200mm f/22 1/100s ISO1600
Anthropology is the study of the human species, and, although many will argue otherwise, much insight is gained from the field of zoology. Animal behavior has many parallels to human behavior. We are, after all, animals. One of the behaviors of animals I find particularly interesting and insightful is the reaction to boredom.
You see, animals who experience lack of stimulation develop self-destructive behaviors. Long term exposure to boredom causes compulsive harmful behavior.
Lack of stimulation, or boredom, is usually suffered by caged or domesticated animals, but is also intermittently observed in wild creatures as well. Animals that no longer need to search for food, hunt, or fend off predators and thieves frequently get bored. Boredom in animals manifests itself most visibly in strange behaviors. Constant biting or licking of the extremities or inanimate objects, punching the ground, banging the head against walls and chronic masturbation are all animal signs of boredom. Wolves and lions are known to chew holes in their legs or tear out patches of fur if boredom is allowed to last. Monkeys and apes have been known to knock themselves unconcious by knocking their heads against the ground.
Bored animals are usually more aggressive as well. When a second animal is introduced to provide stimulation to a bored creature, the newcomer is often met with anger. Sometimes the bored animal will warm up to the new, sometimes not.
In my experience, some of the most self-destructive things I've done, in retrospect, were feeble attempts to stave off boredom. Boredom can breed depression and anger, two emotions that can damage the self if not properly released.
I don't know if depression is felt by animals outside of the human species, but I am pretty convinced that much of our depression comes when we are bored. The old addage 'time flies when you're having fun' is a testament to how boredom weighs heavier on us than enjoyment, and how we can avoid the destructive power of boredom. The secret is not to always be doing something, but to enjoy what you are doing, even when you are doing nothing.
Today this website recieved a facelift and some liposuction. I cut and trimmed and even sculpted the old into a brand new animal. Hopefully the new format will help to give you some insight into my personality, in addition to just displaying some of my works.
If you get really bored, swing by the studio and say hi.
110mm f/8.0 1/200s ISO200
We humans are so fond of thinking we're the "higher" animals that we willingly ignore the emotions of other animals. Some of us find a peace in glimpsing the "other" life of the different creatures that live on this planet.
As long as I can remember I have often preferred the company of animlas outside my species. I have had companionship, loyalty, and cooperation from the most unlikely of animals throughout my life and I will always feel comfortable deep in a forest, high on a mountain, or in the concrete jungle.
Perhaps other animals are "simple", but much calm comes from that which is simple, and I will always hold on to those moments as though they are the source of my being. In many ways they are.
The time I spent making the images I pulled this one from will remind me of the simple feeling I had while making them. These kids encouraged and even taunted me with their games, daring me to play like a, well, kid. I can't be business all the time, so I gladly obliged them in their games.
If you spend enough time with animals, not as pets, but as fellow creatures, they will show you a simple peace that you can carry with you through the most tumultuous of times. Unless you're in the ocean, everything in the ocean will try to eat you. Everything.
300mm f/5.6 1/400s ISO4000
I don't say 'good-bye' or even 'bye'. I don't give a farewell or a godspeed, I walk away with a 'see you later' or a 'take care'. I like to leave with an invitation for future meetings. Today I was forced to say good-bye to a friend.
The animals that live in my house have always been more family then pets, and this little girl was no exception. I feel no shame in admitting that I cried this morning as I buried my dog, and my manhood isn't threatened by admitting that I played 'Candle in the wind' in her memory. Jezebelle was a great companion, and my couch will be a bit more lonely without her.
Here's my first blog post stripped of wit, facts, and humor, and also my first blog post with more than one image. It's hard to be a photographer and not have ten thousand photos of your pets. Pets don't yell at you when you spend hours on end photographing them like the people who live in your house do. I will post only three today, two that show the expressiveness of my late friend, and one that shows her natural talent for modeling.
The magic of photography is endless, but one of it's tricks is the ability to take us to the past, to show us things gone, and sometimes forgotton.
Farewell, Jezebelle. You are missed.
70mm f/8.0 1/125s ISO320
240mm f/8.0 1/400s ISO800
300mm f/22 1/125s ISO100
I made this image in almost total darkness. I held a flashlight in my mouth to illuminate this happy fellow while I focused and composed. It's a miracle I didn't step on him in the first place. I'm glad I noticed this tiny frog, because this image has made it's way into a variety of galleries. Prints can be purchased at my online shop, just click the link at the top of the page.
Frogs and all of their relatives, the newt, salamander, and the toad, have always lived on the fringes of human acceptance. Often associated with witches, and erroneously said to cause warts, frogs are used in various potions and decoctions of practicioners of the black arts. Their croaks are said to herald the coming of death and they can sometimes be witches in disguise.
Truthfully, frogs are commonly used for scientific purposes, not the small tree-frogs like the one pictured, but their larger and greener cousins. Remember your high school science class? The day I dissected a frog for the first time is burned in my memory, not before nor since have I seen so many girls faint or vomit. The medical field, historically, owes much of it's knowledge to the frog. We have dissected them, poisoned them, given them disease and forced them to wear makeup. In the not-so-recent past the frog was the cheaper alternative to the mouse so widely used in laboratories today.
Frogs don't cause warts, warts are a viral infection. We know that now, but the superstition still lingers. The idea that frogs caused warts was a logical assumption, many young boys had warts, and many young boys played with frogs so, frogs must be causing all those warts right? Interestingly enough, frogs were thought to both cause and cure warts at different times. If you had warts you could rub a frog on the wart and then bury it at a crossroads under a full moon and in seven days your warts would be gone. You could also cure warts by tying knots in a string, one knot for every wart, and burying the string. The next person to pick up that string would get your warts and you would lose yours.
That's enough history for one night, I bet you expected something about Easter didn't you? Maybe next year.
Enjoy your weekend.
300mm f/8 1/60s ISO100
For birds, the male is usually more beautiful than the female. Take the peacock for example, the male has bright greens and blues, feathers that extend into a beautiful fan, while the peahen is shades of brown and grey. In the bird world, the males compete for the females attention, and one of the standards she judges them on is appearance. Quite different from the habits of humans.
In general, appearance is pretty low on the list of qualities males cultivate, and humans spend a great deal of time convincing eachother that 'looks aren't everything'. The heart of the truth is that we naturally judge appearance, usually before we start judging other qualities.
I grew up being told 'don't judge a book by it's cover', and I think that's a good way to live, but it never stopped me from judging books by their cover, or people by their looks. We can learn so much about a person by their appearance.
Each day we spend at least a bit of time putting ourselves in a state that we find presentable, and what a person finds presentable speaks volumes about their personality. I always make assumptions based on how a person chooses to look, not just how their genetics shapes them, but how a person dresses, styles their hair, etc. These are insights into what they like and who they think they are. It's natural and there is nothing wrong with evaluating a person on their appearance. Of course, I think you should always be open to changing your opinion on a person, don't just judge them and write them off, evaluate them and let that opinion grow and change as you get to know more about them. But don't ever write off that visual cue that you feel as soon as you look at a person. If your gut tells you that person is attractive or interesting, introduce yourself and expand your social network. If your gut tells you someone is dangerous, approach them with caution. Judge, but never make your judgement final.
When you think you look good, you feel better, and that feeling spills over into your personality. Dress to impress yourself and you will always be impressive.
This week I finally got a free second to set up my permanent domain name
I also had the pleasure of getting voted into the Pentax Photo Gallery
300mm f/5.6 1/400s ISO100
I made this image right outside my studio. It was a bright, warm day. The kind of day that inspires a primal urge to get outside, a difficult urge to satiate when you're like me and spend ten hours a day working inside, so I took a break, went outside and just stood in the sun for a few minutes. Of course, it wasn't long until I started to see other animals enjoying the weather, and it's hard to be three feet from a building stocked with photography gear and NOT take photos.
My break only lasted a short time, but the sun warming my skin felt like an old friend and brought animals out of their winter hiding places. I shared a portion of that sunny day in winter with a myriad of animals who missed their old friend, the sun, just as much as I did.
This image is a common blue jay. Blue jays belong to the same family as Ravens, Crows and similar birds. The family Corvidae are mostly birds who flourish equally in urban areas as well as forests. These birds have been sighted dropping nuts and other protected foods on roads in front of cars, using the cars to open their meal, and a number of other amazing things that utilize people to get what they need.
I have always been fascinated with animals that use tools. Are humans really that different from the rest of the creatures on this planet,
or are we just very good at convincing ourselves that we are.