Tag Archives: san diego zoo safari park

Complements the swamp monkeys in the White House

Picture of the Moment

It’s spring time at the San Diego Zoo,

which means little ones are everywhere.

Here’s an Allen’s Swamp Monkey mama

with her little one.

Complements the swamp monkeys in the White House……..

Allen's swamp monkey mama & her baby

Remember, if you get to San Diego, give me a call. I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I also have been known to play docent for a day or two at no charge!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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SNIPPETS (8-14-14)—It’s so confusing

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

Julian convinced me NOT to publish two posts a day here at my Southern California blog. Instead, daily specials on Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America will be announced, more appropriately, at RusselRayPhotos.com. I know, it can get confusing, having a Russel Ray Photos blog at RusselRayPhotos2.com and a separate RusselRayPhotos.com web site. Notwithstanding the web site names, look at the title of the web sites and you’ll see

Russel Ray Photos (here)
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos (there)

For the best access to Daily Specials, though, follow us over at Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos, too.

SNIPPET #2

When I went to the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden a year ago, I got so many pictures that it’s taken Julian and me this long to catalog everything. There is an outdoor dining area called Peacock Plaza. No one was dining there but I did get a (poor) picture of a peacock at Peacock Plaza.

Peacock Plaza

There is so much wrong with that picture. You know me, though. I never throw anything away. Comes from my wise old grandmother constantly saying, “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”

Note that the tile mosaic above the peacock has two peacocks in it. That mosaic is what I really wanted a picture of. I had another picture of the mosaic, and I tasked Julian with taking the two pictures and making a great piece of Photographic Art out of them. Here’s what he came up with:

Twin Peacocks

Julian keeps doing things that encourage me to keep him around….

SNIPPET #3

During the winter it will actually snow in the mountains of East San Diego County. Sadly, it only snowed there once this past winter. Global warming or something like that….

Here is another Photographic Art created by Julian of Lake Cuyamaca in the mountains covered with ice and snow:

Lake Cuyamaca

If you come to San Diego, try to make time in your schedule to go to the mountain community of Julian via Interstate 8 and State Highway 79. You will go right by Lake Cuyamaca, and it’s a great stopping point to relax and watch the wildlife—raptors, mountain lions, deer….

Remember to have an apple pie by the Julian Pie Company while you’re there. Best apple pie I have ever had. My favorite—ah who am I kidding? I like them all, but I do like the apple/peach crumb, apple/strawberry crumb, apple/raspberry crumb the best. That reminds me that I was going to make some peach cobbler last weekend…. Task for later today.

Google maps says Julian is about 71 miles from downtown San Diego, but the winding roads mean it will take you two hours to get there.

SNIPPET #4

I always feel so sad when I see fish out of water.

Fish Out Of Water

SNIPPET #5

My favorite tree in the world (not that I’ve seen every tree in the world, or even seen the world!) is the Century Oak at Texas A&M University. It’s now about 130 years old. I lost all of my pictures in the Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005, but this tree at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park reminds me very much of it:

Beneath The Tree

SNIPPET #6

When you to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, take lots of money with you. They have some really interesting rides but they are expensive. They are worth it, but expensive nonetheless, such as the Balloon Ride:

San Diego zoo Safari Park Balloon Ride

The Balloon Ride takes you up about 400 feet into the wild blue yonder, and from there you can see everything for miles around. The best view, though, is directly below you where you can see lions, tigers, elephants, and giraffes, all looking like little ants from 400 feet up.

SNIPPET #7

Speaking of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the new Tiger Trail exhibit opened recently. Financed mostly by Conrad Prebys, one of two of San Diego County’s most generous benefactors (Irwin Jacobs is the other). Tiger Trail is fine, fine, fine, allowing you to get within inches of Malayan Tigers, only a big glass window separating you from them.

Malayan Tiger at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

If you come to San Diego, be sure to contact me. I often have free or discounted tickets to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld, and with enough notice, I can usually play docent for a day.

SNIPPET #8

A couple of different pictures from the Tiger Trail exhibit:

The Way Down Blooming Palm

Remember that the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park both are acclaimed botanical gardens, too, so stop to admire the vegetation while walking from exhibit to exhibit.

SNIPPET #9

This is the San Diego County Administration Center:

San Diego County Administration Center

It has the best view of the waterfront. It’s also where Jim and I got married on October 30, 2008.

SNIPPET #10

My wise old grandmother was a master at re-purposing things, although some of her re-purposing, such as her toilet and bathtub planters, never really appealed to my tastes……..LOL

At the San Diego County Fair back in June, I was pretty sure that my wise old grandmother had come back to life and was happily re-purposing tires for the garden exhibits:

Repurposed

As my wise old grandmother often said: “Don’t throw anything away! There is no away!”

SNIPPET #11

Remember to follow us at Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos for daily specials on our work at Fine Art America.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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SNIPPETS (7-10-14)

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

snip-pet: a small piece of something

Snippets: mini blog posts

SNIPPET 1

My wise old grandmother subscribed to Saturday Evening Post when I was growing up. I always looked forward to getting it because the front cover often was artwork by Norman Rockwell. I freely admit that Norman Rockwell has an influence on my Photographic Art, and I think this would do Rockwell proud:

Starving artist in San Diego's Balboa Park

I love how the children are being children while the starving artist does his thing.

SNIPPET #2

The water lilies in the Lily Pond in front of the Botanical Building in Balboa Park are recovering from the $100,000 worth of damage wrought by a Facebook-advertised party in late 2012. Unfortunately, the criminals still have not been caught. Here’s what one looked like a couple of days ago:

Water liles in the Lily Pond in San Diego's Balboa Park

SNIPPET #3

The Museum of Natural History in Balboa Park has this piece of art on the exterior of the building:

Artwork at the Museum of Natural History in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPET #4

Although the crepe myrtles are taking over the landscapes, there are still a few areas where the jacarandas are hanging on.

Jacaranda

SNIPPET #5

Pelicans are my favorite bird that I’ve actually seen out in their native habitat. This is a pink-backed pelican, but it is a resident of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since this is not their native habitat.

Pink-backed pelican at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SNIPPET #6

Lantanas are one of the prettiest bushes in the San Diego area. They love it when it’s hot and dry.

Lantana

SNIPPET #7

The following picture is a white-breasted cormorant. It lives with the pink-backed pelican in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I really like this picture because of the gold on the back and wings.

White-breasted cormorant at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SNIPPET #8

The following is Photographic Art of a wild iris, a common plant here in San Diego that blooms year-round.

Wild iris

SNIPPET #9

I think I like the reflection of this Great Egret better than the Great Egret itself!

Great Egret

SNIPPET #10

I was testing the photographic capabilities of Facebook a couple of days ago to see how it treated huge, monster, gigantic, really really big pictures. Sadly, Facebook downsizes it to a useless low-resolution picture, which is kind of good if you don’t want people stealing your pictures.

Following is the picture that I used for my test. It is a photomerge of 16 pictures encompassing about 270° in the view, so it’s a panorama that cannot be captured with a birdseye or fisheye lens since they only capture about 180°. Click on the picture for a gigantic version with readable text.

270° panorama of San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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Desert bighorn sheep

Picture of the Moment

It is so much fun to take blasé pictures and try to make Photographic Art out of them. After all, my wise old grandmother said, as she sat at the dining room table cutting pictures apart and pasting them in her scrapbooks and photo albums, “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”

Here are two blasé pictures of desert bighorn sheep that were washed out and really horrible pictures, but they make pretty darn good Photographic Art.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert Bighorn Sheep

These desert bighorn sheep are in a remote location in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It’s not an easy walk to where they are, so I suspect not too many people actually see these beautiful sheep.

The desert bighorn sheep is indigenous to the southwestern United States and the northern areas of Mexico. Interestingly, the total population of desert bighorn sheep is only about 20,000 yet their conservation status is listed as “least concern.” That I don’t understand.

They are superb climbers, using their climbing ability to escape mountain lions, coyotes, and bobcats, their main predators.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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A selection of birds from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yesterday was the San Diego Zoological Society’s Members Appreciation Day. Each year they have a big dinner and entertainment at the Safari Park since it has more room (about 2,000 acres more!) than the Zoo. However, I only have to travel seven miles to go to the Zoo whereas Safari Park is forty miles from me. The dinner and entertainment also take place after Safari Park has closed which means we have the whole park all to ourselves, which is kind of nice.

I averaged 99 pictures per hour for the time I spent at Safari Park yesterday. I have decided to share ten pictures with you today! All of birds. Now tell me you’re excited. Go ahead. Tell me….

Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impeyanus)
Native to the Himalayas.
Himalayan Monal at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The little guy above was very aggressive, charging anyone within about eight feet and attempting to peck them. He was pretty fast, too. We think he was protecting a nestmate, which would be logical since its mating season is April through August.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

White-headed Lapwing (Vanellus albiceps)
Native to tropical Africa, preferring areas near large rivers.
White-headed Lapwing at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)
Widespread throughout Africa.
African Spoonbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus)
Native to grasslands and semi-desert areas
in the mountains of southern Africa.
Southern Bald Ibis at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
Native to the Caribbean and tropical areas of South America.
Scarlet Ibis at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata)
Native to Africa and South AmericaWhite-faced Whistling Duck at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)
An endangered bird from Eurasia.Red-breasted Goose at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Coscosroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba)
Native to South America, it is the smallest of the birds called “swans.”Coscoroba Swan at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pink-backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens)
Native to Africa, Arabia, and India.Pink-backed Pelican at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lastly, I would be remiss in my dedication to Julian, Database Manager at Russel Ray Photos (and all-around AWESOME guy!), if I did not include a picture of his favorite bird, the Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex). Safari Park has two of these magnificent birds. I walked around the island and finally found a spot where I could get both birds in the same picture. (If Julian reads this post and finds this insert, I shall provide him with a monetary bonus.) They are solitary birds, but these two are on the same island together, and they were having a stare-down that lasted the full 15 minutes that I spent watching them. The expression of the one bird seems to indicate a slight displeasure with the other shoebill being in its territory.

Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)
A vulnerable species native to swamps in Africa.Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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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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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

I’m an abject failure

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was just a youth of 11, my wise old grandmother forced me to work in the yard. Today it might be called child labor…. :). We had a big yard. In order to provide us privacy in a city subdivision, our yard was bordered by ligustrum in the back and oleanders in the front and on the sides. I was the one that kept the oleanders and ligustrum trim and neat, looking nice, but that might be the reason why I have never had ligustrum or oleanders around my homes…. 🙂

Morning gloryOn the back patio and in the foundation planters she had poinsettias, crowns of thorns, nandinas, pansies, snapdragons, petunias, and morning glories, all with billions and billions and billions of beautiful flowers. Of course, I never got to help with the beautiful plants, just the ligustrum and those nasty oleanders. Note that all parts of the oleander are toxic, and the sticky sap can play havoc with your skin, causing a pretty good rash if you’re sensitive or allergic (like me!).

One day I asked my wise old grandmother if I could have a garden of my own. I never expected her to say yes, but she gave me a pretty good-sized plot of her yard for my garden. Unfortunately, it was the only spot in the yard where nothing would grow. It was sunny and hot, and the hot air from the air conditioner blew there.

Golden Barrel Cactus flowersHa! I fooled her! A friend and I went down to Mexico (with his parents; we were too young to go by ourselves) and bought a bunch of cactus and succulents. We planted them in my garden, and just a few months later I had beautiful cactus and succulent flowers.

That’s where my dislike of ligustrum and oleanders came from, and where my love of cactus and succulents started. In fact, that’s where my love of plants started, and I’ve developed my gardening skills such that I have only failed at growing vegetables and herbs…………

………….and bonsai.

How I love bonsai, but as many times as I have tried to grow and care for bonsai, I’m an abject failure there. Thus I always enjoy getting out & about and finding a beautiful bonsai collection. There is a permanent display at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the Bonsai Pavilion, and there is a four-week display each summer at the San Diego County Fair.

Recently when I was up at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden, I found another display, albeit just a weekend display for a bonsai show they were having. Following are some pictures from the show. My favorites are the little forests and the wind-swept pines.

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Best in ShowBonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

21st Century AwardBonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bonsai at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool CatZoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos