Sunday, January 17, 2010

A message to ALL my *Wonderful* friends...

I don't have a sixth sense or a web app to tell me when you are struggling and need to hear it, so I just want to take a minute to tell you a couple of things I've thought...

I think you're amazing! I admire you for what you do and what you dream of, and all you endeavor to do. I value each one of you for different and very specific reasons, and you ARE a valuable asset to this thing we call the human race.

I feel like my mission in life, and nowadays, my career choice, is to find and see the BEAUTY in this world around me...

Know, above all, that YOU ARE Beautiful.

Within the thing that is "you" resides the same beauty that's in a sunrise... a sunset... mesmerizing water... and the most beautiful flower.

...and I take this moment to thank you for all that you are and all that you are to me.

***Note: I was moved to post this more immediately after my previous post than is common for me, and it highlights the heartfelt dedication and contributions of two amazing people, so please DO take an extra moment to read the next post. I promise... it's well worth your time. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Continuing Ansel's Visions...

Arctic Sea Ice Landscape. Image use courtesy of Florian Schulz; ©Florian Schulz.

There are MANY amazing, noteworthy photographers who dedicated themselves to conservation, and many who still do. The appreciation of beauty that creates good photographs quite naturally leads to an increased appreciation of the places that provide that beauty.

I named Ansel (Adams) in the title, because he's one of the more commonly known conservation photographers. But there were many others who had HUGE roles in the development of using photography to help raise awareness and preserve beautiful places.

And, there are a great many of them working tirelessly to continue building on those foundations today... I'd like to introduce you to Florian Schulz and his partner Emil Herrera-Schulz. They are amazing! You'll see what I mean...

An amazing shot Schulz took after waiting 72 hours in a blind! Male Snowy Owl returning to nest with a lemming. Image courtesy of Florian Schulz; ©Florian Schulz.

I've been following their work for a while now (you may have noticed the link under my "Fantastic Links" sidebar). And, those of you who know me well enough to recall how I donate a portion of proceeds to various conservation organizations, will be none too surprised to find out that Florian Schulz is not only a respected member of ILCP (International League of Conservation Photographers), but also one of Blue Earth Alliance's project photographers (just a couple among his many honors).

For many years, this amazing and passionately dedicated photographer has been working to take the idea of the National Park further... much further. Isolated places of preservation were a very good start, there is no arguing that.

But what about migratory species that need more than one protected area to be able to survive? How do we keep the growth of our species from being the end of theirs? Enter the idea of connecting some of these preserved areas... Ladies and gents, I present to you, the work of Florian Schulz and a concept called "Conservation Corridors." A quote from Visions of the Wild sums it up well:

As part of his Freedom to Roam project Schulz has dedicated years of his life to documenting the drama and beauty of North America’s most critical wildlife corridor: “Yellowstone to Yukon.” Sponsored by Braided River, his first book —Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam (2005)—received the Independent Book Publisher Award:“ Outstanding Books of the Year,” singled out as “Most Likely to Save the Planet.”

Florian Schulz doing some relaxing shooting... and some not-so-relaxing shooting (those are swarms of mosquitoes!)

And, you've heard the saying, "Behind every good man is a good woman." I don't know if that's always true or not, but in their case it certainly is. I've seen time and again how Emil's dedicated efforts have enabled and enhanced the almost all-consuming work that Florian pursues. Again, I'll use a quote from Visions of the Wild, as explains her best:

Leading a quite international lifestyle Emil
has become fluent in English and German. She can be a social butterfly in the city and sit silently for hours in a blind to wait for wildlife. Over the years Emil has become a real multi-tasker-do-it-all. From assisting in the field, to editing in the office, meetings at conferences and the production of sound and HD video.

Truly, the amazing things they're able to achieve are largely due to their dedicated teamwork. I have developed a great deal of respect for both of them. Oh... and get this... they're really nice people too! ;) Go figure.

This video clip is a trailer that was used in the last presidential election to fight arctic oil drilling.

The photgrapher in me LOVES this trailer-- so well done. The way they've combined video with still footage really makes the viewer feel like YOU were the one there... in this breath-taking place seeing something few humans EVER see... and like You took the pictures. ;)

I promise, if you watch this you will, at the very minimum, have gotten to see rare moments that you would have to spend MONTHS in the wilderness, waaaaaaay "off the grid" to be able to see.

You'll at least get that... but really, much much more. This is very WORTH a few minutes of your life-- be sure to watch it all the way through or you'll miss the two best parts. ;)

Freedom to Roam from Florian Schulz on Vimeo.

THANK YOU, Florian and Emil, for caring so much about the beauty in our world to GIVE SO MUCH of yourselves to helping others be able to see & care about that beauty.

Right or Wrong-- a thought for the New Year.

There are people who are always looking for (and sometimes discussing) the bad in other people... even in the human race at large. "What's wrong with ____ is ______..."

And there are people who are always seeing the good in everyone, even sometimes when it might seem undeserved.

I know this is obvious... It's important to surround yourself with the latter. It is such a rewarding feeling to be around people who always see your good qualities. Yet, I've sometimes forgotten it. And when I did, I found myself "set up for failure." No matter how hard you try to be your best & show someone your best "you," it will never work if they're looking for what's wrong with you.

I, like most people, ;) am just an imperfect human. If someone's looking for my faults, they WILL find them. So rather than try to play the "hide your faults" game from someone who looks for them, why not just choose to be around those looking for what's RIGHT about you? Soooo much happier!

And yet... ironically, I ALSO had to remind myself yet again, to BE the one looking for good!! Sheesh, really?? That perfectionistic side of me seems constantly to need reminded of when to back down. ;)

Simple formula... Want to see the good in those around you and in humanity? Look for it.

So, my new post-it reminder quote near my computer reads:

"If you're looking for things wrong with people, you'll find them! Everywhere!!

So... don't."

New Year's Eve Blue Moon