Category Archives: Nature

Cold & wet—not my kind of weather

Out & About

I spent a couple of hours in La Jolla yesterday taking pictures and videos of the splashing waves of the King Tide as well as wildlife that was enjoying the cold, wet weather, something that I was not exactly doing myself.

I know that big waves can be destructive but they sure are fun to watch.

Spring tide in La Jolla CA 1/11/17

One of the better photos of the crashing waves because it also shows the harbor seals and, at the lower right, that little pup seemingly wondering if it’s safe to go in.

Spring tide in La Jolla CA 1/11/17

The stairs down to the beach, except that when the tide is this high, there is no beach.

Spring tide in La Jolla CA 1/11/17

There were many birds and seals hoping to get their 15 minutes of fame in a WordPress blog.

Harbor seal pups at Children's Pool in La Jolla CA

Bird at the Cove in La Jolla CA

About six months ago I bought a new Canon Rebel 760D because it has a tilt/swivel screen which makes it easier to take pictures and videos from weird positions, and auto focusing for videos. I haven’t really learned to use the auto focusing yet. Either that or it just plain is abysmal. That’s one of the reasons why I was out taking videos yesterday, to find out exactly what I have and how to use it. Here is a 55-second video of the crashing waves at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Snippets (12-28-16)—You’re a little different….

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something
Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

When two of my hard drives crashed concurrently in early October, my main concern was retrieving over a million photographs and videos. Fortunately, I got them all back, albeit at a cost of a couple of grand.

Now I’m in the process of cataloging all of them, deleting duplicates, and then, instead of backing up to an external hard drive, which is what I was doing when both drives crashed, I’m going to do backups to the cloud where there are multiple redundancies to prevent crashes and losses.

I have not chosen a cloud storage service so I’m open to suggestions.

SNIPPET 2

I am enjoying going through all the uncatalogued pictures and finding some gems, such as the following two. Feel free to provide your own caption.

A seal praying that Trump doesn’t destroy the worldSeal praying that Trump doesn't destroy the world

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When one of the gang realizes you’re a little different
and still comes over to say hello.Seals & pelicanPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET 3

Joey Thaidigsman, freshman computer science major at the University of California at BerkeleyJoey Thaidigsman, the IT Director of Russel Ray (which comprises Photographic Art, Russel Ray Photos, and House Key News) is a freshman Computer Science major at the University of California at Berkeley. I’m proud to tell you that he earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average for his first semester. He wants to go into artificial intelligence. Hmmm. Maybe he IS artificial intelligence. I’ll keep an eye on him….

SNIPPET 4

Since Trump is intent on blowing up the world, Jim and I figured we would go out in style, so Christmas Eve afternoon we traded in our 2015 Honda Civic EX-L, which we bought on February 6, 2016, for a 2017 Honda Civic EX. We switched from a white exterior with beige leather interior to a “modern steel metallic” exterior (very dark gray, basically) with a black interior. The white/beige showed too much dust and dirt all the time, so we’re going to try the darker colors for a couple of years.

I think it’s the second most fun car Jim and I have owned, behind the 1998 Pontiac Trans Am. The other cars were a 1989 Saleen Ford Mustang GT, 1991 Honda Civic, 1998 Toyota Avalon, 2000 Honda Accord, 2002 Nissan Maxima, 2003 Toyota Camry, 2005 Nissan Altima, and a 2015 Toyota Corolla (which we still have).

It has two USB ports for the stereo system, great cruise control, dual-zone heating and cooling (convenient since, in 22½ years, Jim and I have never agreed on comfort temperature), and a moon roof for those starry starry nights.

2017 Honda Civic EX

2017 Honda Civic EX

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET 5

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season! Best wishes for health, happiness, peace, and prosperity in 2017 and beyond!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Sunrise, sunset

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

We have been having beautiful sunrises and sunsets since mid-October.

My home office faces east, and, like my wise old grandmother, I get up before the sun does. Thus I see the sunrise every day. Following is the sunrise of December 2:

Sunrise in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I wasn’t prepared for that sunrise so I had to take the picture through my home office window (only slightly dirtier than the windows in a coal mine) and through the screen. So all the smudging will forever prevent me from using that picture for anything other than a snapshot for a blog post.

Here’s another from October 24 through my home office window:

Sunrise in La Mesa, California, on October 24, 2016

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen might be that of December 5:

Sunrise in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I was prepared for it, so the window was open and the screen had been removed.

The only sunrise that might compete with it is the sunrise on September 17, 2012, that I watched from the top of Mount Helix, also here in La Mesa (Mount Helix is a mountain 900 feet tall—if they are taller than us, we call them mountains here in San Diego):

Sunrise from the top of Mount Helix in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have billions of sunset pictures because I have to make myself all beautiful and go out into the world in order to get sunset pictures since there is a mountain behind me blocking my view to the west. My favorite sunset pictures usually involve water or boats, like panorama of San Diego harbor on November 7, 2016:

Sunset on November 7, 2016, San Diego harbor

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My favorite sunrise and sunset pictures usually have a lot of colors in them, like these three:

Sunset in San Diego California

Sunset at La Jolla Cove, 10-17-12, La Jolla, California

October 17, 2012, sunset in La Jolla, California

Top picture: Sunset at Imperial Beach, California, on November 5, 2011
Middle picture: Sunset at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California, on , October 17, 2012
Bottom picture: Sunset at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California, on , October 17, 2012

La Jolla’s sunset on October 17, 2012, was pretty spectacular throughout the course of about two hours, and if you’re ever in San Diego, go visit La Jolla. Such beauty throughout the is to be experienced, photographed, and shared.

We all know that the sun sets in the west but occasionally here in La Mesa, California, it can look like it sets in the east. Here is the sunset from last night, December 10, but looking east instead of west:

Sunset in La Mesa, California on December 10, 2016, looking east

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I was not prepared for that sunset so, again, a grainy smudgy picture unsuitable for anything other than a snapshot of a sunset.

And lastly, here is what a certain queen in the house thinks about all my sunrise and sunset excitement:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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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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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Imagine being kissed by that!

Picture of the Moment

When I was driving for Uber earlier this year, I would get up at 3:30 a.m. and start driving at 4:00. That allowed for some significant long drives from where I live in La Mesa to coastal places like the 32nd Street Naval Station, downtown San Diego, and the airport, all popular places to go at that hour of the morning. I would drive for 5 hours and then go home. One day, though, as I was about to head home a little early, I got a ride request. I thought, “Sure, why not? They might be going my way anyway.”

Well, they were from Nebraska and going to the San Diego Zoo. Perfect opportunity for me to stop at the Zoo, too. That day was May 27, 2016. I don’t remember it specifically, but I have a few billion pictures which I took that day, including those in the immediate posts preceding this one.

What I find interesting about a lot of these pictures is that they are the best pictures I have gotten of certain animals over the 23 years that I have been going to the Zoo on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Including this one of a 3-month-old giraffe:

Baby Giraffe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That giraffe must really love that twig.

Imagine being kissed by that tongue!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Tasmanian Devil

I saw my first devil (other than Trump)

Picture of the Moment

It only took 23 years of going regularly to the San Diego Zoo before I finally saw the Tasmanian Devil. It just doesn’t like people, or maybe it knows when I’m coming by and scurries into its hiding places. Nonetheless, on May 27 this year, it was all out and about, scurrying here and there, mocking the people standing around oohing and aahing, and generally being a devil.

Tasmanian Devil

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It doesn’t look too happy but maybe that’s because it was too early in the morning. Or maybe it knew that I was going to put its picture in my blog….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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