Monday, September 25, 2023

Macro Madness


Rock Purslane (Cistanthe grandiflora)
(click to view larger)

What's worth doing in nature photography? 

I googled the question just for the heck of it and did not get the kind of responses I'm looking for. What I'm looking for is a project I can take on within my limited travel budget, with my current camera gear and 2WD passenger car, that would be fun and interesting. Bonus points for creating something of lasting value beyond my own self-interest.

When I first got hooked on nature photography in the early 1980s, in part by discovering the Santa Ynez Mountains and the San Rafael Wilderness Area near my home in Santa Barbara, I thought it would be cool to photograph all of California's wilderness areas. Back then, there were about thirty (ditto for the number of California condors left in the wild). The Dick Smith Wilderness, for example, which is adjacent to the San Rafael Wilderness, hadn't been designated yet.

Fast-forward about 40 years, and I'm finally retired and have the time to take on a big project like that. Except for one little problem. There are now five-times as many wilderness areas! (And in other good news, there are now about 560 California condors, of which 347 are living in the wild.)

Since there's probably no way I'm going to be able to photograph all those wilderness areas, I'll bundle them into groups based on their proximity to each other, then pick one to represent the whole group. I'm not sure if this will have value beyond my own self-interest, but maybe an organization like the California Wilderness Coalition would be interested in a windfall of such imagery: "Here's what this place looked like, and what I found living there, in the year 2024." And beyond, of course. The plan would be to carry on as long as I can.

The book I put together on Mt. Tamalpais (now available in PDF for the low, low price of just $15!) is composed of pictures I shot over about 20 years. With luck I'll have another 20 years to get to explore at least the periphery of many of California's wilderness areas.

For the pictures in this post I snagged a couple of flowers that have intrigued me on recent walks around the neighborhood, including a flowering Heteromeles arbutifolia on the edge of Golden Gate Heights Park. I decided to try a light background for a change. And apropos of nothing, I saw an osprey gliding south over Ocean Beach this morning -- the first time I've ever seen an osprey out there.

(Heteromeles arbutifolia)

Veronica sp.

Veronica sp.

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