Saturday, March 3, 2018

Post #500: California quail in Point Reyes National Seashore

A male California quail on a branch at sunrise in Point Reyes National Seashore

In the fall of 2009, I started this blog with my first post of semipalmated plovers at Point Reyes National Seashore. At this time, I was in the middle of graduate school and had found that escaping to the coast with my camera on the weekends was critical to managing my stress levels. I had taken my first nature photographs over two years before that, and was regularly sharing pictures on Flickr, but decided that it would be nice to branch out into my own corner of the web. I didn't really know what I had intended to do with a blog, but I was inspired by the work of others like John Wall who was blogging about his explorations of similar places in the Bay Area, and myriad other California photographers (like Jim Goldstein, Gary Crabbe, G Dan Mitchell, and so many others) that were sharing their work on the web.

When I started this blog, posting a photo while I ate breakfast was a pretty regular part of my daily routine, and over the first few years, I added about 150 posts per year. At that rate, I figured I'd reach 500 posts in no time! But a move to Massachusetts and start of my career reduced my rate to about a third of that for a while, and over the last two years almost to zero. Yet I still find myself drawn to sharing my work through this venue.

Over the past few weeks, I've read back through each of my 499 previous posts, which brings up a cacophony of feelings -- from bittersweet nostalgia for my favorite places in California and being able to visit them regularly, to joy of remembering some amazing wildlife encounters (some that I vividly remember, and others that I had almost forgotten), to relative embarrassment of the quality of some of my earlier pictures. I was getting out with my camera so much more regularly during the first few years, which led to a more temporal aspect to my blogging, and it's fun to now have a narrated log of my weekend trips from that time period of my life.

As I roll through the beginning of my tenth calendar year of photo blogging, finally reaching the round number milestone of 500 posts, I guess I still don't know what I'm really trying to accomplish. I've long since passed the naive dream of being read by a huge number of subscribers, but still feel drawn to have a place to share my experiences with the incredible natural world around me. Seeking a connection with nature is one of the major things that drives me as a person, and I want to continue to seek out these experiences for my own self-interest. But beyond that, I like to share these small glimpses with anyone else who cares to find them. I know from personal experience how photographs have the power to connect people with our natural world, to cause them to care, and allow a window to share in a joint experience even if the observer wasn't physically present. I wish deeply for others to care about our environment and the amazing creatures that inhabit it, and any small thing I can do to spread that connection is worth it to me.

As I think about what it means to move forward, I'm sure that my opportunities for serious photography will continue to be limited. However, I know that even a decade after I first picked up a camera with the intent of photographing the natural world, I still find that when the cacophony of noise that is modern life becomes overwhelming, my mind yearns for the simplicity of a shared moment with a wild animal from behind my lens. Wildlife photography is meditation for me, and I hope that having a place to share my artistic expression of these experiences (even if really only for myself) will continue to drive my pursuit of seeking out those powerful moments, no matter how frequent or infrequent the opportunities arise.

No comments:

Post a Comment