March 21, 2024

I caught the first two episodes of Nat Geo’s new series on TV called, directly enough, Photographer.  The first episode featured Paul Nicklen and Christina Mittermeier.  The series picks a photographer, in this case two, and digs in on how they became photographers, what motivates them, what they hope their photography brings to other people, etc.  It resonated with me, as I look ahead on my photography craft, because it really gets down to how a photographer adds to or tells a story.  Photography is, at its core, a communication tool. Humans receive a tremendous amount of information through our eyes. Of the five senses eyesight is considered most often to be the most used and valued by people. I think about what I want to convey when I go out to shoot with my camera.  The stories I like telling are beauty in nature, energetic weather, wildlife, our surroundings in macro, and people. Early in the first episode of Photographer Paul Nicklen says something along the lines of how we see so many stories and photographs about environmental damage, loss of habitat, eco-crisis; dire stories about dire times.  He follows that observation with another, based on his own experiences, that there is still great abundance, health, and beauty in nature.  This reflects my own feeling that no matter how bleak it may seem with regards to the health of the natural world around us there exists great beauty and abundance.  I am a ‘glass half full’ guy who has enjoyed exploring nature; studied ecology, geology, forestry, wildlife biology, and animal behavior in college; has hiked and camped most of my life; and have been photographing subjects in nature since the 1960s.  As I contemplate the years to come in my life I look ahead to a time when I cease coastal management consulting work and turn more fully to photography, and probably writing to accompany my photography, to tell a story about what I see and enjoy in the world.

In the context of how nature can coexist and even thrive in an urban environment, I share a photo of a nesting colony of Royal Terns in what would appear to be a remote spot far from human interaction.  In fact, this location is in Ocean City, MD and the colony is within 900 feet of a very popular beach bar and grill that is full of people during the nesting and rearing season.  Who says we can’t get along and coexist?   


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