The guy behind the lens

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I'm a Science Teacher, Nature Photographer,Husband, and Father, and Grandfather who loves to explore the natural world by traveling, photographing and thinking. 

MINDS WORK BEST WHEN OPEN!  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

MicroSafari – Stentor the MicroTrumpeter






This episode of my Microsafari series features one of the most distinctive single celled protists - Stentor! Watch this video and learn why I call it the "MicroTrumpeter". I hope you enjoy this foray into the micro world and feel free to share this with all the young (or old!) science lovers in your life!

The entire series can be found on my YouTube Channel.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

MicroSafari – Snakes on a Slide!





With apologies to Samuel L. Jackson's film "Snakes on A Plane," I could not help but title this Microsafari episode "Snakes on a Slide" because that is what most of my students think of when they see the long snakelike ciliate protozoan named Spirostomum. As you'll see in the video they hold a world record and are important in many aquatic ecosystems! 

I am creating these Microsafari explorations to open up a new world of science exploration to young people --- please feel free to share these with the young scientists in your life as well as with any science teachers you know! It's greatly appreciated! If you want to find more Microsafari stuff- I'm using the hashtag #MICROSAFARI to allow folks to follow & share these more easily! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

MicroSafari – Up Close With Paramecium




This installment in my MicroSafari series focuses on the famous single celled ciliate Paramecium. Most students never get to see a good up close view of what actually is happening inside a paramecium because they tend to move very quickly and appear as “herky jerky” blurs to most folks unless you place them in a solution of “ProtoSlo” (methyl cellulose – I call it jello for microorganisms). This keeps them from swimming so fast and lets us see them in one spot where a higher power lens can focus on their internal activities such a food vacuole formation (eating) and contractile vacuole filling and contraction (drinking & peeing). When you get close enough to these creatures to see these things, you also get to appreciate their cilia and how quickly they beat. So – take a couple minutes and get up close with this most famous citizen of the microworld! 

Congratulation to my friends at EXO LABS ( www.exolabs.com) who created the FOCUS Microscope Camera I use  for these videos - the FOCUS camera was recently featured in Apple's 30th anniversary video for the Mac - at 38 seconds into the video you can see students using the FOCUS camera with an  iPad to view what's under their microscope! 



Way to go Exo!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WELCOME TO THE MICROWORLD!



I am pleased to begin sharing another way I really enjoy seeing our natural world. These days, many folks feel there is little left to explore. They feel there are none of the great romantic “blank areas on the map” that so enticed earlier generations of explorers. While there are certainly fewer unexplored spaces, there is a way that everyday folks can explore the natural world without traveling to the ends of the earth. I have long been thrilled by the adventures and excitement that Mother Nature shares in the microscopic world. Over the years, I've enjoy exploring many “MicroWorlds” with my students as they appreciate the “WOW Factor” of the seemingly invisible world all around us. While most Blue Lion Blog readers know that I treasure my African safari experiences, I have the ability to go on a different type of safari most every day! I deem my safaris under the microscope “MicroSafaris” as we get to explore all sorts of microscopic creatures who can appear with no predetermined script. For 21st century students who have the digital world at their fingertips, seeing these “unknown” critters changes how they look at their worlds and opens up a new found sense of creativity and possibility.

Over the past few months I have gotten to know the dedicated folks over at EXOLABS (www.exolabs.com), a Seattle based startup. They have created a wonderful iPad based camera that is designed to work with any microscope. After having worked with other less successful microscope cameras/software, their FOCUS microscope camera is the tool I have long sought to help share my passion for microworlds with you. Over the coming months I will be creating a series of MicroSafari videos to introduce you to various denizens of the microworld. Following that, we’ll begin to expand our exploration as we head out to see differing microscopic ecosystems and how their micro citizens go about their “little lives”


I chose this first video because it’s the microscopic creature most folks are familiar with – AMOEBA!  If you’ve ever looked through a microscope in school then you probably got to see these blob like protists. Here I have been able to capture them in both real time and time-lapse video to give you a uniquely exciting view.  Enjoy the view and please feel encouraged to share this video with a young person in your life! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Blue Lion Year in Review- My #1 Photo of 2013!

With this post we finally arrive at my top image of 2013! While many of you probably expected my top image of the year to be something from my African safari, this image was by far my most "viral" image of the year. From the moment I posted it, it received lots of attention as far as total views, shares on Facebook, as well as Retweets and Favorites on Twitter. Without a doubt, it was THE favorite of the Blue Lion Pride during 2013!

If you missed earlier posting in the series just click on them below! 
PART 1   ~   PART 2   ~   PART 3   ~   PART 4   ~   PART 5

#1 - Malay Lacewing Butterfly ~
Texas Discovery Gardens  Dallas, TX
I took this image last spring at the fabulous Texas Discovery Gardens (TDG) in Dallas. It is a male Malay Lacewing butterfly. This species is found in tropical Asia - most commonly in Indonesia. The beauty of this amazing species speaks for itself and I know I go back to the TDG regularly in hopes of seeing this species as well as other closely related allies. Butterfly houses are a wonderful resource for nature photographers  as they usually possess licences to host exotic species of butterflies and moths that  most of us would never have a chance to observe due to both geography and timing. The TDG has the ability to host hundreds of different species at different times of the year depending up on supplier availability. As such, every time I go to visit I get a different "show" of species! In addition, butterfly houses need to have a collection of nectar producing flowers for the adult butterflies to feed upon. This benefits nature photographers because we then get to see and shoot some beautifully exotic flowers. If you've never been to a butterfly house ( or even if it's been a while) go ahead and look up your local one and spend a few hours there - it should be a special time to savor the intricacies of Mother Nature!  

If you are interested in more details about the Malay Lacewing, this post from the Butterflies of Singapore is a great resource! 

If you'd like to purchase this image for yourself or as a gift, please click the PURCHASE LINK to order your preferred size. As a reader of the Blue Lion Blog - I am offering a 20% discount on any purchase you make after reading this -- just enter the code BLOGREADER when prompted during your checkout! 

Thanks for visiting the Blue Lion Blog. Once again I appreciate your support! Here's to a fabulous 2014!

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Blue Lion Year in Review- Part 5 of 6

Welcome to PART 5 of my 2013 review! This post will take us down from #5 in the countdown to #2 - My image of the year will be unveiled tomorrow here on the Blue Lion Blog! 

For this year’s review, I have selected 30 images that represent a combination of my personal favorite shots as well as my most widely viewed images on my website (http://www.bluelionphotos.com), social media such as my Facebook page and my Twitter account (@BlueLionPhotos).


 I hope you enjoy this journey through my photographic year – I welcome your comments below as I savor getting to know how my images impact you the viewer! Each of the images is viewable and available for purchase by clicking on the image here, which will take you to my website. 

If you missed earlier posts in this retrospective series just click the links below! 


PART 1     ~     PART 2     ~    PART 3     ~     PART 4

ONWARD! 

#5 ~ Leopard Stare ~ Ngala Game Reserve, South Africa

#4 ~ Cheetah Portrait ~ Ngala Game Reserve, South Africa
#3 ~ Lilac Breasted Roller ~ Ngala Game Reserve, South Africa

#2 ~ Waterhole Sunrise ~ Ngala Game Reserve, South Africa


Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Blue Lion Year in Review- Part 4 of 6

It's time to dive into the TOP TEN from 2013! This post counts down images #10 down to # 6. The ranking of my top ten is calculated by the response of Blue Lion Pride members on social media to these images over the year. As always, I am interested in YOUR thoughts about my images -- which ones excite you and which ones make you say "Meh"?  
If you missed ,y earlier installments -- do not fret you cam see them at the links below! 
PART 1     ~     PART 2     ~     PART 3
HERE GOES! 
#10 ~ Sable Antelope Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Glen Rose, TX
#9 ~ Climbing Leopard ~ Ngala Game Reserve, South Africa
#8 ~ Blending In ~  Ngala Game Reserve, South Africa
#7 ~ Perching Julia Longwing ~ Texas Discovery Gardens, Dallas, TX
#6 ~ Aplomado Falcon (captive) ~ Hagerman NWR, Sherman, TX

Thanks for visiting! Please feel free to share my images with your friends on social media! Your support is very much appreciated! 
Once posted, just click to see PART 5 !