Where You At? A Bioregional Quiz

A few days ago, Jason Kottke posted an item that raised an important enough question — well, twenty of them — that I wanted to repeat it here. The questions stem from a 1981 quiz1Developed by Leonard Charles, Jim Dodge, Lynn Milliman, and Victoria Stockley, originally published in Coevolution Quarterly 32, from winter 1981, asking how well you know your local natural environment. They are:

  1. Trace the water you drink from precipitation to tap.
  2. How many days til the moon is full? (Slack of 2 days allowed.)
  3. What soil series are you standing on?
  4. What was the total rainfall in your area last year (July-June)? (Slack: 1 inch for every 20 inches.)
  5. When was the last time a fire burned in your area?
  6. What were the primary subsistence techniques of the culture that lived in your area before you?
  7. Name 5 edible plants in your region and their season(s) of availability.
  8. From what direction do winter storms generally come in your region?
  9. Where does your garbage go?
  10. How long is the growing season where you live?
  11. On what day of the year are the shadows the shortest where you live?
  12. When do the deer rut in your region, and when are the young born?
  13. Name five grasses in your area. Are any of them native?
  14. Name five resident and five migratory birds in your area.
  15. What is the land use history of where you live?
  16. What primary ecological event/process influenced the land form where you live? (Bonus special: what’s the evidence?)
  17. What species have become extinct in your area?
  18. What are the major plant associations in your region?
  19. From where you’re reading this, point north.
  20. What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom where you live?

I did poorly. (In the words of the authors, “It’s hard to be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all.”) In fact, I did so poorly that I decided to not only follow up on the questions but put my camera where my mouth is.

In answer to the first question, Macon and a good chunk of Middle Georgia get their drinking water from the Ocmulgee River:

Ocmulgee (River) Origin

In fact, this past weekend’s trip to Monticello and Barnesville were merely extensions of the trip to Jackson Lake and Dam, so I could see where the Ocmulgee starts. Next up is to trace the Yellow, Alcovy and South Rivers, which feed Jackson Lake. (See the rest of the photographs from the Jackson area.)

Jackson Dam #1

But I’d ask everyone reading this to ask yourselves the same questions. As Kottke points out, most of the people living here years ago would have known more of the answers than those of us who live in the built environment do. He passes on an idea from Rob Walker:

Pick one of the questions you don’t know the answer to – and make it a point to learn what that answer is. After you’ve mastered that, move on to a new question.

Go!

  • 1
    Developed by Leonard Charles, Jim Dodge, Lynn Milliman, and Victoria Stockley, originally published in Coevolution Quarterly 32, from winter 1981

Two Photography Contents with Results Worth It

Let’s face it: photography contests are often more about promoting the contest or the publisher than the photographer. “Read the fine print before entering” is more than good advice, as little details like reassigned copyright can wind up being big details indeed. With the disclaimer out of the way, here are some results absolutely worth highlighting.

First up, two of my favorites from the 8th Annual International Landscape Photographer of the Year competition:

“Comet NeoWise Setting,” Tanmay Sapkal, Mt. Tamalpais, Marin, CA, USA

Spectacular, from the location to the fog to, of course, the comet. More than right place, right time, it’s just right. Well done.

“Fire,” Marcin Zajac, Yosemite National Park, USA

This one combines beauty with something frightening, a not-so-subtle reminder that the future we face is about more than just wielding a camera.

See the rest of the Landscape Photographer winners here. (Via DPReview.)

Next, let’s look at something less well-known: the UK’s International Garden Photographer of the Year, starting with this:

“The Stardust,” Magdalena Wasiczek, Trzebinia, Poland

Wow. Everything about that shot is just perfect. Congrats to Magdalena Wasiczek.

“Bamford Beauty,” Lee Howdle, Derbyshire, England, UK

Recognize the bridge? (Never mind.) Quintessentially English and beautifully done.

“Seedheads, Re-imagined,” Ingrid Popplewell, UK

This is one of six, called Portfolio shots, by Ingrid Popplewell. Re-imagined, indeed.

“Arrangement for Crete,” Laurie Peek, Rockland County, New York, US

This one’s filed in the abstract category, and something that could be envisioned as a book cover. Nicely done.

See more the the BBC’s roundup, or visit the competition’s website.

Bonus update: DPReview brings you the Travel Photographer of the Year, too.

Bonus update 2: The BBC covers the Underwater Photographer of the Year. (Because there aren’t enough of these contests to go around.)

Beautifully Briefed, November 2021: Four on Photography

BB Nov 2021

Four different, yet valuable, interesting, and informative links to photography items heading into this Thanksgiving weekend.

Architectural Photography Awards

Starting with ArchDaily: The Architectural Photography Awards 2021 Announces its Shortlist. Some great stuff here:

ArchDaily 1
ArchDaily 2
ArchDaily 3
ArchDaily 4
ArchDaily 5

All simple, yet so much more. Well done.

Natural Landscape Photography Awards

Next, the Natural Landscape Photography Awards. Many here to choose from, as well, but a couple of faves:

Nature Award 1
Nature Award 2
Landscape Photography Best of How-to

So, we all ask ourselves, how to you get from the everyday stuff to the best-of-the-best? DPReview has answers, with Erez Marom: On Originality in Landscape Photography.

It has been, and continues to be, a rough time for a nature photographer who makes a living shooting around the world. This kind of time period sometimes makes we artists think about our life missions and convictions, and delve deeper into our beliefs and the way we view our art and what makes it worthwhile. While some people don’t see photography as art, I definitely do, and for that reason I feel that a discussion is needed about what makes photography an art form rather than technical labor.

Some examples:

On Originality 1
On Originality 2

Read the whole essay. Excellent stuff.

Route 66 Photography

Lastly, some art from Dezeen: Hayley Eichenbaum captures the “punchy absurdity” of Route 66 roadside architecture:

Dezeen 1
Dezeen 2

Enjoy all four — and enjoy the turkey weekend! Happy (Photography) Thanksgiving.