Monday, April 23, 2012

Deer Fragments

After a too-hot, too-early start, spring is now crawling along at its normal pace. The landscape is slowly turning green, and in a few weeks, traces of last year's animal deaths may be hidden forever. A walk along the Songbird Trail revealed fern fiddleheads just starting to poke through the earth, as well as trailing arbutus in bloom. Nestled in the lichens, mosses, and pine needles were scattered deer bones: stained by the soil, gnawed by rodents, fragmented by the elements.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Just a Few Portraits

Steph and I just returned home from a (very) brief trip to Traverse City, and while there, we had time to visit the Boardman River Nature Center, once again. As I explained in an entry from last March, it's a truly awesome nature center (with great trails, too!), and definitely worth visiting if you're ever in the Traverse City area. In the year since our last visit, things had been rearranged a bit, but most notable was the recently-finished, absolutely beautiful mural depicting Michigan's native species and their habitat, by the amazing artist Lori Taylor.

I took a couple of portraits at the nature center, using a my macro lens, and experimenting with negative space.

 As I mentioned in last year's entry about the Boardman River Nature Center, the taxidermy is top-notch, and is the main educational focus of the center. There are only two tanks that contain live animals (green frog[s] and a red-eared slider) – which is rare for a nature center, but the taxidermy, skeletons, and skins provide much more information than any caged, living animal could. Most of the mounts are accompanied by a skin; the nature center is even thorough enough to provide two gray fox pelts: one a summer coat, and the other a winter coat. 

Taxidermy, pelts, and skulls are extremely valuable tools for nature education – and the Boardman River Nature Center uses them to their fullest potential. If you're ever in Traverse City or nearby, make a visit!