So, it’s a bit of a stretch from conservation to the world of glamor. But hey, conservation work can be glamorous at times… right?
As most of you know, I don’t usually stumble into the world of bright strobe lights, make-up, outfits, and striking a pose – well at least not for work! Headshots, photo-booths, portraiture all feels comfortable with me working to expose what exists. This felt a bit different. I had a captive audience trained to be photographed professionally. This made all the difference.
When I saw the SF Meet and Shoot group offer its inaugural meetup focused on models and glamor I decided, why not. I had never worked in such a fashion – no pun intended – and I was interested to see how different it would be from my shoots. Well- it was different. Most notably, the ability to direct became critical. The range of emotion a model can pull out of a hat is amazing. Truly. Now, I understand Blue Steel in all its glory.
I hope everyone reading this takes a moment to enjoy some plants native to their home, because it’s California Native Plant Week! Yes, be aware of lots of geeks (like myself) walking around your favorite park and staring at a single plant (usually its very small) with a small hand lens and a thick dictionary-like book nearby.
These are the plants that define place to me. The tall trees, or short grasses, or mucky wallows or vast seas of chaparral. All these places are unique because of the evolutionary and ecological processes that have culminated in the vegetation you see. I’m in love with our hills, or rivers, mountains and drylands all. These landscapes are ALL filled with amazing stories of survival, adaptation, and luck…
Cirsium fontinale v. fontinale – the rare Mount Hamilton thistle
My biological field experience is what eventually led me to pick up a camera and use it as a tool for conservation and awareness. I was first attracted to the idea of creating National Geographic style images. You know, eye candy (for plant nerds). Grand, sweeping landscapes that sing of feelings of vastness and purity. Those classic photos oftentimes are thought to create a feeling of wilderness – a landscape untouched by humankind.
As I work more and more as a restoration ecologist, I have come to realize that the hand of humankind is critical in maintaining so many species and landscapes we might perfunctorily believe are “liberated” or protected from humans. It is our hands that help protect these places. And I’m not talking about raising fences and locking gates, I’m talking managing invasive plants, rewarding sensitive ranching practices, and leading hikes to get more people hooked on nature. Continue reading →