Monthly Archives: July 2015

Suspension bridges right here in San Diego!

Out & About

Ever since staycations became fashionable about eight years ago, I have been endeavoring to explore San Diego County—cities, rural areas, monuments, beaches, forests, parks, tourist attractions. Anything and everything is subject to Russel Ray’s Exploration Team, defined as Russel and his Canon camera.

Recently the Exploration Team stopped by San Dieguito County Park, a 125-acre park located on the border between the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach.

san dieguito county park map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

san dieguito county park logoInterestingly, the park doesn’t open until 9:30 in the morning. I feel sorry for the early morning joggers.

The park is home to the Miracle Field, a fully accessible baseball field that accommodates children and adults with special needs.

There is a wide variety of recreational activities, including playgrounds, exercise stations, a basketball court, pavilions, a wedding gazebo, large open lawn areas, picnic areas, barbecue facilities, restrooms, drinking fountains, plenty of parking………

…….and trails! Lots of trails! With two suspension bridges at the top of Activity Hill!

The main trail:

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Where I wanted to go:

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Short suspension bridge:

img_0285 san diego county park trail suspension bridge stamp

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Long suspension bridge:

img_0288 san diego county park trail suspension bridge stamp

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The view from the top of a purple mountain majesty:

img_0317 san diego county park trail stamp

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La Jolla panorama at low tide

Picture of the Moment

When you come to the San Diego area, check out the low tide tables and then make sure that you visit La Jolla.

The place is beautiful anytime but even more so at low tide.

Here’s an example, which you can click on to get a monster version:

img_0244-0251 panorama la jolla low tide small

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

la jolla map

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I know where you’ve been and what you like!

Picture of the Moment

Many decades ago, the summer after high school, two friends—Larry and Jaime—and I took a 3-month tour of the land west of the Mississippi River.

We stopped at the Royal Gorge in Colorado, parked in the lot, and toured the Royal Gorge.

When we got back to the car, there was a Royal Gorge bumper sticker on Larry’s brand new 1973 Buick Apollo. Larry was furious. Since the bumper sticker was new, Larry was successful at removing it.

We stopped by the Royal Gorge headquarters on the way out and Larry gave them a piece of his mind about putting bumper stickers on cars without asking permission.

I have never had bumper stickers on my cars, and the only window stickers I have allowed are Texas A&M University stickers and parking permit stickers.

There are people who have so many stickers on their cars that I’m pretty sure the stickers are what’s holding the car together. It’s kind of fun to read them, though, because you know exactly where they live, where they have traveled, their political preferences, and sometimes much more. Here’s one that I saw recently in Ocean Beach:

img_0108 car ocean beach stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

They obviously like Hodad’s, a cool burger joint that I like, too.

Ocean Beach is one of those neighborhoods where the bumper sticker mentality sometimes creeps into the yards, such as this house:

img_0082 ocean beach signs stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I can tell that they like to hang out in Ocean Beach on Sunset Cliffs (beautiful homes with an ocean view), Dog Beach (I’m betting they have a dog), and Newport Avenue (main drag).

They also like to eat at Hodad’s, Pizza Port, and Lucy’s Tavern, all in Ocean Beach.

Considering all the chairs in their front yard, and the little sign that says “Come on in. Leave tracks.” they might never have a need to leave Ocean Beach!

And that very much is the prevailing attitude of Ocean Beach residents—If they never had to leave their little piece of paradise, they wouldn’t.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocean Beach

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Animal rescue and sanctuary support

I livew in my own little world

My wise old grandmother taught me to share.

Second Chance Dog Rescue logoI have decided to share the profits from the sale of my Photographic Art with animal rescue groups and wildlife sanctuaries throughout the United States, as long as they are charitable organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

I will share in your name if you contact me to let me know when and what Photographic Art you purchased. Email me at russelraypc@aol.com.

I also will share with your preferred rescue group or sanctuary; again, just let me know. Otherwise, I will share with my preferred rescue groups and sanctuaries.

the cat house on the kingsMy Photographic Art is available at Fine Art America, a print-on-demand site with a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. So if you don’t like your product for any reason, or no reason at all, simply return it and get your money back. That’s why I located my galleries there.

Lions Tigers & BearsPhotographic Art provides beautiful, unique, long-lasting, personal, and thoughtful gifts that are being used in the real estate industry as close-of-escrow gifts, and as special occasion gifts such as birthdays, marriages, anniversaries, and graduations. Attach a personal note or your business card to the gift and be remembered forever and ever!

Photographic Art has been purchased worldwide (Christchurch, New Zealand, and Paris, France) as well as throughout the United States.

Blind Cat Rescue and SanctuaryThere are many Photographic Art products available at Fine Art America, including prints, throw pillows, greeting cards, and phone cases.

On pillows, greeting cards, and phone cases, I will share 50% of the profits; my profit on your purchase of these items is minimal though.

On prints, regardless of what size or type of print you buy, I will share $40 since my share of your purchase is always $99.

Angels Among Us Pet RescueFine Art America’s money-back guarantee, and the fact that they pay on the 15th of each month, means that I don’t get paid immediately. Thus, there could be a 59-day delay between your purchase and when I get paid, meaning that donations to our animal friends won’t be immediate either. For example, if you buy Photographic Art on August 16, the 30-day money-back guarantee expires on September 16, and I would get paid on October 15.

Each day, over on Facebook, I will feature a rescue group or sanctuary and dedicate any Photographic Art sales that day to that specific organization.

Rescue groups and sanctuaries are invited to send to me a blog post about them for posting here in my blog and to be a featured organization on my Facebook time line.

I also do custom work using YOUR photos. Contact me by email.

Go now to my galleries at Fine Art America.

photograhic art taking pictures making art

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Making a difference begins with me

My wise old grandmother

Perhaps the most important aspect of life that I learned from my wise old grandmother was to care—about people, fauna, flora, and the environment.

Whenever I complained about not having new clothes for the start of the new school year, she would say, “There’s always someone worse off than you.”

When the three-legged alley cat made a pass through our back yard, my wise old grandmother was following it with a bowl of water and a bowl of food, trying to get it to stop for a meal, perhaps make our house its home.

She’s the one who taught me that a weed is something that is growing where you don’t want it to grow, so instead of pulling it and throwing it away, transplant it to where you do want it to grow. If wildlife of any kind gets inside, move it back outside. That included spiders, snakes, rodents, birds….

She was conserving before it was fashionable to conserve. She used to follow us around the house turning off the lights that we had left on (“If it’s on, it’s using electricity!”), knocking on the bathroom door to tell us that we were taking too long in the shower and using too much water. She put a gallon jug of water in the toilet tank so that it would use less water.

I learned from her to keep a five-gallon bucket by the bathtub to save the cold water while waiting for the hot water to arrive. That bucket of water would then be used to water flowers, bushes, and trees around the yard.

11141 Valley Lights Drive, Mount Helix, La Mesa CAWhich reminds me of the time when Jim and I were selling our Mount Helix home (picture►) back in 2001. I had buckets in all the bathrooms to save cold water while waiting on the hot water. I then watered two acres of plants and filled all of our fountains and ponds.

When we went to sell, one of the Realtors walked around the house to see what we were asking her to sell. Once she finished her walk-through, she told us that in order to get the most money for the house we should fix all the roof leaks before putting the house on the market. I asked her, “What roof leaks?” She said, “Well, I see all the buckets in the bathrooms which usually mean roof leaks.” I had to explain to her what water conservation was….

Alpha Phi OmegaThroughout my life I have tried to care for others less fortunate than me, to care for unwanted or injured animals, to care for the flora that use carbon dioxide which humans breathe out for photosynthesis, creating oxygen which humans breathe in, to care for the planet. My journey began with my wise old grandmother, continued in high school with Circle K, and then with Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity at Texas A&M University.

Fire on the freewayAfter college, my involvement included organizations that cared for people (soup kitchens, blood drives, Special Olympics, women & children abuse shelters), fauna (animal shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries), flora (botanical and community gardens), and the environment (planting trees and native vegetation after natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires).

My wise old grandmother also taught me that making a difference begins with me. If you would like to do something to make a difference, here is a list of 100 things you can do to make a difference.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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My Canon camera is never disappointed in Ocean Beach

Out & About

It’s no secret that one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in San Diego County is the City of San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I was driving around Ocean Beach taking pictures of the rain this past weekend, I also was noticing business signage, something I’ve never done before during the daytime.

Ocean Beach never fails to disappoint my Canon camera, which then makes it so much more fun to play around in Photoshop.

omg_0073 ocean beach business sign stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

omg_0095 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0096 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0097 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0098 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0102 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0142 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0171 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0173 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0174 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0184 ocean beach business sign stamp

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omg_0190 ocean beach business sign stamp

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Sadly, she sits on dry land

Picture of the Moment

Imagine living in an area that has been a navy stronghold for a century.

Imagine living in an area that has one of the world’s largest maritime museums.

Imagine living in an area where big boats are built, big boats like cruise ships, battleships, aircraft carriers.

Imagine living in an area where the first ship visited the current west coast of the United States back in 1542.

You’re in San Diego!

Now imagine that maritime museum (Maritime Museum of San Diego) building a full-size replica of that first ship, the San Salvador. Looks like this:

San Salvador

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now imagine a sixteenth century ship being built in the 21st century with 21st century technology that is unable to move the ship from drydock to the water.

You’re still in San Diego!

The San Salvador was supposed to be launched on April 19, 2015. Just a couple of days earlier one of the engineers determined that the ship was about 20 tons heavier than predicted.

Sadly, the San Salvador still it sits on dry land at the build site.

Activity dedicated to getting it into the water increased significantly the past two days. San Diego can build aircraft carriers but doesn’t have any cranes that can handle this weight. The closest crane is in Los Angeles, and apparently the folks up there want too much money to come help.

Sadly, the San Salvador continues to sit on dry land.

Tugboat bargeThis morning’s activity, which began at 5:00 a.m., was dedicated to getting the San Salvador onto a tugboat barge (picture ►), off to Chula Vista for leak testing, and then into the water within the next few days.

Sadly, the San Salvador continues to sit on dry land.

The deck of the tugboat barge sits higher than drydock, so there must be a low tide of a certain height in order to get the San Salvador onto the barge. Today at 7:00 a.m. was one of those low tides, with a window up to about 10:00 a.m.

I arrived at 4:30 this morning. At 10:19 a.m. with two words, “Not today,” they informed the crowd that the San Salvador wasn’t moving today. That was it.

Sadly, the San Salvador still sits in drydock….

The next appropriate low tide is two weeks away, sadly.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Worst. Weekend. Ever.

Out & About

This past weekend was my worst weekend ever since I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993.

Two consecutive days of rain.

Hard rain.

Lasting for hours and hours.

Two wettest July days in San Diego ever in history.

Making it the wettest July in San Diego ever in history.

The San Diego Padres, who claim to be a professional baseball team (current record 43-49, 9½ games out of first, but on a 4-game winning streak), first time ever in history rained out in July. It was their first rainout since April 4, 2006, and only the seventeenth rainout in their 47-year history.

Long-time readers know that one of the best places to go in San Diego when it’s raining is Ocean Beach.

Here are four pictures taken during the rain, thunder, lightning, and high winds:

img_0210 ocean beach rain stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0211 ocean beach rain stamp

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img_0212 ocean beach rain stamp

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img_0209 ocean beach rain stamp

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I stayed until dusk when lights started coming on, and as I was walking back to the car, I saw this business sign:

img_0115 attoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I guess the only thing to say is, “Bless you!”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Meal time is for the birds!

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I love to watch wildlife eat.

I don’t always have a great appreciation for some of the things they eat, but I love watching just the same.

Here is a video of meal time for the African Openbilled Storks (Anastomus lamelligerus) at the San Diego Zoo:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m wondering if you can guess the native habitat of the African Openbilled Stork…………LOL

As you can see from the video, they eat snails, mollusks, and—gulp—mice. I liked the way several of the birds picked up a mouse, walked over to the water, and proceeded to wash their food before they ate it….

Although not endangered globally, they are threatened in South Africa by habitat loss, entanglement in fishing lines, and pesticides added to water to control mosquitoes.

img_2264 african openbilled stork zoo stamp

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SNIPPETS (7-18-15)—Will we become maze runners?

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Today is Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday, love!

Happy Birthday!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

We have rain, thunder, and lightning here in San Diego for Jim’s birthday.

I reminder readers of the following facts:

It’s July.
Middle of July.
In San Diego.
Southern California.
It rarely rains here, much less in July.
The last time it rained in July was 1992.
Wait.
I was still in College Station, Texas, then.
IT’S NEVER RAINED IN JULY IN SAN DIEGO!
This is completely unacceptable.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

Jim is off work this weekend so we are having a birthday weekend instead of just a birthday.

Yesterday evening we went to the San Diego Night Time Zoo. That’s when the Zoo stays open an extra four hours, until 9:00 p.m. Along with entertainment (music, magic….) throughout the Zoo (wonder how the animals like that….), it’s a great time to see some animals that only come out or become active at dusk. Such as the Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda).

img_3862 fennic fox zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At a maximum weight of 3½ pounds, the Fennec Fox is the smallest canine in the world. It lives in the Sahara Desert of North Africa. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments, and its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds, and is itself eaten by the eagle owl.

Milky Eagle Owl

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SNIPPET #4

The Serval (Leptailurus serval), a small kitty cat but bigger than domestic kitty cats, also was active last night.

img_3914 serval zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Serval is a slender cat with long legs and a fairly short tail with a maximum weight of 40 lbs. It also is native to Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

The Serval at the Zoo is a mommy. Two little ones born earlier this year. They were just as playful as all little kitties are. Jim and I stood there for thirty minutes watching the little ones play with each other and with their toys, although I think their favorite toy was a pine cone that had fallen from the tree.

img_3912 serval kitten zoo stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #6

atlas shruggedThis past week I watched three futuristic movies based on a book that Republicans seem enthralled with: “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. “Atlas Shrugged,” along with her previous book “The Fountainhead,” developed the philosophical system now known as Objectivism.

According to Wikipedia, “Objectivism’s central tenets are that reality exists independently of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.”

Are you as tired from reading that as I am?

My wise old grandmotherOne of the things that my wise old grandmother (picture ►) taught me 40 years ago is that if you want to see how something will work in reality, take it to its extreme. That has always worked for me, and I think it works with Objectivism, Capitalism, and Socialism.

Objectivism seems to be where the Republicans want to take us, privatizing schools, roads, libraries, food (Monsanto comes to mind) and everything else in the world, which pretty much would be total and complete Objectivism with the rich controlling anything and everything.

Unbridled Capitalism comes very close to Objectivism, in my opinion, but I don’t know of any country anywhere, past or present, that subscribes to unbridled Capitalism. Rather, in capitalist economies, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which they exchange assets, products, and services. Note the word “typically” there. Governments often get involved in capitalism to prevent things like gouging during natural disasters whereby prices for food and water are not allowed to increase exorbitantly due to demand caused by the situation.

Lack of any government at all would, I think, result in Anarchism, no better than Objectivism or Capitalism.

atlas shrugged filmYes, life is not fair, but do we really have to capitalize (pun intended) on that unfairness? Surely intelligent humans can find a happy middle ground that would allow the rich to stay rich, the middle class to have the opportunity to become rich, and government to be able to provide for all of its citizens in terms of transportation and education but also including the unemployed, the sick, the homeless, and the hungry.

I can highly recommend the three movies, “Atlas Shrugged,” “Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike,” and “Atlas Shrugged III: Who Is John Galt?”.

SNIPPET #7

maze runnerOnce you finish those three moves, go a little further to the extreme and watch “The Maze Runner.” All four movies also provide a view into society and what the future might hold as the climate changes, manmade or not.

However, if you’re still confused about the role of mankind in climate change, think about this:

The Holocene interglacial period, which is what we are in now, began about 11,000 years ago. The population of Earth at that time was about a million people. Now fast forward to July 18, 2015, where the population is 7½ billion people. Climate change happens. We know that. With all we are doing in terms of manufacturing and such, and the results of 7½ billion people using the products of that manufacturing, can we really say that we are not having some effect on the climate of the Earth, perhaps causing climate change to get here sooner rather than later? Can we do something, or will be become maze runners?

SNIPPET #8

San Diego gay pride paradeThis is Gay Pride weekend here in San Diego. Started with the Stonewall Rally yesterday evening, continues with a huge 3-hour long parade today followed by a Festival, and continuing with the Festival tomorrow. Parties are everywhere, including Gay Pride parties at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

Jim and I are going to the San Diego Botanic Garden today and to the Gay Pride Festival tomorrow.

Rainbow balloons at San Diego Gay Pride

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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