Showing posts with label conservation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label conservation. Show all posts

Thursday, April 22, 2021

We all have a role on Earth Day

Golden-Crowned Kinglet Among Cherry Blossoms, Snohomish County, Washington

A lot of environmental activism focuses on what others need to do. Switching to clean energy. Stopping pollution. Conserving large swaths of land. And so on. But individuals play a role, too. We can’t afford to act as if taking care of the planet is always someone else’s problem.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Look at all the eagles

Bald Eagle in Flight, North Cascades, Washington

When I was working on my bald eagle book 10 years ago, the bird often drew attention. Many times when I was photographing one, people would stop and talk about how cool it was to see it.

Fast forward to this past week. I was in a field with several other photographers when a pair of bald eagles circled over us. Nobody else looked up. Short-eared owls were deemed more interesting.

This isn’t a case of something being wrong. Rather, it’s a case of something being right.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

We're watching the monarchs vanish

Monarch Butterflies Resting in Tree, Pacific Grove, California

Over the past 20 years, about 98 percent of the western monarch butterflies have disappeared. 98 percent! And the eastern monarchs aren’t faring much better. So I was stunned to read today that federal officials won’t start talking about adding them to the endangered species list until 2024.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The cycles of elk

Elk Sparring, North Bend, Washington

The clacking of antlers is one of the unmistakable signs of autumn. While elk spend much of the day feeding peacefully, every so often two of the larger bulls will literally go head-to-head in a demonstration of strength. The winner gains mating privileges. You can almost set your calendar by the action.

But there are several cycles on display in this image. The beginning of mating season marks the starting point of one.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The value of urban forests

Fallen Maple Leaves, Shelton View Forest, Bothell, Washington

At the rate things have been going, we’ll likely end this year with 36 million fewer trees. That’s how many trees vanish from urban areas in the U.S. annually.

And while it may seem like we’ve made great strides in conservation, this is one area where we don’t seem to be making much progress. The U.S. Forest Service study found that nearly half the states had significant declines in urban tree cover during the survey period. Just three states ended with more trees.

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.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Land Almost Lost: Help save these national monuments

Rainbow Over Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

I’ll never forget the first time I experienced the feeling of nature lost. Oddly, I was on a hike on a trail that’s one of the more beautiful in the Central Cascades of Washington state.

For a couple of miles, I wandered through forest, catching occasional glimpses of the waterfall that was my destination. And then I came across a giant Western red cedar stump. It was at least three times the diameter of the biggest living trees I had seen along my way.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Horsetail Fall: Spectacular or spectacle?

Horsetail Fall at Sunset, Yosemite National Park, California

As the red light of sunset reached the waterfall, applause erupted across the Yosemite Valley. Normally I work in quiet solitude, but this is a special waterfall and it drew an energetic audience of hundreds.

The question is, is that a good thing?

Friday, July 31, 2015

The thrill of the hunt

Atlantic Puffin, Close Up, Iceland

It may be hard to believe, but there are still a few wondrous places on Earth where animals aren’t afraid of people. With word this week that a hunter with more money than compassion brutally slaughtered a lion from one of these special places, I’m afraid we’re about to lose another.

I’ve never photographed a lion in the wild, but like most nature photographers who’ve ventured very far off the beaten track, I’ve had my share of absolutely magical encounters with wildlife. One that has had a dramatic impact on my view of animals and our relationship with them happened nearly 10 years ago on my first trip to Iceland.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wow! Is that Niagara Falls?

Horseshoe Falls in Mist, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

As I was packing up my camera after photographing from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, two men came up and asked if they could see what I was shooting. I said, "yes," and pressed the play button on my camera to display the last image I took that morning.

Without asking, one of the men rotated the jog dial on the back of my camera to see the other images I captured that morning. But he rotated it clockwise, and instead of seeing an earlier image, the camera displayed the first image on the memory card — one I took four days earlier.

"Wow!" he exclaimed. "Is that Niagara Falls?"