Monday, November 1, 2010

Picture this

I’m a big proponent of photographic books (those oversized, glossy-paged coffee table types) as a point of engagement in classrooms for all ages.  A ‘discrepant event’ captured in a photograph can be a way to stimulate questions, critical thinking and discussion.

One of my latest favourites is I dreamed of flying like a bird by Robert B. Haas (779.32 HaI 2010).  It’s written for middle grades students (ages 9 and up) in an easy-to-read style.  This adventurer, specializing in aerial photography (he likes hanging out of helicopters and small planes to get his shots), fills us in on the stories behind his photos.   He travels the world, from Africa to Alaska, Latin America to Greenland, taking photographs of animals from this unique vantage point to “capture from the air exactly what I am looking for – a group of special images to bring back and share with my readers.” (p.58)

My all-time-favourite picture is of a large flock of pink flamingos. The large flock is, walking in shallow water, continually moving so that varying loosely-formed shapes are made.  Just before Haas leaves the site, the flock of flamingos forms a shape that looks like a pink flamingo! Amazing!  You have to love how serendipity plays out sometimes.

When Haas describes the excitement (and trepidation, as the gas begins running low as they wait to see the outcome) of capturing images of lions hunting African buffaloes, we can sense his appreciation of witnessing this rarely seen event from the air.

Throughout the book we come to know his passion for animals, wilderness, diverse landscapes and photography.  As he gets behind a camera, he allows us to get a snapshot of what goes on in the mind of a world-class nature photographer.

Brilliant and totally accessible.

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shelf-employed said...

I loved this book, too! The picture of the flamingoes is amazing.

Tammy Flanders said...

The first time I saw the flamingos, I thought the photo had been fixed in Photoshop. The story behind the the photos just make them that much better.
Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca.

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