Tag Archives: san diego california

SNIPPETS (5-27-2018)

Snippets

SNIPPET 1

Yesterday, Jim and I celebrated 24 years of knowing each other. Since we really never thought that we would be able to get married in our lifetimes, we decided to celebrate our anniversary as the day we met.

Then along came “Domestic Partnerships.” Such an ugly term. Nonetheless, we got domestic partnered on July 31, 2004. We even have a “Certificate of Domestic Partnership” issued by the California Secretary of State.

Then along came “Same-Sex Marriage.” Wrongly named. It should be “Same Gender Marriage.” Why is it always about sex? Nonetheless, when it looked like the voters were going to repeal same-sex marriage on the first Tuesday of November in 2008, Jim and I got married. On October 30.

So, basically, we get to celebrate three times each year. More margaritas for us! Yahoooooooooooo!

SNIPPET 2

Back in 1966, my wise old grandmother was sitting at the dining room table with her scissors, tape, Elmer’s glue, photo albums, scrapbooks, and dozens of pictures. She was cutting pictures apart and taping different sections together to give her the picture and story she wanted.

Pre-Photoshop cropping and merging.

She told me then that what comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with, teaching me to never throw away “throwaway pictures.”

Here is what many would call a throwaway picture of Zoey the Cool Cat:

Zoey the Cool Cat throwaway picture

Not sure what was going on at that time that resulted in such a cruddy picture. Nonetheless….

Here is what I created in Photoshop with that cruddy picture:

Zoey the Cool Cat drawing

I think the result is beautiful, perhaps even hauntingly beautiful.

SNIPPET 3

Beautiful, interesting sunrise this past Friday morning.

Sunrise in El Cajon CA

SNIPPET 4

I usually am not satisfied with panoramas that I create using Photoshop’s Photomerge function. It’s not Photoshop or Photomerge. It’s me not taking enough pictures to fill in the outside areas so I have to crop them.

In this panorama of the Point Loma Submarine Base in San Diego, with me standing smack dab in the middle of the base, I still didn’t take enough pictures but I like the effect that the missing pictures leave:

Point Loma submarine base in San Diego CA

SNIPPET 5

I’m making an educational display for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society’s Summer Show & Sale next weekend. It’s on container gardening, titled “You CAN grow any plant in any pot!”

I’m specifically focusing on containers without drainage holes so I’m making a slide show of all my plants that are growing happily in containers without drainage holes. I was so focused on this Ming Aralia that I did not see that I got photobombed by Zoey the Cool Cat.

Ming Aralia being photobombed by Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 6

The look on Zoey the Cool Cat’s face…..

Zoey the Cool Cat

Either she is upset that I found her, or she’s upset because she knows I’m going to put her on the Internet yet again.

SNIPPET 7

For my zombie friends.

Sticker on the back of a huge F350 pick-em-up truck in East San Diego County boondocks:

Zombie

SNIPPET 8

Ooopsy.

No photography

SNIPPET 9

When I was a freshman at Texas A&M University in 1973-1974, I would not be stretching it to say that I survived on Kraft macaroni & cheese, and PB&J (Peter Pan peanut butter and Bama Apple Butter) sandwiches.

At the age of 63, I could still do that except that Bama is not around here in San Diego.

With the Kraft Mac&Cheese, I modify it somewhat by adding chicken and jalapeños. Couple that with a margarita, and I’m in culinary heaven.

Chicken, jalapeños, and Kraft macaroni & cheese

SNIPPET 10

I have been squirrel- and rabbit-proofing my property. It seems to be working because this squirrel couldn’t get in and had to eat an Opuntia cactus in the Open Space Preserve on the other side of the fence.

Whenever I get in the cactus, I get a lot of thorns in my skin. Wish I were a squirrel!

SNIPPET 11

Zoey the Cool Cat has a rotation that she gets into. She’ll choose a spot and that will be where I can always find her for 3-5 days. Then she’ll choose a different spot. 3-5 days. Different spot. 3-5 days. On and on. When she runs out of spots, she’ll simply start over. Her spot for the past two days provides me with this view from my office:

View from the office

Zoey the Cool Cat

SNIPPET 12

I just finished reading “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. Published in 1943. Interestingly, I have a hard copy first edition in my library. Not sure where it came from, but since Jim has worked for Borders, Barnes & Noble, Warwick’s, B. Dalton, and Waldenbooks for 40 years, I’m pretty sure it was in his collection when we merged. He claims he doesn’t know where it came from either, though.

When I was trying to decide whether or not to read a book from 1943, I searched for online review. One was from President Dumb Jerk Twitler, saying that he had read it and considered himself Howard Roark, one of the main characters. Ha! The words, sentences, paragraphs, and book are waaaaaaaaay too long for his little brain, and he’s definitely NOT Howard Roark.

SNIPPET 13

Just started reading “The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz. Jim brought home the “Advance Readers Edition” a couple of months ago but I was reading “The Fountainhead” so I just now started “The Crooked Staircase.” It went on sale My, 8, 2018, so check it out. I’ve read 50 pages, and like his two previous Jane Hawk novels, this one is going to be good. Read good.

Next up is “The Forbidden Door,” also by Dean Koontz. Jim brought home the “Advance Readers Edition” a couple of days ago. It goes on sale October 9, 2018, so I’ll definitely have read it by that time, probably by July 9, 2018.

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

Advertisements

Where can I get some footprints like this?

Out & About

Yesterday I visited the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. I had known about it for a couple of decades but had never been there because it is massive, and not exactly close to where I live.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

However, I teach chess at several elementary schools in North County, so yesterday, instead of fighting rush hour traffic to come home, I decided to take a hike, literally.

After parking, I studied the map and saw that there was a waterfall. Off I went. Three miles out and three miles back. I am sore, sore, sore.

I’ll have more about Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in a future post. Today I wanted to share just three pictures.

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmotherWhen I was young and living with my wise old grandmother (picture ►), she would take me to Padre Island National Seashore. Before she let me out to run around on the beach and in the dunes, she would tell me, “Don’t pick any flowers. Don’t take anything. Leave only footprints.” I thought of her yesterday when I came upon a set of footprints that had me smiling. Looked like this:

Leave only footprints

After finding those footprints, I looked at my own. I was embarrassed. I need some new shoes with a cool footprint!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Then there was this bird, either a crow or raven:

img_1570 crow stamp

I took that picture just a couple of hundred feet after setting off on the main trail. I know crows and ravens are very smart birds, and this one followed me three miles in and three miles back, flying from dead tree to dead tree, squawking at me to let me know that it was still with me but in a different tree. It stayed with me during my four-hour hike through the Preserve. Maybe it knew I was a newbie and wanted to make sure that I didn’t get lost. Since I got back to my car well after sunset, I was thankful that I had a little one looking after me.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift
for a marriage, anniversary, birthday or other special event?
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Photographic Art logo

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

Ismael “Sonny” Nevarez, a Realtor in Highland, California, owns a condominium at La Mesa Racquet & Swim Club in La Mesa, California. He is a Slum Lord in every sense of the phrase. Contact me if you’d like further information.

My six favorite San Diego vista points

Out & About

The following are my six favorite places from which to view San Diego:

San Diego Sky Tours

San Diego Sky Tours takes you on a 20-minute flight over downtown San Diego, Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres), Qualcomm Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers), Sports Arena (home of the Los Angeles Clippers when they were the San Diego Clippers), SeaWorld, Coronado Bridge, Hotel Del Coronado, beaches, San Diego River, and more! Take a ride in a biplane, a tour aircraft, or a helicopter. Nothing quite like it. Rates start at $124.

Remember, too, that if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the airplane. The view of downtown San Diego as you are coming in for the landing is not to be missed!

Downtown San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mount Soledad

A very popular tourist vista because it’s just minutes north of downtown San Diego, and downtown La Jolla, one of the area’s best tourist venues, is on the north side.

Mount Soledad rises about 823 feet above the coastline. There is a huge cross and Veterans Memorial at the top. On a clear day you can see Tijuana, Los Angeles, and probably Tokyo!

View from Mount Soledad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mount Helix

The most popular vista point in East San Diego County. Mount Helix rises 1,365 feet above sea level. It’s about 14 miles inland but you can see the ocean on a clear day. There is am amphitheater and large cross at the top. Along with Easter Sunrise Service, there are usually theater presentations during the summer. Right now the only thing I see on the Mount Helix calendar are weddings and Power Yoga.

Mount Helix is my favorite place to see the sun rise.

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel

In downtown San Diego on the harbor front. Comprising two towers, the older one, at 497 feet tall, has a vista point bar at the top. Unfortunately, it is way too small and crowded all the time. Be sure to visit Seaport Village at the foot of the towers.

Downtown San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Tower

The California Tower is 198 feet tall and located in Balboa Park.  While it is not as tall as the other vistas, the views are spectacular.

After having been closed for eighty years, it opened again on January 1, 2015. If you go, and I highly recommend that you do, make reservations and buy tickets online. They sell out far in advance, and it’s not even Tourist Season yet!

You won’t go to the tippy top because it’s not safe yet, but you won’t be disappointed. Afterwards, enjoy the rest of Balboa Park, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

California Tower and San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego

Gian Panda Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Coronado

A trip to Coronado has to be on everyone’s list of places to visit while in San Diego. You will travel over the very beautiful Coronado Bridge on your way to see the Hotel del Coronado, one of the most famous hotels in the world; Frank Oz’s house where he wrote much of “The Wizard of Oz”; Coronado Beach, one of the best beaches  in the United States according to those who rank such things; and downtown San Diego from across the harbor. If your budget includes splurging at a restaurant, splurge at Peohe’s.

San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

Downtown San Diego from Marriott Coronado Island Resort

Hotel del Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Marriage? Anniversary? Birthday? Special event?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
Zoey the Cool (Book) CatZoey the Cool Cat exploring the books

Out & About—San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Encinitas, California

Out & About

I remember the first time I heard the word Lagoon. Such a funny-sounding word. I was 7 or 8, living in Brigham City, Utah, at the time, and we were going to Lagoon, which was an amusement park in Farmington, 44 miles south of Brigham City and 17 miles north of Salt Lake City.

A couple of weeks ago, grade schools started up again after the end-of-year break, which meant that after-school enrichment programs would be starting up, too. I teach chess in five grade school enrichment programs.

One of the schools that I will be teaching at this term is a new school for me. Whenever I have a new school, I get there early to find parking, check out the neighborhood, get through the school’s security protocols, and find my room. This time, I got there way too early. I think many people were still on end-of-year vacation, so freeway traffic was very light.

As I was driving around the neighborhood looking for photography subjects, I found a little cul-de-sac with lots of brush, trees, and a little trail. Ah, trails. I just can’t resist trails. I parked the car, grabbed my camera, and went for a little hike.

I had not gone too far when I saw a couple of signs:

San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego, California

San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego, CaliforniaPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I saw several rattlesnakes and one mountain lion:

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake

Mountain lion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, the rattlesnakes and mountain lion that I saw were at the San Diego Zoo the next day. That’s why I love the Zoo and SeaWorld—I get to see wildlife that I would never see otherwise.

I didn’t hike very far because I could see that the trails seemed to go on and on and on. (Hmmmm. Maybe the Energizer Bunny is out there somewhere.) I couldn’t get lost in the menagerie and not make it back to school on time to teach chess to that wildlife known as “rugrats.”

I did come upon a lonely bench, which turned out to be very photogenic:

Lonely bench

Lonely bench

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I got home, I used Google Maps to determine that I was on the outer edges of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County, comprising 915 acres. There are six plant communities within the Reserve: coastal strand, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, riparian scrub, coastal sage scrub, and mixed chaparral. The diversity of wildlife is enormous: more than 300 species of plants, at least 23 species of fish, 26 mammal species, 20 reptiles and amphibians, more than 80 invertebrates, and 300 bird species.

San Elijo Lagoon is part of the Escondido Creek Watershed, comprising about 54,000 acres, stretching from the foothills to the coastline. It includes the last remnants of an imperiled coastal scrub habitat connecting the northern and southern parts of a globally important ecological region. The coastal scrub habitat is vital to the persistence of some of Southern California’s most endangered species, many of which occur nowhere else on Earth.

All of which means that, of course, I shall be making a more extensive visit sometime soon.

img_9301 stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Marriage? Anniversary? Birthday? Special event?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by
Zoey the Cool (Book) CatI'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Out & About—Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Out & About

I found an online resource a couple of weeks ago that basically updates my library of San Diego books, all of which were published from 1989 to 1994. One of the first places I went after reading about it online was the Crestridge Ecological Reserve.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crestridge Ecological Reserve currently comprises 2,638 acres. Acquisition began in 1995, which explains why it is not in any of my San Diego books.

Before I even set foot on the Reserve, I was notified that some of the Republicans’ friends might be found:

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Visitors also were asked to stay alert for badgers and to inform the Reserve if any were seen.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crestridge Ecological ReserveSadly, during the 2½ hours I spent walking around the Reserve on the trails, I saw not a single species of wildlife—no snakes, no badgers, not even a bird!

Maybe birds don’t get up as early as I do…. Wait! I thought the early bird got the worm! Oh, I am so confused.

Just past the various signs but before the Visitor Center, I found a graveyard.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since my Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University is in forest management, I knew that it wasn’t a graveyard. Those are protective cones used to prevent wildlife like rabbits and deer from eating the vegetation inside the cone.

Just across the trail from those cones was a 10-acre meadow, the Crestridge Grasslands, where serious restoration is in progress:

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Purple needlegrassIn this case, most of the cones are protecting purple needlegrass (Nasella pulchra).

Purple needlegrass became the state grass of California in 2004. It ranges from the Oregon border at the north to the Mexico border at the south, and an individual plant can live for a hundred years. It was a food source for native Indians, as well as being the main food source for horses and cattle in California’s wild, wild west. It also happens to be the preferred material used by the California Indian Basket Weavers to teach children the art of basket weaving.

In an ecological reserve, one of the primary purposes is to replace non-native vegetation with native vegetation. In the Crestridge Grasslands, students from several school districts, as well as volunteers, plant and care for the area, providing a service to the community while learning science and restoration skills.

The visitor center, not open at 7:00 a.m. when I was there, is quite beautiful. It has some interesting benches, and there are unique tiles in the grounds surrounding the center.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Part of the mission of the reserve is education. There was a very interesting area set up for composting.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s easy to forget that this reserve is smack dab in the middle of a suburban area and bounded on one side by busy Interstate 8. The rust-colored trails reveal the soil’s iron-rich composition, and huge granite boulders and outcroppings occur throughout the reserve, including this Hobbit House:

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The trails are wide and clean, with no major long-distance gains in elevation, making for a leisurely walk. You do have to stay on the trails, though, because poison oak and poison ivy like it here, too.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crestridge Ecological Reserve is one of the most significant pieces of land set aside for nature in Southern Californa. It has everything ecologically significant to Southern California, including sensitive butterflies, bobcats, and an ancient Indian village where people once ground acorns in mortars of smooth boulders.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since the reserve is in the midst of so many suburban cities—Lakeside, Santee, Crest, El Cajon, Alpine, and Blossom Valley—other problems have to be dealt with. In October 2003, someone drove a bulldozer onto the reserve and destroyed an acre of native vegetation, including at least one 200-year-old oak tree, and built 8-foot-high motorcycle jumps. Shortly afterwards, surveillance cameras documented 18 motorcycles on the reserve.

There is a house on one of the peaks, apparently belonging to the Reserve’s main caretaker. From the driveway around the house, there is a nice view of Interstate 8 and the cities below.

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Crestridge Ecological Reserve

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crestridge Oak GroveAlso within the reserve is the Crestridge Oak Grove. It’s in pretty bad shape, so there weren’t any good pictures to be had. Most of the oaks are Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia), but there are also some Engelmann Oak (Quercus engelmanii) and Shrub Oak (Quercus dumosa). The mature Coast Live Oaks range in age from 100 to 200 years. I didn’t see any mature Engelmann oaks, but I did find a couple of young’uns.

Engelmann Oak

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Oak woodlands provide food, water, and shelter for about 350 species of wildlife, as well as providing the basis of watersheds which provide drinking water for millions of Californians. At one point a couple of hundred years ago, oak woodlands covered about 10 million acres in California. Population growth resulting in urban and suburban sprawl through agricultural conversion have profoundly affected the land and our resources.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Photographic Art logo
Choose Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Picture of the Moment (12-20-14)

Picture of the Moment

I had to travel quite a ways yesterday looking for San Diego Historical Landmark #10.

I’m not sure I found it because there’s no good description of where it is…. you’ll just have to wait….

I did get some great pictures going to and from, like this one of a glider taking off from the cliffs at the Torrey Pines Glider Port with downtown La Jolla in the background:

Torrey Pines Glider Port in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta (9-12-14)—Bearded and wild

Friday Flower Fiesta

Part of my youth was spent living in northern Utah, places like Hyrum, Wellsville, Logan, and Brigham City. There is a significant difference between the climate of northern Utah and that of San Diego.

One of my favorite flowers that grew very well in Utah was the iris. We have a wild iris that grows here in San Diego, and while it is pretty, it’s just not as awesome as the irises from Utah. About the only time I see something like a bearded iris is near the coast where it’s cooler all the time, and on the campus of San Diego State University which has become a pretty good arboretum over the last four or five years.

Here are some of my favorite iris pictures in my collection:

#1 Wild Iris stamp

Photographic Art logo

#2Wild Iris

Photographic Art logo

#3
Purple iris

Photographic Art logo

#4
Purple iris

Photographic Art logo

#5
Iris at the San Diego Zoo

Photographic Art logo

#6Iris from Weidner's Gardens

Photographic Art logo

#7

Peach Iris

Photographic Art logo

#8

Regal Iris

Photographic Art logo

#9Bearded iris

Photographic Art logo

#10Wild Iris stampPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

photograhic art taking pictures making art