Monday, January 24, 2011

Science on Ice

"The test of man's willingness to pull back from the destruction of the Antarctic wilderness is the test also of his willingness to avert destruction globally. If he cannot succeed in Antarctica he has little chance of success elsewhere." - Edwin Mickleburgh

Many of us dream of going to Antarctica. A few of us have had the good fortune of visiting. For Dr. Rodolfo Werner, travel to White Continent is a regular part of life. As a marine scientist, Dr. Werner has spent much of his life studying marine mammals of the Southern Ocean and the Southwest Atlantic, off of Argentina's wild Patagonian coast. These days, he's the scientific advisor for the Pew Environment Group's Antarctic Krill Conservation Project. Much of his time is spent in the political sphere, where he provides scientific support for the case of protecting key areas used by Antarctic wildlife to forage on krill - a shrimp-like crustacean that forms the basis of the Antarctic food chain.  But when not hammering out new protections for Antarctic wildlife, his life is on ice - literally.

During the Antarctic summer, when much of the northern hemisphere is blanketed in snow, Rodolfo guides groups to Antarctica as an expedition leader with National Geographic's Lindblad Expeditions.
Currently at sea on the National Geographic Explorer, Rodolfo's Antarctic voyage can be followed online.  Drop in for your own taste of this icy realm.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunsets of Big Sur

Sunset over the Pacific. Big Sur, California.
Big Sur, California.  For those who know me, you may be aware that the past few months have been a difficult time for me, amongst the hardest points on my life.  But before the recent drama began to unfold in force, the wilds of Big Sur were my frequent refuge of the soul.  This magnificent stretch of coastline, and its adjacent Ventana Wilderness, represents some of the most beautiful and untainted landscape in the continental United States.

Rabbit crosses a fallen redwood
in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Due to its close proximity to Monterey - with some hiking trails as short as a 15 minute car ride from downtown - this natural treasure has been my regular go to spot over the past two years for hiking, river swimming, natural history film and photography, writing, relaxation and reflection.  Luckily, fortune has also provided me with a good number of friends who find equal appreciation and fascination with this special place.  Most recently, I had visits from Rabbit Schaffer and Boca this past October and we took the opportunity to hit some trails, scramble up some river gorges and enjoy fantastic sunsets.

Here's a few photos from October.  I wish I was in Big Sur now.
McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Rabbit crosses the fallen redwood, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Big Sur Sunset
Rabbit, Big Sur. October 2010
Arlo Hemphill, Big Sur. October 2010.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Of Frogs and Photos

Glass frog - Centrolene antioquensis
Photography is one of the most powerful tools for communicating the irreplaceable value of wilderness.   Conservation photographers bring the beauty, majesty and spiritual essence of remote wilderness areas  - as well as their diverse biological inhabitants - back to the everyday world.  Without images such as the few featured here, many in the "modern" world would have no understanding or sense of relationship to the remaining wilderness areas of our planet.  

Endangered Rothschild Giraffe, the only subspecies
with five  horns (two behind the ears!)  - less than 690
individuals survive in the wild, many of them around Giraffe Manor
An emerging talent in this discipline is Robin D. Moore.  Dr. Moore works as a herpetologist - or frog expert - for Conservation International.   His job entails traveling to some of the most far flung corners of the globe to check in on the status of declining amphibian populations.  He takes advantage of these opportunities in the field to record the places, faces and animals he encounters through photography.  And thanks to his great talent in this area, he brings back images so compelling, they tell the story of his important work - with little need for words.

To see more of Robin's work, visit his photography website at and follow him on Facebook at Robin Moore Conservation Photographer.

Blog author Arlo Hemphill and Robin Moore
enjoy a lighter  moment at an iLCP "12 Shots" event
during Wild9 in Merida, Mexico - Nov 2010