How to Beat the Shade: 5 Tips to Take Sharp Photos in Forests

You’re on a trip of a lifetime to your favorite forested national park. The family came with you, and you are all enjoying the sights, fresh air, and exercise. But then you get back to the computer for the first time since that trip. All your photos from deep in the forest are blurry. Your … Continue reading How to Beat the Shade: 5 Tips to Take Sharp Photos in Forests

Dictionaries and Eternal Nuances of Pluralization: Octopus

In Nerdfighteria, a virtual land where nerds that have taken a liking to John and Hank Green's vlog community, people refer to angry, YouTube comments as angry--squids? Octopuses? Octopi? Am I remembering this right? The important factor to keep in mind is that even if I go back to earlier vlogs when John addressed trolls … Continue reading Dictionaries and Eternal Nuances of Pluralization: Octopus

Lind Hollow Trail by Winter

Ordinarily, winter in northwest Arkansas is a time of sleet, ice, and bitter wind. We get lots of bitter wind and wet air that sinks deeper into your skin than the dry, snowy cold in the West where I grew up. This year, we have had only a few nights below freezing and plenty more … Continue reading Lind Hollow Trail by Winter

Book Reflection: On Writing Well by William Zinsser

It was great; then it wasn't. I have mixed feelings about On Writing Well by William Zinsser. I love the first 94 pages, but the rest far less so. That's a 28 percent good book, and that makes my final three-star ratings more than generous. What Zinsser writes in the first 94 pages caters to … Continue reading Book Reflection: On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Film Reflection: Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown by BBC Earth

One of BBC Earth's TV miniseries, Africa features the staples of intensive camera work and David Attenborough. The six-episode series released in 2013 travels between the Kalahari Desert, eastern savanna, Congo rainforest, southern Cape, Sahara, and a thematic episode focused on conservation and Africa's future. Africa is full of jungle and safari stereotypes, but this … Continue reading Film Reflection: Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown by BBC Earth

Twelve Sketches and Tutorials From 2016

Reading, drawing, painting, photographing, writing, exercising, gaming--which of these past times do I do? When? How often? How long? It's always a tough decision, but sometimes I get drawing and painting in, and for the sake of visual cataloging, here are twelve examples showing where I'm at skill-wise at the end of 2016. Background note: … Continue reading Twelve Sketches and Tutorials From 2016

Film Reflection: Life on Location by BBC Earth

“How do they film that?” I always ask. “How do they coordinate? What are they not showing me?” That is how I watch natural history documentaries in between the “ah! That's so cool!” and “hmm, interesting. I should look that up.” Then one day on Netflix I saw BBC Earth's 2009 Life: On Location, where … Continue reading Film Reflection: Life on Location by BBC Earth

Book Reflection: The Practical Naturalist by Chris Packham

Your favorite civilian natural science book comes with prerequisites: vivid photos from altocumulus clouds to decomposition fungi, key hiding spots of small insects and charismatic critters, and nontechnical but curiosity-provoking descriptions of ecological concepts--all of which fill The Practical Naturalist. Edited by Chris Packham and written by a team of scientists, this book is detailed … Continue reading Book Reflection: The Practical Naturalist by Chris Packham

Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part II: Scientist)

There's a phenomenon science students experience. Perhaps there's an inspirational, rare term assigned to it though I do not know what that would be. The landscape is no longer a cohesive environment of greenery and blotchy earth colors punctured by charismatic creatures and dramatic waterfalls. It...becomes millions of things that non-sciency friends rare their eyebrows … Continue reading Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part II: Scientist)

Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part I: Civilian)

Lake Fort Smith is one of the more popular hiking and boating destinations in my area. There the Ozark Highlands Trail, a 218 mile chain of interconnected trails and collectively the second longest in the state (the Ouachita Trail being the longest at 223 miles). They must be growing, because before I checked I could … Continue reading Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part I: Civilian)