Published Work – Ranger Rick Magazine

2013.10 RangerRickClip


My grandmother, God rest her soul, took an interest in my family’s education. I think she feared, not without reason, that growing up in the rural Pennsylvania countryside might leave us with certain disadvantages; social, educational, cultural. Each year she bought the family a subscriptions to a selection of kids’ magazines for the four grandchildren. I grew up looking at the wildlife pictures in Ranger Rick magazine.

All these years later, it feels like coming full circle when the magazine selects one of my shots. Recently, photo editor Susan McElhinney selected one of my old Velvia slides for a two-page spread on animal defenses.

I shot this Thorny Devil somewhere out in the western Australia outback while on assignment for Discovery Channel back in 1998. I was piloting an overstuffed Land Cruiser filled with arachnologists, grad students and one overworked, no-longer-amused-with-my-bullshit science writer. The spiders didn’t do much for me, photographically or otherwise, but I took special delight in driving the truck like a madman across the desert.

I brought our rig to a screeching halt when I saw the lizard wandering incautiously across our path. I escorted him across the scalding blacktop to a nice patch of red sand, then spent the better part of the next hour getting right up in his grill with a macro lens. All the while, my  companions seethed and baked in the afternoon sun.

When in pursuit of a new photograph, I may not be the most considerate soul on earth. But at least I am smart enough to take the keys with me.

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