Coexisting with the Rainbow Birds

European Starling flock, photographed at Las Gallinas wildlife area San Rafael, California The unsung, rainbow beauty, the European Starling, non-native and maligned, often hated in the States for its unchosen status as “alien.” I can’t take the side of nature nativism or species hatred. I’ve defended the non-natives — the starlings, the thistles, the eucalyptus — to a load of criticism. You know, it's sentimental, unscientific to see the individual instead of [...]

2019-08-09T21:14:16+00:00August 8th, 2019|Blog|1 Comment

Mob of One: Northern Mockingbird

Approach • Attack • Circle Back I came upon this scene in Southern California ... a Common Raven perched on a roof, sustaining repeated mobbing attacks by a Northern Mockingbird. Likely, the raven got a bit too close to the mockingbird's nest. Whenever I come upon these mobbing scenarios, the intruder appears unaffected by the attacks, even as they're getting grazed by a beak or claw. That stoicism usually gives way to annoyance, maybe [...]

2019-08-09T21:10:58+00:00July 26th, 2019|Blog|1 Comment

Happy 2019 + Peace to All

After the upheaval of the past year — the personal, the collective, the political — I’m grateful for the turn of a calendar page, bringing a fresh tomorrow and a new year. It’s a chance to make whatever symbolic starts need to be made, and an excuse for a clean slate, even as the same sun rises over the same horizon, over the same cityscape dotted with construction cranes ... and the same [...]

2019-08-09T21:11:37+00:00January 1st, 2019|Blog, Holidays|0 Comments

Rafts of Dreaming Birds

Originally published at The Wild Beat in 2013 I stepped out of a mist and I knew I am. I am what I am. And then I thought, 'But what have I been before?' And then I found that I had been in a mist, not knowing to differentiate myself from things; I was just one thing among many things." ~ Carl Jung, The Red Book I used to think about Jung and bird [...]

2019-08-09T21:12:01+00:00February 14th, 2018|Birds, Blog, Popular Posts|6 Comments

Q & A with International Bird Rescue

I recently had the opportunity discuss photography and field craft with International Bird Rescue. Many thanks to Russ Curtis and International Bird Rescue for the generous and lovely presentation. They do the work of angels -- for the many wild ones among us.

2018-02-13T03:56:02+00:00December 8th, 2017|Birds, Blog, Ethics, Photography|0 Comments

The Year of the Chorus Frog

[Photographed with the Olympus E-M1 and E-M5 and telephoto, minimizing any disturbance to the frogs] A park supervisor pointed me to these these Pacific chorus frogs — also known as Pacific tree frogs -- as I was photographing turtles and damselflies at a local pond. She explained to me that this habitat had been re-landscaped for wildlife, and now thirty or so wild tree frogs thrived among the aquatic plants. This seems to be [...]

2019-02-01T00:30:53+00:00September 16th, 2017|Amphibians, Blog|0 Comments

Of Lizards and Lichens and Land

This photo was taken a number of years back by my mate's cousin, to show the true perspective as we hiked atop the rock strata of Canyonlands in Utah. Here, the youngest layer of geologic deposits is a million years old — built upon shales, sandstones and clays in plateaus and stairsteps hundreds of millions of years old, some still imprinted with dinosaur tracks, some coated in living, cryptobiotic soil that nourishes and [...]

2019-08-09T21:11:56+00:00January 15th, 2017|Blog, Popular Posts|0 Comments

Here’s to a Transformative 2017!

** Wishing peace for all of us humans and nonhumans in 2017 ** I chose the peace sign because of how the artist originally conceived it ... and then transformed it, from a symbol of anguish to one of aspiration. The creator, Gerald Holtom, described it this way: "I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands outstretched, outwards and downwards in the manner of [...]

2018-02-15T20:35:47+00:00December 31st, 2016|Blog, Holidays|0 Comments

Wildlife Locations: When Sharing Endangers the Animals

  [The photos here are of animals, scenes and experiences shared by or with fellow photographers and birders.] To Share or Not Share Wildlife Locations One of the best things about wildlife photography, outside of spending time with wild animals, is the community you build. A good number of us grew into this pursuit because we connected with animals ... which then translated naturally to observing them behind the lens.  Most of us share a zeal for the craft, and -- especially -- a lovefor our subjects, [...]

2019-02-01T00:33:06+00:00November 7th, 2014|Blog, Ethics|17 Comments

The Family Procyon Lotor

[These images were shot in under-exposed conditions and required more post-processing than usual. I took some artistic liberty with selective desaturation to deemphasize the contrasts, etc.] Just a few days into my Seattle relocation, the friends who generously housed us, pointed to some ruckus in a tree. Since ruckus in a tree often signals animal activity, I grabbed my camera and crept into the shade of a Northwest canopy. Overhead I saw this ... a family of four North American [...]

2018-02-13T03:56:28+00:00August 13th, 2014|Blog, Mammals|11 Comments

On Cricket Time, Not Mine

I was reminded of this poem tonight, by a cricket who hopped on my knee. It's a poem that takes a while the first time you see it ... a nonsensical staircase of letters by e.e. cummings: r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r ~  by e.e. cummings It's nonsensical until you learn, as OxfordWords blog explains, that e.e. cummings is presenting a "grasshopper in flight in a jumble of letters, mimicking the moment when it transforms from a jumping streak back into the [...]

2019-07-28T22:19:06+00:00August 8th, 2014|Blog, Insects|6 Comments

Raging Sea of Cormorants

I saw this group of cormorants off the coast of Oregon, framed by the tumult of the Pacific. It struck me how nonchalant their poses were as they preened their plumage in the midst of raging sea. Where we might crumble under the power of these swells, the pelagic beings thrive here, in a sheen of feathered wet suits. We're tiny beings, really -- we humans who claim dominion. We're specks on a loom, where the feathered ones weave their patterns on waves ... and fling themselves [...]

2019-02-01T00:42:09+00:00August 4th, 2014|Blog|5 Comments

Meadowhawk Cleared for Landing

I'm taking a long break from my writing here at the blog, to finish some creative projects.  I'll be posting some of my favorite photos and photo-tunes in this spot. (Ziggy Marley, today). Thanks, my friends, for sticking around and for giving this space a little heartbeat. :) Variegated Meadowhawk on approach • Sympetrum corruptum Olympus OM-D E-M1 + Zuiko 50-200mm • 1/4000 • f4.0 • ISO 500 Dragonflies and damselflies like to return to [...]

2019-02-01T00:47:51+00:00June 9th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Postcards from a Freegan Raccoon

If I had a photography motto it might be "follow the crows." As sentries of the canopy, crows know what's going on. So I pay attention. If it mattered at all to crows, they could tell me who shattered my car window last month and who stole our Christmas tree (with decorations) back in 1995. What obviously does interest crows is those pesky interlopers, especially during prime nesting season. Around here, that interloper is most often a Bald Eagle. [...]

2019-02-01T00:51:42+00:00May 20th, 2014|Blog|1 Comment

North American Beaver … Eating Lily Pads Like Enchiladas

It's like waiting for a geyser to erupt ... or an eclipse. There's a start time to this endeavor. At 6:45p, we're told, a North American beaver or two (or more) will swim into this stew of lily pads and systematically take them down for dinner. They have a lodge not far away, this family of four. It's plain good fortune on our part, taking a spontaneous walk on the shoreline trail, that we encounter a local [...]

2019-02-01T20:59:44+00:00May 13th, 2014|Blog, Popular Posts|11 Comments

Spa Day for a Night Heron

... at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California I originally named this portrait "Standing Room Only." I'd never seen a Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) creep chest-high into a pool -- then just stand there forever like a Japanese snow monkey. This pose made me laugh as I watched the heron soak up the swirls of his own private day spa. One of my Facebook friends wrote, "what is this lil man doing?" That comment captured [...]

2019-07-28T22:19:12+00:00March 5th, 2014|Blog|13 Comments

Western Gull + Fishing Line + Rehab

Note: I use male/female pronouns for wild animals even when I can't discern the sex. I don't like to depersonalize a living being as an "it." In this case, I did not know the sex of this gull.In my previous post, I mentioned a Western Gull I managed to rescue ... by true luck. Here's that story.We were in Los Angeles all of January and part of February, and in the context of a chaotic [...]

2019-02-01T01:21:37+00:00February 22nd, 2014|Blog|11 Comments

Favorite Images

I've done a "best of" selection at the end of previous years ... but this year I'm opting for a favorites list. I didn't realize there would be a disparity between the photos I consider my best technically versus those I hold close to my heart. There appears to be only a loose correlation between the merits of an image and my feelings about it. With that in mind, here's my list of 2013 [...]

2019-02-01T01:23:26+00:00January 1st, 2014|Blog|9 Comments

Living in Your Own Private Cryosphere

Albedo is the reflectivity of the earth's surface. Ice, white and bright, has a high albedo, reflecting back the sun on itself, whereas water draws the solar radiation deep into its hues. Water is always in flux, mutable -- liquid, vaporous, frozen -- evaporating, condensing and expanding. This fluidity of form and purpose fuels life with its hydrological rhythms. And, it stores life, even as deep as 4000 meters below the East Antarctic ice [...]

2019-02-01T01:25:27+00:00December 12th, 2013|Blog, Popular Posts|9 Comments
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