I decided to pinch the Yellow stream for a quick post on a book recollection. This is mainly due to something that arrived in the mail just a few days ago, but more on that later. Today’s post is on a book called Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species by Photographer Joel Sartore. Like the previous book recollection post on Decisive Moments (link here), this photographer’s work is one of my favorites (to be honest, he is probably tops in my list). As you can guess, he is a photographer for National Geographic and has a focus on bringing awareness to endangered species. There are wildlife photographers that can capture a shot by getting all the technical details right such as lighting, focus, aperture and shutter speed. There are also photographers who are able to illicit emotion from the viewer by capturing the mood and feel of a situation. Without a doubt, Joel is one of the few people who is able to produce a shot with both of those qualities. As an example, just take a look at the Red Wolf in the cover shot. The 2 subjects reside at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This proud species is fighting for their survival with only 330 of them left (at time of publication). As Joel states in his book, their relationship at the top of the predator food chains makes them susceptible to lead poisoning thanks to intolerance. To be honest, this is not a book you put down feeling good about your place on earth. Sure, there are some bright spots like the success stories on American Alligator recovery and the banning of DDT in 192 which was responsible for devastating the populations of our proud American symbol, the Bald Eagle as well as the Peregrine Falcon. Having just come back from Yellowstone, let’s not forget the progress of the Gray Wolf recovery. But for all those triumphs, there is the losing side of the battle. This includes the last Dusky Seaside Sparrow whose final resting place is in a jar at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville Florida or the fragile Mississippi Sandhill Crane population of 155 birds residing in Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refugee that was put at great risk by Katrina.
I am not in a position to preach to anyone and I certainly have my biases, but if you get the opportunity, just take a look at this book. Even if the message doesn’t hit a personal chord, simply enjoy the stunning photographs. Joel does a nice job of capturing the subject in a black or white setting (intentionally done to illicit more emotion). The book is organized by population sizes with a description of the plight of that particular animal, insect or plant and in some cases he includes a little background on where and how the shot was taken. If nothing else, it will push the bar up a little higher on your own photography output. The book was also published on high quality paper giving it almost a gallery feel that you can put on your coffee table. If you like his photographs, keep an eye out for his other works. For starters, his image in the Simply Beautiful Photographs (see recollection here) was quite stunning.
So, back to that mail delivery mentioned at the start. As a wolf enthusiast, I feel obligated to help in their recovery. As a member of the National Wolf Foundation based on Ely, Minn), a member of the local Wildlife Prairie Park (who have a very nice wolf pack) and a new member of the Yellowstone National Park Association I like to think in some small way I am helping make a difference. A few months ago I was made aware of another effort to help my four legged friends. Will Burrard-Lucas and Rebecca Jackrel (whose photography blog Lind and I actively follow) started a project to document the struggle for survival of Africa’s wolves – you can find more about the project at their website (link here). They were asking for financial assistance to get the project off the ground and I jumped at the chance. Since that time, I had slowly forgotten about it as the stress of the holidays began to set in. Low and behold we received this postcard in the mail. A handwritten postcard from Rebecca and Will from Ethiopia. How cool is that! Needless to say, I am excited to be a part of this and cannot wait to see the shots upon their return.
Hit the jump to see my takeaways from Rare