I bet you thought the next post would be Part 2 of the Mute Swan post. I felt bad having to go back to the bird topic so quick after the barrage from Project Chekov so trying to ease you back onto the feathered features. Instead figured it was about time to throw out another Book Recollection. Today’s recollection comes to us thanks to Melissa Farris who compiled a product she called Deadly Instinct. I can’t remember what made me aware of this book, but my guess would be one of the wildlife photographers I follow on Google+ brought it too my attention. No need for a lot of convincing past the cover which had the National Geographic seal along with a Lion bringing down a Wildebeest – I’m in. Big thanks to Linda who ended up getting me this book for Christmas. Technically, coming in at only 180 pages, it is really more of a photography book than a reading book. There was a setup at the beginning of each chapter that set the tone for the set of images. Once that page or two was consumed, it was on to a nice collection of shots… umm let me correct that. There were some FANTASTIC shots, a lot of cool wildlife shots and then some I simply put in the TOTAL CRAP category. I’m sorry, but I like my pictures to be in focus and the attempt to show speed by throwing the shutter speed way low resulting in a blur you wouldn’t even know what it was unless they told you is not worth my time – trust me, there were more of these shots than I would have expected alongside the other quality shots. I wouldn’t let the bad shots deter you from enjoying all the good shots, but note to author – there were plenty of better shots you could have used of the Gorillas. The best part of the book was it had a number of pictures from my favorite photographer – Joel Sartore. If you recall I featured one of his books previously called Rare (link here). I had a feeling some of his work would be included based on the National Geographic stamp on the cover. Pretty used to his style these days and can usually pick out his work without seeing the credits first. Was surprised to learn he started on his naturalist journey after seeing the harsh conditions of the Galveston coast. Always cool to learn more about the background of photographer’s you spend a lot of time following.
I should probably mention something before people run off to purchase this book to see the “purdy” pictures. The pictures are not all “pretty” in the hang on your wall and let your visitors gawk over mode. The truth is the intent of the book is to show how lethal, dangerous and aggressive wild animal behavior is. If you are weak of stomach or god forbid a PETA member save your money and go watch the Muppets Movie instead. This book is full of violent, bloody wildlife on wildlife encounters. Oh, and a lot snakes so Linda has been warned to never open the book herself – about 5 pages in there is a particular awesome picture of a Vine Snake that even made me hesitate when I turned to that page. Also very appreciative of the heavy paper stock she used which helps maintain the quality of the pictures. Kudos to the photographers that provided all the outstanding shots to this book. It always inspires me when I see the work of photographers that are clearly on top of their field. A pretty short recollection but the book only took me two nights of light reading before hitting the hay.
Hit the jump to see my takeaways.
Continue reading Book Recollection: Deadly Instinct
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
Continue reading Book Recollection: Rare