One of the more dramatic first signs of spring here on the Ranch. The flowering Bird of Paradise. Shot well into twilight this image is a perfect example of ”keep shooting after the sun sets.” The blues and purples of the flower came alive. The textures of the pod. The pearl quality of the flower takes on a metallic look. There is an almost Alien Movie quality at work here. The pod is ful a sweet sticky goo syrup. Alien might be the right word as Strelitzia Nicolai is a native of South Africa a world away from South Florida.
Story telling through Environmental Photojournalism was the subject of last Saturday’s 3/12/11, talk given by Conservation Photographer Carlton Ward Jr. The lecture would differ in that Ward’s usual audience is Politicians and Scientists not fellow photographers. Motivated by his desire to do something in his home state and alarmed at the increased pace of development in Florida, Ward took on the subject of the Florida Cowboy for his book. You could say he had started working on the story at birth as he comes from a family with a long tradition of Ranching.
The Florida Cowboy was the first in the New World. Horses and Cattle (Crackers) descendants of the Ponce De Leon expedition still roam Florida. In one of many outstanding images Ward depicts an old time Cowboy on a cracker horse rounding up cracker cattle. By 2060 much of what is and has been range land will be developed Ward warns. Florida will lose a valuable heritage that is both economically and environmentally important. Much of the cattle in the US are born in Florida.
Ward’s next project is the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a project linking the Everglades to Georgia. I like the man he has big ideas. To highlight this project Ward will hike 1000 miles through Florida averaging 10 miles a day. Complete with a documentary film crew. This Corridor is necessary for wildlife to maintain genetically viable populations. Otherwise they will become weakened and isolated trapped in increasingly smaller pockets of wilderness. Floridians have a chance to do something for their state now to preserve their natural heritage.
Primal Lens is very interested in the 1000 mile trek which will launch at the beginning of 2012. Making your way through the Florida bush will be no easy endeavor. These are not trail miles. Not at all like my own hike on the Appalachian Trail. This is how a black bear would travel the state, crawling through the mud and saw grass. Social Media will play a major roll to be sure. I was amazed at how tools like Google Earth could help create a digital base camp on Facebook for a good friend and long distance hiker Damon Ogle when he soloed the PCT in Washington State last year. Social Media being utilized to connect people to nature is a powerful thing.