“Never Let Age Erase All That You Can See”
Since I can remember, I collected, captured, and contemplated on any critters I could find during my backyard expeditions. A composition book, that was supposed to be used for Wordly Wise vocabulary words, kept track of all my discoveries. If it rained, I had a makeshift shelter of trash bags and a tent rain fly, even though home was only a few houses away. The samples and specimens I brought home to my bedroom menagerie/lab were then examined under my microscope and observed.
Hours upon hours I spent looking for life. This was me daydreaming.
And not much has changed.
I still spend hours, now with my camera, looking for insects or bears or the Milky Way. Waking up at dawn, spending all day on the road hoping to see something I’ve never seen before. Or following my dark sky map to crystal clear starry skies—now all too aware of the difference between a “partly cloudy” versus “mostly cloudy” weather forecast. On work trips, I’m mindful of nearby state parks or dark sky sites to explore.
No one pays me for this; This is pure enjoyment. A 4am road trip to somewhere startling is more rejuvenating than sleeping in on a Sunday.
It makes me feel like I’m the adult I spent years planning for as a child.
I always wanted to be a science writer or wildlife photographer or a scientist in the rainforest (after my dreams of being in the NBA were stunted alongside my height). But after looking back on my life, Ive realized...that I am--all of these things. I've researched in Neotropical rainforests and continue to go on my own expeditions—writing and photographing my findings. So what if watching other animals make their living isn’t how I make my own?
This sentiment is perfectly summed up in a motto I recently read, which struck a chord with me that hasn’t stopped reverberating:
Don't. Quit. Your. Daydream.
And so I try not to. And my photographs are the results.
University of Georgia, 2006