While many prefer to shy away from their inner geek, I tend to proclaim my geekdom with pride. I openly tell my students that I am the ultimate bio-geek, photo-geek, and nature-geek. I not only embrace my inner geek, but I try to convince my captive audience that it is cool to be a geek and those who hide from "geeking out" are the real losers.
Geeks are filled with passion, and everyone deserves to be passionate about something. There are no words that adequately describe my utter interest and respect for the biological processes responsible for the ecology of our natural world. I stare at patterns in rock, minute behaviors between animals, and the asymmetric structure of grasses growing throughout a prairie. I can't help but ask the child-like questions...
Why do these patterns exist?
What causes that behavior?
What happens if...?
My inadequate vocabulary limits the expression of this passion, and this is why I am a photographer. While I can not describe what I see, I can express my vision, my respect and my awe through photography. I consider myself to be a fortunate guy; I have the patience to sit, to stare and to wait. I will endure the pain of a long squat on a mudflat, the cold of a January morning, or a walk through a mosquito infested bog. Rather than disuade me, these extremes simply reinforce my passion to understand and witness the complexity that defines our natural world.
During a recent photo excursion, I traveled north of my home to photograph otters and wolves. It was a bitter morning with the typical sub-zero temperatures that characterize a midwest winter. We killed the engine to catch the drama of sunrise knowing that the light would be lost within minutes. I think it was minus 21 degrees fahrenheit, I was cold to the core, and I could not feel my fingers. Yet, I carefully spread the legs of my tripod, buried myself knee-deep into the snow, and pre-visualized my composition. Shivering, I fiddled with knobs and button on my camera, depressed the shutter, and captured a moment that has occurred everyday for more than four-billion years. I am the ultimate geek, I live my passion, and I need you to see what I feel.
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