Saturday, March 26, 2011

Favorite Places: Bolsa Chica and the Back Bay

Tamy and I visited some familiar ground during our recent trip back to Southern California. Having graduated with degrees in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (EEB) from U.C. Irvine, we had spent many days surveying the coastal wetlands that stretch from Redondo to Laguna. Although most of the pristine estuaries that I recall have now collapsed under the weight of the development, fragments of the Southern California wetland ecosystem still remain. Two of our favorite locales are the Bolsa Chica Conservancy and the Back Bay. Situated about an hour south and west of Los Angeles, these tidal plains are oases for migrating shorebirds, ducks, and herons. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grasping with Hands

Binocular vision - Upright posture - Generalized skeleton - Facial mobility - Grasping hands  - Large brains
Sound familiar? 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Home Coming

On March 7th, two days prior to yet another predicted "snownado" (adj: sno-nado, a term used by the weather terrorists to inspire fear in the masses about upcoming snow events) Tamy and I boarded a plane for sunny California... the place we still call home. While Minnesota is where we live, work, and play we have been reticent to call it "home."  Although our visit to California was primarily relegated to family, we managed to steal a few days and immerse ourselves in the craft of photography. The moderate temps and coastal breezes were all that I needed to get the creative juices flowing. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Extension of the Mind and Eye

My cameras are an extension of my mind and eyes. They keep me engaged with the present and allow me to explore the hidden details of my life. Regardless of my path, I am forever seeking new ways to interpret the natural and human ecology of my landscape. To me, photography is so much more than an avocation. This passion for capturing milliseconds in time is my purpose. As an empiricist, I am the technician. I obsess about composition, exposure and point of focus. As an artist, I release myself from the confines dictated by the empiricist. I will purposefully defocus an image, blow-out highlights, and abandon the accepted rules of composition. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Inspiration #7: The Finish Line

On Friday I challenged myself to make seven posts in seven days. While this might seem to be a trivial endeavor, it turned out to be more of a chore than I had anticipated. The "A-job" requires my full engagement. The preparation of lessons, development of labs, and endless piles of grading places a huge demand on my limited time at home. This out of office investment was coupled with long days of focused teaching, student interactions, and problem solving. I liken my job to a stand-up comic who performs a different act every hour and every day. No two performances can be the same, yet each must be polished as if it were rehearsed for weeks. The words fly out of my mouth as easily as I breathe, yet the effort to be fresh wears on the mind.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Inspiration #6: Choose to be Creative

After yesterday's effort to stimulate a discussion about the very nature of life and the mechanisms that preserve biodiversity, I am cognitively tapped out. Lacking the time or desire to be whimsical or whine, I am limiting myself to as few words as possible. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Inspiration #5: Natural Selection

Life is a paradox. The multi-celled organism is a singularity, an entity unto itself. Yet, this "singularity" may be composed of one-hundred trillion cells, each of which is also a living entity unto itself. The body of this multicellular organism is a coop; a community of single cells each collaborating to enable the larger "ONE" an opportunity to thrive. Interestingly, the "ONE" is only a single individual among "MANY" that compose a larger population. Natural selection acts on the "ONE" and influences the evolution of the "MANY."