New Cards!

Austin making cards
The labor-intensive handmade card process.

The past few months I’ve been perfecting the art of the photograph card. How thick should the card stock be? Where do I order supplies? How do I cut out a hole for the photo? Does the spacing need another eighth of an inch? My family and friends gave helpful suggestions to improve the design from the first not-so-perfected cards to the final product.

After much ado, I finally made the ideal card.

Half Dome Equinox photo featured on the perfect card.
The perfect card.

In the convenient form of a blank note card, these fine art photograph cards are handmade and the highest quality—an impressive medium to send your own thoughts or congratulations to your friends, loved ones, or anyone who loves the outdoors. Now you can send a physical copy of your favorite photographs, on premium card stock, with your handwritten message.

Card details:

• Photographs are printed on high quality 4 x 6 inch glossy photo paper.

• Cards measure 5 x 7 inches.

• Off-white, premium, smooth card stock cards are blank inside for your personalized message.

• The card back includes the photograph subject and location handwritten by Austin for a personalized touch.

• Matching envelopes are included. Cards need only one stamp to mail.

• Cards are protected in a rigid envelope for mailing. I’m proud to ship with environmentally responsible plastic-free packaging.

The back of each card includes a handwritten title and location.

How to order cards:

Choose from my listings on Etsy.com.

Sets of 4
  • National Parks – beautiful landscapes from the iconic Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mt. Rainier, and Acadia National Parks.
  • Spring – detailed and bright photographs symbolizing the season of spring. Including flowers, butterflies, and ducklings.
  • Sea Birds – portraits of birds in action, including puffins, a guillemot with its catch, and the black oystercatcher in its rocky beach habitat.
  • Wildlife – dramatic shots of bighorn sheep, Kaibab mule deer, a great horned owl, and a snowy egret.
Single Cards
  • Green Heron – A stunning green heron in Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts.
  • Slot Canyon – Spooky Slot Canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.
  • Looking through the Flowers – A sparrow sits in a bed of black-eyed susans in the College of the Atlantic garden in Maine.
OR

Choose your own cards and submit a custom order of a single or set of four. On Etsy.com, I offer custom orders, all you have to do is mix and match! You can choose from the photographs already available or visit my gallery and specify your chosen cards in the online order comments or through the custom order button on Etsy. I’ll print and assemble your favorite photographs on demand for your custom card!

Thinking bigger?

Want a photo a bit larger than 4 x 6? I sell prints in common framing sizes like 8 x 10 and enlargements. Fill out the form below with the photograph you have in mind and I’ll respond with pricing information.

Photos and Words from the Great West

If you’ve followed my Facebook page recently, you may have noticed new photos from Utah and Arizona. This fall, I took my usual Maine-based classroom into the Great West.

Starting in September, I spent two months traveling through Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona studying ecology, public lands, and people’s senses of place. With a small group of students from College of the Atlantic, we visited some of the most spectacular places in the country. But we also spoke to some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. While I took many pictures along the way, I also took pages and pages of notes. With these notes I’m writing a book, or a collection of essays, about conservation in the American West.

Now West, What’s Next?

Coming soon: the book, now titled “Why Conservation Matters: Exploring Human Ecology in the American West” will be completed in January 2018. Stay tuned for more photographs and special excerpts on this site, my Facebook page, and on Flickr.

An Ode to Gulls

Before I arrived on Great Duck Island, a few people asked me “why on earth would you want to study sea gulls? There are so many of them. They’re like rats.”

I usually answered with a version of “…it is important to study every aspect of an ecological community. Gulls influence many other species…” But such a vague, abstract answer always fell on deaf ears.

People’s distaste for gulls had me thinking: how can ordinary people begin care about gulls; how can people come to feel the same love for this bird that comes naturally to field researchers who witness the majesty, grace, and care these bird exhibit daily?

juvenile black-backed gull
A juvenile greater black-backed gull.

After much thought, the answer came to me in three parts.

1. Poems.

2. Pictures.

3. Realizing that gulls are more human than you might think.

An Ode to Gulls

Flying Rats

Why do psychologists study people?

There are so many.

They are like rats.

 

Why do we study gulls?

They are so varied.

They are like people.

Immature gull.

Eyes Bigger than Your Stomach

My grandmother has a saying,

“Your eyes were bigger than your stomach.”

It is reserved for the occasion

When you couldn’t finish all

Of a hefting meal where you took too much meatloaf.

 

I’ve seen herring gull chicks

With eyes bigger than themselves.

Trying to swallow whole fish:

Head, tail, bones, scales,

A hefting meal larger than the weeks-old ball of down.

herring gull chick
A young herring gull chick sitting on its haunches (probably after a large meal).
Migration

Some people live

In the same town their entire life.

 

Other people can’t stay in the same town

For more than a few years.

 

Some gulls live

In the same state, from winter to summer.

Frequenting local sand bars,

Exploring the inland scene,

And always flying back to the island to nest each summer.

 

Other gulls live

In many states, from winter to summer.

Frequent fliers visiting distant shores,

Exploring more tropical lands and seas,

And always flying back to the island to nest each summer.

Sparing herring gull.
A herring gull soars over the colony.
Parentage

Like a human child,

Young gulls mature in stages.

 

Baby chicks stay near the nest,

Adolescent chicks wander,

Teenage chicks explore—

Until the island’s berms give way to a boundless world,

As their young wings form their first flights.

 

But like a human child,

Young gulls always know where to beg for food.

Adult and chick
A herring gull parent with its chick.
Carl the Gull

Villages band together,

For safety.

 

Gulls nest together,

For safety.

When a predator nears the colony,

You hear it before you see it.

But you don’t hear the eagle,

You hear the sound of hundreds of birds,

That always have each others’ backs.

Gulls chasing eagle.
Herring gulls chasing a bald eagle away from the colony.
Larus Lessons

People can learn from gulls.

Learn to see themselves in others,

Learn to appreciate beauty in the usual,

Learn to stand up for themselves and each other.

herring gull bellowing
This herring gull bellows a warning.
More than Gulls

I was lucky to study gulls on Great Duck Island, but that’s not all I did.

Learn more about the island’s history, see how the landscape changed over the summer, and find photos of songbirds, puffins, and wildflowers from the island off the coast.

Time-Lapse Video of Great Duck Island

Though I primarily studied songbirds and seabirds as a field researcher on Great Duck Island, I also documented light shifting over the island landscape. In a series of time-lapse videos, each captured by taking hundreds of photos over the course of a few hours, the remote Maine island comes to life. Watch the high definition video below or on Youtube.

 

 

See more of my photographs from Great Duck Island, from puffins to plants, by following this link. 

The Summer Visitors of Great Duck Island

A Summer Sojourn

On Great Duck Island, the field researchers from College of the Atlantic are just temporary summer visitors. But they are not the only ones. Almost all of the birds who rely on the small protected island in the Gulf of Maine for breeding, nesting, and raising young are only summer visitors themselves.

June 2017. The end of my second year at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. After I wrote my human ecology essay and finished spring term, I hopped on the M/V Osprey and rode out to Great Duck Island—a haven for nesting seabirds. The island is about 10 miles southeast of Mount Desert Island, Maine, where College of the Atlantic and Acadia National Park are located.

Herring gulls on Great Duck Island
Many herring gulls nest on the rocky berm of Great Duck Island. Their nests are marked with orange flags by College of the Atlantic researchers at the beginning of the season.

The professor of ecology at College of the Atlantic, John Anderson, manages the college’s Alice Eno Research Field Station on Great Duck Island. The 1890 Coast Guard light keeper’s residence houses the research station.

Lighthouse Staircase
The iron spiral staircase on the inside of the brick lighthouse on Great Duck Island.

The Coast Guard automated the lighthouse in 1986, making the lighthouse keeper’s job unnecessary. The government then sold light stations across the country like the one on Great Duck to other government agencies or colleges and universities. In 1997, College of the Atlantic acquired the light station and residence to establish the Alice Eno Research Station. Today, College of the Atlantic owns a few acres on Great Duck Island while the Nature Conservancy owns almost all of the remainder.

Herring gull and chick
A herring gull banded by College of the Atlantic and its chick.

Continue reading “The Summer Visitors of Great Duck Island”

After Yellowstone, In Search of Nature

Every student at College of the Atlantic earns a degree in human ecology. The following piece is my final human ecology essay, a place where each College of the Atlantic senior reflects on what they learned during their schooling and presents a snapshot of their view of “human ecology.”

As long as I can remember I have loved nature. My mother recalls three-year-old Austin rescuing earthworms from puddles after rainstorms and running around the house turning off lights to “save the penguins.” Before I entered elementary school, television shows featuring lion prides and herds of giraffe made me dream of becoming a world-traveling wildlife photographer. As a teenager, I led my parents on a grand summer vacation visiting national parks in Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, California, and Oregon. I’ll always remember how I felt exploring Yellowstone National Park for the first time—like every footstep deserved to be placed with a gentleness and respect for hallowed ground.

While visiting Yellowstone, I was entranced with the natural and human history of the region. Firsthand experience watching bison swim with their heads barely bobbing above rushing rivers, seeing coyote puppies play with their mother in a sheltered glade, and observing wolves’ tracking a scent and howling through the twilight inspired a sense of natural wonder. The park, steeped in the legacy of American conservation, served as an ideal place to spark my imagination.

At Yellowstone, I felt the environmental vigor of my childhood again. I felt sensations that spurred the first champions of the conservation movement. This is a movement that has made great strides since the creation of Yellowstone, but given the current climate—one where humankind’s impact on Earth’s environment is more pronounced than at any previous time—there has never been a more opportune time to take bearings and consider if conservation requires a new direction forward. I wonder if Americans struggle to separate modern conservation from the preservation values of the 19th and early 20th century, a period when many beloved parks were protected. In an era of climate change, we need a new wave of environmental thinking because our environmental dilemmas require national leadership and international cooperation—not national isolation and international division. To reach a new plateau in conservation, we need a national effort to assess how our current relationship with nature falls short and what new routes we need to take.

Continue reading “After Yellowstone, In Search of Nature”

Leaves: A Fall Project

red maple
Red maple (Acer rubrum).

Of the many enchanting parts of plants, leaves may be the most wonderful. They add color, form, and oxygen to our world. The sheer amount of variation in leaves is mind-boggling, especially when you consider that most true leaves have one basic function: photosynthesis. This is a function so critical to life on this planet that you would assume plants would not want to mess around. But they do. The result is an almost incomprehensibly wide variety of shapes, sizes, arrangements, margins, venation patterns, pubescence, and almost any other characteristic you could imagine.

red oak
Red oak (Quercus rubra).

This fall I undertook a project to highlight my favorite part of autumn: the amazing variation in leaves. This was my final project for a class at College of the Atlantic that focused on the taxonomy and identification of woody plants.

Pressed leaves in Lightroom
After photographing 250 individual leaves, I had a plethora to choose from for the final video. Shown here: Quercus rubra (red oak, top), Fagus grandifolia (American beech, middle right), Acer pensylvanicum (stripped maple, bottom).

When I began this project I did not have a great idea of how the final product would look. While I had a stop-motion style video in mind after only a few weeks into the term, how I would carry out this video remained unknown. So during the fall I gathered and pressed any leaf that caught my fancy. This lead to a shortage of some types of leaves and an abundance of others, but overall I was happy with my collection through late October, when I individually photographed over 200 pressed leaves.

Using a light board to photograph leaves.
Using a light board to photograph leaves (not the final setup).

The final video I made is not a complete collection of these photographs, but merely a short clip meant to feature some of the diversity in leaf form. If you enjoyed the video, which draws from only six taxonomic families (Acer, Betula, Fagus, Populus, Quercus), I made a special gallery to showcase the most interesting leaves of all kinds that I photographed this fall, including the purple compound leaves of Fraxinus americana, white ash.

Video

Browse more fall pressed leaf photographs here.