Tag Archives: san diego state university

How I Did It—Works for me

How I Did It

I pretty much try to abide by the rule of thirds when I take pictures. I think it creates more aesthetically pleasing photographs.

The rule of thirds might be the most well-known rule of photographic composition since it is one of the first things one learns in photography class.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken, but if you’re going to break a rule, make sure you know it very well so that breaking it is even more effective.

The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts:

Rule of thirds

The exact center rarely is a good place to put your focal point unless your intent is to show symmetry. Too high, too low, too far left, or too far right is kind of like dissonance in music; it just doesn’t feel right/sound right/look right. The grid, then, identifies four areas of the image—where the lines intersect—where you should consider placing points of interest in your picture.

Along with the four intersections, the rule of thirds also gives you four lines along which to place elements in your picture.

Rule of thirds lines

The theory behind the rule of thirds is that placing points of interest at the intersections or along the lines provides a more balanced picture with which the viewer can interact more naturally. Apparently, research shows that when looking at a picture, your eyes go naturally to one of the intersections much more naturally than to the center of the image.

I don’t know if the rule of thirds comes naturally to me or whether fifty years of photography has simply made it a habit. Maybe I’ll intentionally break the rule to see what happens.

If your picture looks or feels awkward, don’t hesitate to take it into a digital photo editing program like Photoshop and crop it to give it a better feel or look.

Following is a panorama of the Music Building at San Diego State University that illustrates the rule of thirds. This panorama was created by taking 8 separate pictures into Photoshop and then using the Photomerge function to stitch them together. Afterwards I cropped the panorama to get this:

Music Building at San Diego State University

My landscape-oriented pictures often use the top, middle, and bottom thirds, as I have done that picture. I really like this picture, first and foremost because it’s the Music Building and connects with my 60 years of music (violin, piano, and voice). Additionally, though, I really like the dominant but different colors in the thirds—blue in the upper third, white in the middle, and green in the lower. Notice, however, that the transitions are not too sharp or abrupt. The white clouds in the blue sky lead one’s eyes to the white building. The green trees against the white building then lead one’s eyes to the green grass in the lower third. In every sense, this picture works for me.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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SNIPPETS (7-29-2014)

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

I recently read a report somewhere, probably on a blog, that not only is the younger generation supportive of gay marriage, but generally they don’t mind paying higher taxes for things like police protection, fire protection, emergency medical transportation, roads, bridges, teachers, schools, and libraries. Pretty much the things that make a civilized society civil.

Such was proven in 2010 when students at San Diego State University were asked whether or not they supported an extra fee—a tax, basically—that would go to tear down the Student Center, built in 1962 for a campus of 10,000 students, and build a new one for a campus of 40,000 students. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the fee.

Does that show that they were in favor of the tax, or that the old Student Center was grossly inadequate?

Here is Photographic Art based on a picture of the old Aztec Center which served from 1962 to 2011.

San Diego State University Aztec Center 1968-2011

SNIPPET #2

And just for comparison, here’s the new Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Center (click on the picture for a monster image).

The new Aztec Center on the campus of San Diego State University

Conrad Prebys is one of those good billionaires (and there are way too few of the good ones) who gives a lot of money to charitable purposes. In this case, $20 million to provide scholarships to Aztec students.

SNIPPET #3

When I was growing up in Kingsville, Texas, under the watchful eye and whip of my wise old grandmother, a second cousin came by to show us his brand new 1965 Ford Mustang. I loved that car, and I have been enamored of Mustangs ever since. I finally bought a 1989 Saleen Mustang in 1991 and drove it until 1998. Its top end speed apparently was 153 mph because I reached that speed twice, once on the I-8 straightaway between Pensacola and Fort Walton, Florida, and once on the boring stretch of I-10 from Fort Stockton to Van Horn, Texas. Don’t tell anyone, though.

Recently I saw a 40th Anniversary (2004) edition of the Mustang. Here is Photographic Art based on a picture of the 40th Anniversary logo from the side of the car:

Mustang 40th Anniversary logo

SNIPPET #4

Balloons are very popular with children, so when I go to a parade and see balloons, I’m pretty sure that’s where all the rugrats are going to be, making it difficult to get a good picture.

Following is Photographic Art based on a picture of balloons at a recent Gay Pride parade in San Diego. The children were cropped out.

Rainbow balloons at San Diego Gay Pride

SNIPPET #5

Pelicans are my favorite bird that I’ve actually seen out in their native habitat. The awesome Julian says that Russel Ray Photos has to have the largest collection of pelicans in the world (or something like that). Here are three of my recent Photographic Art based on pictures of brown pelicans in La Jolla, a beachside neighborhood of San Diego:

Brown pelican coming in for a landing

Brown pelicans in flight

Brown pelicans in La Jolla, California

Remember in a recent post that I said I cannot be trusted? Well, the second picture is actually Photographic Art based on two separate pictures of brown pelicans in flight. I lifted the pelican from one picture and placed in with the pelican in the other picture. Twins are much better than loner birds!

SNIPPET #6

The original designers of downtown San Diego at the harbor saw fit to install lots of ugly parking lots and ugly buildings. Fortunately, the City is coming to its senses and realizing that since downtown is located directly on the bayfront, it might be a good idea to make everything look snazzy.

The following is Photographic Art one of the new water parks in downtown San Diego, this one on the south side of the San Diego County Administration Building (where Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008).

San Diego Water Park

All of the trees and water you see in that picture used to be a huge, ugly parking lot for the Administration Building. So, you might ask, where do they park cars now?

A-ha! (not the group). The two water parks are on top of an underground parking garage:

Underground parking

The former surface parking lots were so ugly that I don’t even have a picture of them. Must be the only thing in San Diego that I don’t have a picture of!……….. 🙂

SNIPPET #7

When cruise ships used to arrive in San Diego, there was no real place for them to dock. I think sometimes they just parked in the bay and pushed people overboard. A few years ago we got a new cruise ship terminal, and it is beautiful.

San Diego's cruise ship terminal

SNIPPET #8

Of course, cruise ships always make nice Photographic Art. The Sapphire Princess is my favorite so far because it looks like they stole the engines from the Starship Enterprise and put them on top of the Princess.

Sapphire Princess cruise ship in San Diego, California

SNIPPET #9

A mommy red river hog and her six little ones:

Mommy red river hog and her six little ones

SNIPPET #10

Smile if you can read this:

No cheating

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I finally learned its name!

Picture of the Moment

San Diego State University is just a mile down the road from me.

I often ride my bike to campus and then ride around campus, or I’ll walk down the hill from my house to the 70th Street trolley station and take the San Diego Trolley over to SDSU.

Either way, a ride or walk around the SDSU campus invariably provides many picture opportunities.

Following are two Photographic Art of Hepner Hall, the iconic building on the campus that appears in anything and everything about the university. I never knew its name, even after 21 years in San Diego, until Julian and I were uploading pictures to our galleries at Fine Art America.

Hepner Hall on the campus of San Diego State University

Hepner Hall on the campus of San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

See San Diego State University on Google Maps

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego

Out & About

This morning I went with the Pacific Photographic Society for a private tour of Petco Park, which is where the San Diego Padres profess to being a major league baseball team. Their current record as of today is 41-54, good enough for third place in the National League West, out of 5 teams in that division.

Oh, well.

At least the tour was much better than our major league baseball team is.

On the north side of the stadium is a statue of Tony Gwynn, also known as Mr. Padre. Looks like this:

Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego

Sadly, Tony Gwynn died on June 16, 2014, at the age of 54, after battling salivary gland cancer for about a year. I don’t know what caused the cancer, but chewing tobacco used by major league baseball players comes immediately to mind.

Gwynn was born in Los Angeles and attended college at San Diego State University where he played baseball for three years and basketball for four years. He was drafted on the same day in 1981 by both the San Diego Padres baseball team and the San Diego Clippers basketball team, ultimately choosing baseball.

Gwynn hit left handed and won eight batting titles, was an all-star 15 times, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards for his offensive skills and five Gold Glove Awards for his defensive skills. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.

Gwynn played in the World Series in 1984 and 1998, the only two World Series appearances in San Diego’s franchise history. He had a .338 career batting average and never hit below .309 in any full season. Gwynn retired with 3,141 career hits with the San Diego Padres, one of just ten players to reach the 3,000 hit club while only playing for only one team.

Following his retirement from professional baseball, Gwynn was hired as the head baseball coach at San Diego State University, which is when I got to know him as I hung out often at Aztec baseball games.

The Padres retired his #19 jersey number in 2004.

RIP, Tony.

Location of Tony Gwynn statue
Location of Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park in San Diego, Californai

Go to location on Google Maps

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Historical Landmarks: #1–El Prado Area Designation, part 7

San Diego Historical Landmarks

For the introductory blog post to San Diego’s historical landmarks, click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 1

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 2

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 3

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 4

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 5

#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 6

El Prado Area Designation

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Continuing from west to east on El Prado, we’re about halfway finished with our El Prado Area Designation tour. Next up is the Mingei International Museum.

Mingei International Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mingei International Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mingei International Museum was founded in 1978 by Martha Longenecker, a professor of art at San Diego State University. She had studied pottery-making in Japan and became acquainted with the founders and leaders of the Mingei Association of Japan, inspiring her to carry the vision of mingei to the America. According to Wikipedia, “The philosophical pillar of mingei is ‘hand-crafted art of ordinary people.’” Therein lies the goal of the Mingei International Museum, to collect, conserve, and exhibit arts of daily use, from unknown craftsmen of ancient times to present-day craftsmen.

Before you ever walk through the doors of the museum, the children want to stop and play on this:

Mingei International Museum in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is a big alligator. It belongs to the Museum, and the Museum’s web site tells you not to leave Balboa Park “until you’ve climbed it, touched it, walked under it, and posed for a photo.”

The inaugural exhibition of Mingei International Museum was Dolls and Folk Toys of the World. Throughout the ensuring years, Mingei has shared hundreds of exhibitions featuring a wide range of cultures, themes, and media.

Two of my favorite exhibitions were the Bold Expressions exhibit in 2011, and the Maneki Neko exhibit in 2011-2012.

Bold Expressions was an exhibit of African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley, showcasing quilts from the American South made between 1910 and the 1970s:

Quilt from the American South

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Maneki Neko exhibit didn’t appeal to me initially when I saw it on the 2010 list of upcoming exhibitions. However, after I read about maneki neko, I realized that I had one! Yes! Maneki neko means “beckoning cat,” but I always thought they were waving cats.

Beckoning cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beckoning cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Read more about maneki neko at Wikipedia.

Zoey the Cool Cat encouraged me to go see her Japanese cousins, so I did, of course.

The other cool thing about the Museum’s exhibit of maneki neko is that the collection was donated to the Museum by Billie Moffitt of Long Beach, California. True tennis fans recognize the name as none other than the great and incomparable Billie Jean King, winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles. Moffitt was her maiden name.

Current exhibitions:

  • Function and Fantasy (through May 26, 2014)—Steven and William Ladd are brothers working with beads, fabric, and boxes to express their shared memories of family life in Missouri.
  • Log Cabin Quilts (through July 3, 2014)—Features Log Cabin quilts from a collection of 350 quilts given to the Museum in 2012 by local collectors Pat and Tom Nickols. A Log Cabin quilt is formed in squares known as blocks, each with a central small square surrounded by bars or logs.
  • Huyler’s Pure Delicious Chocolate, 1874-1925 (through August 17, 2014)—Explores the 50-year advertising and marketing history of one of the nation’s earliest, largest, and most prominent chocolate manufacturers.

Mingei International Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and “most national holidays,” which, I guess, means to check their web site for closings.

Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors age 62 and over, $5 for youth age 6-17, $5 for students with ID and military with ID. Members and children under age 6 get in free!

Also, on the third Tuesday of each month, free admission is given to all San Diego County residents, students at local colleges and universities (ID required), active duty military with ID, and, quoting from the web site, “part-time residents/vacation home owners (except time share owners).” Now how in the world do they determine that you’re a time share owner?

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Potatoes grow on trees

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The campus of San Diego State University is just 1½ miles from me, which makes for a great walk or bike ride. However, once I get to the campus, I tend to wander around looking at buildings and plants.

There is a large Mediterranean Garden at the far north part of campus:

Mediterranean Garden on the campus of San Diego State University

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In the northwest corner of the garden is a sausage tree (Kigelia africana):

Sausage Tree on the campus of San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s an unassuming tree from a distance and doesn’t encourage one to go see it. However, if you do decide to go have a look at it, you’ll find big potato-like things hanging from the branches:

Sausage Tree on the campus of San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The sausage tree is native to tropical Africa. In addition to the one on the SDSU campus, there is one at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The Kigelia genus contains only one species, and you’re looking at pictures of it. Sausage trees can be both evergreen or deciduous, depending on the amount of rainfall. It is related to jacarandas and catalpas, and the flowers are extremely beautiful, large, and waxy:

Sausage Tree on the campus of San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The fruit, a woody berry (?), can be up to 3.3 feet long and 7 inches wide, and hang down on long, rope-like peduncles.

Sausage tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Inside the fruit are hundreds of seeds, and since the fruits can weigh up to 22 pounds, it’s probably not a good idea to park your car under it or walk around under it without a hardhat on since they do fall to the ground.

The fruit is supposedly a cure for rheumatism, evil spirits, syphilis, constipation (it’s a strong laxative) and, wait for it, tornadoes. The raw fruit is poisonous, but when dried, roasted, or fermented, it can be made into beer, skin care products, or eaten.

It’s called a sausage tree because the fruit looks like sausages. Well, not to me! I think they look like Russet potatoes. Compare:

Sausage TreeSausage tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Russet potato from last night’s supperRusset potatoes

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

What’s your opinion? Looks like a potato, right?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Old student center at San Diego State University

Moving sale

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Over on the campus of San Diego State University, there is a huge new student center being built. The students voted in Spring 2011 on whether or not to increase student fees to destroy the old Aztec Center and build a new one. Amazingly, they voted yes! Imagine people voting for an increase in their own taxes……….lol

Following are some pictures of the old morphing into the new. It should be ready for the Fall 2013 semester.

June 13, 2009Old student center at San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

June 17, 2011Aztec Center at San Diego State University being demolished in June 2011

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Aztec Center at San Diego State University being demolished in June 2011

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

November 9, 2011Building the new Aztec Center at San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Building the new Aztec Center at San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

April 19, 2013New Aztec Center at San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

New Aztec Center at San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

New Aztec Center at San Diego State University

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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