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That Civilized Veneer

Life as it is, photography

I am a nature photographer. And I have observed myself with insects when I go out. Somewhere near the beginning of my arrival “in the wild” I am hyper aware of anything crawling or landing on me or mosquitoes or bees nearby. But 20to 30 minutes later, i could care less. I am bigger than them and they pose no real risk to me – I may itch later, but for now I can’t be bothered.

I believe this is a veneer of the modern, sterile-seeming world I like to believe I am a part of when I am working my day job in a controlled environment like my home or my office. It takes a bit of effort to throw that veneer off and be an animal in the woods – but I do it – and I love it.

But it rolls back so quickly. The morning after spending a day in the swamps shooting, while driving to the office, I see antennae pop out from behind my driver’s-side visor. Interesting…. Then there are more antennas – lots more. And do I handle it like the nature photographer that I am? No, I handle it like a city boy who is driving to work and is strapped into his chair with unknown creepy-crawlies emerging inches from his face.

Which is to say that I nearly wrecked, stopping in the middle of the street and bailing from my car.



It turns out to be a mess of young caterpillars – I don’t know what sort they were. I recovered and moved them out of my car – and after finding more near my car, I took it for a carwash. I didn’t get any photos, even though my camera was in the car with me – that should tell you how rattled I am.

So tomorrow I am off to shoot wildflowers. And I know it will take a while to let that veneer of expected sterility fall away. But may I be open to the wonders of the natural world as it does – and also maybe come home with only an itch or two.

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