Season of the Orbs

Fall! Yes, it’s coming even though it was 100 degrees this past weekend. Orb spiders are a predictable totem of fall in our parts. They use standing vegetation that usually has some sun exposure. Then they catch flies, get fat, lay eggs and disappear into the earth. Here’s one who posed for me this weekend. She’s actually a banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) by common name.

Banded garden spider - Argiope trifasciata - bottom- MYN 2

I brought out the big flash and my white background. Photo for the collection. The sun was out, but everything worked out well with balancing light. The flash adds a touch of fill and bounces nicely off the white. You can see some of the web there since I didn’t move the actual spider. Continue reading

Conservation Photography Workshop: A Day in Review

Stefan taking in the scrub and grassland interface.

Stefan taking in the scrub and grassland interface.

We completed our 8 hour intensive conservation photography workshop hosted by the California Native Grasslands Association and I’m very happy to report that it was an absolutely wonderful day spent with inspired and interesting people (who love photography too!). Here are a few pics from the day and even one or two items about post processing that we went over. Thanks to everyone for such a great day. Continue reading

Happy Native Plant Week

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 macro-

Cirsium fontinale v. fontinale – the rare Mount Hamilton thistle

Here’s a list of very cool events (introvert alert)!  You will learn so much – please do try a field trip out.

Also, I’m working on a native grass photography workshop – yes – this will be very directed towards grassy plant nerds with cameras. More to come…

Rabbits brush at Cattani sml-1

Rabbitbrush in full bloom in the Tehachapi mountains

Conserving Natives – Both Plants and Knowledge

I was recently approached by a naturopathic physician about art for her healing space.  I was immediately excited about the idea since she was also very interested in my ties to local botany and ecology.  A match made in heaven – healing, botany, conservation.  Yeah, sign me up!

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Two under Two Challenge

It’s been a rough week.

Grandma got sick.  Really, really sick – like you don’t want me to tell.

Then Kaya,

then Mom.

And just as the light at the end of the tunnel was beaming into our weary eyes, Dad got hit.  We’ve had an intense medical ward energy looming over our days.  Chlorox, electrolye water, soiled rags.  When the rags ran out we soiled the towels, when the towels ran out – we just soiled whatever was left.

Medicine calls it Norovirus.  We called it a serious kick in the ass.

And in between the moments of little baby screams and there was a deafening silence.  The jackhammer in my head was so loud it was quiet.  Our minds drifted towards feeling healthy – sunny days on the beach and cool mountain breezes in enormous canyons.  Every pain, ache, scream, vomit became purely animal. Function over fashion devoid of intellectualism.  It was a priori life.  It was beautiful in a sick way. It is slowly returning us to understanding the power of our family unit, its resiliency and how we are blessed to have a team to create progress out of pain and love out of discomfort.

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