Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Desert Stars

On a recent trip to Death Valley I had the opportunity to set my camera up outside my tent without fear of it being stolen in the night. Over the course of the night my camera recorded 545 individual 20 second exposures of the night sky. While I wasn't awake to wish on it, the camera was able to capture a Shooting Star as well as a multitude of airplanes and satellites. The sky is pretty busy up there!

I pointed my camera toward where I thought the equatorial plane may be based on my knowledge of the location of the North Star. As I processed the image and added layer upon layer I was delighted to see the final trails emerging. What I had not anticipated was the variation in color of the trails... As a photographer I should know... light is not always the same. Yet somehow, as I look up into the sky at night, all I see are white and occasionally red stars. The trails tell a different story! They are alive with whites, blues, gold, pink and even teal! I can't wait to get back out there and experiment more!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fantastic News!

I was thrilled to find an email hidden in my Spam Folder which reads...

Congratulations! This email is to officially inform you that you have been chosen as a Highly Honored Photographer in the 2009 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards and will be featured in this year's Fall/Winter edition of Nature's Best Photography!

‘Recycle Me!’
Sand Island, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Rebecca R Jackrel
San Francisco, CA, USA

Laysan Albatross shadows skim across a beach on Midway Atoll where the message ‘Recycle Me!’ has been spelled out in the sand with marine debris collected on the island.

Trash from around the world is collected in the ocean currents and dropped off on the shores of islands like Midway. Even more is caught up in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre where Laysan and Black-footed Albatross mistake the plastic for food, bringing approximately 5,000 pounds each breeding cycle back to feed their hungry chicks. We can help stop this ‘garbage patch’ from growing by reducing waste and recycling more.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From Inspiration to Personal View

We all look to others for inspiration especially as photographers and artists. I scroll through Flickr, books, magazines and numerous forums in my scouting for new locations, angles I haven't seen before and times of year to visit.

The Mobius Arch in Alabama Hills has become so well known that a path has been erected to keep people from completely trampling the fragile desert environment.... they still trample it. In 2006 my friend Jim Goldstein visited the arch and captured an image that I love for it's light, color and one simple little cloud. (Click here to see it.) But he in turn was inspired to seek out the location by Galen Rowell's 2001 image 'Arch beneath Mount Whitney in the Alabama Hills'.

I in turn have been inspired to visit the location and try my own hand. I think we all start with the "classic shot'. The need to reproduce the image that drew us to the area in the first place. Some people stop there with the thought 'I got what I came for! Look! It's just like {insert famous photograph's name here}'s picture!' That may be fine for most but for some of us we need more. Once that first image is made we become hungry... we visit the area again and again. We crawl on our hands and knees, we stretch and crane our necks, we hike further and we fall, skid and slid until suddenly we see it. Something we think we haven't seen before... trouble is... once we've captured that... we start all over again! I can't wait to see what I get next time I visit! Until then, Thank you to all the wonderful photographers out there who provide me with inspiration every day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Polar Bears

Blog Action Day 2009 has got me thinking about Climate Change and my impending visit to the Arctic. For the past few years I have been visiting the Polar Bears of Churchill, Manitoba. They are the Southern-most population and they are being hit hard by the lack of sea ice. Polar Bears are excellent swimmers for sure but with the sea ice disappearing, there is no where for them to swim to... Additionally, the sea ice traditionally holds the sea in place in the Hudson Bay... without it the wind kicks up large waves that even the best swimmers can't fight. The ice that does form is forming later and breaking up earlier... cutting into the bears time limit to capture enough prey to make it through another season. Click here to view an amazing study of the sea ice and it's decline over recent years. Scientists are seeing a trend... bears are getting smaller... mothers are producing single cubs or none at all... One can't help but wonder how long this species has before they reach the tipping point. Here's hoping they can hang on while we get our act together.

For more information on Polar Bears and how you can get involved visit Polar Bears International.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tracking the Devil

Holly, a Field Officer with the Task Force, releases a Tasmanian Devil.

For the past four days I've had the privilege of following an extremely committed group of individuals as they worked tirelessly to map a disease front in the Tasmanian Devil. The Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) has erupted and spread through the devil population at an alarming rate. The newly formed 'Devil Task Force' has been charged with the job of identifying the disease front and creating a containment plan. Iain and I captured many powerful images during this trip and intend to use them to generate articles in order to raise awareness of the disease and the people who are involved with combating it. A special thanks to Phil, Holly and Anton for putting up with the cameras and for not leaving us behind in the dust along the forest tracks! ;^)

For more information on the Devil Task Force visit: http://www.tassiedevil.com.au/

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spirit of BC

It hardly seems possible that a week ago I was sitting in the mud of the edge of a stream watching bears chasing pink salmon. We were so lucky this year with the bear activity and the weather.

Four different Kermode Black Bear (aka Spirit Bears) walked the creek in front of us... chasing fish, taking naps and hiding from the rain storms. In another area we found a mother Grizzly and her cub. She was unconcerned by our approach and continued going about her business of catching fish and playing with baby. Our flight out from Hartley Bay took us over the amazing landscapes of Prince Rupert Island.