Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Photographer career began in sixth grade in 1966.

A little late for Halloween

Picture of the Moment

I am having a great time creating calendars for sale. I have six at my Etsy shop so far: Succulents, Spirals, Roses, Orchids, Cats and Dogs. My seventh calendar will feature birds. All priced at $20 with free USPS first class shipping in the United States. Not yet shipping internationally.

One thing that I am trying to do with my calendars is match colors to the months. For example, I use white flowers, white cats, and white dogs for December. For October, I’m using orange for Halloween. For my birds calendar, this little one obviously is going to be my October bird. Props if you know its name. No, it’s not Freddy or Chucky.

Muscovy duck

Why would they want to fix it?

Opinion

In 1970, my first year in high school (grade 10, though; 7-9 was junior high), I joined Key Club, a national high school service organization. One thing that immediately struck me was that people didn’t seem to care about the hungry, the sick, women and child abuse, animal abuse. (Has anything changed?) When we went to a nursing home (now called assisted living facility), I was playing dominoes with one of my friends and two elderly women. We had a great conversation while we were playing, and something one of the women said has stayed with me all these years:

People don’t care about anything unless it affects either them personally or someone they know.

It’s a generality painted with a huge brush, but I think it’s true. In today’s world, Twitler, his supporters and enablers, the excessively rich, and the big corporations are the epitome of not caring about anything other than what will make them richer in the short term.The Andromeda Evolution by Daniel H. Wilson

I am reading The Andromeda Evolution, by Daniel H. Wilson and a sequel to Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain (I have an uncorrected, pre-published, advance reader’s edition, but it went on sale on November 12, 2019). I came across a very telling few paragraphs on pages 14 &15 (remember that this is a novel, so names and such are not real):

It is a well-established Achilles’ heel of human civilization that individuals are more motivated by immediate private reward than by long-term, collective future benefits. This effect is particularly evident when considering payoffs that will take longer than a generation to arrive—a phenomenon called inter-generational discounting.

The concept was formally introduced by the young French economist Floria Pavard during a poorly attended speech at the International Conference of Social Economics on October 23, 1982:

The average span of a human generation is twenty-five years. Any reward occurring beyond this generational horizon creates an imbalance that undermines long-term cooperation. In short, we as a species are motivated to betray our own descendants. In my view, the only possible solution is the institution of harsh and immediate punishments for those who would be unfaithful to the future.

It has been subsequently theorized that our species’ seeming inability to focus on long-term existential threats will inexorably lead to the destruction of our environment, overpopulation, and resource exhaustion. It is therefore not an uncommon belief among economists that this inborn deficit represents a sort of built-in timer for the self-destruction of human civilization.

Sadly, all the evidence of world history supports this theory.

Although this is fiction, as my wise old grandmother always told me, fiction often is based on reality.

The above brings to mind the current United States president, a person I call Twitler because he acts like Hitler on Twitter. Witness Twitler when he said in December 2018 that he didn’t care about a predicted explosion of the United States’ debt because, I won’t be here.

He doesn’t care about the sick, the dying, the homeless, immigrants seeking a better life, the environment, our water, our skies, the forests, the rivers, the lakes…. He cares only about himself in the short term, and that’s detrimental to everyone except those of a similar ilk: big corporations and other excessively rich people.

The system is broken, but the only ones who can fix it are those who currently benefit from it, which begs the question, Why would they want to fix it?

“Nature’s Geometry: Succulents” now for sale!

"Nature's Geometry: Succulents" front cover

My book, “Nature’s Geometry: Succulents,” officially is for sale now at my new Etsy shop.

Next day shipping with free shipping to anywhere in the world.

For now.

That might change as I get more experienced in shipping,
so order now while shipping is free!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/750414133/natures-geometry-succulents?ref=listing_published_alert

“Nature’s Geometry: Succulents” uses over 600 photographs to examine how the Fibonacci sequence of numbers is exhibited in Nature, particularly succulents. About 99% of the photographs are mine, and about 95% of the plants are mine, as well.

Soft cover only. 174 pages.

Covers the shape of plants, the number of plant ribs, the number of spines in areoles, golden angles, phyllotaxis (the divergent angle), golden triangles, Fibonacci triangles, golden squares, golden rectangles, circles, fractals, and, most fascinating to him, golden spirals.

Who is Russel Ray? A quick Russel Ray timeline:

  • 1962—Received his first plant, a heartleaf ivy, from his first grade teacher.
  • 1966—Got started in photography as a volunteer elementary school events photographer.
  • 1968—Created a 100-square-foot cactus rock garden in his grandmother’s yard.
  • 1973—Became fascinated with the Fibonacci sequence of numbers and how they are expressed in nature.
  • 2019—Finally published this book. (It has a real ISBN!)

I have one review so far, posted on Instagram by dr.cactus_man, the President of the Long Beach Cactus Club:

"Nature's Geometry: Succulents" review

My 2020 calendars “Nature’s Geometry: Spirals,” will be in my Etsy shop by tomorrow. Price will be $20 with free shipping to anywhere in the world.

2020 "Nature's Geometry: Spirals" calendar cover

I will have a sneak peak of the full spirals calendar tomorrow.

I also will have other 2020 calendars available by December 1: Nature’s Geometry: Succulents, for sure, and others featuring roses, orchids, cats, animals, and trains. I’m sure I’ll find more subjects as I’m browsing my huge collection of photographs.

I guess I’ll find out whether it really likes me

I live in my own little world

Long-time friends and followers know of my infatuation with plants and mathematics, especially the Fibonacci sequence of numbers.

One of the numbers is 13.

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89….

The Fibonacci sequence is expressed throughout nature in many ways: golden angle, divergent angle, golden spiral, golden triangle, Fibonacci triangle, and more….

So when I saw this Echinopsis atacamensis ssp. pasacana with 13 ribs….

Trichocereus atacamensis ssp. pasacana

….offered for sale by Gnosis Nursery of Ramona CA, well, I thought it would look good in my gardens with all my other Fibonacci plants.

I planted it yesterday.

I like it, and I think it likes me.

This plant is native to Argentina and Bolivia, and grows at elevations of 6,500 feet to 13,100 feet above sea level on steep slopes. It does not like high humidity, extreme heat, or lasting frost. The mean maximum temperature in its native habitat is about 85°F, and it only gets about 6 inches of rain each year.

I’m at 682 feet high, and we do get extreme heat out here, many consecutive days of 100+°F with a maximum (so far, in 2½ years) of 118°F.  Since January 1, 2019, I have had 46.75 inches of rain.

Consequently, I planted it on the side of the house that gets bright light and shade rather than in full sun. 

I guess I’ll find out whether it really likes me.

Probably not as comfortable as Amtrak

Railroads & Trains logo

A Southern Pacific Railroad wooden passenger coach car built around 1875 in Sacramento, California.

Southern Pacific Railroad wooden passenger coach car

It was converted to a railroad maintenance car in 1913 and used until 1938 when it was abandoned on tracks near Yuma, Arizona.

After deteriorating for 53 years, Don Trigg of Yuma acquired it in 1991 and donated it to the Yuma Crossing State Historic Park where it resides.

I visited on August 21, 2019.