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

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.

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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Fletcher Cove Park & Overlook Park in Solana Beach

Out & About

San Diego County has over 70 miles of coastline.

The first time I made it to San Diego, in 1973, two friends and I were on a timeline, created by yours truly, for visiting the national parks, national forests, national monuments, and cities with a population of more than 100,000 west of the Mississippi River, all in a little over three months.Male lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

So we skipped the beaches, preferring the San Diego Zoo as our San Diego attraction.

My second visit to San Diego County was in May 1992. I drove the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Monterey. At the first vista point, I thought to myself, “I could live here some day.”Blacks Beach

Eleven months later I was back in San Diego, to stay.

During my first year living in San Diego, I made it a point to visit all the named beaches in the County.

When Staycations became fashionable with the Great Recession, I decided to revisit San Diego County beaches. One that I visited recently is Fletcher Cove.

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As you’ll notice, Fletcher Cove Park was not there until 2007. I suspect there was a little beach, as there still is, but this illustrates why it is always worthwhile to go again to somewhere you’ve already been.

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The park also is known as Pillbox because of its history as a gunnery installation during World War II.

According to sources, “the beach gets wider at low tide but pretty much disappears at high tide.”

Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s easy to get to the beach from the park because you simply walk down a sloping ramp, much better than some beaches where you have to play like you’re a goat and traverse the sandstone cliffs that are 200 feet high.

There are public showers and restroom facilities as well as picnic tables and a basketball court located on top of the bluffs next to the Marine Safety Department Headquarters. There also is a nice community center in Overlook Park which is right next door to Fletcher Cove Park. Only an ugly chain link fence separates the two but that is of little consequence since the picnic tables and walkways are full of mosaic beauty; you’ll never notice the fence.

Overlook ParkFletcher Cove Community CenterFletcher Cove Community Center

Fletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A train station for the Coaster is three blocks away, Pacific Coast Highway and downtown Solana Beach are a block away.

Lifeguards are on duty year round, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the winter months, and from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the summer months.

Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park Fletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove ParkFletcher Cove Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray PhotosThe parking lot serving both Fletcher Cove Park and Overlook Park is at 111 S. Sierra Avenue in Solana Beach.

Map location of Fletcher Cove Park and Overlook Park in Solana Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Where do you get YOUR mail?

Picture of the Moment

I was born and raised in the small farming and ranching community of Kingsville, Texas, population 25,000, give or take.

In front of our house, at the street curb, was a mailbox. I used to wait for the mail carrier to raise the red flag to indicate that we had mail, at which point I’d rush out to get it.

Here in the city, we have cluster boxes. They aren’t nearly as much fun as a curbside mail box.

Fortunately, San Diego County has a great many rural areas, so when I do a home inspection out in those boondocks, I often get to see great mailboxes, like these two:

Mailbox in the boondocks in San Diego County

Mailbox in the boondocks in San Diego County

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you come to San Diego for a visit, don’t neglect the boondocks! There are a lot of great, historic sites to see beginning with State Route 94.

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Happy National Cat Day from Zoey the Cool Cat!

Did you know?

Today is National Cat Day.

Here to help us celebrate is the one and only Zoey the Cool Cat.

img_1101 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1145 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1589 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1592 zoey the cool cat preparing for the weekend img_1619 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1803 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1808 zoey relaxed stamp img_1900 zoey carrier stamp img_1910 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1914 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1941 zoey the cool cat stamp img_1954 zoey the cool cat stamp img_4015 zoey the cool cat sleeping floor stamp img_5257 stamp img_5507 zoey the cool cat stamp img_5621 zoey the cool cat stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Are you happy?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Advice from a tree

Picture of the Moment

Moving is like archaeology in that you discover old things that were thought to be lost to history.

When Jim and I moved in May, I found many things that I thought were gone. One of them was a poster that I bought in 1976 at a forestry event. It’s all folded and crumpled but not to worry because all I have to do is take the thought and create something in Photoshop.

I’m creating a set of seven Photographic Art based on the poster, of which this is the first one:

stand tall and proud

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For each succeeding artwork, the text being illustrated will be in dark blue with all other text in light gray.

The main reason why I am making these is because I have a commission to do so. My Client intends on hanging these on the walls of her new office.

Each of these is a Photoshop file, so I’ll be able to change anything that the Client wants changed. The brushed aluminum frame I used here is just for illustration purposes. My final work will not be digitally framed.

Contact me
 for unique, custom artwork
for your home or office,
or to give as a gift
to family, friends, or business associates.

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Baby pelicans are so cute!

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

I like reading the comment threads of online articles because they reveal the hatred, stupidity, and ignorance that seem to be so prevalent in society. I was reading a sports article yesterday on the web site for an arch-conservative newspaper serving an arch-conservative community and an arch-conservative university. After reading the article I scrolled down to the comments only to find this:

Rules of conduct

Should I admit that I found the comments essentially dull, boring, and uninteresting.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #2

Sunset and a tall ship in San Diego, California

That’s the sunset from the Maritime Museum of San Diego on Friday, September 4. I had just come from the Parade of Sail which opened the Festival of Sail taking place this weekend. Many of us consider the Parade of Sail to be the unofficial start to San Diego’s “Fleet Week” in recognition of the military stationed and living in San Diego, mostly Navy and Marine. “Fleet Week” is a misnomer since it officially starts September 8 and ends October 4.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #3

I liked this statement from author Anne Rice about Kim Davis:

“Whatever gave this woman the idea that any individual has the right to publicly and stubbornly disregard the rights of an entire group of Americans, based on her personal belief? And to think all of this is over secular marriage licenses! Not life and death. Not war and peace. But secular marriage licenses! What a colossal waste all this has been of the tax payer’s money and the court’s time.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

Climate change seems to be bringing a lot more rain to San Diego. Along with the rain—July was the wettest July in recorded history here—has come some strange weather, like hail on March 1.

Rain and hail, though, mean clouds, something that usually is an all or none situation. However, we’re getting some really nice clouds which means really nice pictures, like this one:

img_1975 abandoned railroad tracks stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #5

The place where I go each year to watch the Parade of Sail has a lot of friendly pelicans, like these two:

img_5122 pelicans stamp

The little baby pelican in the middle is soooooooooo cute!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Fall, football, fleet week, festival of sail—It all starts today!

Out & About

The unofficial start of the Festival of Sail at the Maritime Museum of San Diego begins today with the Parade of Sail at 3:00 p.m. For most of us here, that means it’s also the unofficial start of Fall, football, and Fleet Week (a misnomer since the “week” lasts from September 8 to October 4).

The Parade of Sail features tall ships from around the world and is, for me, one of the best events occurring each year in San Diego.

Here’s a selection of tall ships, some making San Diego their home, others visiting during the year, and still others visiting specifically for the Festival of Sail:

Tall ships in San Diego for the Festival of Sail Tall Ship Parade at San Diego Festival of Sail Tall Ship Parade at San Diego Festival of Sail Tall Ship Parade at San Diego Festival of Sail Tall ship in San Diego Tall ship in San Diego Tall ship at the 2012 Festival of Sail, San Diego

The Californian, official tall ship of the State of California

The Californian, official tall ship of the State of California

Tall ship

Tall Ship Parade at San Diego Festival of Sail

Tall ship at the 2012 Festival of Sail, San Diego

Esmeralda

Sagres ship

Star of India

Master & CommanderPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Most significant today is that the San Salvador, the recently completed full-size replica of the galleon that sailed into San Diego bay in 1542, will make its debut. While it is not expected to be under sail today, it will lead the Parade of Sail using its propellers, also known as “iron wind.”

San Salvador

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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