Category Archives: Flora

Friday Flower Fiesta (11-25-16)—YOU…. are in trouble!

Friday Flower Fiesta

Many decades ago, in the year 1966 to be precise, the Principal of my elementary school, Charles H. Flato Jr. Elementary School in Kingsville TX, came around to my sixth grade class asking for volunteers to be school photographers. The school provided the camera and film, and had its own darkroom, and—get this—volunteers would get into all school events FREE! That included sporting events. I was sold.

It was only a few months later that I got into trouble with that same principal, Mrs. Ruby Gustavson. It seems that every time I developed pictures in the darkroom, I used, in her own words,”ten times as much paper and developer” as the other students. She never found out why, and I never told anyone, until now.

I was experimenting, trying to make a collage using one picture but sixteen pieces of paper. I would take a piece of paper and expose it to just one section of the picture. Then I’d take another piece of paper and expose it to a different section. When I finished, I had sixteen pieces of paper that, when laid together, created a collage. Similar to this:

Rose collage

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Obviously I was using a lot of paper and developer chemical. I don’t remember if I succeeded fifty years ago but I do remember spending a lot of time in that darkroom after school. Since I was still the juvenile delinquent that my wise old grandmother (MWOG) had adopted a year earlier, every time I came home late from school, MWOG wanted to know why. Where had I had been? What was I doing?

“I was developing pictures in the darkroom at school.”

Finally, enough was enough, and MWOG came up to the school one day after school was out, walked into Mrs. Gustavson’s office, and asked if I was there. Mrs. Gustavson didn’t know if I was, so she and MWOG walked down to the darkroom. There I was. With many of my paper trials hanging up drying. Individually they all looked like wasted paper—collectively, they looked like one of MWOG’s roses from her rose garden. Using Mrs. Gustavson’s own words again: “You…. are in trouble.”

Yep, I was in trouble. My experimentation came to an end, and I was allowed one hour and no more in the darkroom each day. I had to check in with Mrs. Gustavson anytime I was going to be in the darkroom, and she instituted surprise visits to the darkroom while I was there. She was sneaky….

In today’s world, a photographer’s darkroom is something like Photoshop, or Photo-Paint, or Paintshop. I use Photoshop mostly because it’s the de facto standard, meaning that there are billions of tutorials online. There also are things called “plug-ins” and “actions” that other people have created to do things automatically that might take me a month to figure out how to do.

The picture above was made using an action from Panos FX called “Big Pictures.” They have several dozen actions, and I have them all. Some of their actions are free; those that cost are very reasonably priced, especially if you use them a lot. Check ’em out.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Zoey the Cool Cat,
exhibiting her Panos FX book action.Zoey the Cool Cat book

Friday Flower Fiesta (9-16-2016)

Friday Flower Fiesta

I have had a need to create eBooks but I wanted one of those flipping eBooks that I see occasionally.

I have tried several of them but they either are absent-ware (parts of the program are absent unless you pay for it), are too difficult to work with, or are just plain bad.

Finally, I found Flip PDF, which makes flipping eBooks out of PDF files. Since Word and InDesign, the two programs that I use most for page layout, easily create PDF files, I gave it a try.

I’m extremely happy with it.

Check out this short flipping eBook of (mostly) flowers:

Flowers of the World

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Flower pictures that don’t look quite so picturery

How I Did It

I got so involved cataloging pictures from the last year and photoshopping some of them that the weekend suddenly has disappeared. Where did it go?

Ah, well, since it’s gone, following are a few flowers that I photoshopped using Topaz Glow, an awesome program if you want to create some really interesting pictures that don’t look like pictures anymore. All of these flowers were growing in one yard. They saw me out their living room window taking pictures and came out to talk to me.

Zinnia, Zinnia, Sunflower daisy, Passionflower.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Sunflower daisy

Passionflower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (5-20-2016)

Friday Flower Fiesta

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over five months since my last Friday Flower Fiesta. Alas, time flies when you’re having fun….

People say we don’t have seasons here in San Diego, but I’m here to tell you we do. In fact, we’re in the midst of one of them right now: Purple Season.

Purple Season is when the Jacarandas, Lilies-of-the-Nile, and Sea Lavender all are blooming simultaneously.

Picture 7 - Biggest, baddest Jacaranda I've ever seen

lily of the nile 4x6 stamp

Sea lavender

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’ve been catching up on my Stephen King reading lately—Cell, Dr. Sleep, and now Insomnia. I have not been disappointed. As I was creating Photographic Art this morning, I hit the wrong key combination and came up with the following Lily-of-the-Nile, which made me think of Insomnia. Those of you who have read Insomnia probably will understand.

Lily of the Nile

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Day LilyDay Lily

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Tuberous BegoniaTuberous Begonia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

FuchsiaFuchsia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

AnthuriumAnthurium

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giant HibiscusGiant Hibiscus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

GingerGinger

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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This is MY territory!

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One of my goals of driving for Uber and Amazon is to explore San Diego County, the little nooks and crannies that I would never find on my own. I’m quite pleased that I’m accomplishing that goal.

If I don’t have time to stop and take pictures, I simply note the location on my tablet with the intent of going back later. My list is getting quite long because going back later isn’t happening….

Here’s a picture that I took recently in Cardiff-by-the-Sea;

Bee and aeonium flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The flowers in the picture are from an aeonium, a succulent that has beautiful leaves, too:

AeoniumPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My walkaround lens is a Tamron 28-300 mm zoom lens, so getting a good picture of a flying bee is not the easiest thing to do since the shutter speed is slow at the 300 mm end of the lens.

Best lenses for getting good pictures of little flying guys is something like a 50 mm or 100 mm macro lens.

I, however, don’t have an intense desire to get too close to them so I either take a bunch of 300 mm shots and hope for a good one, or I mosey along to find a cute kitty cat keeping its eye on a stranger invading its territory:

Pretty cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (12-4-15)

Friday Flower Fiesta

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit an interesting crafts store that had Christmas ornaments featuring flowers. That will tell you where I got the idea for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta.

ornament 01 ornament 02 ornament 03 ornament 04 ornament 05 ornament 06 ornament 07 ornament 08 ornament 09 ornament 10 ornament 11 ornament 12

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (11-20-15)

Friday Flower Fiesta

It’s been really really cold here in San Diego this past week. I probably should disclose that my definition of “cold” is when the temperature dips into the 60s, and “really cold” is when the temperature dips into the 50s. I’ll let you use your powers of deduction to determine what “really really cold” means to me.

Dahlias always seem to warm me up, so here is a collection of dahlias for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta:)

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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