December: Eye on the Sparrow

Ironic. The thing that requires patiently standing still scanning the trees and shrubs for the slightest movement must be done in winter when many trees are bare of leaves, no matter the damp and cold and chill wind. In 2018, I participated for the very first time in the Christmas Bird Count, a national event started in 1900 by the National Audubon Society. It is one of the longest running citizen science events in the world. I’m hooked. This photograph is part of how I got hooked. It might be the most perfect photo I have ever made. No matter…

November: Serpentine

Since I usually stay in a hotel in The Loop when I visit Chicago, my typical approach to Millenium Park is from the west. I walk east on Madison or another of the streets perpendicular to the lake and wait patiently for a pedestrian light to give me permission to cross Michigan Avenue–a somewhat perilous experience most days. If I want to get all the way to Maggie Daley Park, usually worth the effort, I make my way to the BP Pedestrian Bridge over Columbus Dr., after an obligatory pause at Cloud Gate for the quintessential Chicago selfie in the…

October: Forced Perspective

Every photograph ever taken is “forced perspective.” To the extent that you look at a photograph, whether willingly or under duress, you are looking at some part of the world from a perspective “forced” on you by the photographer. Does that seem obvious to you? Perhaps. But I have encountered many, many people in this world who are at least somewhat mislead by the literalism of photography. This particular image was submitted to an online photo scavenger hunt for the term “forced perspective, and it was awarded an Honorable Mention by one of the judges. For this category, many of…

September: Home to Iowa

Iowa! Iowa! Best state in the land, joy on every hand. We’re from Iowa! Iowa! That’s where the tall corn grows. I was born and raised in southeast Iowa, and in September 2018 I went home to celebrate my, ummmmm, 55th high school class reunion. Wow. How can that be? In fact, I do not remember high school fondly, but that story is of little interest to me now. More important is that I and my classmates have matured well. I enjoy our gathering now more than I ever did in high school! I do miss the Iowa landscape: the…

August: Orchid Days

So… what’s wonderful enough to pry you away from air conditioning and get you hiking in the sauna conditions of mid-August in Louisiana? Me? Orchids! Wild orchids. Like these Yellow Fringed Orchids (Platanthera ciliaris), and their cousins, Yellow Fringeless Orchids (Platanthera integra). The latter species are actually yellow, as opposed to orange, and they lack the long eyelashes you see above. But they are lovely if less showy than the fringed ones. We also have Cranefly Orchids (Tipularia discolor) in Louisiana. They are even less showy but so elegant, with tiny flowers in brownish-greenish tones. These are the hardest to…

July: Underworlds

As the title of this image suggests, I have several keepers of the many photographs I have made of “underworlds.” Underworld I and Underworld II were both made from moving trains, one in Baltimore and one in Chicago. This one was made on foot in Austin, Texas. Passing through such spaces while alone in the car frustrates me. Typically, there’s no place to pull over to make pictures and otherwise appreciate the space. Most of the time, I successfully resist the urge to pick up my phone and shoot while driving! I imagine designers of bridges and highway interchanges focused…

June: Eye to Eye

2018 seems to have been the year for critter firsts! Indeed, I spent more time out in refuges, wildlife management areas and other natural, wild landscapes in 2018 than in many years. Louisiana Master Naturalists – Northeast is the reason. I loved every minute of it and look forward to more, more, more in 2019. So this common snapper was at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, where we went for our Herpetofauna of Lousiana workshop, led by Dr. John Carr of the University of Louisiana Monroe. BTW, he has also co-written the definitive book on the same subject. I…