To examine the white bud pads of the western leatherwood plant, Iowa State professor of horticulture William Graves once wrote, is “almost like staring into a starry night sky.” It’s a rare celestial vision, though. The winter-blooming shrub’s entire global range is confined to six counties in the Bay Area, including the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve in the East Bay Hills.
March 30, 2018 (In print on cover of April-June 2018 magazine and on homepage of website. Text and photographs)
It was a stormy March afternoon, but the rain had temporarily let up. Michael Uhler knelt down next to a small plant and gently pulled the foliage back to show off several silky yellow flowers, “It just started blooming this week.” The unusual blooms, with petals curling back like bird feathers, belonged to a rare and endangered plant called Tuolumne fawn lily.
October, 2018 (In print, feature story in October-December 2018 magazine. Text and photographs)
Faster-than-average warming is bringing changes to Richmond’s ecosystems. Temperatures and sea levels are rising. Fog patterns are shifting. Richmond’s plants and animals are facing a future of altered habitats.
January, 2019 (Online. Text, videos and photographs)
We waded through murky bay waters and patches of deep mud under the light of the moon and our headlamps. Cool water sloshed over the tops of our boots and covered our toes. We moved slowly and carefully across the slick bottom of the bay. The tide was going out, nearing its lowest mark, and the oyster reef balls had begun to appear as the receding waters exposed them.
December, 2018 (Online. Text, video and photographs)
For Norman Hantzsche, everything is about water. He spends his free time swimming in open water. At work, he endeavors to make dirty water clean. Most days, he is no more than a few steps from the San Francisco Bay. He both lives and works at Richmond’s shoreline. On at least one occasion he has found himself swimming home from work.
December, 2018 (Online. Text and photographs)
When I was dreaming up the idea for the Growing Wild blog, I imagined that it would be an opportunity to explore nature here in the city. But I also imagined (and hoped), that it would be an opportunity to get to know a few of the people responsible for these spaces; both the ones that create them and the ones who are inspired by them. Last week, when I went to photograph the Larner Seeds Demonstration garden in Bolinas the latter opportunity presented itself. I wanted to visit the garden, ever since I read Gardening With a Wild Heart, by Judith Larner Lowry—who is also the seed shop and garden owner. The book captivated me. Judith's descriptions, and her love for CA native plants was contagious.
2014 (Online. Text and photographs)
The Palomarin Field Station, tucked into a wooded area on the southern tip of Point Reyes National Seashore, sits on an international biodiversity hotspot. The San Francisco Bay, which is the largest estuary on the west coast, is a critical stopover point for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway, which extends from Alaska and Patagonia.
2015 (Online. Text and photographs)
Easels, paint, colored pencils, and drawings cover every surface of Keith Hanson's small wildlife studio in Marin County, California. A spotting scope is aimed out the front window at a Red Elderberry tree frequented by visiting birds. Birds flitted in and out of the courtyard. The studio, which opened in 1991, is located on the Point Reyes Peninsula, between the Pacific Ocean and the Bolinas Lagoon, which is a major thoroughfare for migrating birds. Hanson, who first took up drawing while he was still in high school, focuses on the accurate portrayal of birds. His perfect attention to detail combined with deep knowledge of his subjects informs his work.
2015 (Online. Text and photographs)
Growing Wild is a photography project about urban nature that exists within the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area. As an increasing percentage of the global population becomes urbanized, maintaining our vital connection with nature has become increasingly difficult. The project is a “treasure hunt” of sorts, about seeking out wild places in the city and photographing them as if they were part of a true wilderness.
The photographs selected for this exhibit highlight several of California’s native plant species. California was famous among early explorers for having spectacular wildflower displays. However, today most California gardens use plants typical of traditional English gardens and California native species are not widely available in the nursery trade. The average Californian could probably not name more than a handful of local native species. And yet, these species are incredibly important, both because they sustain wildlife and because they connect us to our wild spaces.
(Five-person Exhibition, 2016, Cornell College Peter Paul Luce Gallery)
(Solo Exhibition, 2016, Foster City Community Center)
Pence Gallery Statement: The goals of the exhibition are to show creative work that explores the intersection between art and science; to foster communication between the arts and sciences; and to spark new ways of viewing the world and ourselves. creative work that transcends pure scientific illustration to explore the conceptual realm where art and science both reside is strongly encouraged.
(Group Exhibition, 2016, my photograph “Keller Path” was selected)
Down By The Bay is a series of photographs taken at or within a few hundred yards of the San Francisco Bay. This small band of space at the water’s edge is removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet it is filled with fascinating life and activity.
“As an artist, quiet observer and lifelong resident of the Bay Area, I aim to provide Bay Area residents and visitors with a unique perspective of this fascinating location. Colors, textures, and form are all emphasized. The series relies on subtle details, such as colors and weather patterns, rather than major landmarks to create a sense of place. It is the hope that this will enable the viewer to notice subtleties that may ordinarily be overlooked.”
(Solo Exhibition, 2012, CuriOdyssey Museum North Gallery)