Sunday, August 30, 2009

Highly Commended, Environmental Photographer of the Year, 2009

I have just been informed that one of my photographs has been 'Highly Commended' in the 'Natural World' category of the 2009 CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year Competition. I am so honored to receive this recognition and send my sincere appreciation to the judges of this year's competition. Although this is my first time winning an award in the London-based EPOTY, it will be the second year in a row that I have been part of the exhibit which is presented at a number of locations across Europe as well as in various media outlets.

The purpose of the global competition is to "...share images of environmental and social issues with international audiences, enhancing our understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change." I am so grateful to be a part of this undertaking.

More information about the competition can be found on the CIWEM Facebook page, as well as at the link above.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let Children Experience Nature First-Hand

Although there certainly isn't any shortage of wildlife and nature programs on television these days, I have begun to worry that many of these programs aren't sending the right message out to viewers. It particularly concerns me that many children get most, if not all, of their knowledge about the natural world from this sensationalist programming.

In February of 2008, Animal Planet revealed their new brand-image that moved away from traditional natural history programming to a more campy-fare; one that involved 'Monsters of the Deep' or 'I was swallowed by a Bloodthirsty Croc and lived to tell about it in all the glorious gory details and bad re-enactments that a person could ever dream of." As Marjorie Kaplan, the president of Discovery Communications said in an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, "We feel a little too human, a little too soft, a little too all-family and not powerful enough," "We're being more aggressive and tapping into the instinctual nature of compelling animal content." WOOF!

Those of us who are parents and share a concern for the natural world really must take the time to allow our children to explore woods, fjord streams, catch insects, raise tadpoles and generally just have fun in a natural environment. With two boys of my own, I understand just how difficult it can be not to panic when your child climbs to the highest branches of a tree or gets a really bad bee-sting. However, the confidence that they will gain, no doubt, from experiencing freedom in nature transfers over to other areas of their lives as well. Recently, I heard that my oldest son is the 'go-to' person among all of his friends whenever someone finds a spider or snake. Not only is he able to share his knowledge with others, but he is also learning how to become a leader.

T.V. is fine – we love all of Sir David Attenborough's programs – but nothing will ever take the place of just letting kids run wild and discover The Life in the Undergrowth of their own backyards. Don't let Animal Planet, and other stations with similar shows, taint your children's view of what the outdoors are really all about.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Conserve A Legacy: Cover Draft

If anyone has been wondering why I've been so slack on posting lately –I can just feel the vibes– it is because I've been in the trenches completing the layout & design for the book that I've been making images for over the past 1 1/2 years. The book, which has now been titled, "Conserve a Legacy: Natural Lands & Waters in South Carolina" is going to the publisher–Mountain Trail Press– later this week if all of the stars align properly. Can I tell you just how happy I will be when that happens? :) Seriously, the book looks really good. I sincerely hope that readers will take notice of all of the amazing things that the SC Conservation Bank has been able to accomplish over the past 4 years. The bank needs everyone's support in these difficult financial times. In addition to my photos, the book also features images by Thomas Wyche, Richard Bernabe and Greg Kiniry to name a few.

To prove that I've actually been doing something other than chasing bugs in the backyard, I've attached a fairly complete draft of the front cover; I hope you like it. Once this goes out, things should slow down a bit and I can immediately jump into another project, which I can then use as a new excuse for not posting regularly.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Project Ends on the Black River

I thought that I would write a quick post to let you all know what I've been up to. I made my last last picture for the South Carolina Conservation Bank book this weekend. The property in question was located on the incredibly beautiful Black River; a South Carolina state Scenic river found in Georgetown county along the coast. The book is divided up into the four geographic regions of the Palmetto State: Piedmont, Central, Pee Dee & Coastal. Like the Black River site, most of the properties that I photographed for the book are found in coastal SC. This was a really great educational experience for me because I live, and usually shoot, in the Piedmont.

The Black River was one of the most hauntingly beautiful places that I've ever had the privilege of photographing. Now that I've fallen under its spell, I am certain that I will be spending more time there. I would really like to spend some time photographing the wide variety of flora & fauna that thrives along its banks and the riparian corridor that surrounds it.