Monday, April 8, 2019

The stray dogs of Puerto Rico

Stray Dogs on Beach, Vieques, Puerto Rico

These dogs don’t look happy — and they’re not. While they’re on one of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches on the island of Vieques, they’re among the 200,000 dogs in Puerto Rico that were abandoned or abused and left to fend for themselves.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is full of life

Gulf Fritiallary Butterflies, Vieques, Puerto Rico

I like to use contrast in images. Often that contrast comes from light and dark. Other times it's from opposite colors.

In Puerto Rico, I had an opportunity to capture contrast in two butterflies — and the contrast was essentially the element of time.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The “new” thing for better photography

Winter Sun Through Snowy Forest

Photographers are conditioned to always need something new.

Often it’s equipment. We’re bombarded with ads for new cameras and lenses that somehow will immediately make our art better.

For nature and wildlife photographers, it’s also locations. There’s always some hot new location that promises incredible opportunities that are like none we’ve ever seen before.

But there’s one new thing that will make an even bigger difference in your photography. It’s attitude.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Remembering the monarchs

Cluster of Monarch Butterflies at Dawn, Pacific Grove, California

It was the spring of 1980 and one of our final kindergarten projects involved watching a pair of caterpillars transform into monarch butterflies. For weeks, we watched them feed on milkweed leaves and then disappear into their chrysalises. When they finally emerged as butterflies, we took them outside to the playground and set them free.

That experience in the classroom near Seattle, Washington, was one of my favorites in school and helped give me an even greater appreciation for nature. It took nearly 25 years, but I finally got a chance to photograph monarchs in their wintering grounds in Pacific Grove, California — butterflies that were perhaps 100 generations removed from the ones we helped raise.

That winter in California, I found clusters of monarchs so dense they somewhat resembled leaves. Since then, the numbers of butterflies have plummeted, each year reaching a new record low.