Today marks the beginning of the San Diego Nighttime Zoo for 2014. Instead of being open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m each day., the Zoo will stay open until 9:00 p.m. each and every day through September 1, 2014.
I love the Nighttime Zoo! Yahoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! (Smile if you think I’m excited!)
Remember that if you come to San Diego on business or vacation, contact me because I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, or SeaWorld. With enough notice, I can usually play docent for a day!
Also, if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the plane. The view of downtown San Diego as you are landing is awesome!
Following are some of my favorite pictures from past visits to the Zoo. Eventually, Photographic Art will be created from these pictures and Julian will upload them to my galleries at Fine Art America for purchase in many different forms (traditional prints, prints on metal or acrylic, posters, cell phone cases, etc.).
I left home at 5:30 this morning to head on over to Warwick’s book store in La Jolla, about 30 miles away, where Hillary Clinton was due to sign copies of her book. I got there at 6:00 and the line was a block long, with 359 people in it. When I left at 9:30, the line was three deep in front of Warwick’s and, as far as I could count, totaled 1,321 people. It was moving, too, so that was a floating number. Took 285 pictures and 10 videos in La Jolla.
For the past decade, harbor seals have created a rookery at La Jolla Cove. Rich, snobby La Jollans have tried to drive the seals away, even to the point of harassing them during pupping season. Harassing marine mammals is a federal crime but no one seems to want to do anything to harass the rich and snobby.
As I walked around La Jolla this morning, I found the beaches empty and got lots of great pictures of the harbor seals. I couldn’t resist making Photographic Art out of this one and adding a caption:
Let’s hear it for Hillary and the harbor seals! Yahoooooooooooooo!
Julian has deserted me, choosing to go visit relatives in Texas rather than stay here and work for Photographic Art. Imagine if he had gone to work for, say, Target and, after just a couple of months on the job, said, “I’m going to take a three-week vacation”………….. Good thing I’m flexible. 🙂
Since he’s gone, though, I don’t have to figure out how to keep him busy; the State of Texas is doing that for him. Thus I have finished cataloging and processing all the big tree pictures from Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park from when I went to the Spring fundraiser on May 3 for Cat House on the Kings.
Following are Photographic Art from my final batch of pictures. They won’t be available at our Fine Art America galleries until Julian gets back from Texas.
View of the valley from Generals Highway, the loop road that goes through the two national parks:
Part of the Giant Forest, named by John Muir after his first visit to the area:
The only Visitor Center that we came across. Generals Highway pretty much is a DIY drive.
The following picture shows three stages of life for the big trees, dying (with the green lichens on it), dead (left tree), and really dead (right tree).
There were plenty of benches lining the walkways through the Giant Forest. Jim and I made use of several of them.
Following is the General Sherman tree, often called the largest living organism on planet Earth.
For true tree fans like me with my degree in Forest Management from Texas A&M University, that has to be qualified. It is not the tallest, it is not the widest, and it is not the oldest. However, at 275 feet tall, a trunk diameter of 25 feet, an estimated volume of 52,513 cubic feet, and an estimated age of at least 2,300 years, it is among the tallest, widest and oldest of all trees on the planet. Here’s a picture of the base of the trunk of the General Sherman tree:
Following is the walkway that took us to the General Sherman tree, a walk among giants.
On the way out of Sequoia National Park, driving south, there are some spectacular views, such as the following of Deer Ridge and Moro Rock:
Lastly, a few pictures that I thought made fine, fine, fine Photographic Art:
It’s A Wash
Down For The Count
Returning From Whence It Came
As the big tree forest merged with the drier forests at lower elevations, cactus started creeping into the mix, such as yuccas which were blooming. I had to do a U-turn to go back and get these three pictures:
When I started college at Texas A&M University in September 1973, I lived in Moore Hall, a dormitory just feet from a McDonald’s restaurant at Northgate. It became my go-to dining experience if I missed eating in Sbisa Hall, and for late evening, midnight, and after-midnight snacks.
When I moved off campus for my sophomore year, it was more of an effort to get to McDonald’s at Northgate, several miles away. Fortunately, there was another McDonald’s a half mile from me on Harvey Road. Since it was on the way to campus, it became my daily dining experience for the final three years of my undergraduate experience.
I lived in Houston from May 1977 to April 1983 and never did find a McDonald’s to call my own.
When I moved back to College Station in April 1983, McDonald’s on Harvey Road again became my go-to eatery…. for ten years!
When I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993, I immediately looked for a McDonald’s. Amazingly, there was one in Hillcrest right behind the Center for Social Services, which is where I “came out,” and where my life was centered for the next eleven months.
Recently, I discovered that the McDonald’s at 1414 University Avenue in Hillcrest was built in 1977 but is an original McDonald’s location from the 1960s. Here it is:
My discovery came about because two of the three original locations remaining in San Diego County were in the news.
One is at 1146 East Valley Parkway in Escondido, about 30 miles northeast of Hillcrest, and the building was recent demolished and rebuilt, now looking like this:
That restaurant was not yet open when I went by on June 6. It should be open now.
The third oldest location, at 137 Canyon Drive in Oceanside, about 30 miles due north of Hillcrest, is the one that was making the biggest headlines here. It looked like this on June 6:
Along with it being an original location dating from the 1960s, it also has one of the few remaining signs stating how many billions of burgers had been sold:
If you look at your local McDonald’s, it probably says something like “BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SOLD.” The sign at the Hillcrest location says “BILLIONS SOLD.”
McDonald’s pre-corporation history started when Richard and “Mac” McDonald opened a barbecue restaurant at 1398 North E Street in San Bernardino, California, on May 15, 1940. The San Bernardino location is now an unofficial McDonald’s museum owned by the Juan Pollo restaurant chain (not related to El Pollo Loco).
McDonald’s as a corporation was founded on April 15, 1955, when Ray Kroc opened the ninth McDonald’s restaurant after, according to one source, having purchased McDonald’s equity and assets from Richard and Maurice. The real story of Kroc’s purchase might never be known because there is a lot of disagreement about how it came about.
Ray Kroc’s aggressive business practices were the subject of the song “Boom, Like That,” released in 2004 by Mark Knopfler, formerly the guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Dire Straits.
Ray Kroc, who had joined McDonald’s as a franchise agent in 1955, lived much of his life, and died, right here in San Diego. He owned the San Diego Padres professional baseball team from 1974 until his death in 1984.
Just a mile down the road from me is The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which has one of San Diego County’s year-round ice skating rinks. Regretfully, the Salvation Army is quite homophobic so I have not been by to visit the facility and, thus, have no pictures of it. And you won’t find a link from my blog to their web site; you’ll have to find it on your own if you’re interested.
I belong to several meetup.com groups which give me the opportunity to meet people, and to do new and different things. Probably the best meetup.com group I belong to is the Pacific Photographic Society. As of this very minute (which will be a minute in the past by the time you read this), we have 1,423 members.
Last Wednesday, being a member got me into a private garden to walk around, admire, and take pictures. This wasn’t just any garden, though. The owners have been there since 1978, spending 36 years creating a fairy tale garden of beauty and whimsy. They call it Bird Song.
I took 105 pictures in just 65 minutes, a little under my average per minute, but I had to take time to dance like a fairy.
I never did find a good vantage point to take a picture of the house. The following is the best I got, and it’s a photomerge of four photos:
We were invited to walk around at our own leisurely pace or join a tour led by the master creator of the gardens. I decided to walk around, albeit at a faster pace—I have found that being first allows me to get more pictures since I don’t have to wait my turn while others take their pictures.
Following is a collection of Photographic Art based on pictures of Bird Song. They don’t do justice to the gardens but they do show you some of the fantasy, whimsy, imagination, fun, and fairy tales of these beautiful gardens.
First up are some of the plants, for to be a garden, there must be plants!
There was a pond with koi, a beautiful spa, and a water fall, which won me over. Listening to running water is so relaxing.
The best part of the gardens for me was the imagination and fantasy that was on display. These rock ants were awesome:
The wildlife was everywhere, not surprising for such beautiful gardens.
Picture opportunities were here, there, and everywhere.
Sometimes the plants helped complete the fantasy, as with the “hair” in these two Photographic Art:
Alice and her cohorts were present in their own Wonderland.
I am a home inspector in one of my professions, so the propane tank caught my attention, ranking as the most beautiful propane tank ever!
As I was rushing to leave, I saw one final picture opportunity at the gate:
I have known about Bird Song for a couple of decades now but have never had the opportunity to visit. Thus, I would be remiss if I did not thank the Pacific Photographic Society and Maxine Hesse for making it possible. Of course, a special thanks to Frank and Susan Oddo for letting 28 photographers traipse around their gardens for a few hours. The memories will last much longer than the experience itself.
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.
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.
White-headed Lapwing (Vanellus albiceps)
Native to tropical Africa, preferring areas near large rivers.
African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)
Widespread throughout Africa.
Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus)
Native to grasslands and semi-desert areas
in the mountains of southern Africa.
Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
Native to the Caribbean and tropical areas of South America.
White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata)
Native to Africa and South America
Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)
An endangered bird from Eurasia.
Coscosroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba)
Native to South America, it is the smallest of the birds called “swans.”
Pink-backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens)
Native to Africa, Arabia, and India.
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.
#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 #1: El Prado Area Designation, part 7
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 8
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 9
#1: El Prado Area Designation, part 10
Next to the San Diego Museum of Art is the Timken Museum of Art.
Of all the buildings in Balboa Park, this one seems most out of place because its architecture does not match the predominant Spanish architecture. It was designed by San Diego architect John Mock and is considered one of the most important examples of mid-century southern California modernism, as well as one of the finest examples in the United States of the International Style. Construction materials include travertine, bronze, and glass, embracing the landscape of Balboa Park from its lobby, and making great use of natural light created by pioneer lighting designer Richard Kelly.
The Timken Museum of Art houses the world-class Putnam Foundation Art Collection and is considered one of the great “small museums” of the world. It is the only museum in Balboa Park which does not have an admission fee. Donations, of course, are happily accepted, and memberships are available.
The Putnam Foundation Collection dates back to the early part of the 20th century when sisters Anne and Amy Putnam came to San Diego. During their extensive travels, they developed a love of fine art and spent decades acquiring European old master paintings, mostly for public collections in San Diego, but also for their own private collection. They established the nonprofit Putnam Foundation in 1951, and subsequent acquisitions became part of the Putnam Foundation Collection.
The Timken Museum of Art was founded in 1965 as a permanent home for the Putnam Foundation Collection, featuring paintings from European and American old masters. Notable artists represented in the collection include Rembrandt, Rubens, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, John Singleton Copley, and Eastman Johnson. The museum also is noted for its collection of Russian icons, icons here having a totally different meaning than in today’s computer world.
Since I only today realized that the Timken Museum of Art always has free admission, I scurried over to Balboa Park and made my way to the museum. I was quite impressed.
They don’t allow any photography whatsoever, so one either has to search for hours on Wikipedia or Google royalty-free images to find something, or you can go directly to the Timken Museum of Art online gallery.
I did find a royalty-free image of the one painting that I found the most impressive:
I couldn’t find a royalty-free image with the frame, so I used a picture and put my own antique wood, museum-quality frame around it.
This probably was the largest painting in the museum, measuring a whopping 67×54 inches. I am not much into religious paintings, but I found the history of this painting to be interesting. In art, a painting’s history is called its provenance.
Titled “Death of the Virgin,” Petrus Christus (unk.-1475/6) painted this from 1460-65 using oil on oak panel. It is his largest known work and was originally the centerpiece of a triptych. The two side panels were destroyed during World War II, a fate of many works of art during that time.
Its provenance has been traced back to the town of Sciacca in Sicily during the 16th century. Various families in Palermo and Bagheria, Sicily, owned it until it was sold to Knoedler & Company of New York in 1938. The Putnam Foundation acquired it in 1951.
It has not been registered as stolen or missing by the Art Loss Register database, nor is it known to be an art loss related to World War II. Barring any future research revealing it to be stolen or missing, it will most likely remain here in San Diego at the Timken Museum of Art.
If you missed my initial post about Blog Love, you can read it here. If you get mentioned in my Blog Loveseries, it’s a sure bet that I’m following YOU!
During these past two weeks, I visited 1266 blogs, an average of 90 per day. I’m caught up with my blog visits after my Internet Explorer/WordPress problems of January, February, and March 2014, and I’m pleased to say that I only found 11 blogs that had been deleted, were inactive, or had gone private! They were deleted from my Excel spreadsheet.
I left 1,766 LIKEs and 313 comments, both totals down from recent blog love posts because every blog that I visited these past two weeks are blogs that I had last visited sometime after March 27 when my blog camping problems were resolved.
The blogs where I left at least ten LIKEs and/or comments are listed below. Those bloggers who post pictures with very little text to read get the most LIKEs and comments, so it’s not unusual to find pet blogs and photography blogs high on the Blog Love list each week.
Click on the link to go visit them, and be sure to tell them that Russel Ray sent you their way!