WinterBadger Collection: Blog https://www.winterbadger.com/blog en-us (C) WinterBadger Collection (WinterBadger Collection) Thu, 22 Apr 2021 18:00:00 GMT Thu, 22 Apr 2021 18:00:00 GMT https://www.winterbadger.com/img/s/v-12/u80279869-o214436220-50.jpg WinterBadger Collection: Blog https://www.winterbadger.com/blog 120 80 California Blooming: NOW OPEN https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/california-blooming California Blooming: Wildflowers and Climate Change,” a large print version of "Beauty and Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change" just opened at the San Diego Natural History Museum (the Nat) on Friday April 6, 2021. Prints up to 12’ tall will take you into some of southern California’s past superblooms.


Wildflowers and climate change in the Golden State.

CA Blooming_BATB_exhiibt_SDNHMCA Blooming_BATB_exhiibt_SDNHMÒCalifornia Blooming: Wildflowers and Climate Change,Ó a large print version of "Beauty and Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change" just opened at the San Diego Natural History Museum (the Nat) on Friday April 6, 2021. Prints up to 12Õ tall will take you into some of southern CaliforniaÕs past superblooms.

Traveling exhibit. Exhibit Envoy


Coffee table book. Part of Rob Badger and Nita Winter's fine art documentary photography project "Beauty and Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change" a sponsored project of Blue Earth Alliance.

Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis,

Wildflowers are the crown jewels of California’s beautiful natural landscapes. Yet climate change and other human impacts on the environment are threatening wildflowers and the life that depends on them.

In this special and timely exhibition, conservation photographers Nita Winter and Rob Badger offer a spectacular view of California’s extraordinary wildflowers as both a cause for celebration and protection.

California Blooming features more than 35 stunning photographs of wildflowers from diverse habitats throughout the state of California. You’ll see sweeping landscapes carpeted with California poppies and goldfields, stunning close-ups of ghost flowers and desert lilies, and behind-the-scenes photos of the photographers’ process.

While the photographs celebrate the beauty of wildflowers, they also help tell the story of climate change impacts to the flora and fauna in our region. The visual richness connects visitors to the biodiversity of our state and the actions that must be taken to protect it.

The exhibition was curated by the Museum’s exhibits team in collaboration with the photographers, who are also authors Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change. The book, which was published in partnership with the California Native Plant Society, pairs the couple’s striking field photography with thought-provoking and inspiring essays by authors like Robin Wall Kimmerer, Jose Gonzalez, Peter Raven, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Ileene Anderson, and more. Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change is available for purchase online.

Giant Red Paintbrush_Castilleja miniata_Wildflower blossoms_Inyo National Forest_Sierra Nevada Mountains_California_MK3A6241_x1080Giant Red Paintbrush_Castilleja miniata_Wildflower blossoms_Inyo National Forest_Sierra Nevada Mountains_California_MK3A6241_x1080Giant red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), ÒContactÓ Series, Inyo National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Inyo County, California. July Photographer Rob Badger

ÒCONTACTÓ SERIES, a handheld, spontaneous process with unpredictable results. Without harming the blossom, I take great care to very gently bring the front of the lens in contact with the flower. This results in a soft and translucent, abstract representation of the blossoms, with only selected areas in focus. I can usually create an image worth keeping in less than ten minutes. Ò Rob Badger

Part of Traveling exhibit and/or coffee table book:
Beauty and The Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change by Rob Badger and Nita Winter
© The Winter Badger Press co-published CNPS California Native Plant Society

Authors: Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis,

Did you know?

California’s nickname, the Golden State, is traditionally attributed to the gold rush. But some claim it has just as much to do with the California poppy, the yellow-orange bloom that carpets the state each spring and serves as our state flower.

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Meet the photographers

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nita Winter and Rob Badger have been capturing the transcendent beauty of the natural world in images for over 30 years. Their work has been featured in numerous galleries and publications including the British Museum of Natural History, American Photo, New York Times, Sunset and Washington Post, among others.

 

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) California fine art photography mountains national parks Nita Winter Rob Badger wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/california-blooming Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:01:12 GMT
Despite 11-month closure, Natural History Museum has been a beehive of activity since March https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/sandiegouniontribune Update:

California Blooming: Wildflowers and Climate Change in the Golden State 

Exhibit Opens on April 2

By Pam Kragen   UNION TRIBUNE   February 24, 2021

Note: California Blooming: Wildflowers and Climate Change in the Golden State is a large print custom version of the traveling exhibit "Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change"

CA Blooming SDNHM Banner IMG_2361_cropped_x1200CA Blooming SDNHM Banner IMG_2361_cropped_x1200ÒCalifornia Blooming: Wildflowers and Climate Change,Ó a large print version of "Beauty and Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change" just opened at the San Diego Natural History Museum (the Nat) on Friday April 6, 2021. Prints up to 12Õ tall will take you into some of southern CaliforniaÕs past superblooms.

Traveling exhibit. Exhibit Envoy


Coffee table book. Part of Rob Badger and Nita Winter's fine art documentary photography project "Beauty and Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change" a sponsored project of Blue Earth Alliance.

Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis,

Like all of the museums in Balboa Park, the San Diego Natural History Museum has been locked down for most of the past year.

The perpetually swinging Foucault pendulum in the lobby hangs still. Glass cases holding rare and antique books are draped with heavy cloths to protect their sensitive pages from light. And the fourth-floor administrative offices have been empty since the pandemic’s arrival last March.

But a peek through the glass atrium windows into the darkened lobby can be deceiving. Behind the scenes over the past year, the museum’s scientists, staff and volunteers have been as busy as the bees in its Living Lab exhibit.

While the public side of the 150,000-square-foot museum sleeps, the museum’s scientific team has been archiving thousands of insect specimens, conducting fossil research, doing field work and hosting online lessons. The downtime has also allowed the museum to expand its online footprint, revamp its fourth floor to build a new exhibition gallery and examine new ways to open its vast specimen archives to visitors.

Museum president and CEO Judy Gradwohl said that she and her roughly 100 full-time employees initially expected the shutdown last spring would only last a few months. But when the true scope of the pandemic became clear last July, officials decided to take advantage of the forced hiatus to spend the rest of 2020 and early 2021 revamping both the building and how the museum at 1788 El Prado connects with the community in the future.

When the museum finally reopens — Gradwohl said the target is early April — it will have a transformed business model. Based on the success of its pandemic-spawned online programs, the museum will carry on this expanded mission even after it returns to full operation.

“I issued a manifesto from my home about thinking about how this crisis can help us reframe our model for the museum,"Gradwohl said, in a Zoom meeting with annual members earlier this month. “We’re trying to create a three-legged stool that includes onsite programming but also puts effort into online activities and activities in nature.”

Because many employees have found working from home so positive and productive, many will transition to a hybrid of home and office hours when the museum reopens. With less space needed for staff, five private offices on the fourth floor were demolished for a new 2,000-square-foot walk-through exhibit that will highlight the natural wonders of the Baja California peninsula.

On Monday, Gradwohl gave a private tour of the museum’s upper floors. It was the first time in months that she’d been inside the building, which was dedicated in 1933 and then dramatically reimagined with a 90,000-square-foot expansion in 2001. Although the public areas of the museum are quiet, the specimen and research labs have been staffed.

The museum is home to more than 8 million specimens of native local insects, animals, fossils, plants and more. Gradwohl’s favorite specimen is a brown lacewing, a small fly-like insect that was collected by Charles Darwin himself on the island of Tasmania in February 1863. It’s pinned inside a display case with a tiny hand-written card signed “C. Darwin.”

The lacewing is among more than 1 million insects in the museum’s collection, each pinned and displayed with a tag detailing the date and location where it was found. One of the projects undertaken over the past year has been to begin digitally archiving the museum’s butterfly (Lepidoptera) collection for a developing national database known as LepNet. So far, more than 17,000 museum specimens have been photographed.

On Monday, entomology lab technician Araceli Gomez was working her way through a case of dozens of Sara orangetips, small white California butterflies that hatch each spring. Each butterfly is photographed with its own QR code, which will someday be scannable to include a photo of the butterfly and its collection details. A few doors down, Tom Deméré, the museum’s curator of paleontology, was working Monday on a set of 15- to 18-million-year-old horse and camel fossils unearthed last summer in Otay Mesa during a freeway construction project.

Before the pandemic, Deméré had a sizeable team of local volunteers who helped out each day in the fossil preparation lab. But he’s been making do over the past year with just a couple of volunteers due to social distancing restrictions. Deméré said the museum has about 1.5 million fossils in its collection, the vast majority recovered from large construction projects, which are required by state law to have archaeology observers onsite to protect and recover fossil remains.

The fossils in the collection range from ancient camel teeth to whole whale skeletons and dinosaurs. Many are housed in a warehouse in Chula Vista but Deméré said plans are being discussed to possibly move much of that collection to the museum’s basement floor, which has been used in the past as special exhibit space. The goal would be to allow museum visitors a peek inside this fossil collection, much of which has never been seen by the public.

CA Blooming_BATB_exhiibt_SDNHMCA Blooming_BATB_exhiibt_SDNHMÒCalifornia Blooming: Wildflowers and Climate Change,Ó a large print version of "Beauty and Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change" just opened at the San Diego Natural History Museum (the Nat) on Friday April 6, 2021. Prints up to 12Õ tall will take you into some of southern CaliforniaÕs past superblooms.

Traveling exhibit. Exhibit Envoy


Coffee table book. Part of Rob Badger and Nita Winter's fine art documentary photography project "Beauty and Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change" a sponsored project of Blue Earth Alliance.

Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis,

The San Diego Natural History Museum will unveil anew wildflower photo exhibition when it reopens, hopefully in early April. (Jarrod Valliere / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
 

Here are some of the other highlights of work that has been under way since last March at the Natural History Museum:

  • Installation on the fourth floor of “California Blooming: The Wildflowers and Climate Change,” an exhibit of regional photography by Rob Badger and Nita Winter.
  • Preliminary talks began on a proposal to build an interpretive garden around the perimeter of the building.
  • Nat Talks, a new series of Zoom webinars, have doubled the number of audience programs formerly offered in the museum’s 300-seat auditorium. Coming up at 6 p.m. March 3, “California Blooming” photographers Badger and Winter will discuss their work.
  • Lunchtime Pop-Ups is a new series of scientist talks streamed on Facebook Live. Also, expanded posts on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram have boosted social media engagement by 90 percent.
  • The Canyoneer team replaced free guided hikes with a permanent online database of seasonal hike videos that have received heavy visitor traffic.
  • A new series of distance-learning programs has been created including pre-recorded virtual field trips and lessons and monthly live lessons for at-home learning. These new programs have been viewed 19,000 times over the past six months, up 36 percent from the year before.
  • Museum scientists successfully translocated eggs for the locally extinct species of California red-legged frog from ponds in Baja California to locations in San Diego and Riverside counties in an effort to re-establish the population here.
  • Scientists wrapped up 12 years of studies of plant and insect species at Camp Pendleton, which uncovered several species new to science and invasive species new to the region.
  • Botanist Jon Rebman discovered a new species of shrub that had been misidentified in the museum’s botanical collection

Published by: San Diego Union Tribune

"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/sandiegouniontribune Mon, 12 Apr 2021 05:41:47 GMT
California Wildflowers and Climate Change https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/california-wildflowers-and-climate-change By Matthew Harrison Tedford   BAY NATURE MAGAZINE   March 25, 2019

Rob Badger began photographing nature and the California desert when he was 18, having moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles for college. Eventually what was a passion and a hobby turned into a career documenting environmental destruction, from clear-cutting to mining. Roughly 25 years after those first photographic forays, a visit to the desert once again shaped his work. 

In the spring of 1992, Badger witnessed a wildflower bloom at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Amazed at the kaleidoscopic sea of poppies and goldfields, he drove the 350 miles to San Francisco to pick up his partner, Nita Winter, also a photographer, so she could see the multitude of blossoms, too. Badger began to wonder, “What can we do with positive imagery?” rather than constantly focus on loss and ruin. A series of remarkable blooms brought Winter and Badger back to the Mojave Desert again and again, launching a decades-long investigation of wildflowers in the western United States. 

As beautiful as blooming wildflowers are, they are not immune to the effects of climate change. Like all native plants, wildflowers adapt to the habitats where they grow. As climate conditions like rainfall and temperature change, some wildflower species may not survive. Scientists monitoring plant diversity at UC Davis’s McLaughlin Reserve found that 15 years of drier winters reduced the diversity of native wildflowers in the reserve’s grasslands between 2000 and 2014.

News like this led Winter and Badger to create Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change, a series of exhibitions and a forthcoming coffee-table book featuring approximately 200 photographs and more than 20 essays by conservationists, biologists, and activists. “The whole purpose of our work,” Badger says of this project, “is to use art to inspire hope and action.” The show was first exhibited in 2016 at the San Francisco Public Library, traveled around the state for three years, and is now returning to the Bay Area this spring at the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito, thanks to the Marin chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

The latest version of the exhibit includes some 80 photographs that capture the vibrancy, complexity, and gossamer quality of wildflowers in places like the Merced River Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park, Mount Tamalpais, and Point Reyes National Seashore. The photographs divide roughly into two camps: close-ups of single wildflowers and landscape photographs. Badger speaks of specific flowers as “individuals,” and Winter, who spent much of her early career photographing people, sees similarities in how portraiture can bring out “the spirit” of both people and flowers. “We want to bring people into their world,” she says of the wildflowers. 

Winter and Badger’s landscape photographs tell a broader story. An image taken in Marin County’s Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve depicts a cluster of small yellow tidy tips growing atop a rocky yet verdant hill. Distant Corta Madera homes illustrate the wildflower’s proximity to development. “Someone needs to tell a story about every living thing out there,” Badger says, because “all life has value.” 

The connection between the exuberant life in these images and climate change isn’t direct. These aren’t pictures of loss, but rather potential loss. Winter and Badger photograph wildflowers almost exclusively on public lands; they want to show viewers the amazing flora that is held in the public trust but which is nonetheless threatened by climate disruption, industrial uses, or reduced protection of natural resources.

Winter and Badger take a painstaking approach to their work, only photographing wildflowers in the wild, sometimes spending as much as an hour and a half on a single flower to ensure the perfect lighting and shadows. While on location they take great care to avoid damaging any of the flowers or surroundings, and if that’s not possible, they move to another location. Likewise, they stick close to trails and roads, essentially writing off photographing locations that might require off-trail traipsing. Ultimately, Winter and Badger put the flowers before their work, speaking to how our current ecological crisis can be solved. As Badger puts it, “Everything on this planet deserves a right to have its own existence fulfilled and to have an environment that supports that.”

Published by: Bay Nature

"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/california-wildflowers-and-climate-change Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:49:14 GMT
In Wildflowers’ Beauty, A Call to Action https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/in-wildflowers-beauty-a-call-to-action By Kathy Morrison   FLORA MAGAZINE, CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY   November 20, 2019

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Photos from the upcoming Beauty and the Beast book. All photos courtesy of Nita Winter and Rob Badger.

New book showcases the diversity of native blooms, and what could be lost

The beauty of a wildflower is ephemeral, and much more so when viewed in the shadow of climate change. Will the same species of flower bloom in the same spot next year, next decade, next century? If not, will future generations know what has been lost?

photo 19photo 19

Photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter have made California wildflowers their cause and their rallying point in the fight against “the beast” — human behavior that threatens native landscapes. Their photographs are collected in a magnificent book, Beauty and the Beast: California’s Wildflowers and Climate Change, to be published at the end of the year in partnership with the California Native Plant Society. The book also features essays by 16 noted environmental scientists, activists, and writers including Peter H. Raven, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Gordon Leppig, and Robin Wall Kimmerer. CNPS Executive Director Dan Gluesenkemp wrote the opening note to the reader.

 

Badger and Winter, who are partners in life as well as business, have been photographing wildflowers in nature for more than 20 years. Working only on public lands, they lug pounds of photo equipment into the desert or up mountain trails so they can capture the serene glory of a sacred datura (Datura wrightii), or the fiery red and yellow blooms of Franciscan paintbrush (Castilleja subinclusa). Astonishing photographs of common  harebell  (Campanula rotundifolia) — the blooms glowing as if illuminated by blacklight — and translucent petals of checkerbloom (Sidalcea malviflora) demonstrate the breathtaking beauty of our native plants.

Eagle-eyed Winter often will spot their next subject. The flowers always are photographed in natural light as they grow, whether a few inches or several feet above ground. Badger and Winter use a black or white portrait backdrop to allow the flower’s details to come to the fore. To get the best angle, Badger often lies flat on the ground with his digital camera on a tripod, while Winter holds a reflector above. At other times, they gently wrap cloth around the plant to create complementary folds and shadows. Every once in awhile, a spontaneous picture presents itself; they call these shots their “Contact” Series. They also photo- graph panoramic landscape scenes.

One eye-catching image included in the book shows a rufous hummingbird feeding at a scarlet fritillary (Fritillaria recurva), its wings moving too fast for Badger’s camera.

He says that picture was just luck; he was already photo- graphing the flower when the bird flew into the frame. He clicked off two shots before it flew away. “That was the luckiest photograph in my entire life,” he says.

But the pair refuses to take pictures in any place where they feel their work will disturb the flowers or their habitats. They are dedicated to respecting the rights of the individual plant and its community, as well as any people who might follow them to that site. “Nita’s really conscious about where I place my knees and my feet,” says Badger. If they do have to move a rock or a twig, they gently restore it to its original spot, Winter says.

Badger loves the desert, where he became overwhelmed by a superbloom in the Antelope Valley in 1992. In fact, he was so enthralled that he jumped in his car, drove all the way to the Bay Area to get Winter, then drove all the way back to show her the colorful expanses in the California Poppy Reserve. He was a landscape photographer at the time, while Winter was focused on the diversity of human faces. But they joined forces to record wildflowers beginning with the 1998 superbloom.

Now, after wet winters they begin photographing in late January, then follow the blooms as they unfold across the state. “One of the fun things about California is that you can find things, good blooms, probably seven months of the year,” Winter says. Peak bloom at 11,000 feet in the Sierra might even be in August. “Weather can really affect what’s blooming where,” she says. “We’re all up and down the state,” Badger notes.

photo 20photo 20Beauty and the Beast preview

photo 21photo 21Beauty and the Beast preview

photo 22photo 22Beauty and the Beast preview

 

Climate change itself is hard to track over just a few years, but one thing the pair has noticed in California is the increase in superblooms. The 1998 event they photo- graphed was called a 100-year bloom then. But now, they say, there are more high rainfall years between drought years, and more moisture is available in desert regions. That creates more astonishing flower displays but also encourages invasive plants to move in and outcompete the native plants.

Winter and Badger also are concerned about the increased traffic from superbloom tourists, who trample the flowers or even lie down in them to take pictures, as seen this past spring. “It’s really hard for us to see people’s behavior,” Winter says. “We want people to get out and see, and value, the outdoors,” adds Badger. “But do you love it to death?” There are different levels of consciousness among humans when it comes to nature, he notes. So the people behind “Beauty and the Beast” have a hope and a goal for the publication: To raise awareness, and to change the actions that destroy the plants and their communities, Winter says. “The book really is about motivating action,” Badger says.

Beauty and the Beast is a companion to a large-format photography exhibit that already has been seen around the state, including at the California Museum in Sacramento, the Fullerton Arboretum, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley, and most recently the Bay Model Center in Sausalito. A semi-permanent exhibit also is at Chico State’s gallery through Nov. 24. The exhibit tour will continue in 2020 once the book is published, Winter says.

collagecollage

Nita Winter and Rob Badger in the field.

 

Published by: California Native Plant Society

"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.

 


 


 

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/in-wildflowers-beauty-a-call-to-action Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:45:00 GMT
Rob Badger and Nita Winter: 5 Things We Must Do To Inspire The Next Generation https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/rob-badger-and-nita-winter-5-things-we-must-do-to-inspire-the-next-generation By Penny Bauder    AUTHORITY MAGAZINE   December 5, 2020

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Reduce consumption. Conserve, steward, and protect resources. Use less, get more. Do you really need everything you buy or own? What could you live without? Asking these questions is step one in lowering your footprint and impact. Saving resources and money while reducing clutter and waste is good news all around!

As part of my series about what we must do to inspire the next generation about sustainability and the environment, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rob Badger and Nita Winter.

Internationally acclaimed, award-winning conservation photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter, recipients of the Sierra Club’s 2020 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, have been life partners and creative collaborators for over 3 decades. In 1992, they discovered and fell in love with California’s spectacular wildflower blooms in the Mojave Desert’s Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. This inspired their 27 year journey photographing wildflowers throughout the West. In 2016, their documentary art project became a traveling exhibit, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.” Their new award-winning book, a companion to this exhibit, has 190 images of floral portraits and superblooms, and essays by 16 passionate environmental leaders, scientists and nature writers to that inspire hope and action.

Their work has also been featured on NBC and KQED television, in Time, Mother Jones & Sierra magazines, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle & Los Angeles Times.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

Rob: I grew up in central Massachusetts, close to nature, where our home was surrounded by acres of hardwood forest. My parents were nature lovers and encouraged my sister and me to spend time outdoors exploring the beautiful place we were privileged to live in. In my early teens space travel was just beginning. I wanted to be part of it, so in 1966 I began my formal education studying aerospace engineering at Northrop Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, a very different world far from the nature I was used to. I became interested in nature photography and found joy exploring and photographing the new and stark beauty of California’s different deserts. After 2 years I left engineering school and took classes in natural history to learn more about the places I visited. For the next 20 years I had more than 20 unskilled jobs, including five years of seasonal cannery work that gave me time to photograph the West’s magnificent scenery. My dream was to be a professional nature photographer.

At the age of 38 I finally summoned the courage to quit my current job, and take the leap to become a full time nature photographer. This was just a month before Nita and I met in a San Francisco photo lab. Over time, I focused more on environmental issues like logging and mining, and their negative impact on our public lands, but I eventually burned out on all the destruction I was witnessing, so I devoted my energy to documenting the beautifully diverse wildflowers, and where they lived, that remained remaining on our public lands. I was thrilled to have Nita join me on this new journey.

Nita: I grew up in a peace and social justice household on Long Island, NY, attending civil rights, anti-nuclear, and anti-war demonstrations throughout my youth. My father loved taking photographs, and exposed me to the work of many of the great, early and mid 20th century photographers. My brother, sister and I were truly fortunate to have access to forests and nature just outside our front door. We also greatly enjoyed hiking and camping as a family throughout the parks in New England.

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduation, in 1977, I became a seasonal firefighter for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (now Cal Fire) and later led tours of Alcatraz for the National Park Service.

I thought I would become a nature photographer but found myself drawn to people photography while working at the Women’s Building of the Bay Area in San Francisco. I focused on celebrating human diversity through documentary and public art projects for the first 25 years of my photography career. Over time I found I was ready to join forces with Rob to enter the fascinating world of wildflower photography. We wanted to share what we loved, and find ways to protect the flowers and where they lived.

Was there an “aha moment” or a specific trigger that made you decide you wanted to become a scientist or environmental leader? Can you share that story with us?

Rob: On a warm and windy spring day in 1992, I witnessed what was, back then, a rare and spectacular wildflower display in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, a California state park in the western Mojave Desert. I was awestruck by what was before me. During twenty years of photographing the West’s dramatic, iconic landscapes I had never seen the desert so alive, shimmering with such an explosion of color and life. Experiencing such intense beauty was magnetic, intoxicating, and almost overpowering.

That evening I called home to Nita and described as best I could how it felt to see the wind move in waves across a vast sea of glowing, orange California poppies and purple bird’s-eye gilia. Hearing my excitement, she knew she had to see this for herself. Because these flowers would soon in the drying winds and growing desert heat, I quickly returned to San Francisco, where Nita was between assignments. We immediately drove back to the poppy reserve to enjoy and photograph this unbelievable beauty together. We did not know then that this was the beginning of a lifetime adventure exploring and photographing what we believed to be a limitless world of wildflowers.

My own work for many years focused on both land conservation and the environmental destruction caused by human activities, such as development, logging, and mining. I was becoming more and more discouraged and emotionally burned out by what I witnessed and documented. However, I still was determined to use the power of visual story telling to protect what remains of the natural world and its vanishing beauty, so I wondered if we could inspire people to act if they were shown positive images of what was being threatened, images like the field of wildflowers we saw in the desert poppy reserve in 1992.

Nita: This amazing wildflower bloom inspired our 27 year journey photographing wildflowers throughout the West. After we had produced a strong body of work we looked for ways to use our images to help protect the magnificent biodiversity found in California and throughout the American West.

Our “Aha!” moment was when we realized we needed to become a voice for wildflowers to inspire hope and action. We produced our traveling, educational exhibit, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” and later published its companion coffee table book. It features 190 images of wildflower portraits and landscapes, and short essays, in a story telling style, by 16 passionate environmental leaders, scientists and nature writers that inspire hope and action. Both the exhibit and book tell the wildflowers’ story and what we can do to help protect them.

Is there a lesson you can take out of your own story that can exemplify what can inspire a young person to become an environmental leader?

Rob: Finding something to be passionate about, to fall in love with and be committed to saving, for us was the first step in becoming environmental leaders. We were deeply, emotionally committed to photographing wildflowers, and that which opened up a new world for both of us. It allowed us to collaborate in many different ways, and brought us closer together as photographers and life partners. Our photography now included both the grand landscape and a variety of creative ways to capture the world of a single flower. Exploring new areas, developing new skills, and learning more about native plants and where they live consistently brought joy into our lives and really lifted my spirits. Searching for new places and flowers was like a magical treasure hunt, for it seemed that there would always be new wildflowers to discover, photograph, and share.

Over time we were creating a visual story about Nature’s diverse wildflower communities, now surviving primarily on federal, state, county, or local public lands. From below sea level in Death Valley National Park, to naturally occurring alpine “rock gardens” above 13,000 feet in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, we documented the spectacular wildflower landscapes and created intimate floral portraits.

Nita: We found something we were passionate about, so despite the physical discomfort and pain we faced at times doing this work in the field, and the unanticipated challenges publishing Beauty and the Beast, we persisted. We are so proud of what we have created, and grateful for the enthusiastic responses we have received. We are thrilled that we have received 8 book awards so far, and truly honored to have recently been given the Sierra Club’s 2020 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography.

So we encourage young people to discover what they are passionate about, find others working in those areas (both students and professionals) and explore how you can get involved and develop your own voice. Read about young and established environmental leaders and learn where their journeys have taken them. You will find that many of them were just like you before they found something to be passionate about that led to their role as influential environmental leaders.

Rob: Remember that you can combine your passion for saving nature and humanity, with your own unique experience and gifts, such as we did with photography/art, wildflowers, conservation, science and storytelling, to positively influence others and create a better world. So again, what do you love and what do you like to do? How can you combine them?

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

Our biggest initiative has been to use our business resources to create our Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change documentary art project. With our traveling educational exhibit, seen by 45,000 people, and now its companion coffee table book, we use art to attract attention to address climate change and sustainability, and promote hope and action. We also carefully chose a diverse group of people to write for the book, thus offering our readers many different voices. For example our youngest writer was 20 and the oldest 82.

Also, regarding climate change and sustainability, years ago we were the first artists in our county to receive green business certification because of the many steps we have taken to save energy and resources and reduce waste.

Can you share 3 lifestyle tweaks that the general public can do to be more sustainable or help address the climate change challenge?

To best answer this question we want to share the following:

Our book includes an essay by a young environmental activist Erin Schrode. Her essay, You: The Changemaker, what you can do to make the world a better place, offers 25 different steps, or tweaks, people can take. Here is an excerpt:

“Seeking inspiration about where to begin? Here are twenty-five simple, impactful steps for citizen activism and conscious living in your everyday life. (We are featuring just 4 of these lifestyle tweaks)

  1. Reduce consumption. Conserve, steward, and protect resources. Use less, get more. Do you really need everything you buy or own? What could you live without? Asking these questions is step one in lowering your footprint and impact. Saving resources and money while reducing clutter and waste is good news all around!
  2. Restore natural habitats. Our environment is all we have and simple restoration — removal of invasive species and planting of native plants — can help ecosystems to thrive, and wildlife to flourish, all while cleaning air, filtering water, and mitigating floods and erosion.
  3. Vote in every election at every level. And in order to vote, you need to be registered. So get out and register every single other person you know and don’t know — of every background, political party, race, religion, ethnicity, gender — over the age of eighteen.
  4. Volunteer. Do good. Contribute meaningfully. As a proud nonprofit co-founder who has spent her life in activism, I know the extraordinary value volunteers bring to any and all movements. Think globally, act locally.
  5. Nita: We believe one of the most powerful and critical steps for everyone, especially young people, is #6. Vote in every election, once you are old enough, and encourage others to do so!

Ok, thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview: The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

Rob: Parents can first and foremost lead by example. They can inspire the their children (and their friends) to be engaged, to act, by showing them there is great satisfaction in taking action, both alone and with others, whether its working toward a sustainable future, dealing with climate change or protecting the natural world.

We believe it is very important for parents to both talk to their children about those issues, and encourage them to educate themselves so they can confidently learn about what they can do to truly make a difference. As one of your previous guests Jay Gould said, “Knowledge is power.”

An empowered person will act. Knowing this is true, we included a wonderful short essay in our book called “Talking to Children About Climate Change Without Scaring Them,” subtitled “Avoid doom and gloom, and focus on their ability to create their future.” It was written by Amber Pairis, founder of Climatekids.

To best answer your important question from one perspective we share some of Amber’s words with you. Here is an excerpt:

“I now have two young children of my own, and I often have considered how to talk to them about climate change without scaring them. Out of this emerged the Climate Kids program (www.climatekids.org), a multigenerational collaborative I founded in 2015 to support K–12 youth education on climate change impacts and solutions.

Climate Kids nurtures the budding scientist in every child with activities that demonstrate how climate impacts the places where they live. Since 2015, the program has reached hundreds of thousands of youth and families throughout California and Baja California with multi-day events, and it has trained more than 2,000 formal and informal educators on consistent climate messaging. Through strategic partnerships with climate scientists and qualified educators, Climate Kids encourages curiosity about the natural world while providing the tools necessary to take action on how to protect our communities and the planet now and in the future.

At the heart of this program, we work to foster active-learning experiences. We seek to awaken the scientist, the planner, the comedian, the inventor, or the artist in every child, for it will take all of these characteristics and more to spark the kind of innovation and solutions we need as a people and a planet. Specifically, we encourage outrageous ideas and a feeling that no idea is insurmountable. A new level of innovation and creativity we have not experienced to date is needed to solve this crisis.

Our youth are provided with hands-on and meaningful tools, including the use of storytelling and the visual arts, to convey critical climate messages and to help them find reasons to be hopeful. After testing various strategies with children and families, I have found that it all comes down to three key components: science, solutions, and hope.

Science: What we tell our children must actually be real science, not our interpretation or something we made up because we think they are too young to understand. Children are more aware of what is going on in the world than we give them credit for, and they hear the same messages we hear. We must have our facts straight, educate ourselves, and be prepared with examples that illustrate the content we are trying to communicate. Kids don’t expect us to be climate scientists (unless you are one), and they will appreciate when you honestly say, “This is what I understand of this topic, and if I can’t answer your questions, let’s research it together.”

Solutions: My children want to understand what, how, and why something is happening. We can avoid the doom and gloom and instead focus on our ability to create our future. It just might be an off-the-wall idea that changes our lives. We brainstorm solutions together. No solution is off limits, but we do talk about the challenges or barriers to making that idea a reality.

Hope: Hope inspires creativity and innovation. It motivates empathy and caretaking for each other and the planet. Hope fuels us in times of darkness, despair, and tragedy, and it must be created, nurtured, and sustained.

Here is a list of talking points embodying science/solutions/hope that you can build from when talking to young people about climate change.

• Climate change is a scientific fact.

• The controversy is political, not scientific.

• Based on more than a century of research, the scientific community’s consensus is that:

  • Earth’s climate is changing, and human activity is responsible.
  • Climate change will have a significant effect on our society and the world.
  • Humans are able to take actions to lessen the impact of climate change.
  • No action is too small. It all adds up.
  • Taking practical, commonsense steps to address problems facing our environment today is in the best interest of future generations.
  • We are all connected — humans, animals, plants, land, ocean, water, air.
  • We — you, me, all of us — must take care of the Earth and all the living creatures that share our home….”

Rob: Nita and I invite you to get a copy of Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change, and enjoy seeing the wildflowers and reading more on these subjects.

Nita: We ask parents to nurture the passion young people have for being involved in the critical issues of our time, and encourage them to direct that positive energy in ways that help create a healthier planet. Find fun things for them to do and exciting ideas for them to discover and explore that are related to making the world a better place. Again, lead by example, and show your children and their friends that living sustainably, reducing the impact of climate change and protecting what remains of Nature’s life and beauty really matter to you, and the future of your children. Share the hopeful stories of inspiring youth and young leaders who are in the media and in your area.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

Nita: In 2006 we became the first green certified artists in Marin County. We follow green business practices not only because it is the right thing to do but also because we save money. We work from home so we don’t spend time and money commuting. We collect and reuse paper already printed on one side for internal office use, instead of buying new recycled paper. Reusing paper uses less energy than recycled paper. In 2007 we switched from a film based business to digital photography so we were no longer involved in using toxic chemicals in the production and processing of film. This also saved our business money. We installed solar panels on our roof and drastically cut our energy bill. We turn off lights when we don’t need them and plug appliances and other devices into power strips we can turn off when we aren’t using them, so they don’t leak energy. We limit our driving by combining many errands into one trip. We conserve water, wash our dishes by hand and use the dish washing water to flush our toilets. These are just a few actions we take.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Nita: First, we are extremely grateful to have had each other as partners for over thirty years, both personally and professionally. We each have our own skills and strengths, and neither of us could have achieved what we have without the other.

Rob: I most heartily agree with Nita. When I met Nita she was finishing up her Children of the Tenderloin series and was about to print and frame her first major exhibit. I had worked at a frame shop when I lived in Colorado so when Nita lost the free services of the photo lab forcing her to print her own show I was able to step in and help her get the exhibit framed and hung in time. We continued supporting each others work for decades, making it possible for each of us to reach of our goals.

In the early 2000’s Nita decided to stop taking assignments photographing people so we could team up and both focus on photographing wildflowers. This collaboration created something that neither of us could have accomplished alone.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Nita: We want to inspire both hope and action in regards to climate change. Inspire artists and other people to think creatively to both find solutions and to in turn inspire others to take action. A movement starts with one person’s dream followed by action.

One movement we support is that of humanity recognizing and acting upon the need to voluntarily create a population the Earth can sustain so that all life, human and natural, has all it needs to fulfill its potential on a planet that has a stable and hospitable climate. This can be accomplished by making affordable family planning available and educating all girls worldwide.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

Rob: This David Brower quote, “Truth and beauty can still win battles. We need more art, more passion, more wit in defense of the Earth.” David Brower is considered by many to be the father of the modern environmental movement. Eighty-eight years of courageous, contentious, and joyful activism made Brower one of the most successful advocates the Earth has ever known. More than 50 years ago the early Sierra Club photo books started by David and his son, Ken, truly inspired me to become a nature photographer. This led to my rewarding 40 year career focusing on conservation and environmental issues.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

https://twitter.com/BeautyBeastWild

https://www.facebook.com/Beauty-and-the-Beast-California-Wildflowers-and-Climate-Change-113346363462072/

https://www.pinterest.com/beautybeastwild/

https://www.instagram.com/beautybeastwild/

To purchase our award winning coffee table book or learn more about “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change” we invite you to visit: https://wildflowerbook.com

To see more images please visit: https://winterbadger.com

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Published by: Authority Magazine

"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/rob-badger-and-nita-winter-5-things-we-must-do-to-inspire-the-next-generation Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:37:18 GMT
Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/beauty-and-the-beast-california-wildflowers By Jennifer Jewell   PACIFIC HORTICULTURE MAGAZINE   Spring 2018 

desertdesertDesert Candle (Caulanthus inflatus), Tansy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia), Hillside Daisy (Mono Lanceolat) 2017 ÒSuper BloomÓ Wildflowers, Carrizo Plain National Monument, San Luis Obispo County
California, USA. Rob Badger

coffee table book:
Beauty and The Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change by Rob Badger and Nita Winter
© The Winter Badger Collection

Authors: Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis,

A dazzling carpet of desert candle (Caulanthus inflatus), lacy phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia), and hillside 
daisy (Monolopia lanceolata) carpeted Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County in a wildflower 
“Super Bloom” following winter rains in 2017. Photo: Rob Badger & Nita Winter
 

In 1992, conservation photographer Rob Badger first experienced a rare and spectacular display of California wildflowers in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, a state park in the Mojave Desert. Not wanting his partner and fellow photographer, Nita Winter, to miss what he was seeing, he returned to San Francisco to get her. They quickly drove back to the desert to enjoy and photograph this beauty together.

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Bright blue desert Canterbury bells (Phacelia campanularia) and Bigelow’s monkey flower (Mimulus bigelovii) blossoming in a desert wash in Joshua Tree National Park. Photo: Rob Badger & Nita Winter

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Desert chicory (Rafinesquia neomexicana). Photo: Rob Badger & Nita Winter

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Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Los Angeles County, awash in color from California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and bird’s-eye gilia (Gilia tricolor). Photo: Rob Badger & Nita Winter

Traveling to public lands throughout the West, Rob and Nita document spectacular wildflower landscapes and use only natural light to create their intimate floral portraits. They work in habitats below sea level in Death Valley National Park and above 13,000 feet in the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their photographs show us what we may lose if climate change continues to irreversibly alter these delicately balanced ecosystems. As wildflower habitats change or disappear, the animals, birds, and insects that depend on them will vanish as well.

Giant Red Paintbrush_Castilleja miniata_Wildflower blossoms_Inyo National Forest_Sierra Nevada Mountains_California_MK3A6241_x1080Giant Red Paintbrush_Castilleja miniata_Wildflower blossoms_Inyo National Forest_Sierra Nevada Mountains_California_MK3A6241_x1080Giant red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), ÒContactÓ Series, Inyo National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Inyo County, California. July Photographer Rob Badger

ÒCONTACTÓ SERIES, a handheld, spontaneous process with unpredictable results. Without harming the blossom, I take great care to very gently bring the front of the lens in contact with the flower. This results in a soft and translucent, abstract representation of the blossoms, with only selected areas in focus. I can usually create an image worth keeping in less than ten minutes. Ò Rob Badger

Part of Traveling exhibit and/or coffee table book:
Beauty and The Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change by Rob Badger and Nita Winter
© The Winter Badger Press co-published CNPS California Native Plant Society

Authors: Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis,

Castilleja miniata abstraction. Photo: Rob Badger & Nita Winter

 

Rob and Nita’s mission is to inspire action through visual storytelling, by combining documentary art with conservation and climate and botanical sciences. Now, more than 25 years later, their partnership continues with their documentary art project “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.” “Beauty and the Beast” is a visual story about nature’s diverse wildflower communities, now found mainly on our public lands.

Rob and Nita’s greatest hope is that they—with all of our help—can ensure that these striking flowers, and the natural communities that support them, will be around for generations to come.

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Rob Badger’s set up for shooting a natural light wildflower portrait of a fairy slipper orchid (Calypso bulbosa) in Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Marin County. Photo: Rob Badger & Nita Winter
 

The creative process 

A critical aspect of Rob and Nita’s work is their insistence on photographing wildflowers without harming the plant or its surroundings. Limiting their impact on the land takes time. First, they find plants close to trails and roads where they can work with the least impact. If photographing a landscape or wildflower would damage the immediate area, they look for a better location. Then, after they’re done, they restore the rocks, twigs, and leaves to the way they found them.

Creating these beautiful images is physically demanding. Rob carries 65 pounds of gear, often to remote locations. For 30 minutes or more, he often finds himself precariously balanced over a blossom, or with his head on the ground for an eye-level perspective. Nita endures pins and needles in her limbs as she holds a reflector or wind barrier to create the necessary lighting or stillness. Despite the discomfort, the results are gloriously rewarding. These images reveal and celebrate the wonders seen in a grand floral landscape, or through the intimate and exquisite beauty of a single wildflower.

The photographers are partnering with the California Native Plant Society to co-publish a companion coffee table book. Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change will publish in spring of 2019.

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Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium montanum) shot in the photographers’ native plant garden in Marin County. Photo: Rob Badger & Nita Winter

International award-winning photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter have been life partners and creative collaborators for over three decades. After working on individual assignments for decades, the artists combined their talents. They are devoted to promoting and sustaining healthy communities, both human and natural, and reducing the impact and influence of climate change.

Last year, 52 of the original 100 images from the “Beauty and the Beast” project were selected for a traveling exhibit with Exhibit Envoy, a non-profit that produces exhibitions that reflect the richness of California’s arts, culture, and natural environment.

Present bookings include: 

Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah, February through early May 2018 [extended through June 17, 2018]

Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, September and October 2018

Hi-Desert Nature Museum, Yucca Valley, January through March 10, 2019

The Bay Model, Sausalito, April and May 2019

A modified exhibit will run at the Gateway Science Museum, Chico, from June 2018 through January 2020. Learn more at www.winterbadger.com

photo 8photo 8Large Flowered Linanthus (Linanthus grandiflora) wildflower blossoms, Contact Series, Bull Point trail,
Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

Large-flowered linanthus (Leptosiphon grandiflorus syn. Linanthus grandiflorus). Photo: Rob Badger & Nita Winter
 

Published by: Pacific Horticulture Magazine

“Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change” traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.


 

 






 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/beauty-and-the-beast-california-wildflowers Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:34:22 GMT
California’s wildflower blooms: 27 years of photos track the changing climate https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/california-s-wildflower-blooms-27-years-of-photos-track-the-changing-climate By Sam Whiting  SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE   March 25, 2019

photo 4photo 4
California poppies and gilia in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve during Rob Badger and Nita Winter’s first trip, in 1992.Photo: © Rob Badger Photography, 2009
 

The first time landscape photographer Rob Badger saw the wildflowers bloom in the Mojave Desert, he drove directly to a grocery store pay phone and put in a collect call to his partner, Nita Winter. She accepted the call in Marin City, and when his verbal description proved insufficient, he jumped in his car, drove six hours home to pick her up and then six hours back to the desert to prove it to her.

It was 1992, the first rainy season after seven years of drought, and “there was no way in hell that she was going to miss this,” recalls Badger. “There was this contrast of purple and white mixed in with orange. I’d never seen anything like it.”

Neither had Winter, who up to that moment had photographed people exclusively. But this sight got her to switch to flowers, and they started a joint project now in its 27th year called “The Winter Badger Collection.” Seventy-three of the best images from the collection will form “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” which opens Tuesday, April 2, at the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito.

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Wildflower photographers Nita Winter and Rob Badger at Carson Pass in 2017.Photo: Courtesy Nita Winter and Rob Badger
 

After every wet winter, Badger and Winter drop their other projects and spend up to eight weeks camping with their tents and tripods. Each shot can require a 5-mile hike carrying 65 pounds of equipment, and 90 minutes of set-up. This labor-intensive process has allowed them to capture the red lilies with yellow-checks at the Oregon border, and the white desert lilies at the Mexican border.

They’ve also shot the bloom all over the Bay Area, from yellow globe lilies at Mount Diablo to the fuchsia wild onions that grow at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. (Their exhibit is sponsored by the Marin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, so their home county is well represented.)

At the Bay Model, the framed images, some as large as posters, hang in the lobby gallery at the entrance to the warehouse-size scale model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The bay model and the building belong to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It fits the outlook of Winter and Badger, who shoot only on land owned by the government — county, state or federal.

“Those are the only places where a lot of these flowers are found because they are protected ecosystems safe from development,” says Badger.

While Badger has seen private wildflower habitat bulldozed for development, he has also seen fields of wildflowers trampled by tourists in need of selfies, and he believes this year may be the worst yet. The winter and spring rains have caused a superbloom of California poppies at Lake Elsinore (Riverside County) that has created headaches for residents and environmentalists. Visitors are stuck in traffic jams and are now being directed to park at a nearby mall  to wait up to an hour to take a $10 tour bus up to the hillsides just to take photos of the bloom.

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Rob Badger photographs calypso orchids on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County.Photo: © Nita Winter, 2011

Winter and Badger say they never harm so much as a petal on the wildflowers they photograph, even when shooting what they call “floral portraits.” For these they set up a portable photo studio with a white or black backdrop and delicately wrap the flower in chiffon fabric.

checkerbloomcheckerbloom

Checkerbloom in Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve in Marin County. Photo: © Rob Badger Photography , 2013

 

“No one else does that because they are not crazy enough, but we are,” says Winter.

Winter calls it “magical that there are so many different colors and shapes and sizes of flowers,” but admits “it’s hard to describe sometimes.” That’s why 16 nature writers and biologists were tapped to supply the essays for “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” a coffee-table companion set for publication this fall.

“The book is not just about documenting the beauty with pictures of pretty flowers,” says Badger.

Winter chimes in: “It is meant to educate and inspire action to reduce the effects of climate change, and preserve land and species.”

“Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change”: Photography by Rob Badger and Nita Winter. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, April 2-6. Opening reception 1-3 p.m. April 6. On view through June 1. Free. Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito. 415-332-3871. winterbadger.com

Published by: San Francisco Chronicle

"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.

 




 

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/california-s-wildflower-blooms-27-years-of-photos-track-the-changing-climate Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:24:44 GMT
Nita Winter’s wildflower photography is a blooming success https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/blog-posts-nita-winter-s-wildflower-photography-is-a-blooming-success By Aviva Luttrell   CLARK NOW   December 18, 2020 

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Alumna’s coffee table book earns recognition from the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award

Nita Winter ’76 and Rob Badger had never witnessed anything like it. As far as the eye could see, fields of brilliant orange wildflowers blanketed California’s Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, rippling like waves as the wind swept across the ground on a spring day in 1992.

The incredible “superbloom” was the first of its kind in nearly a decade. Badger had visited the poppy reserve earlier in the week, and after seeing the stunning landscape, he immediately called his wife to tell her about what he had just experienced. “You just have to see this,” he told Winter.

A few days later, the couple made the seven-hour drive back to the Mojave Desert from their home in San Francisco where they spent the next several days creating breathtaking images in the poppy reserve.

The trip sparked a lifelong passion for conservation photography, and compelled Winter and Badger to spend the next 27 years photographing wildflowers on public land across the western United States. Their goal was not only to capture beautiful images, but to advocate for land conservation and action against climate change and species extinction. The couple was recently honored with the Sierra Club’s 2020 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography after publishing an illustrated coffee table book and accompanying traveling educational exhibit, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.”

“We are not just looking for pretty pictures,” the Sierra Club nominating committee shared with Winter and Badger. “We are looking for photographers who use their work to help further a conservation cause. We were all struck by the stunning photos and the combination of art and activism that was reflected in the book.

Winter grew up on Long Island and studied biology at Clark University. She met her future husband at a photo lab in 

California in the 1980s while waiting to pick up prints. Winter had moved to northern California after college to spend a summer working as a wildland firefighter and later landed jobs with the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Eventually, she moved to San Francisco and began volunteering for the Women’s Building of the Bay Area — a women-led, nonprofit community space that was the first of its kind in the country.

The position exposed Winter to new people and places, and she decided to turn her photography hobby into a full-time venture, beginning a project called “Children of the Tenderloin” that documented life in San Francisco’s toughest neighborhood. “That launched my career as a people photographer and I ended up having my work reproduced in the Village Voice,” she says. “I started working with the Children’s Defense Fund, so for the next 25 years I focused on creating healthy communities and celebrating diversity.”

While at Clark, Winter took numerous art classes, including a six-week photography course at the Worcester Center for Crafts. Her father loved sharing his passion for photography with his daughter, and once Winter began taking her own pictures, she quickly fell in love with the medium.

After Winter and Badger discovered the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in 1992, they traveled when they could, embarking on three- to four-week excursions to document wildflower superblooms that have become increasingly frequent due to climate change. In 2010, they met with a representative from Blue Earth Alliance — an organization that supports photography projects documenting environmental and social issues — and found a way to use their images to advocate for conservation. With Blue Earth’s support, they created their art-to-action project, “Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change.”

“Climate change was being talked about, but not very much,” Winter says. “We were learning about how it was going to affect the wildflowers and their natural communities, and we realized we had an opportunity to approach this topic in a unique and subtle, but powerful way. It’s not polar bears, it’s not melting ice, but it’s just as critical. That’s when we realized we could address climate change, land conservation, and species extinction all together.”

To support their work, Winter and Badger were commissioned to create fine art prints and architectural installations from their nature and wildflower images for hospitals and medical centers.

In 2009, Badger won a Wildlife Photographer of the Year award from the British Museum of Natural History and BBC Worldwide. After crowdfunding enough money to travel to London to accept the award in person, Badger decided to put together a book of photographs to bring with him.

“We feverishly put the book together with a whole collection of photographs within a week,” he recalls. “By that time, I had converted to digital photography, which allowed the two of us to do more macro photography and floral portraits, so the book was not just about landscapes, it was about all the different closeups of wildflowers we were finding on these public lands.”

The couple later brought this early book to the San Francisco Public Library where, in 2016, they hosted a 100-image exhibit focusing on California’s wildflowers. They then turned their attention to creating the exhibit’s companion coffee table book, contacting a diverse group of scientists, environmental leaders, and nature writers to submit short essays. “It was about beautifully weaving art and science together to inspire hope and action,” Winter says.

Badger and Winter teamed up with the California Native Plant Society to publish “Beauty and the Beast,” which features 18 essays from 16 authors who range in age from 20 to 82, as well as 190 images of superbloom landscapes and floral portraits. The essays and images are divided into three sections — “The Gift of Beauty,” “The Human Connection,” and “Ensuring the Future” — plus a “Behind the Scenes” section about how Winter and Badger create their photographs without disrupting the landscapes around them.

“We have stories about restoration work, we have stories about the origin of California flowers, we have scientists who are out in the field studying the rufous hummingbird in mountain meadows and how climate change is affecting their epic migration from Mexico to Alaska,” Winter says.

The book also includes a 25-step action guide for those hoping to begin making a difference in protecting the fragile wildflower ecosystems being threatened by climate change and other human activities.

Using their own money, as well as donations and funds raised through a Kickstarter campaign, Badger and Winter independently published “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” which gave them total control over everything from the book’s title and cover to the content on each page. Since the book’s release, Badger and Winter have won 12 awards from the publishing industry and photography competitions — including the 2020 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography.

“We are a voice for wildflowers and the life that depends on them,” Badger says. “As award-winning conservation photographers, our lives are dedicated to creating change with our images.”

Nonprofit organization Exhibit Envoy began hosting Winter and Badger’s traveling educational exhibit, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” in 2018. The show has been seen by more than 45,000 people so far, and the San Diego Natural History Museum is creating a large-print version of the exhibit, expected to open in early 2021.

“This has always been about the power of art and storytelling — about educating and motivating people,” Winter says. “It’s exciting to see how it’s grown.”

Published by: Clark Now

"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/blog-posts-nita-winter-s-wildflower-photography-is-a-blooming-success Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:17:56 GMT
A voice for wildflowers:Marin City photographers see their work as ‘art to action’ on climate change https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/despite-11-month-closure-natural-history-museum-has-been-a-beehive-of-activity By Vicki Larson   MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL   Mach 27, 2019

Melting ice caps, drought, rising sea levels and wildfires are what usually come to mind when we hear about climate change.

Photographers Nita Winter and Rob Badger would like you to think about wildflowers instead.

Not because they’re beautiful to look at, but because climate change is changing their habitat and that has huge consequences for all sorts of wildlife that depend on them.

Scarlet fritillary (Fritillaria recurva)_rufous hummingbird_02_tablerocks blm_OR_K3D0205_x1080Scarlet fritillary (Fritillaria recurva)_rufous hummingbird_02_tablerocks blm_OR_K3D0205_x1080Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) and Scarlet fritillary (Fritillaria recurva) wildflowers, black background, Upper Table Rocks, BLM and Nature Conservancy land. The Table Rocks were designated in 1984 as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern to protect special plants and animal species, unique geologic and scenic values, and education opportunities. The Table Rocks are now owned and collaboratively managed by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Oregon, United States

Photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter

File #:

_K3D0205


Authors of "Beauty and Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change" coffee table book. Part of Rob Badger and Nita Winter's fine art documentary photography project "Beauty and Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change" a sponsored project of Blue Earth Alliance.

Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis,

A Rufous hummingbird gathers nectar from a scarlet fritillary plant at Upper Table Rocks in Oregon.

 

A collection of their wildflower photography and native landscapes will be on display in a traveling exhibit, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” at Sausalito’s Bay Model from April 2 through June 1, in conjunction with the Marin chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

The longtime Marin City couple, both professionally and personally, are also working on a coffee table book by the same name featuring their work and essays by various writers and scientists.

photo 9photo 9Photo by Rob Badger
Tiburon Mariposa lily, endemic to Ring Mountain Marin County Open Space District.

Tiburon Mariposa lily, endemic to Ring Mountain Marin County Open Space District.

 

Badger first got interested in photographing wildflowers in 1992, while visiting Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve while it was in the middle of a super bloom.

“It was just an incredible bloom with a great variety of flowers. I’d never seen anything like that before,” says Badger, who has been a longtime nature and environmental photographer.

photo 10photo 10Photo by Rob Badger
Calypso orchids, also known as fairy slipper or Venus' slipper, photographed at Mount Tamalpais State Park.

Calypso orchids, also known as fairy slipper or Venus' slipper, photographed at Mount Tamalpais State Park.
 

It impressed them so much that when there was another “100 Year” bloom six years later, they spent a month photographing wildflowers in Death Valley, Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego parks.

“At that point we were completely hooked and said, OK, let’s focus on this,” Winter says.

photo 11photo 11Photo by Luz Elena Castro
Rob Badger and Nita Winter have been working on a 17- year project, "Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change."

Marin City photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter have been working on a 17- year project, "Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change." 

 

But they didn’t want to just focus on wildflowers without a purpose; they were looking for a way to use their photography to help further their commitment to creating healthy communities, whether for humans or the natural world.

When they connected about eight years ago with Blue Earth Alliance, a nonprofit that provides funding for documentary photographers and filmmakers whose work highlights environmental and social issues, the couple found their mission — to use their wildflower imagery to educate, attract attention and inspire people to take action against climate change.

“Climate change was coming more into the fore of people’s awareness and I was really curious how was this going to affect the wildflowers in the state,” Badger says.

photo 12photo 12Photo by Rob Badger
Limantour Lagoon at Point Reyes National Seashore at sunrise.

Limantour Lagoon at Point Reyes National Seashore at sunrise.
 

It wasn’t too hard to see what years of drought and years of intense rains have done to our wildflowers, they say.

Wildflower habitats are slowly being invaded by non-local and non-native species as the climate changes, they note. This is affecting the timing of regularly occurring, seasonal events such as snow melt and leafing, known as phenology, and the wildlife that depend on those events for survival.

“For example, hummingbirds migrate from one place to the other looking for food knowing that the flowers will be there to give them nectar to fuel them on their migration. Well, as climate change happens and the snow melt comes earlier, spring comes earlier; by the time the birds get there, the flowers have already germinated and gone to seed and withered and died,” Badger, 71, says. “So the whole phenology, the timing, has changed.”

photo 13photo 13Photo by Rob Badger
Tidy tips wildflowers at dusk atop Ring Mountain Open Space Reserve.

Tidy tips wildflowers at dusk atop Ring Mountain Open Space Reserve.
 

“We’re really concerned about their survival,” adds Winter, 64, whose “Faces” project, featuring portraits of Marin City, Canal and Novato residents to highlight the county’s diversity, lined Marin’s streets in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

Badger and Winter hope their works inspire others to see the importance of wildflowers so they’ll be concerned about their survival, too.

 

photo 14photo 14Photo by Rob Badger
Fog flows into lower Tennessee Valley as seen from the Coastal Trail at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Fog flows into lower Tennessee Valley as seen from the Coastal Trail at the Golden Gate National Recreation

 

So far, more than 40,000 people across the state have seen their wildflower photographs since they were first exhibited in January 2016 at the San Francisco Main Library.

“An extremely important part of the exhibit is its educational aspect,” Badger says.

“We call it art to action,” Winter says. “It’s in our blood. We have to do it.”

photo 15photo 15Western azalea wildflower blossoms along Old Stage Road atop Mount Tamalpais.
Photo by Rob Badger

Western azalea wildflower blossoms along Old Stage Road atop Mount Tamalpais.

 

On their website, the couple note that some predict we may lose 20 to 30 percent of our native plant species by the end of the century if the impacts of climate warming aren’t addressed quickly.

Still, they say they see hope in wilderness and wildflowers.

“Our goal is to give people a truly enjoyable experience when they see the beauty that is on our public lands. Almost all the photography we’ve done has been on public lands,” Badger says.

“The purpose of the exhibit is basically to inspire appreciation for the beauty and the life that’s out there, and to inspire action with regard to conservation and climate change. And to enjoy doing it, to find joy, some satisfaction in just doing the smallest thing.”

Giant Red Paintbrush_Castilleja miniata_Wildflower blossoms_Inyo National Forest_Sierra Nevada Mountains_California_MK3A6241_x1080Giant Red Paintbrush_Castilleja miniata_Wildflower blossoms_Inyo National Forest_Sierra Nevada Mountains_California_MK3A6241_x1080Giant red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), ÒContactÓ Series, Inyo National Forest, Sierra Nevada, Inyo County, California. July Photographer Rob Badger

ÒCONTACTÓ SERIES, a handheld, spontaneous process with unpredictable results. Without harming the blossom, I take great care to very gently bring the front of the lens in contact with the flower. This results in a soft and translucent, abstract representation of the blossoms, with only selected areas in focus. I can usually create an image worth keeping in less than ten minutes. Ò Rob Badger

Part of Traveling exhibit and/or coffee table book:
Beauty and The Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change by Rob Badger and Nita Winter
© The Winter Badger Press co-published CNPS California Native Plant Society

Authors: Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis,

Great red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) photographed at the Inyo National Forest.
 

IF YOU GO

What: “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change”

Where: Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito

When: April 2 through June 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Tuesdays through Saturdays

Admission: Free

Information: 415-332-3871

Published by: Marin Independent Journal

“Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change” traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.



 


 


 


 


 

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/despite-11-month-closure-natural-history-museum-has-been-a-beehive-of-activity Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:12:22 GMT
North Bay photographers’ new book captures diversity of native flowers, encourages conservation https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/north-bay-photographers By Meg McConahey   THE PRESS DEMOCRAT   January 15, 2021
 

Field of California Poppies in burn recovery area Pepperwood Preserve Sonoma County CA _DSC0820_x1550Field of California Poppies in burn recovery area Pepperwood Preserve Sonoma County CA _DSC0820_x1550

Field of California Poppies in burn recovery area, Pepperwood Preserve, Sonoma County, California, USA. (Rob Badger)

 

It was just another shoot for nature photographer Rob Badger as he headed down to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve back in 1992. But when he arrived at the state reserve in northern Los Angeles County, he was gobsmacked by the extravagance of its wildflowers — which is saying something for a veteran shooter accustomed to training his lenses on the earth’s wonders.

The reserve was experiencing a super bloom, when above-average rainfall in areas of desert and chaparral germinate seeds that may have been lying dormant for years in the soil. The result is a riot of wildflowers.

That night, Badger called his life partner, fellow photographer Nita Winter, and gushed about the spectacle he had just witnessed.

“I told her that I had never seen such an expanse of these glowing California poppies, going off into the distance in waves. The wind was blowing them so you could see these waves of color,” he recalled. “It was an amazing sight.”

Badger was so bewitched that he scurried home to Marin County to fetch Nita and bring her back to the poppy reserve to share the wildflower show while it was still blazing. With wildflowers, the bloom can vanish quickly with sudden heat or drying wind.

The handful of days they spent capturing the vision on film ignited a quest to learn more. In the last 28 years they have traveled up and down the state with their camera equipment, documenting native wildflowers in their many forms on public lands, including at Santa Rosa’s Pepperwood Preserve. They’ve documented more than 400 different wildflowers.


leopard liliesleopard lilies

Leopard Lily white background, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Marin County, California. Part of Traveling exhibit and/or coffee table book:Beauty and The Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change by (Rob Badger) and Nita Winter© The Winter Badger Press co-published CNPS California Native Plant SocietyAuthors: Peter Raven, Jose Gonzalez, Wendy Tokuda, Kenna Kuhn, Kitty Connolly, Erin Schrode, Dr. Margaret Leinen, Will Rogers, Gordon Leppig, Susan Tweit, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Genevieve Arnold, Ryan Burnett, Doug Tallamy, Ileene Andersen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Amber Pairis
 

Several years ago they collected some of their best photos into a traveling art exhibit. They now have compiled them into a 12-by-12 inch coffee-table book, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.” Copublished with The California Native Plant Society, the 264-page book pairs 190 photos with essays from 16 notable environmental writers, activists and scientists to show the perilous impact of climate change on California’s spectacularly diverse wildflower populations.

It is a visual tour of the state’s biodiverse wildflower habitats, illustrated with everything from delicate close-ups showing the natural artistry of flower forms to colorful panoramas of super blooms. But it also serves as a call to action. Wildflowers are threatened by climate change, development and other environmental forces, including the hoards of people who flock to see the wildflowers, particular during super blooms.

The pair have received numerous awards for their work, including the 2020 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, conferred by The Sierra Club.

A diverse climate

Caticularly fertile ground for wildflowers. The golden poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is the official state flower. California’s nickname, the Golden State, was inspired not only by the gold rush of 1849 and the Golden Gate strait, but by the golden poppies that brighten the landscape every summer.

Because of its size and vast diversity of climate and geography, from mountains and deserts to ocean and forests, California has more native plant species than any state in the union. Many of them are found nowhere else on earth, said Dan Gluesenkamp, executive director of the California Native Plant Society, in the book’s introduction. Scientists, he added, say it is one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots.

Because of their captivating charm, the state’s wildflowers can serve as ambassadors of the natural world and call attention to environmental threats of all kinds.

“The whole concept (of the book) was to use images of wildflowers to attract attention (and) have people fall in love with them in a way that would educate and inspire action,” Winter said.

“Rob and I had both been using our photography for advocacy purposes,” she added.

In the tradition of Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange, Winter had focused on telling stories of the Bay Area’s diverse communities, beginning with “Children of the Tenderloin” in the 1980s. But with a degree in biology, she was drawn to nature’s diversity as well.

Badger has excelled as an environmental photographer, creating evocative images for the National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land. In 1998 he was one of three American photographers chosen to document the vast and little-known nature preserves in European Russia and Siberia.

Super blooms

People have come to love the super blooms, so much so that they overrun parks like Anza-Borrego and Joshua Tree. These blooms used to be very rare events but now happen once a decade or even more frequently, due to climate change. And those hard rainy seasons have a downside, inviting invasive and other nonnative species that can quickly overtake a wildflower habitat, Badger said.

Badger and Winter aimed to make the book accessible for a wide range of people. Twenty-something Kenna Huhn contributed a piece, “Hope, Joy and Inspiration,” as did octogenarian Peter Raven. The president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Raven also is on the advisory board of Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen.

In the book, vistas of wildflowers appear as broad strokes painted on hillsides and plains and meadows. But the many botanical close-ups celebrate their intricate individuality, like that of the purple owl’s clover (Castilleja exserta) they captured in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Marin County and the sky lupine and California poppies they photographed in an ecological preserve in Butte County. They also show us Indian pink on Mt. Tamalpais and Franciscan paintbrush in the Golden Gate recreation area.

Badger and Winter want the book to serve as a call to action to help preserve these precious objects of natural beauty. The state is increasingly vulnerable to droughts and wildfires due to climate change. Extreme temperatures stress wildflower populations, leading to lower rates of reproduction, more die-offs, and vulnerability to predators, disease, and invasive species.

checkerbloomcheckerbloom


Checkerbloom, Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve, Corte Madera, Marin County, California. (Rob Badger and Nita Winter)

For home gardens

Although all of the wildflowers shown in the book were photographed in their natural habitat in public parks and preserves, many of these wildflowers can be grown in home landscapes. Owl’s clover, part of the genus Castillaja that includes Indian paintbrush, attracts bees and butterflies and is a crucial host plant for the threatened Bay checkerspot butterfly.

Helpfully, the book offers a couple of chapters geared to gardeners who might want to do their bit by planting wildflowers in their own yards.

Kitty Connolly, executive director of the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants in the San Fernando Valley, wrote a chapter called “Wildflowers at Home.” The American West, she said, is becoming drier. Half the urban water available is used for landscaping, but home gardeners can cut their water use in half, even up to 70%, by planting native plants. Wildflowers make a ”delightful ephemeral element“ amid the sturdy perennials, she wrote.

“The brilliance of poppies makes them classics, nicely complementing the muted gray-green leaves of buckwheat, sage and sagebrush. For a spectacular show, contrast orange poppies with blue or purple lupines, phacella or baby blue eyes. Sow seeds of tidy tips or goldfields to grow a sea of golden light,” she wrote.

The National Wildlife Federation provided an essay on pollinators as “the unsung heroes of our gardens, fields and farms.” Planting native wildflowers along with native trees and shrubs provides nectar and pollen for the bees, butterflies, birds and insects that fertilize plant life.

Badger and Winter traversed the state to capture the huge diversity of wildflowers. But they took many of the photos in the North Bay, to show wildflowers expressly adapted to the region.

They spent time at the 3,200-acre Pepperwood Preserve, located on the ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains on the north edge of Santa Rosa.

“We wanted to include a section in the book on wildflower recovery, and Pepperwood had just burned in the Tubbs fire,” Winter said.

Some wildflowers, such as fireweed and lupine, thrive on burned-bare ground by using the phosphorus and nitrogen in the ash, wrote Susan J. Tweet, an environmental writer exploring “Phoenix from Ashes” in the book. She wrote about “fire follower” wildflowers, such as those that sprout only after wildfires, and otherwise-hidden wildflowers that are revealed after fires. Some are germinated by the heat. Others, she wrote, are awakened by the “smell” or organic compounds in the smoke. The seeds of golden eardrops, she said, can sprout after only 10 minutes of exposure.

January brings a new year of wildflower blooms. Look closely and you might see baby blue eyes, hound’s tongue and trillium.

“We found flowers blooming every month of the year. We noticed just in Marin, flowers start blooming in January and as weather changes in spring, you get more and different flowers,” Badger said. “We can be photographing wildflower blooms in the mountains as late as September.”

For those who might like to bring the beauty of a wildflower display indoors, the photographic duo also creates installations for healthcare facilities, civic centers, public art displays and private homes. They sell fine art prints of their wildflower and nature photography at winterbadger.com. The book also can be purchased at bit.ly/3i6wFl2

You can reach Staff Writer Meg McConahey at 707-521-5204 or meg.mcconahey@pressdemocrat.com. OnTwitter @megmcconahey.

Published by: The Press Democrat

"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.


 

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/north-bay-photographers Thu, 08 Apr 2021 07:55:00 GMT
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST CALIFORNIA WILDFLOWERS AND CLIMATE CHANGE https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/beauty-and-the-beast-california-wildflowers-and-climate-change Field of wildflowers_California Poppies and Lupine_Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve_California_K3B7247_Rob BadgerField of wildflowers_California Poppies and Lupine_Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve_California_K3B7247_Rob BadgerField of wildflowers, California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), Lupine (Lupinus bicolor) and Desert Goldfields (Lasthenia californica), with snow on the San Bernadino Mountains. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Los Angeles County, California, USA

 

Reviewed by Kristine Morris   FOREWORD REVIEWS   June 2020

Beauty and the Beast is the story of an imperiled glory. Part of an inspiring documentary art project created by conservation photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter, it highlights California’s famed wildflower “superblooms” that, when conditions are favorable, herald the arrival of spring with a riotous display of color.

Shimmering in vast waves across the landscape or revealing their intricacies in intimate portraits of a single bloom, the wildflowers were all photographed in natural light using harm-free methods that are shared in detail at the end of the book. Eighteen short, insightful essays by a diverse group of scientists and nature writers tell the stories of these imperiled wildflowers and inspire action with suggestions for helping to tame “the beast.”

The book celebrates California’s remarkable biodiversity. Home to more native plant species than any other state, its varied landscapes—cool north-facing mountain slopes, scorching desert terrain, bay estuaries, and beaches—are the result of millennia of tectonic upheavals. The resulting microclimates have sheltered ancient organisms that are now extinct everywhere else, though they are now under threat as overconsumption destroys natural habitats, pollutes, and wreaks havoc on ecosystems.

While Earth’s long and tumultuous evolution has always included periods of climate change, the book reveals that what is happening now is different. Sped up by human activity, climate change is occurring much faster than ever before, leaving plants without the time they need to adapt to changing conditions or migrate to environments better suited to them.

Sensitive and thought provoking, Beauty and the Beast is a delight for the eyes and nourishment for the soul—a strong reminder of fragile beauty on the cusp of destruction, given in the hope that people will be moved to care and then to act on its behalf.

Reviewed by: Foreword Reviews

"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" traveling exhibit which just opened at the Los Altos History Museum Check on the museums restricted hours and make a reservation before visiting the exhibit.  https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibit/beauty-and-the-beast/  

Our virtual talk: 27 Year Wildflower Journey, hosted by the museum, is scheduled for 5 PM, March 18th, 2020.  It is one of three related talks, including What is Citizen Science? by one of our authors, Mary Ellen Hannibal, at 5 pm on Earth Day, April 22nd.

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) book California climate change close-ups coffee exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks nita Nita Winter photography public land Rob Badger table wildflowers winter https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2021/4/beauty-and-the-beast-california-wildflowers-and-climate-change Thu, 08 Apr 2021 06:28:21 GMT
Rob and Nita Featured on NBC-TV's OpenRoad https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2016/5/rob-and-nita-featured-on-nbc-tvs-openroad For those who missed the TV program, live outside the San Francisco Bay Area, or just want to see it again (aren't we vain?), we are proud to share our 4 minute interview with Doug McConnell. We were featured artists on NBC's OpenRoad on May 15th, 2016.

We love the wonderful places and people Doug, and his team, offer his viewers every Sunday at 6:30PM on Bay Area's Channel 3 (NBC). You can visit OpenRoad's website for additional episodes of this great series.

Next week we'll share the story behind the marmot eating the wildflowers (his agent is now pushing for royalties and future gigs).

If you so desire, we hope you'll enjoy sharing the video with others.

Oh yes, due to the high demand for Zorro's autograph we are posting his photo here.

Zorro's autographed photo: Beanie Baby monkey in director's chair. He is dressed in red overalls and hat with a turquoise checkered scarf.Zorro's Autographed PhotoZorro, Rob Badger's Spiritual Advisor and Art Critic

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) :Mt alpine blossoms California conservation photography Death Valley Doug McConnell fine art photography flowers Gorman interview iris KIa landscapes lupine Marmot mountains National national parks natural world nature NBC Nita Winter OpenRoad Park" public lands public parks Rainier Rob Badger wildflowers wildlife https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2016/5/rob-and-nita-featured-on-nbc-tvs-openroad Sat, 21 May 2016 04:38:49 GMT
Rob Badger and Nita Winter Featured on NBC's OpenRoad with Doug McConnell https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2016/5/rob-badger-and-nita-winter-featured-on-nbcs-openroad-with-doug-mcconnell Come Join Us on NBC's OpenRoad with Doug McConnell.

 This Sunday, May 15th at 6:30pm on Bay Area Channel 3.

Repeated on July 10th.

 

Rob Badger and Nita Winter Featured on NBC's OpenRoad with Doug McConnell.Fine Art and Conservation Photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter Featured on NBC's OpenRoad with Doug McConnell. Watch us on May 15th at 6:30pm. Repeated on July 10th.

May 15th, 2016

"A new episode featuring our horseback ride in Solano County, redwood discoveries with

Steve Abbors, the efforts of Bay Area Wilderness Training to make camping and

outdoor adventure accessible to young people everywhere in the region, and Rob

Badger’s and Nita Winter’s photographs of flowers and landscapes in California." 

~ Doug McConnell

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(WinterBadger Collection) California Doug McConnell NBC-TV Nita Winter OpenRoads Rob Badger climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks photography public land wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2016/5/rob-badger-and-nita-winter-featured-on-nbcs-openroad-with-doug-mcconnell Mon, 09 May 2016 23:35:00 GMT
Thank you to our 3,700 visitors https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2016/5/thank-you-to-our-3-700-visitors Thank you to the 3,700 visitors who attended our "Beauty and the Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change" exhibit at the Jewett Gallery, San Francisco Main Public Library. We are grateful to all who helped create this exhibit and spread the word.

 

Front of gallery_SFPLibrary_03_2016_IMG_0942_x1200Front of gallery_SFPLibrary_03_2016_IMG_0942_x1200"Beauty and Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change" exhibit at the Jewett Gallery, San Francisco Main Library. Part of Rob Badger and Nita Winter's fine art documentary photography project "Beauty and Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change" a sponsored project of Blue Earth Alliance.

Scarlet Fritillary (Fritillaria recurva) plant with three blossoms, and Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), Upper Table Rocks, BLM and Nature Conservancy land. The Table Rocks were designated in 1984 as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) to protect special plants and animal species, unique geologic and scenic values, and education opportunities. the Table Rocks are now owned and collaboratively managed by the Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Oregon, United States

We wanted to share some of the many entries in our guest book:

"Your exquisite collection has made me even more of a fanatical flower lover than ever before.  Best we do what is ultimately necessary to change our overall outlook towards saving this great state of my homeland. I can not thank you enough…"   ~Anonymous

“Quite lively. I especially enjoyed the different ways of viewing and photographing. I will look at all flowers with new eyes!” ~ Ros W., Catskills, NY

"What an amazing exhibit. Opened my eyes and brain. A hummingbird is doing its part why can’t humans!"  ~ DZ

“Absolutely spectacular exhibit! Thank you for reminding us of the importance and beauty of our native flowers and the need to protect them.”  ~ Dorothy D.

"Came with students from Concord, they loved it.  Thank you."

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) California Nita Winter Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography landscapes mountains national parks photography public land wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2016/5/thank-you-to-our-3-700-visitors Mon, 09 May 2016 23:06:03 GMT
Beauty and the Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change Exhibit https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2016/1/californias-wildflowers-exhibit wildflowers_exhibit postcard_front_x700wildflowers_exhibit postcard_front_x700"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" exhibit announcement (postcard front). Jewett Gallery, San Francisco Main Public Library January 23- March 27, 2016

Presented by The Wallace Stegner Environmental Center of the San Francisco Public Library.

Sponsored by:
Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, Blue Earth Alliance, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Marin Clean Energy, California Native Plant Society, California State Parks Foundation, Hahnemühle, and Think Tank Photo.

Postcard designed by Ellen Reilly

Scarlet Fritillary (Fritillaria recurva) plant with three blossoms, and Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), Upper Table Rocks, BLM and Nature Conservancy land. The Table Rocks were designated in 1984 as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) to protect special plants and animal species, unique geologic and scenic values, and education opportunities. the Table Rocks are now owned and collaboratively managed by the Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Oregon, United States

For those of you who couldn't make it to the opening of our current exhibit: "Beauty and the Beast: California's Wildflowers and Climate Change" at the Jewett Gallery, San Francisco Main Public Library here is a short intro and the slideshow/lecture.

We are so proud of this 100 image exhibit we created featuring California and San Francisco Bay Area wildflowers. Thank you to all those who helped us produce informational maps and text panels.  Enjoy!

Intro

 

Lecture

 

 

wildflowers climate change exhibit postcard_x1200wildflowers climate change exhibit postcard_x1200"Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change" exhibit announcement (postcard back). Jewett Gallery, San Francisco Main Public Library January 23- March 27, 2016

Presented by The Wallace Stegner Environmental Center of the San Francisco Public Library.

Sponsored by:
Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, Blue Earth Alliance, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Marin Clean Energy, California Native Plant Society, California State Parks Foundation, Hahnemühle, and Think Tank Photo.

Postcard designed by Ellen Reilly

Scarlet Fritillary (Fritillaria recurva) plant with three blossoms, and Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), Upper Table Rocks, BLM and Nature Conservancy land. The Table Rocks were designated in 1984 as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) to protect special plants and animal species, unique geologic and scenic values, and education opportunities. the Table Rocks are now owned and collaboratively managed by the Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Oregon, United States

 

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(WinterBadger Collection) California Nita Winter Rob Badger San Francisco Public Library climate change close-ups exhibit fine art photography mountains national parks photography public land wildflowers https://www.winterbadger.com/blog/2016/1/californias-wildflowers-exhibit Thu, 28 Jan 2016 19:54:47 GMT