Friday, November 20, 2009

Paul Nicklen's Leopard Seal Documentation

Yesterday I referred to Paul Nicklen's encounter with a leopard seal in Antarctica. Here is a brief interview with Nicklen I cam across on You Tube. My understanding of leopard seals up until this point was fairly limited, informed mostly by an account from Shackleton's expedition to Antartica (aboard the Endurance) in which a member of the crew nearly fell as prey. Nicklen'a encounter suggests these animals may be more complex than previously believed (although I hesitate to anthropomorphize here). The snout-to-snout perspective is only rivaled by the stunning clarity and sharpness of his images.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Polar Obsession" - the work of Paul Nicklen


I first learned about Paul Nicklen's work in National Geographic Magazine in a series of images of a female leopard seal. The contrast of the leopard seal's teeth with the eerie blue light gave a haunting quality to what has to be one of the most incredible animal/human interactions I have every heard of, or seen documented. In a larger context, I admire Nicklen's efforts to inform people about the poles - places that few of us will ever visit, yet which play a critical role in Earth's ecological processes. You can see some of his work on NPR and hear an interview with him on NPR's photo blog The Picture Show as well as in the most recent issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Macroinvertebrate Survey/Biodiversity Field Work with Thacher students


Giant Water Bug




Dobson Fly Larvae (hellgramite)


Fans of the Giant Water Bug

dobson (1).jpg

Sorting and Identifying Samples from Reeves Creek



Monday, November 9, 2009


I've been following recent developments in DSLR technology with an interest in the HD Video capability of some models. Although I haven't done any field tests, I am intrigued by what they might be able to offer me in communicating environmental issues . . . and the wonder of the natural world. At times I realized a sort of inner desire to show motion and interactions in a way that I a single frame doesn't do justice (although I also see these limitations as a positive component for creativity). Until I have the chance to test one of these cameras, I'll learn what I can reading about and viewing Vincent Laforet's work, such as his recent short films "First Look" and "Reverie". You can see these films here.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chaparral Transect - ecology lab with Thacher students



Transect field work with students from the Thacher School, Ojai, California.

Calculating biodiversity in two sites in the chaparral ecosystem. The first is undergoing secondary succession after being cleared by a bulldozer in the spring of 2009 in order to establish a firebreak (wildfires are frequent in the chaparral). The second represents an intact ecosystem with higher biodiversity and plant density, having reestablished after a wildfire in the late 1990s.


Data was collected to determine coverage of species, density, frequency and diversity (according to the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index). The most inspiring example of transects are those conducted by Michael Fay, such as the African Megatransect and the Redwood Transect.

Joshua Tree


Stunning colors and clarity in the dry air of the High Desert.


King Dome


Album Cover: The Renders



Nick Orr on Saddle Rocks




There is a certain comfort in the austerity and sharp spines of the plants. A notion that I struggle to explain even to myself.