Category Archives: Friday Flower Fiesta

Friday Flower Fiesta (2-17-17)—Meet the Schitt Family

Friday Flower Fiesta

The aloe season is peaking right now, and with all the rain we have had this year, it’s turning into quite a stunning display.

The best places to see these magnificent plants is at the San Diego Zoo and in the median all along Camino del Sur in the Black Mountain Ranch and 4S Ranch areas.

Here are some pictures from this year’s display:

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

Aloes in San Diego

One of those above looked like a family, so I made a family reunion picture out of it.

Folks, meet the Schitt family:

The Schitt Family

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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-10-17)—Living stones

Friday Flower Fiesta

Many decades ago when I was but a youth of 11 and living with my wise old grandmother, she gave me a small area in her yard where I could have a garden. She had the most beautiful yard, except for that one area where she could get nothing to grow.

She delegated that area to me, and I went to work, turning it into a cactus rock garden. I had dry rivers, a dry lake, and lots of rocks.

I went with a friend and his parents to a huge cactus nursery almost a hundred miles away and came home with some unique cactus to plant in my little garden. I had no idea what kind of flowers, if any, those little plants would have.

The sun hit my little garden from about 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It was relentless, and hot. This was deep south Texas.

One day I came home from school at 3:30 and found my little cactus garden all abloom with flowers of all colors and sizes. Some of the smallest cactus plants had the biggest and brightest flowers.

Ever since that day I have been a fan of cactus and succulents.

At one point 18 years ago I had a 3,984-SF house on 1.83 acres of land with a 35,000-gallon pool and a 5,000-gallon spa. The whole place, inside and out, was an arboretum with over 500 different species of plants. When Jim and I no longer could physically take care of that property, and downsized, I decided to depend on the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, San Diego Botanic Garden, and Balboa Park for my gardening fix. I have only a few plants at home now, all of them succulents so that Zoey the Cool Cat won’t get a cactus needle in her nose.

After all the rain we have had this year, my little succulents seem to be perking up, and yesterday one of them bloomed:

Succulent orange flower

That is a Lithops species, commonly known as living stones, pebble plants, mimicry plants, and flowering stones. They have only two thick leaves and no true stem, and the flower comes up between the leaves. They are small plants, usually no more than an inch above the soil surface. Very easy to grow with a unique appearance and beautiful flowers.

All succulents are cactus, but not all cactus are succulents. For the most part, succulents do not have those nasty thorns, which makes them that much more pleasant to grow. For more information and pictures of these little ones, see the Wikipedia entry on Lithops.

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In memory of the victims of the “Bowling Green massacre”

Friday Flower Fiesta

There are so many alternative facts (lies) coming out of this administration that I can’t keep up. I’m sure glad I’m not a professional fact checker because I’d be working 120 hours a week. I feel like my head is going to burst from all these alternative facts trying to take up residence in it.

So in the midst of all these alternative facts, I’d just like to post a picture of this single white rose in memory of all the people who were killed by terrorists in the “Bowling Green massacre.”

Single white rose in memory of the people killed in the Bowling Green massacre.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (12-16-2016)—Winter flowers in San Diego

Friday Flower Fiesta

Although Winter doesn’t begin for another few days, many of my northern friends are posting pictures of this really boring all-white landscaping. It’s enough to drive me to drinking margaritas. I thought today would be a perfect time to show them what real winter landscaping looks like.

Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray Photos Friday Flower Fiesta 12-19-14 Russel Ray Photos
Red pelargonium, Friday Flower Fiesta, October 12, 2012 Friday Flower Fiesta Friday Flower Fiesta

Pansy

Bird of Paradise flower

Mother of thousands flower head from the side

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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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 (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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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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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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