Well, it’s been a crazy few months – Nate finished his dissertation and got his Ph.D. from the University of Miami earlier this month, and I’m just a couple of weeks away from getting my Ph.D. from UCLA. We successfully funded our upcoming book, The Symbol: Wall Lizards of the Pityusic Archipelago through Kickstarter, and we’re less than a month away from our 1-month trip to Ibiza and Formentera to capture photos for the book!
With all of this stuff going on, we haven’t been producing as much new video content as we would like. But when our friend Clay Bolt asked us if we’d like to produce a short video for his new organization, Backyard Naturalists, we had to make room in our busy schedules for it! Clay has already gathered some serious photographic talent all over the world to participate in Meet Your Neighbours, a photographic endeavor in which photographers capture everyday organisms in their area on a simple white background (you can see a few of my own Meet Your Neighbours images, captured around LA, here). These distinctive images grab your attention and focus your eyes on the intricate – and often beautiful – details of even the most seemingly mundane creatures.
Backyard Naturalists takes a similar approach, focusing on local wildlife (including traditionally “uncharismatic” organisms like arthropods and plants) to connect kids with nature. Backyard Naturalists workshops use photography (including the Meet Your Neighbours technique) and other activities to get kids excited about the nature that’s all around them. To introduce Backyard Naturalists to the world, we wanted to show kids (and their parents) that anyone can be a naturalist. And we wanted to portray the amazing diversity of wildlife that you can find near your home, wherever you may live. See what you think!
As usual, our talented friend Dan Warren, an evolutionary biologist at UT Austin, composed and performed the music that you’ll hear in the film.
Of course, Nate and I had a great time shooting this film. We don’t get a lot of opportunities to work together in person, since we live on opposite sides of the country! Here are a few photos we took while we were working on this video.