Category Archives: Double R Creations

Nature’s Geometry in Succulents—2020 speaking schedule so far

Nature's Geometry: Succulents by Russel Ray

Having published my book, “Nature’s Geometry: Succulents” in October 2019, I’m now on the speaking circuit for cactus & succulent clubs throughout the nation.

Here is my current “Nature’s Geometry in Succulents” speaking schedule.

Come see me if I’m in your area!

  • February 11 – Bakersfield Cactus & Succulent Society, Bakersfield CA
  • February 13 – San Gabriel Valley Cactus & Succulent Society, Los Angeles County Arboretum, Arcadia CA
  • March 14 – Visalia Succulent Society, Visalia CA
  • May 10 – South Coast Cactus & Succulent Society, Palos Verdes Estates CA
  • June 7 – Atlanta Cactus & Succulent Society, Atlanta GA

I will be driving to all locations, including Georgia.

Consequently, I’m contacting the cactus & succulent clubs between
San Diego and Georgia to see if I can get some more engagements
on the schedule for June.

Raindrops on an aeonium

I’m well on my way before I even start!

Flowers in Russel's cactus garden

Ever since I joined my first cactus & succulent club in February 2017, I had been wanting to do a presentation of nature’s geometry using the Fibonacci sequence of numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…..). It’s an additive sequence, meaning that the next number in the sequence is the sum of the two previous numbers.

The program chairperson for the first club told me in April 2018 that they had just had such a speaker a year ago, that he was very good, and that I would be hard-pressed to follow him. I told him that, since 1973, I had been studying the Fibonacci numbers and how they are expressed in nature, so I wouldn’t be hard-pressed to follow anyone. However, having a speaker just a year ago meant that having another speaker on the same subject the following year probably would not go over well. I got the name of the previous speaker, and it turns out that “a year ago” was defined as “five years ago.” More importantly, though, I since found out that the program chairperson for that club doesn’t schedule anyone who is not already on the cactus & succulent club speaking circuit. That, of course, begs the Catch-22 question, “How do you get on the speaking circuit to begin with?”

Turns out that one has to make contacts in a club which will take a chance on you, and that happened in June 2019 for me with the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Club of Escondido, California.

I recently found out two other ways: (1) write many articles throughout the years and have them published in reputable books and magazines, and (2) to publish a book, which I did in October 2019:

"Nature's Geometry: Succulents" front cover

Nature's Geometry: Succulents back cover

My book is for sale at my Etsy shop, $30 with free shipping to United States locations: etsy.com/shops/russelrayphotos

Many decades ago, being an author of a book was a pretty good indicator of expertise. In today’s world of self-publishing, not necessarily. That’s a problem that I dealt with with my own head when looking at publishers.

I wanted desperately for the Texas A&M University Press to publish my book since Texas A&M University is my alma mater, Class of ’77. However, the cost of having the Press publish it would have been about $44 per book, so I would have wanted to sell it for $50 to make at least a little money. The only books that are 174 pages that sell for that much money are academic books by academic publishers. So that was out.

The other problem was the time frame. It would have taken up to 18 months to publish the dang thing.

So self-publishing it was…. inexpensive and as fast as I wanted it to be. I chose BookBaby because they are a print-on-demand service. I can have one book printed, hundreds of books, or thousands of books. Of course, the more books one has printed, the less expensive the cost per book.

I could choose to have BookBaby completely involved in everything, or nothing. I chose nothing because I have been doing writing, editing, graphic design, book and magazine design and layout, and publishing all my life.

If I used all of their services, the cost would have been right up there with the Texas A&M University Press, and the lead time would have been up there, too. By buying an ISBN number from BookBaby and then using their printing services, I kept the cost low and the lead time short.

I am extremely happy with BookBaby’s printing, paper, and binding.

Having a book published immediately got me on the cactus & succulent club speaking circuit. I’m also exploring many other speaking circuits, including horticulture clubs, gardening clubs, community retirement homes (I had no idea that so many of them have regular programs; two already have expressed an interest), and city and county libraries, many of which have up to five programs each week.

The reception of Nature’s Geometry: Succulents also has me looking at doing another book. My two immediate choices are Nature’s Geometry: Flora and Nature’s Geometry: Fauna. However, my main goal is to stay on the cactus & succulent speaking circuit where I already know my intended audience and their likes.

I have noticed that a great majority of the cactus & succulent speakers give presentations on their travels to foreign countries. The Atacama Desert region of Chile and the Oxaca region of Mexico are two of the most popular. That, though, caused me to think that maybe, just maybe, the southwestern United States has a lot to offer.Fishhook barrel cactus

There are a lot of cacti & succulents that grow in our region, many of which are found only here. Carnegiea gigantea (the saguaro) comes immediately to mind, but there also is Ferocactus wislizeni, the Southwestern barrel cactus (picture at right), Agave utahensis (which, you might guess, occurs in Utah), Ferocactus cylindraceus, the California barrel cactus, and Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua tree.

Knowing this, I have decided to do a second book, tentatively titled
SSS: Southwest Succulent Staycation. For my purpose with this book, I will define “southwest” as California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

United States SSS map

During 2020, I will be endeavoring to go to all the national parks, national monuments, botanical gardens, zoos (many zoos in the southwest also are botanical gardens), state parks, and cities with a population of at least 50,000. There will be exceptions, I’m sure. I already have a few million photos from excursions in the southwest, so I’m well on my way before I even start!

The nice thing about this second book is that, for people back east, going to the southwestern United States can be very much like going to a foreign country, so I might be able to get on cactus & succulent speaking circuits outside of my home territory of the southwest.

Cyber Monday 2019: 20% off all items at my Esty shop.

Double R Creations & Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Tomorrow will be the first Cyber Monday for which I actually have product to sell and can sell it at a discount.

Everything 20% off at my Etsy shop.

Free U.S. nationwide shipping. Media Mail for the book and First Class for the calendars.

Not shipping internationally yet; still working on that.

  • “Nature’s Geometry: Succulents” (174-page soft-cover book with over 600 pictures)
    Regularly $25.
    $20 for Cyber Monday only.
  • 10 calendars: Birds, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Fibonacci Flora, Flowers, Orchids, Roses, Spirals, Succulents
    All pictures are from my own camera.
    Regularly $20.
    $16 for Cyber Monday only.

Use this link to have the 20% discount applied automatically at checkout:

Double R Creations shop at Etsy

“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.

2020 cactus & succulent calendar will be available soon!

This will be the cover picture for my 2020 cactus & succulent calendar:

Cover picture for 2020 cactus & succulent calendar

My calendars are Monday through Sunday rather than Sunday through Saturday.

Calendar page

Who came up with Sunday through Saturday, anyway?

I mean, God rested on the seventh day. Isn’t the seventh day a Sunday?

Isn’t that why people go to church on Sunday? Why people used to not work on Sundays? Why you couldn’t even buy toilet paper on Sundays in many states (Blue laws) for many decades.

I will be adding the typical events to the calendar, e.g., Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Tax Day, Memorial Day, etc.

I will be creating more calendars, too. I’ll probably at least have roses, orchids, animals, San Diego,  trains, and, of course, Nature’s Geometry.

This calendar will be available for purchase in a couple of weeks once I figure out the price. I’m leaning towards $15 with shipping free to the United States and, possibly, Canada.

Double R Creations & Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Nature's Geometry: Succulents by Russel Ray

Order proof book—check.

I finished my book this past Monday. I changed the cover from dark green to dark brown.

Jeff Moore’s book, Spiny Succulents, has a dark green background, courtesy of me when I was doing the final editing and design layout, so I didn’t want it to look like I copied his book.

The new cover looks like this:

Nature's Geometry: Succulents by Russel Ray

I ordered a proof book on Wednesday, but it will take a couple of weeks to get here. Meanwhile, I’ll have to find something else to do, like, perhaps, playing with Queen Olivia, if she ever decides to quit sleeping.

Queen Olivia

Double R Creations—The Spiral Aloe

Double R Creations

I grew one of these in Houston & College Station from 1977 to 1993.

Aloe polyphylla - Spiral Aloe

It is awesome, especially when it matures, which is when it will look like this:

Aloe polyphylla - Spiral Aloe

Those are Aloe polyphylla, the Spiral Aloe. They seem to be hard to find in the age of the Internet but one now has joined my collection.

People say I won’t be able to grow it out here in the East San Diego County boondocks because it gets too hot and dry. I don’t think it gets any hotter and drier than Houston or College Station, but I guess we’ll find out.

As an aside, my birth mother also told me when I was 10, and she was giving me up for adoption to my wise old grandmother, that I would never amount to a thing…………..

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Double R Creations—2019 Zoey the Cool Cat calendar

Double R Creations

It took me about a month to finish my first calendar, titled Cacti & Succulents. You saw it here:

2019 Cacti & Succulents Calendar

Of course, Zoey the Cool Cat is the subject of my second calendar. If you’re wondering why she wasn’t the subject of the first one, well, the first one was created for someone who paid money for it, and I shall be selling additional copies of it at online and at Cacti & Succulent shows. It always will be a 12-month calendar, when one month ends, I lop it off and add a month at the end.

That calendar now also acts as a template, which means that, once I have fourteen pictures, it only takes a couple of hours to create another calendar. Ergo, I created the 2019 Zoey the Cool Cat calendar while watching X2: X-men United this afternoon. Here it is:

2019 Zoey the Cool Cat Calendar

My next calendars, in no particular order, shall be trains, flowers, feral cats, landscapes, sunsets & sunrises, and cars, just off the top of my head. I also will be making custom calendars for YOU. All you have to do is send me 14 pictures and I’ll have fun making it, and you’ll have something unique. I haven’t sent a price yet because I’m still exploring printing options, both here locally in San Diego and online. But stay tuned if you like wall calendars!

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Double R Creations—I just can’t help myself

I just can’t help myself.

I just love starting companies. I guess you could call me a serial entrepreneur.

Even though I am officially retired, with the likes of Fine Art America, SmugMug, Etsy, Amazon, Facebook market places, and easily customizable web sites, I have decided to start yet another company, this one called Double R Creations. In addition to my Photographic Art at Fine Art America, I am going to use my trillions of pictures to create things like calendars, posters, notepads, post-it notes, mugs, pillows, bedding, towels…. just about anything you can imagine. I have pictures of cats, dogs, other animals, cacti & succulents, other plants, flowers, marco pictures, trains, etc.

I have wanted to do this for a long time. That time has come. Calendars for 2019 are first on my list. You have seen my first 2019 calendar, titled Cacti & Succulents. I had it printed in black & white yesterday for proofing. Found a lot of errors, corrected those, and had it printed in color. Found a few more errors and corrected those. Today I’m having one printed in color on heavier paper and stapled. That will be my final proof before printing.

The next item on my agenda are Advice inspirational posters. Here are two that I created in the past that gave me this idea to begin with:

ADVICE FROM A CACTUS—STAY SHARP

ADVICE FROM A TREE

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post