Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Forty-five years as a photographer, beginning with yearbook staff in sixth grade.

“Off with their heads!” he’d say.

Did you know?

Hello, there, classic WordPress editor! You are sooooooooooo much faster than that new clunker, and I have you and the new clunker working in two tabs on my fine fine fine new super computer, so I can make that statement definitively. It’s good to be back.

Speaking of being back, for the last couple of years I have only been working on one computer. Previously, I had a work computer and a music computer. The music computer died so I had to move all my music to the work computer, and I can tell you that listening to music all day really strains a computer.

Well, this fine fine fine new super computer is now my work computer, and the old computer is now my new music computer. Now that I have two computers side by side again, I can multitask better again, and that means visiting more of my blogging friends each and every day!

Not having anything interfering with my music enjoyment is really nice. I hated all the boops and beeps from all other programs and web sites messing with my music listening pleasure.

I can definitively state, with absolute certainty, no doubt about, it, that I

really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really

hate web sites, especially news sites, that automatically start playing videos when I visit. If I want to watch and listen to a video, I will watch and listen to it on my own.

One of the advertising sites explained why they do that. I don’t know if their explanation is true, but it certainly makes sense.

Many organizations make their money from advertising, and advertising means unique hits and views. YouTube counts a view as at least 30 seconds watching a video. In the case of those organizations that start videos playing immediately upon you loading their page, it turns out that many of them get credit for you watching a video if the video goes for at least 3 seconds. That makes it almost impossible to NOT watch a video as far as their advertising dollars go.

Once I learned that, whenever I visit a site, I’m standing (sitting, actually) at attention with my hand on the mouse and I’m prepared to stop that video as soon as it starts so that it doesn’t get to 3 seconds.

One doesn’t even have to click on the pause or stop button. You can click anywhere on the video, and if it’s playing, it will pause. If it’s paused, it will start. So I immediately pause it and then decide if I want to give them 3 seconds of my time to support the organization.Alternative Facts

I have decided that if the video has Twitler or any of his ilk speaking, I refuse to watch it. I don’t want any organization thinking that a video of Twitler or any of his ilk is good because it causes their visits and views to go up, making them more money. I can’t stand their faces or voices, especially when they start dealing in alternative facts.

For example, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross offered two highlights of his trip to Saudi Arabia in an interview with CNBC.

He was given two bushels of dates by Saudi Arabian security guards. He was touched. That gesture really warmed his heart.

Second, he was overjoyed that he saw no protesters, indicating that the Twitler administration was well liked in Saudi Arabia. Of course, he pretty much admitted that he did not know that protesting in the Saudi Arabia kingdom is illegal and can result in a summary death sentence. Their death sentence usually involves beheading the person in a public square with thousands of people watching.

Unbelievable.

Perhaps if Twitler and his ilk like Saudi Arabia so much, they should move there. I’m betting they won’t, especially once they accept the fact (not an alternative fact) that the Saudi Arabia king pretty much has absolute power. He’s not going to put up with competition. “Off with their heads!” he’d say.

Rant over.

Margarita time.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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SNIPPETS—I’m exhausted. I quit. It’s margarita time.

Snippets

SNIPPET ONE

I went to a photographer’s wine tasting yesterday in the Temecula Valley Wine Country. There is mile after mile after mile of vineyards, wineries, and tasting or other special events. I was the only guy in our group (ignore the photobombing dogs, one of which was a guy). I always have been an outcast.

Winery tour

SNIPPET TWO

I want to give a shout out to Joey Thaidigsman who just finished his freshman year at the University of California at Berkeley with a 3.96 GPA in computer science. I may need to help him with future courses involving the subject matter of that course he got an A- in………….

Joey Thaidigsman, freshman computer science major at the University of California at Berkeley

SNIPPET THREE

I gave a specific shout out to Joey Thaidigsman because, now a sophomore computer science major at the University of California, Berkeley, but home for the summer, he built me a fine fine fine super computer for all my photo and video editing.

It’s a beast.

What used to take 30 minutes now takes 30 seconds.

Stats:

  1. Intel 7th Gen Core Desktop Processor i7-7700K (BX80677I77700K), $337.00
  2. Samsung 850 EVO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E1T0B/AM), $349.99
  3. ASUS PRIME Z270-A LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI DVI M.2 USB 3.1 Z270 ATX Motherboard, $159.99
  4. Corsair LPX 32GB DRAM 3000MHz C15 Memory Kit for DDR4 Systems, $259.99
  5. MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 DirectX 12 VR Ready (GeForce GTX 1060 GAMING X 6G), $259.99
  6. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan, $24.99
  7. Corsair Carbide Series 200R Compact ATX Case for H55, H60, H75, H80i (CC-9011023-WW), $58.99
  8. Sabrent 75-in-1 Multi Flash Media Card Reader/writer(With power cord) (CRW-UINB), $12.14
  9. EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G1, 80+ GOLD 650W, Fully Modular, 10 Year Warranty, Includes FREE Power On Self Tester Power Supply 120-G1-0650-XR, $79.99
  10. LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD IPS Monitor with FreeSync, $344.99

Pictures, new on the left, old on the right:

Fine fine fine new super computer compared to old computer

Fine fine fine new 4K super monitor compared to old monitor

SNIPPET 4

When I graduated from Texas A&M University sometime in the late 1970s, I wanted to work in a forest somewhere, sitting in a lonely fire lookout tower like the one below, where I sat today for about an hour watching the beginnings of the Gate Fire 80 miles away. My 600mm lens made the Gate Fire look like it was just down the road. It burned over 2,000 acres and is now 100% contained. High overnight humidity and low winds for two consecutive days helped fire fighters control the fire with no loss of buildings or life, other than the plant life, of course.

Boucher Tower, a fire lookout tower
built in 1948 on Palomar Mountain in Southern California
to replace an older tower built in 1921.
Boucher Tower was closed in 1991
but has been open to tourists since 2013.
There are volunteers who staff the tower
during fire season, which began May 1.

Boucher Tower, a fire lookout tower on Palomar Mountain in Southern California

The Gate Fire near Jamul CA
about 30 minutes after it started
and seen from 80 miles away
and 5,438 feet elevation in the Boucher Tower.

The Gate Fire near Jamul CA about 30 minutes after it started and from 80 miles away and 5,300 feet elevation

With the amount of rain we had this past winter, I think it’s going to be a bad fire season.

Fire on the freeway

SNIPPET 5

I have resisted moving from the classic WordPress editor to the new one. I thought the new one was disorganized, clunky, and slow.

Normally I do 10 SNIPPETS in a SNIPPETS post. Takes me about an hour. Using the classic editor.

Today I switched to the new, disorganized, clunky, and slow editor. It has taken me three hours to create this SNIPPETS post with just 5 SNIPPETS in it.

I’m exhausted.

I quit.

It’s margarita time.

Margaritas at On The Border in El Cajon, California

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

It speaks to me

Out & About

I made it through these past two days of hiking here and there and everywhere.

This morning I did the Navy’s 31st Bay Bridge Walk/Run.

I don’t know how many steps I took….

but I’m pretty sure it had to be close to 15,337.

And in just 1 hour and 59 minutes.

4 miles.

I took 31 minutes to go from starting line to bridge.

The winner of the race finished in just over 20 minutes.

I’m thinking he didn’t get any pictures.

I got 191!

I win!

Navy 31st Bay Bridge Walk/Run

I got so many pictures from these past two days that I have enough pictures to use in my blogs for, well, probably the rest of my life.

A lot of them will make great Photographic Art, too, such as this one:

San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

That’s a good picture, but it doesn’t have any emotion.

It’s just a picture.

So I made it into Photographic Art:

San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

Rarely do I like black & white pictures, but sketches are a different story. I can see the college student in his drawing class sitting out at Tidelands Park in Coronado and sketching that bridge. Suddenly the picture speaks to me.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Mount Palomar

Blogger might have died from exhaustion

If you don’t hear from me anymore, it’s because I died of exhaustion.

Today, 8:30 a.m., I went on a 7-mile round-trip hike at 4,700 feet above sea level on Mount Palomar.

Mount Palomar

I don’t know whether or not I made it back—this post is set to publish at 1:00 p.m., with or without me.

If I did make it back, Sunday is a 5-mile round-trip hike on the Coronado Bay Bridge.

Coronado Bridge

I’m registered Sunday as a walker in the Navy Bay Bridge Run-Walk.

Walkers are encouraged to stop and take pictures, and I assure you, I will.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Make sure all is well before taking possession

Did you know?

Many of the birds at the San Diego Zoo have nests with eggs in them.

The flamingos are the most noticeable but if one looks closely one can see a pair of southern screamers (Chauna torquata), also known as crested screamers, taking care of three eggs in their nest in Flamingo Lagoon.

Southern Screamer pair and three eggs at the San Diego Zoo

Those two were having a changing of the guard. It’s virtually impossible to distinguish mama screamer from daddy screamer, so I have no idea whether mama was taking over or whether daddy was taking over. You can see the one taking over was checking out the eggs just to make sure that they were okay before taking possession of them.

Southern Screamer and three eggs at the San Diego Zoo

According to Wikipedia,

The southern screamer establishes monogamous relationships that last its lifetime, estimated to be 15 years. Courtship involves loud calling by both sexes, which can be heard up to two miles away. For the nest, the couple makes a big platform of reeds, straws, and other aquatic plants in an inaccessible place near water. The female lays between two and seven white eggs. The couple share incubation, which takes 43 to 46 days. Chicks leave the nest as soon as they hatch, but the parents care for them for several weeks. The fledging period takes 8 to 14 weeks.

Southern Screamers live in southeastern Peru, northern Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. And, of course, the San Diego Zoo.

The following picture shows what the little ones will look like, although this little one from 2010 was giving me a little attitude:

Southern Screamer chick at the San Diego Zoo

Remember, if you get to San Diego, give me a call. I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I also have been known to play docent for a day or two at no charge!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Complements the swamp monkeys in the White House

Picture of the Moment

It’s spring time at the San Diego Zoo,

which means little ones are everywhere.

Here’s an Allen’s Swamp Monkey mama

with her little one.

Complements the swamp monkeys in the White House……..

Allen's swamp monkey mama & her baby

Remember, if you get to San Diego, give me a call. I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I also have been known to play docent for a day or two at no charge!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About—Bankhead Springs, drive-through ghost town

Out & About

After my wise old grandmother adopted me in December 1965, I had daily access to a television and got addicted to Lucille Ball. I watched anything and everything in which she made an appearance, beginning with “I Love Lucy.”

In 1957, “I Love Lucy” morphed into Season 1 of “The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show.” The second episode, “The Celebrity Next Door,” originally broadcast on December 3, 1957, left an impression with an impressionable teenager, not because of anything specific about the show but because of one of the guest stars, Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968), the celebrity. The name was so unusual that it stuck with me for many years….

….even unto the present.

Earlier this year when I was out touring Old Highway 80, I came upon Bankhead Springs. Bankhead. Couldn’t be any connection.

“Au contraire, bison breath,” someone more famous than me used to say.

Bankhead Springs was named for John Hollis Bankhead (1842-1920). While serving as a U.S. Senator from Alabama (1907-1920), John Bankhead was instrumental in advocating for the development of highways, specifically a cross-country highway. Eventually, the Bankhead Highway connected Washington DC to San Diego, with the western section eventually becoming U.S. Highway 80.

Wanna guess who his granddaughter was? Yep. Tallulah Bankhead.

Bankhead Springs currently is “a drive-through ghost town,” as are many of the towns along Highway 80 which were bypassed when Interstate 8 was built in the early 1960s.

In the early 20th Century, Bankhead Springs and nearby Jacumba were hot spots for Hollywood celebrities and the idle rich because of their natural hot springs. Although local legend says that Tallulah was involved in the town’s development, there is no evidence of that. There also are rumors that prostitutes out of Bankhead Springs pandered to the lonely construction workers building Interstate 8. Those rumors also appear unfounded and might have more to do with Tallulah’s well-known status as a libertine.

The Bankhead Springs Hotel, built around 1920, provided glamorous accommodations, and for a little extra money, one could get a rental cabin. The hotel is still standing, serving as a roadside store.

Bankhead Springs Hotel, Bankhead Springs CA

Bankhead Springs Hotel, Bankhead Springs CA

The Bankhead Springs Hotel apparently has an interesting history, although I was unable to confirm its history from any source other than an online blog similar to mine. Apparently the hotel closed for a decade, with the story being that the owner simply disappeared one day and was never heard from again. Police found room doors open, beds made, kitchen and dining area clean and set for the next meal, and no sign of robbery or violence. There was a bank fund to pay the property tax so the hotel doors were locked and the hotel left undisturbed. When the property tax fund ran out, the county seized the property for back taxes.

Many of the rental cabins still stand, too, although just barely. I don’t think anyone will be renting any of them any time soon.

Bankhead Springs Hotel rental cabin, Bankhead Springs CA

Bankhead Springs Hotel rental cabin, Bankhead Springs CA

Bankhead Springs Hotel rental cabin, Bankhead Springs CA

Bankhead Springs Hotel rental cabin, Bankhead Springs CA

Bankhead Springs Hotel rental cabin, Bankhead Springs CA

Bankhead Springs Hotel rental cabin, Bankhead Springs CA

Bankhead Springs Hotel rental cabin, Bankhead Springs CA

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat