought a tarantula and, after school, Mr. Alexander was letting it walk up and down his arm. It was creepy but continued my wise old grandmother’s teachings about respect for all wildlife.

The advertisement in the San Diego Reader says that it is a fun & educational family event for ages 2-99. I think that if you’ve made it to 100, you should be able to go.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #9

If you are over the age of 55, or are a member of AAA, wherever you go, be sure to ask if they have senior discounts or AAA discounts. It’s amazing how many places do. Unfortunately, the discounts are not cumulative, so it’s one or the other. Hmmm. Alrighty, then, I choose to be a 16-year-old AAA member. Can anyone help me here?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #10

Julian on guitarJulian is in Texas spending money, which means he’s not here earning money working for Photographic Art! He’s only 16 years old but he’s awesome, and even from 1,500 miles away, he motivates this 59-year-old to do things that eventually will help both of us make some cool cash. So let’s see if Julian reads this blog post and finds this little snippet. Julian, if you find this, leave a comment and I’ll add a $10 bonus to your check for this week which means, of course, that since you’re in Texas all this week, your paycheck will be a whopping $10! Hey, that pays for 2½ gallons of gas for your new truck or motorcycle!

SNIPPET BONUS

When I’m working in the wee hours of the morning like this, Zoey the Cool Cat is always close by, either on the printer or on the desk.

Zoey the Cool Cat

It’s been several hours since I last saw her. I take a break every hour, and these past few hours I have used the break to look for her. Of course, she doesn’t come like a dog when you call her, so it’s all or nothing at each break.

She knows how to open cabinet and closet doors, so during my last break I went looking in the closets. Shoes and dirty clothes is all I found………………

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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We have the beach to ourselves!

Picture of the Moment

I left home at 5:30 this morning to head on over to Warwick’s book store in La Jolla, about 30 miles away, where Hillary Clinton was due to sign copies of her book. I got there at 6:00 and the line was a block long, with 359 people in it. When I left at 9:30, the line was three deep in front of Warwick’s and, as far as I could count, totaled 1,321 people. It was moving, too, so that was a floating number. Took 285 pictures and 10 videos in La Jolla.

For the past decade, harbor seals have created a rookery at La Jolla Cove. Rich, snobby La Jollans have tried to drive the seals away, even to the point of harassing them during pupping season. Harassing marine mammals is a federal crime but no one seems to want to do anything to harass the rich and snobby.

As I walked around La Jolla this morning, I found the beaches empty and got lots of great pictures of the harbor seals. I couldn’t resist making Photographic Art out of this one and adding a caption:

Harbor seals in La Jolla, California

Let’s hear it for Hillary and the harbor seals! Yahoooooooooooooo!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Wish I got a three-week vacation…..

Out & About

Julian has deserted me, choosing to go visit relatives in Texas rather than stay here and work for Photographic Art. Imagine if he had gone to work for, say, Target and, after just a couple of months on the job, said, “I’m going to take a three-week vacation”………….. Good thing I’m flexible. 🙂

Since he’s gone, though, I don’t have to figure out how to keep him busy; the State of Texas is doing that for him. Thus I have finished cataloging and processing all the big tree pictures from Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park from when I went to the Spring fundraiser on May 3 for Cat House on the Kings.

Following are Photographic Art from my final batch of pictures. They won’t be available at our Fine Art America galleries until Julian gets back from Texas.

View of the valley from Generals Highway, the loop road that goes through the two national parks:

View from Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park

Part of the Giant Forest, named by John Muir after his first visit to the area:

The Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park

The only Visitor Center that we came across. Generals Highway pretty much is a DIY drive.

Visitor Center

The following picture shows three stages of life for the big trees, dying (with the green lichens on it), dead (left tree), and really dead (right tree).

Stages of Life

There were plenty of benches lining the walkways through the Giant Forest. Jim and I made use of several of them.

Not In Use

Following is the General Sherman tree, often called the largest living organism on planet Earth.

General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park

For true tree fans like me with my degree in Forest Management from Texas A&M University, that has to be qualified. It is not the tallest, it is not the widest, and it is not the oldest. However, at 275 feet tall, a trunk diameter of 25 feet, an estimated volume of 52,513 cubic feet, and an estimated age of at least 2,300 years, it is among the tallest, widest and oldest of all trees on the planet. Here’s a picture of the base of the trunk of the General Sherman tree:

Base of the trunk of the General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park

Following is the walkway that took us to the General Sherman tree, a walk among giants.

Walking among giants in Sequoia National Park

On the way out of Sequoia National Park, driving south, there are some spectacular views, such as the following of Deer Ridge and Moro Rock:

Deer Ridge in Sequoia National Park faa framed

Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park

Lastly, a few pictures that I thought made fine, fine, fine Photographic Art:

Been Burned
Been burned

Fissures
Fissures

It’s A Wash
It's A Wash

Down For The Count
Down For The Count

Returning From Whence It Came
Returning From Whence It Came

As the big tree forest merged with the drier forests at lower elevations, cactus started creeping into the mix, such as yuccas which were blooming. I had to do a U-turn to go back and get these three pictures:

Twin Spikes

Yuccas

Yuccas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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Halls of History—Billions and billions served

Halls of History

When I started college at Texas A&M University in September 1973, I lived in Moore Hall, a dormitory just feet from a McDonald’s restaurant at Northgate. It became my go-to dining experience if I missed eating in Sbisa Hall, and for late evening, midnight, and after-midnight snacks.

Texas A&M UniversityWhen I moved off campus for my sophomore year, it was more of an effort to get to McDonald’s at Northgate, several miles away. Fortunately, there was another McDonald’s a half mile from me on Harvey Road. Since it was on the way to campus, it became my daily dining experience for the final three years of my undergraduate experience.

I lived in Houston from May 1977 to April 1983 and never did find a McDonald’s to call my own.

When I moved back to College Station in April 1983, McDonald’s on Harvey Road again became my go-to eatery…. for ten years!

When I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993, I immediately looked for a McDonald’s. Amazingly, there was one in Hillcrest right behind the Center for Social Services, which is where I “came out,” and where my life was centered for the next eleven months.

Recently, I discovered that the McDonald’s at 1414 University Avenue in Hillcrest was built in 1977 but is an original McDonald’s location from the 1960s. Here it is:

McDonald's in Hillcrest, San Diego, California

My discovery came about because two of the three original locations remaining in San Diego County were in the news.

One is at 1146 East Valley Parkway in Escondido, about 30 miles northeast of Hillcrest, and the building was recent demolished and rebuilt, now looking like this:

McDonald's in Escondido, California

That restaurant was not yet open when I went by on June 6. It should be open now.

The third oldest location, at 137 Canyon Drive in Oceanside, about 30 miles due north of Hillcrest,  is the one that was making the biggest headlines here. It looked like this on June 6:

McDonald's in Oceanside, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Along with it being an original location dating from the 1960s, it also has one of the few remaining signs stating how many billions of burgers had been sold:

Mcdonald's in Oceanside, California

If you look at your local McDonald’s, it probably says something like “BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SOLD.” The sign at the Hillcrest location says “BILLIONS SOLD.”

McDonald’s pre-corporation history started when Richard and “Mac” McDonald opened a barbecue restaurant at 1398 North E Street in San Bernardino, California, on May 15, 1940. The San Bernardino location is now an unofficial McDonald’s museum owned by the Juan Pollo restaurant chain (not related to El Pollo Loco).

McDonald’s as a corporation was founded on April 15, 1955, when Ray Kroc opened the ninth McDonald’s restaurant after, according to one source, having purchased McDonald’s equity and assets from Richard and Maurice. The real story of Kroc’s purchase might never be known because there is a lot of disagreement about how it came about.

Ray Kroc’s aggressive business practices were the subject of the song “Boom, Like That,” released in 2004 by Mark Knopfler, formerly the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Dire Straits.

Ray Kroc, who had joined McDonald’s as a franchise agent in 1955, lived much of his life, and died, right here in San Diego. He owned the San Diego Padres professional baseball team from 1974 until his death in 1984.

Just a mile down the road from me is The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which has one of San Diego County’s year-round ice skating rinks. Regretfully, the Salvation Army is quite homophobic so I have not been by to visit the facility and, thus, have no pictures of it. And you won’t find a link from my blog to their web site; you’ll have to find it on your own if you’re interested.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift?
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I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

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Play like there’s no tomorrow!

Out & About

 One of my favorite places to go walking is at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach.

Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

See location on Google maps

Following is Photographic Art of some of my favorite doggie pictures from a recent Dog Beach walk:

I’m back!I'm back!

So that’s the ocean….So that's the ocean....

I got it!I got it!

Sometimes you get wet….Sometimes you get wet

At the beach
At the beach

Tiptoe
Tiptoe

Happy dog
Happy dog

Play like there’s no tomorrow!
Play like there's no tomorrow!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance

Out & About

I belong to several meetup.com groups which give me the opportunity to meet people, and to do new and different things. Probably the best meetup.com group I belong to is the Pacific Photographic Society. As of this very minute (which will be a minute in the past by the time you read this), we have 1,423 members.

Last Wednesday, being a member got me into a private garden to walk around, admire, and take pictures. This wasn’t just any garden, though. The owners have been there since 1978, spending 36 years creating a fairy tale garden of beauty and whimsy. They call it Bird Song.

I took 105 pictures in just 65 minutes, a little under my average per minute, but I had to take time to dance like a fairy.

Leave room in your garden for the fairies to dance

I never did find a good vantage point to take a picture of the house. The following is the best I got, and it’s a photomerge of four photos:

Bird Song

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We were invited to walk around at our own leisurely pace or join a tour led by the master creator of the gardens. I decided to walk around, albeit at a faster pace—I have found that being first allows me to get more pictures since I don’t have to wait my turn while others take their pictures.

Following is a collection of Photographic Art based on pictures of Bird Song. They don’t do justice to the gardens but they do show you some of the fantasy, whimsy, imagination, fun, and fairy tales of these beautiful gardens.

First up are some of the plants, for to be a garden, there must be plants!

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song plants

Bird Song

There was a pond with koi, a beautiful spa, and a water fall, which won me over. Listening to running water is so relaxing.

Bird Song waterfall

The best part of the gardens for me was the imagination and fantasy that was on display. These rock ants were awesome:

Bird Song rock ants

Bird Song rock ants

The wildlife was everywhere, not surprising for such beautiful gardens.

Bird Song frog

Bird Song frog

Bird Song frog

Bird Song lizard

Bird Song cat

Bird Song covey of quail

Bird Song fish

Bird Song goat

Bird Song snail

Bird Song  butterflies

Bird Song bird

Picture opportunities were here, there, and everywhere.

Bird Song bottles

Bird Song

Bird Song birdhouse

Bird Song  bench and pillows

Bird Song  stairs

Bird Song

Bird Song

Bird Song

Sometimes the plants helped complete the fantasy, as with the “hair” in these two Photographic Art:

Bird Song

Bird Song

Alice and her cohorts were present in their own Wonderland.

Bird Song

Bird Song

I am a home inspector in one of my professions, so the propane tank caught my attention, ranking as the most beautiful propane tank ever!

Bird Song propane tank

As I was rushing to leave, I saw one final picture opportunity at the gate:

Bird Song

I have known about Bird Song for a couple of decades now but have never had the opportunity to visit. Thus, I would be remiss if I did not thank the Pacific Photographic Society and Maxine Hesse for making it possible. Of course, a special thanks to Frank and Susan Oddo for letting 28 photographers traipse around their gardens for a few hours. The memories will last much longer than the experience itself.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!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

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

A selection of birds from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday was the San Diego Zoological Society’s Members Appreciation Day. Each year they have a big dinner and entertainment at the Safari Park since it has more room (about 2,000 acres more!) than the Zoo. However, I only have to travel seven miles to go to the Zoo whereas Safari Park is forty miles from me. The dinner and entertainment also take place after Safari Park has closed which means we have the whole park all to ourselves, which is kind of nice.

I averaged 99 pictures per hour for the time I spent at Safari Park yesterday. I have decided to share ten pictures with you today! All of birds. Now tell me you’re excited. Go ahead. Tell me….

Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impeyanus)
Native to the Himalayas.
Himalayan Monal at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The little guy above was very aggressive, charging anyone within about eight feet and attempting to peck them. He was pretty fast, too. We think he was protecting a nestmate, which would be logical since its mating season is April through August.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

White-headed Lapwing (Vanellus albiceps)
Native to tropical Africa, preferring areas near large rivers.
White-headed Lapwing at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)
Widespread throughout Africa.
African Spoonbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus)
Native to grasslands and semi-desert areas
in the mountains of southern Africa.
Southern Bald Ibis at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
Native to the Caribbean and tropical areas of South America.
Scarlet Ibis at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata)
Native to Africa and South AmericaWhite-faced Whistling Duck at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)
An endangered bird from Eurasia.Red-breasted Goose at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Coscosroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba)
Native to South America, it is the smallest of the birds called “swans.”Coscoroba Swan at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pink-backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens)
Native to Africa, Arabia, and India.Pink-backed Pelican at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lastly, I would be remiss in my dedication to Julian, Database Manager at Russel Ray Photos (and all-around AWESOME guy!), if I did not include a picture of his favorite bird, the Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex). Safari Park has two of these magnificent birds. I walked around the island and finally found a spot where I could get both birds in the same picture. (If Julian reads this post and finds this insert, I shall provide him with a monetary bonus.) They are solitary birds, but these two are on the same island together, and they were having a stare-down that lasted the full 15 minutes that I spent watching them. The expression of the one bird seems to indicate a slight displeasure with the other shoebill being in its territory.

Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)
A vulnerable species native to swamps in Africa.Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#1: El Prado Designation Area, part 11

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 9
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 10

El Prado Area Designation

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Next to the San Diego Museum of Art is the Timken Museum of Art.

Timken Museum of Art

Timken Museum of Art San Diego

Of all the buildings in Balboa Park, this one seems most out of place because its architecture does not match the predominant Spanish architecture. It was designed by San Diego architect John Mock and is considered one of the most important examples of mid-century southern California modernism, as well as one of the finest examples in the United States of the International Style. Construction materials include travertine, bronze, and glass, embracing the landscape of Balboa Park from its lobby, and making great use of natural light created by pioneer lighting designer Richard Kelly.

Putnam Foundation Art CollectionThe Timken Museum of Art houses the world-class Putnam Foundation Art Collection and is considered one of the great “small museums” of the world. It is the only museum in Balboa Park which does not have an admission fee. Donations, of course, are happily accepted, and memberships are available.

The Putnam Foundation Collection dates back to the early part of the 20th century when sisters Anne and Amy Putnam came to San Diego. During their extensive travels, they developed a love of fine art and spent decades acquiring European old master paintings, mostly for public collections in San Diego, but also for their own private collection. They established the nonprofit Putnam Foundation in 1951, and subsequent acquisitions became part of the Putnam Foundation Collection.

The Timken Museum of Art was founded in 1965 as a permanent home for the Putnam Foundation Collection, featuring paintings from European and American old masters. Notable artists represented in the collection include Rembrandt, Rubens, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, John Singleton Copley, and Eastman Johnson. The museum also is noted for its collection of Russian icons, icons here having a totally different meaning than in today’s computer world.

Since I only today realized that the Timken Museum of Art always has free admission, I scurried over to Balboa Park and made my way to the museum. I was quite impressed.

They don’t allow any photography whatsoever, so one either has to search for hours on Wikipedia or Google royalty-free images to find something, or you can go directly to the Timken Museum of Art online gallery.

I did find a royalty-free image of the one painting that I found the most impressive:

Death of the Virgin, Petrus Christi, Timken Museum of Art, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I couldn’t find a royalty-free image with the frame, so I used a picture and put my own antique wood, museum-quality frame around it.

This probably was the largest painting in the museum, measuring a whopping 67×54 inches. I am not much into religious paintings, but I found the history of this painting to be interesting. In art, a painting’s history is called its provenance.

Titled “Death of the Virgin,” Petrus Christus (unk.-1475/6) painted this from 1460-65 using oil on oak panel. It is his largest known work and was originally the centerpiece of a triptych. The two side panels were destroyed during World War II, a fate of many works of art during that time.

Its provenance has been traced back to the town of Sciacca in Sicily during the 16th century. Various families in Palermo and Bagheria, Sicily, owned it until it was sold to Knoedler & Company of New York in 1938. The Putnam Foundation acquired it in 1951.

It has not been registered as stolen or missing by the Art Loss Register database, nor is it known to be an art loss related to World War II. Barring any future research revealing it to be stolen or missing, it will most likely remain here in San Diego at the Timken Museum of Art.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

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

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray