Sunday, February 20, 2011

I've Moved to a New Blog!

Wipe your tears dear readers (you both know who you are). I've moved to a new shared blog with photographic greats Niall Benvie, Paul Harcourt Davies and Andrew Parkinson. I'm not sure how I got the gig but I'm not complaining!

Visit Images from the Edge today!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Belly Crawling for Conservation

A few years ago I became fixated on one simple, elegant statement in Piotr Naskrecki’s landmark book, The Smaller Majority. Simply put, the author writes that 99% of life on planet earth is smaller than a human finger with most being smaller than a fingernail. This immediately sent my head spinning. I looked out onto my backyard and began to wonder what might be out there to discover, photograph and share with the world. It didn’t take me long to realize that even in an area with a temperate climate such as where I live, this statement inevitably holds true. As a macro photographer, my obsession with insects, plants and other small creatures suddenly found a renewed sense of purpose.

Considering humankind’s obsession with discovery, it surprises me that more photographers aren’t as obsessed with macro photography as I am. What other discipline of nature photography offers so much in terms of an opportunity to make fresh new imagery, which may in fact, also represent behaviors and species completely new to science? Going a step further, these images can also make a tremendous contribution to conservation due to the well-documented fact that invertebrates and other small creatures are tremendously important to the well-being of every eco-system in the world.
The July-August 2010 issue of Audubon Magazine contained a fascinating article on the All Taxa Biological Inventory (ATBI) project currently being conducted in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Due to the variety of species being found and its inherit biological richness, the article compares the GSMNP to the tropics. Kevin FitzPatrick, a photographer and iLCP member who has spent the last several years working for the ATBI recently shared with me that researchers believe that they have discovered an estimated 1,000 new species in the park over the past 10 years. What else is out there waiting to be discovered is anybody’s guess but most believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg.

I’ll leave you with this: What if every major nature photography “star” decided to focus their cameras on their own backyards over the span of a year? Can you imagine the incredible new insights and imagery of our natural world which would result from such an experiment? All of us who have a passion for nature and photography should be out getting our knees and elbows dirty from time-to-time. There is so much to see with such little investment if we can only slow down, and change our perspective. It will change the way that you see the world.

Friday, June 4, 2010

That is Mr. Muffet to You

Little Miss Muffett doesn't have a thing on me peeps! This beautiful mother and about 100 of her little ones patiently posed for this portrait yesterday. One doesn't have to travel far to find amazing subject matter!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


As my children grow older, and their interest in nature grows as well, I've tried to find ways to get them involved with my work as much as possible. For a while now, I have thought that it would be fun to work with my oldest son Adam to document all of the species that live on and around a massive old tulip poplar in the woods behind our home. After a brief rain shower, I took a walk out to have a look at the tree only to discover the most amazing looking box turtle that I'd ever seen. Then(!) it occurred to me that I'd actually seen the old male before.
Three years ago, I photographed the same turtle with Adam, my son who will be working on the project with me. To find the old battered male –who I estimate to be around 15-16 years old– looking better than ever was a great surprise and a fantastic way to kick off our project considering our shared history!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Milestone for Meet Your Neighbours

Today, April 30th, 2010, marks a milestone for Meet Your Neighbours. Early on, it was decided that this date would mark the last day that we would be accepting photographer applications for the project. When Niall Benvie and I first launched Meet Your Neighbours back in February, we knew that it was a unique concept, but had no idea that it would take wings as quickly as it has done.

To date, we have received applications from an amazing group of photographers representing North America, South and Central America, Africa, Europe, the UK, Australia, and Japan. There is a healthy mix of professional and serious non-professional photographers; some of which you may know and others that you will get to say hello to for the very first time. Perhaps most importantly, this talented group of individuals has come forward to participate in this project because they all share a common love for their local wildlife, and have a willingness to tell their local communities why they should take notice.
We have also been fortunate to gain the support of so many members of the conservation community. Early on, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland backed the project and offered seed funding to get us up and running, and shortly thereafter, The International League of Conservation Photographers honored us by becoming Endorsing Partners. Most Recently Mark Lukes from Fine Print Imaging and Linda Helm at Art for Conservation have thrown their support behind the project, which has made a tremendous difference in regards to applicant interest, and visibility around the world.

So what now? Well, in the coming days we will be working with applicants to secure the support of their NGOs of choice. We will also be introducing applicants who have already gained support on our website, on our upcoming MYN blog, and on our rapidly growing Facebook group.

Exciting things are on the horizon for Meet Your Neighbours! Already, photographers are beginning to develop new techniques for creating the field studio images, including novel approaches to showing both the subject and environment in one image. Others are developing long range plans for sharing the images with their communities. By working together, we hope that common, overlooked species of wild plants and animals will be seen in a different light!

For photographers out there who are still interested in Meet Your Neighbours, and are able to make an arrangement with a partner NGO there still may be a place for you in the project. Please visit our website to download the MYN photographer's guide and begin building a relationship with your local conservation community. Although the April 30th deadline has been reached, we still may be able to help support you in other ways!

Finally, if you represent a NGO, business or are a person in a position to introduce Meet Your Neighbours into your own community, please contact me at and will help to connect you with an appropriate photographer partner.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lying in the Mud

I spent the better part of this evening lying in a small bog, photographing the emerging fiddle-heads of netted chain ferns. I've photographed this small cluster of plants each year as they've emerged but this is the first time that I believe I've come close to illustrating this ancient phenomenon properly. With the aide of my now indispensable Sigma 15mm 2.8 lens, I am able to show both the plant and its relationship to its habitat –an important element missing in a lot of macro photography, I'm afraid.

I made this image just before sunset. Next week, I'm going to revisit this scene and make the same photograph around 10:00 am, when the sky is nice and blue. There is a secret here for all you wide angle macro junkies out there. Can you figure it out?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breaking the Cubes that Bind

Spring brings many things: flowers; bird song; and my favorite t-shirt, which has been resurrected from the depths of my closet! I was so excited to show it to you, that I didn't even bother ironing.

I have spent way too much time behind the computer lately and I'm so happy to be getting back out into the woods and actually making some photos for a change. I was talking to a friend about this other day, and we were (half) laughing about how much time photographers actually have to spend staring into the vortex of a computer screen. It almost gets to the point where calling one's self a photographer becomes a bit of a stretch.

Well, for now, I intend on doing carrying on the moniker. I've got heaps to do before the winter returns and Mr. Jobs' shackles drag me back down into the abyss.