They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and while I don’t disagree with the sentiment, I must say that I find listening to National Geographic photographers speak about their projects as fascinating (if not more fascinating!) than the photos themselves.
We just got back from a National Geographic Live presentation entitled Beauty and the Bizarre with photographer Anand Varma. This is the fourth or fifth Nat Geo Live presentation we’ve attended and they’ve all been great in their own way.
A lot of you already know that I love creepy crawly things. I enjoy gardening – as much for the insects as I do for the flowers. Sitting in my backyard with a cup of tea watching the bumblebees and ladybugs going about their day is my idea of meditation… but I enjoy wiggly worms and creepy spiders just as much as I do the prettier bugs. There’s a very cool type of spider that inhabits my backyard – it changes colors to blend in with the coloring of the flower it’s sitting on – it’s called the Goldenrod Crab Spider and I love playing Where’s Waldo on a sunny summer afternoon, trying to spot them amongst the petals.
The Beauty and the Bizarre presentation included four topics:
- Mind controlling parasites – insects that control other insects and fungus that control insects and plants. It was my favorite part of the show… gosh, parasitic wasps are cool!
- Honeybees – a fascinating look at the research being done on the decline in honeybee populations.
- Bats – great photos and the difficulty in capturing images of these nocturnal animals.
- Hummingbirds – this was Darren’s favorite part of the show. The way they fly is incredible especially when viewed through slowed down video or stop motion photography.
The presentation was done in mid afternoon on a Sunday so there were lots of kids in attendance – all of whom seemed captivated by the stories and the photos. What a great way to inspire a child interested in film, photography or biology.
National Geographic presenters are, in my experience, great presenters. They are part artist, part scientist – part story teller and part activist. All these attributes appeal to school aged children in a way that, in my opinion, simple photos in a magazine just can’t. The presenters are passionate about their projects and most have spent months, if not years, becoming familiar with the subjects they are photographing.
Nat Geo Live presentations are given in most cities, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one near you. If you’ve never been to one, you should check it out.
(I’m not associated with Nat Geo and I don’t get paid to write this… I just went to one this afternoon, thought it was cool and figured I’d share!)