Category Archives: Photographic Art

Exploring pays off!

Picture of the Moment

On the first Sunday of each month, I drive 226 miles round-trip up to Long Beach to attend the monthly meeting of the Long Beach Cactus Club. I guess you could say I’m dedicated to this cactus thing.

I have an intermediate stop at the La Costa Park & Ride to pick up Annie Morgan, Program Chair (and more!) of the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society in Escondido, California.

Usually I get there a couple of minutes later than my ETA because traffic conditions just are not consistent in large metroplexes. This past Sunday, though, I got there 30 minutes early, and it’s only a 40-minute drive. I did not speed. Believe me.

Whenever I get somewhere early, I make it a point to walk around and explore, never knowing what I might find. This past Sunday I found this pretty little flower:

Unknown flower

Exploring paid off! That picture will make a nice puzzle or something, especially if I can find out the name of the plant.

I have no idea what the plant is. It was bare of leaves but with many dozens of half-inch pink flowers, looking very beautiful in the dry heat where I found it.

Map from home to Long Beach

X marks the spot

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Raindrops on not-roses

Picture of the Moment

According to the great and all-knowing Microsoft Excel, this is my best selling raindrops picture and my #9 best-selling picture overall.

Raindrops on an aeonium

It might rank higher but it hasn’t been available as long as the other best-sellers.

I think it will make a great (that is, difficult) 1,014-piece, 30″ x 20″ puzzle. Yes?

Surprisingly, I have never entered it in either a cactus & succulent show (the plant is an aeonium, one of my favorite succulent species) or a photography show.

I think I shall have to do something about that next year.

Does this still life qualify public art?

I live in my own little world

Scott #745, Crater Lake National ParkMany hundreds of years ago when I was but a child growing up in Brigham City, Utah, I joined the Cub Scouts. It was there that I took up philately and became a philatelist, a stamp collector. Eventually I went on to study philately, specifically Railroad Post Office history. It was those first few years of simply collecting stamps from the United States that, I believe, helped me develop a critical eye for art because postage stamps themselves are little works of art.

When I got to high school, I took an art appreciation class. Turns out that I didn’t really have an appreciation for art, especially still life. I thought that a painting or picture of a bunch of bananas sitting in an ugly bowl on an ugly table wasn’t art.

But look at my idea of still life 43 years later:

Still life

Does this still life qualify as public art? Asking for a friend.

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

Friday Flower Fiesta (12-8-17)—San Diego Botanic Garden in December

Friday Flower Fiesta

I like to take my photographs and kind of mess them up in Photoshop and various other programs so that they don’t look like photographs anymore. That means I’m always on the lookout for new digital photo editing programs. One I discovered a few days ago is called “Impresso Pro” by a company called JixiPix. They claim to have

a long and lucrative history developing well-known 3D, Video and Multi-Media software, not to mention an industry of iOS and Android apps. Thanks to the response from our users, we have been recognized as one of the top developers from Apple, Mac World, USA Today and other industry leaders.”

Yet they don’t have a page on Wikipedia….

Nonetheless, following are 24 photographs from my December visit to the San Diego Botanic Garden, messed up a little bit in Impresso Pro.

Which one is your favorite?

1 – BromeliadSan Diego Botanic Garden

2 – AgaveSan Diego Botanic Garden

3 – AloeSan Diego Botanic Garden

4San Diego Botanic Garden

5 – PassionflowerSan Diego Botanic Garden

6San Diego Botanic Garden

7San Diego Botanic Garden

8 – Day Lily & visitorSan Diego Botanic Garden

9 – FigSan Diego Botanic Garden

10San Diego Botanic Garden

11 – Bamboo TunnelSan Diego Botanic Garden

12San Diego Botanic Garden

13 – AgavesSan Diego Botanic Garden

14 – BromeliadSan Diego Botanic Garden

15 – Woodpecker treeSan Diego Botanic Garden

16 – AloeSan Diego Botanic Garden

17 – AloeSan Diego Botanic Garden

18San Diego Botanic Garden

19 – CycadSan Diego Botanic Garden

20 – BromeliadSan Diego Botanic Garden

21 – AloeSan Diego Botanic Garden

22 – Shaw’s AgaveSan Diego Botanic Garden

23 – AloeSan Diego Botanic Garden

24 – SunflowersSan Diego Botanic Garden

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

Friday Flower Fiesta (11-3-17)—Alternatives to that all-white landscaping of the north

Friday Flower Fiesta

I never have been a fan of that all-white landscaping that they seem to prefer this time in northern states. It’s just boring. I want flowers. Lots of flowers. Like these:

Bird of ParadiseBird of Paradise

ArtichokeArtichoke

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Wax-leaf Begonia
Begonia

Cane Begonia
Begonia

Tuberous Begonia
Begonia

Water Lily
Water lily

Lily
Easter lily

All of those started as plain ol’ pictures of flowers. I used Redfield’s Fractalius G4 to add a little extra pizzazz to them. Fractalius in one of my favorite photo editing programs. It’s interesting because it literally has millions of settings.

The bad part is that I could not tell you exactly what setting I used for any of those pictures above. The good part is that I could not tell you exactly what setting I used for any of those pictures, which means they truly are one of a kind because other than telling you that I used Fractalius, I wouldn’t know how to do any of them again.

Fractalius does have a little die which you can click on. It’s like rolling the dice. You don’t know what setting is going to come up. It also has a “last used” setting but I quickly discovered that what I liked for the last picture doesn’t necessarily work for the current picture, so I usually just keep rolling the die until I get something I like.

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

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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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat