Author Archives: Russel Ray Photos

About Russel Ray Photos

Photographer career began in sixth grade in 1966.

Who does yoga better?

Out & About

For the first time since I self-isolated on March 14 due to a lot of
pre-existing conditions and a lot of unknowns about Covid-19,
I got my big camera (and a couple of masks), jumped in the car,
and went to La Jolla, California, to take pictures.

My goal was the young sea lions from 2020’s pupping season. Many pups were frolicking in the water, but most of them were on the rocks soaking up the late afternoon sun.

This momma seemed to be teaching yoga to the young pup at her side:

Sea Lion at La Jolla, California

The young pup seemed to be learning well…. a good student….

But I ask you, who does yoga better, Ms. C. Lyon (above) or Little Queen Olivia (below)? You can even vote for the student if you’d like!

Little Queen Olivia

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Nature’s Geometry: Succulents—SALE!

Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

I had 400 copies of my book printed in October 2019.

Based on my sales at cactus & succulent club meetings and shows, I should be out of them by now.

However, the pandemic canceled meetings and shows throughout the nation.

Meetings where I was scheduled to do a 45-minute Powerpoint presentation and sale books were canceled at

    1. South Coast Cactus & Succulent Society (Los Angeles, California)
    2. Gates Cactus & Succulent Society (Riverside, California)
    3. San Francisco Cactus & Succulent Society
    4. Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society
    5. Long Beach Cactus & Succulent Society (California)
    6. Los Angeles Cactus & Succulent Society
    7. San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society
    8. Tucson Cactus & Succulent Society (Arizona)
    9. Atlanta Cactus & Succulent Society (Georgia)

I have been selling them for $35 at my Etsy shop, $30 at plant shows, and $25 at meetings.

Effective today, I am now selling them for $25 at my Etsy shop.

Nature’s Geometry: Succulents

I’d rather have my book in YOUR hands than sitting in boxes in my garage. I don’t know how long I will sell them at this price, so get yours today!
Etsy also takes credit cards. Free USPS Media Mail shipping to U.S. locations.

Facebook review of "Nature's Geometry: Succulents"

San Gabriel Valley C&SS review of "Nature's Geometry: Succulents" presentation

Facebook review of "Nature's Geometry: Succulents"

Nature's Geometry: Succulents back cover

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Not where you’d expect it

Picture of the Moment

I think snails are fascinating creatures.

Some of my fascination might have something to do with that Fibonacci spiral that they carry on their backs.

This one seems to be quite comfortable on the spines of Echinocactus grusonii, the golden barrel cactus. Not where you’d expect this little one to be.

Snail on the spines of Echinocactus grusonii, the golden barrel cactus

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One of my favorite garden visitors

Did you know?

I love it when a mantis visits my garden.

Mantis

Mantises are an order of insects containing over 2,400 species in about 430 genera in 15 families, distributed worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. They have triangular heads with bulging eyes supported on flexible necks, elongated bodies, may or may not have wings, but all have greatly enlarged forelegs that are adapted for catching and gripping prey. Their upright posture with forearms folded has led to the common name “praying mantis.”

The closest relatives of mantises are the termites and cockroaches. Mantises are sometimes confused with stick insects, other elongated insects such as grasshoppers, or other unrelated insects with raptorial forelegs such as mantisflies.

Mantises are mostly ambush predators, but a few ground-dwelling species actively pursue their prey. They live for about a year. Females sometimes practice sexual cannibalism, eating their mates after copulation, meaning that they might not live as long as females.

Mantises were considered to have supernatural powers by early civilizations, including Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, and Assyria. A cultural trope popular in cartoons imagines the female mantis as a femme fatale.

Mantises are among the insects most commonly kept as pets.

If you haven’t seen a mantis devouring a murder hornet, check out this video:

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Tecoma stans ‘Yellow Bells’

I think I have a new favorite tree. This is Tecoma stans ‘Yellow Bells.’

Tecoma stans 'Yellow Bells'

Giant Forest in Sequoia National ParkTechnically, since it doesn’t get taller than 25 or 30 feet, Tecoma stans is a bush. To me, though, 25 feet definitely is a tree, albeit a small tree. Certainly it will never be mistaken for a redwood or sequoia.

I don’t want tall trees on my property since we get 60-70 mph Santa Ana winds out here, and I don’t have the land to plant something a mile away so it doesn’t get toppled onto the house.

Previously, the jacaranda and mimosa were at the top of my list. I have both on my property, and I’m keeping them pruned and shaped into small trees or bushes.

I got Yellow Bells as a little one-gallon plant in June 2018. As you can see from the picture, it likes it out here in the dry desert heat. It seems to be evergreen and ever-blooming.

I chopped it back to three feet in May 2019 and May 2020. The picture is from August 15, 2020. In other words, it grows extraordinarily fast and blooms year-round with no watering beyond what comes down from the sky, and no fertilizer. It seems to be a great dry-garden complement to my cacti & succulents.

The branches/wood seem to be very brittle, so I will keep chopping it back each year to keep it small and bush-like, especially since we do have those Santa Ana winds of 60-70 mph out here in the East San Diego County boondocks.

Tecoma stans 'Yellow Bells'

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A beautiful 49er!

Halls of History

I love seeing historic cars still being driven.

I saw this one in a grocery store parking lot on July 14, 2020, in El Cajon, California.

1949 chopped custom Mercury coupe

1949 chopped custom Mercury coupe

The license plate leads me to believe that it is a 1949 chopped custom Mercury coupe.

If I had gotten a picture of the front, I’d probably be 100% sure.

For reference purposes only, I was born in 1955.

I’m not thrilled with how the white car parked since I can’t imagine the owner of this car parking there if that white car was there first and parked like that.

Maybe the owner of the white car knows the owner of the ’49 and is messing with him. That’s what I’m hoping.

Although that 49er is beautiful, I’m thinking that it might not have bucket seats, a stereo system with USB flash drive input, an equalizer for the stereo system, cruise control, or air conditioning. And where does one find leaded gasoline in today’s world? Can one use unleaded gasoline in these historic cars? Has the engine been “upgraded” to accept unleaded gasoline? Maybe even replaced?

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The time is now!

Did you know?

From one of my daily news feeds.

“Though Californians will still rely on the U.S. Postal Service to receive a blank ballot, the vast majority can bypass the unpredictability of the USPS and the risk of in-person voting by using a ballot drop-off box at any vote center in their county. For those who must mail a ballot, this year the three-day grace period has been extended to 17 days after the election.

Is this system perfect? Of course not — no system is. In the March primary, more than 100,000, or 1.5%, of the 7 million mail ballots cast were disqualified for various reasons, though by far the most common problem was that the ballots either were postmarked after election day or didn’t arrive at election headquarters within the grace period.”

I have been voting for 44 years and in seven states. After standing in line for eight hours to vote in November 1980, I switched to absentee ballots and, since May 1993 here in San Diego, permanent mail voter. All of the states allowed for mail and absentee ballots to be dropped off at polling locations, and all of them had a one- or two-day grace period for receiving absentee, mail, and overseas ballots.

Secretaries of State have 30 days to certify the results of their elections, and then another 30 days to transmit those results to Congress. Congress then certifies the results and transmits them to the Electors. Considering that Congress is on Thanksgiving and Christmas break, the earliest they can get the election results is January 3 of the year following the election.

Call your Registrar of Voters TODAY to find out the options to ensure that your vote gets counted this year. The time is now!

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