Category Archives: News

Polar Bears and Critical Habitat Designation

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus), Alaska.

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) on a barrier island of the coast of arctic Alaska. Please click the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Recently, a federal judge in Alaska, handed the US Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS)  some homework, when he decided that the agency had been a little overzealous in their designation of critical habitat for the polar bear. In 2010, the Obama administration set aside nearly 190 000 square miles of onshore and off-shore critical habitat for the polar bear. That’s an awful lot of land (larger than the state of California). But polar bears, it seems, are an awful lot of bear.

Last month a federal judge ruled that it’s apparently ‘too much’ land. Which is in itself noteworthy, as the judge isn’t really there to decide what’s too much and what isn’t too much land for a polar bear. The judge is supposed to simply review the decision and see whether it follows the law.

The judge also said the F&WS decision had some “procedural deficiencies”; much better. This means, they hadn’t quite followed the law. So what was one of those deficiencies? How about this one?  Section 1533(i) of the Endangered Species Act Continue reading

BBC – Wildlife Photography and full disclosure

Coyote pup sitting beside yellow daisies, Jasper National Park, Canada.

Coyote pup sitting beside yellow daisies, Jasper National Park, Canada. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.


Hey Folks,

Here’s an interesting article from the UK Telegraph; the first paragraph pretty much sums things up: “The BBC is accused of routinely faking footage in wildlife documentaries, by using studio sets, sound effects and tame animals to portray creatures in the wild.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking: yes, indeed, the UK Telegraph commenting on any media source of ‘faking’ anything is pretty sad. Let’s disregard tabloid integrity for a moment and consider what this is really about (and what’s WAY more fun); wildlife photography.

Wildlife photography does not include zoo and game farm animals; shooting captive subjects, given that some folks are perpetually going to choose to do this, should always be labelled as such, even if only via context (see Darwin Wiggett’s bear photo for an example; and notice that he captioned it regardless).

I have yet to hear anyone explain how photographing a bear in a cage is wildlife anything. The root of the word ‘wild’ is free-willed, not Free Willy. I understand, for certain, there are degrees of what that might mean. Is a zebra migrating hundreds of miles across the plains in Africa before being hemmed in by a fence really free willed? *

The fact that there are indeed myriad shades of gray, woven through every possible facet of our world, does not make charcoal black any less black. We might differ on where 18% gray is, but we know what black is.

Continue reading

Photographs are making us richer

Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska.

View up Arrigetch Creek toward the Arrigetch Peaks, Xanadu, Ariel and Caliban, from left to right. A popular rock climbing and backpacking destination, the Arrigecth Peaks lie in the heart of Alaska's Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, right near the Continental Divide. Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

You perhaps saw this recent story in the news about our ‘drowning in a sea of images’. It’s an interesting view, and, I believe, a very valid point. Any kind of inundation makes staying afloat a difficult task. And sometimes it’s impossible.

A photographer and artist I admire, Chase Jarvis, recently posted a response to this on his blog, about how we’re not drowning, but getting richer with this unabating torrent of images. That’s kind of a weird take on it. What kind of flood can we swim through?

Chase argues “shouldn’t it be said that we’re not drowning in photography at all, that we’re perhaps getting metaphorically rich off more and more of these veins of gold?”

“veins of gold”? Gold has value because it’s rare. And because it’s durable. If gold were produced quite as readily as iphone “pics” seem to be, and had a similar lifespan of any digital file, it wouldn’t cost eighteen hundred dollars an ounce right now. I’d suggest a better chemical analogy might be carbon dioxide. CO2 seems to be pretty prevalent right now, becoming ever more so, and, contrary to what the s(k)eptics tell ya, it’s not enriching our world. Continue reading

Mount Saint Elias Photo

Mt. Saint Elias photo, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Mount Saint Elias, 18 008' high, stands tall in the evening light over an unnamed glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska - aerial photo. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Well, just back from 2 weeks to photographing brown bears in Katmai National Park, and I’m off again already; I’ll be gone for some time on this trip, 4 weeks down along the coastline of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, where I will meet up with Erin and Hig, of Ground Truth Trekking. They’re spending 2 months in the area,  finding out

“what would it be like to live on ice? In the fall of 2011 we will set out to spend two months living on the shifting, melting surface of North America’s largest glacier, along with our two young children.

Trekking between a series of camps on the Malaspina Glacier, on Alaska’s remote and harsh Lost Coast, we will explore this dramatic and wild landscape, weather the fall storms, and document climate change in action.”

Pretty cool stuff. Continue reading

Carl on Google Plus

Hiking in snow, Mt Jarvis, Wrangell - St. Elias, Alaska.

Backpacker hiking in snow near Mt Jarvis, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I’ve signed up an account with Google Plus, and would like to invite all of you Google Plus users to ad me to your groups and lists there. I’ve only just started my account there, but it looks like a great network. There are some fantastic photographers on there, among some of my favorites; Guy Tal, Ron Niebrugge, Michael Gordon, Gary Crabbe Dan Mitchell, Jim Goldstein and a host of others; some really great images on there, so if you haven’t got an account yet, it might be worth checking it out, if for no other reason than to follow the work of folks like this.

My Google Plus page is here.



PS: Oh, and the photo above really has nothing to do with Google Plus; it’s from a hike I did last fall up to Mt Jarvis, and just happens to be a shot i like a lot. Of me, of course!

See it to believe it?

Kuskulana Glacier, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Wintertime on the Kuskulana Glacier. Abstract photo of ice patterns and colors on the glacier, Wrangell Mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

It’s interesting to think about how technology and cultural constructs shape what we think and feel. Today we live in a somewhat bizarre world, where digital mediums both record and present way too much of our lives; we can watch Australia’s then Prime Ministerial candidate Kevin Rudd (he went on to win the election) pick something from his ear and eat it during gov’t Question Time, we watch a person rush over and catch a baby falling off an escalator, etc, etc. So much of our lives is recorded and witnessed again, from the mundane to the exciting, the thrilling to the disheartening, our greatest moments and our worst. Whether recorded intentionally or unintentionally, today we see it almost all on the big screen.

In some ways, the power of visual imagery has only increased, it appears, with the inundation of imagery that digital technology has yielded. Some folks might suggest that this flood of images waters down its potency, but it appears to only strengthen with increased volume. The more imagery we’re subjected to, the stronger, apparently, their hold on us. Continue reading

GoDaddy Hosting Service

Hey Folks,

Just spreading the word here: You’re all familiar with GoDaddy hosting service. The CEO, Bob Parsons has posted a video of himself on vacation to Zimbabwe, where he, gets this … shoots a bull elephant. The video is presented here.

The guise that this is “saving people’s crops” is simply ridiculous; I suppose next he’ll save by handing out free GoDaddy caps to villagers he not only fed, but clothed, the villagers.

If you host your site with GD, I hope you’ll take steps to move it elsewhere. I certainly would. There’s no way I’d want any of my money going to fund this idiot’s business.

Photographer Jim Goldstein has a blog on this topic, as well; and full props to him for getting the word out there on a subject like this. HIs blog is here.



Click This; April 2011

Brown bear backlit at dawn, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

A coastal brown bear, Ursus arctos, walks along Brooks River shoreline at dawn, backlit, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.


Hey Folks

Next up in this series of news of the month pieces.

This month, I haven’t been spending as much time in the woods, and even less reading the news. Mostly, I’ve been grating sandpaper over my eyeballs … more commonly called “working on website updates”. I need to take about a  year off, and learn how to do this properly, then start over from scratch and rebuild everything (yeah, that’s gunna happen).

Below I’ve compiled various bits from around the web that held my failing attention long enough to actually read through the piece.  Feel free to add your own stuff of note, I’d love to see some things I’ve missed.

In a completely random order: Continue reading