A data analyst by day, Nomer's expertise in plants and flowers started as a hobby that's grown into much more. Plants have captivated his interest since he was a kid, but he first started capturing them on film in 1998.
He estimates he now has a quarter of a million photographs of plants in his personal library. The photos are arranged in libraries, and he can pull them up with ease on his laptop. He showed some of them off in a series of lectures recently at the fairgrounds.
With excitement in his voice, Nomer displayed photo after photo of common and exotic cactuses and succulents. Audience members inside the small indoor exhibit room asked questions about how to grow the plants, indoor and outside.
From cactuses native to the Chilean desert to those found in Orange County backyards, Nomer showed photos of vibrant pink and yellow flowers exploding out of green cactuses.
"It's so perfect looking," Nomer said, looking at a slide of an agave plant.
On a recent Saturday, Charles and Janet Hollenbach traveled from Diamond Bar to visit the fair; the cactus lecture was one of the stops they knew they wanted to make at the fair.
"I've been interested in cactuses for years," Charles Hollenbach said.
At home, the couple has about 35 outdoor cactuses, some 6 feet tall and many with names they can't remember, Charles Hollenbach said.
Both said that Nomer's expertise on cactuses answered a lot of their questions, especially about where to buy rare plants.
"They're hard to find, the fancy ones," Charles Hollenbach said.
Nomer doesn't have to travel far to see amazing plants ? he favors the UC Irvine Arboretum and Quail Botanical Gardens near San Diego. Nomer lives in an apartment and only has room for a "porch full" of cactuses ? he doesn't have room to grow as many as he'd like, that's why he takes so many pictures, Nomer said.
Shooting with a digital camera with plenty of room for storage, Nomer said he'll typically take 1,200 photos a day. hbi.20-cactus-CPhotoInfoPU1T3NDN20060720j23v1hncCredit: JAMIE FLANAGAN / DAILY PILOT Caption: (LA)Tim Nomer takes the Flower Power stage at the fair.