If you’re looking for bonus content, this week, click here to read a blog post I wrote for The Nature Conservancy’s Cool Green Science blog. I was asked to write about pollinator conservation and why we should be focusing on the incredibly diverse native bee community rather than honey bees. You might find it an informative read.
Over the weekend, I met up with former fellow Evan Barrientos, who was back in Nebraska for a short visit. Evan is now the Communication and Marketing Coordinator of Audubon Rockies, based in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was in the state for a meeting and then hung out at the Platte River prairies for a few days before heading home. We met up Sunday morning to talk and do some photography. It was cloudy and breezy (10-15 mph winds) but we ventured out with our cameras anyway.
We mostly walked and talked for a while, but eventually, the skies lightened enough that we got our cameras out and started shooting a little. As we did, we shared some good-natured banter about whether or not to use a tripod. I almost always carry my tripod so I can stabilize my camera while photographing flowers and insects. Evan often does too, but said he’s been trying to go without it more lately and left it in the truck while we were walking. We argued about whether or not a tripod does any good when the wind is already whipping plants around anyway.
My position was that with a tripod, I could at least control the movement of my camera and really only worry about the plant’s movement (with or without an insect on the plant). Evan said that since the plants were moving so much anyway, the little bit of camera shake from hand-holding his camera was irrelevant. Young people…
I enjoyed watching him clench his body into uncomfortable positions and shoot hundreds of rapid-fire shots, hoping one of them would be sharply focused. Maybe he managed to luck into a few good shots by doing that, I don’t know. I do know that my technique of using a tripod (or sometimes just folding the legs together to form a monopod) let me get some really nice photos of tree crickets – and other subjects.
I’m mostly kidding about all of this, of course. Evan is a great photographer and you can enjoy his work on his blog, The Naturalist Lens. When he eventually finds time to edit his photos from yesterday – and if he was lucky enough to get something good from the day – he’ll probably post them there, or on his Instagram account (@evanbarrientosphotography). Feel free to visit those sites and harass him until he does so. Let’s see what the little whippersnapper came up with!
Just to show that the tripod worked for photographing subjects other than tree crickets and crab spiders on 5 foot tall thistles, here are a couple more example photos from the morning. I’m sure Evan has some nice images too, but I wonder if his back hurts from standing so funny… (My back hurts too, but that’s just from being old!)