He’s got it down to a science, and it comes out as iconic art. Former back-country ranger in Glacier National Park, writer/outdoor photographer/Airstreamer Bert Gildart has been providing spectacular photos and enriching stories for Airstream Life ever since it’s first issue in 2004, right up to his current article in the Fall 2012 issue, “Dark Skies – Deep in the Heart of America with Your Airstream”.
Last December I got a chance to observe Bert’s science and artistry up close as we hiked Moonlight Canyon Trail at Agua Caliente County Park in Southern California and came upon Bighorn Sheep and glorious California Fuchsia. I got another chance last month when Bert and Janie joined us for 5 days of camping here. Bert and I decided to go on a slow, early morning hike to avoid the midday heat while looking for interesting subjects. Janie had already found one on the other side of the road across from their trailer, a Desert Shaggy Mane Mushroom, Podaxis pistillaris, pushing its fruiting body up after the previous week’s rain. When it dries out, it will release its spores.
According to Wikipedia, “The monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south as the birds do on a regular basis.” (Note: the Monarch can be distinguished from the co-mimic Viceroy butterfly by the lack of a black line running across the veins of the hind wing.)
“Suddenly, we saw butterflies and then, a few steps further, we found the most lavish growth of California Fuchsia I have ever seen…”, writes Bert in his weblog article, “Limiting Factors Check A Population’s Expansion…“, which includes his beautiful and colorful close-up images.
Bert’s artistry and “science”, such as his camera, settings, and use of strobes, are detailed in my article, “Photographic artistry of Bert Gildart“. Bert now has a new and lighter tripod, a Gitzo Series 2 Carbon Fiber 6X Explorer with 3-section legs, and he says he carries it everywhere. Bert selected a BH-30 LR Ballhead with lever-release clamp for his tripod. He says, “… it’s expensive, but I use it all the time for fine adjustments, and at this stage of my life I said what the heck.” (A similar set up is demonstrated here.)
Bert tells me that he will be presenting a two-part seminar on photography at Alumafiesta in Tucson, Arizona, in February. The first part will be an hour long slide presentation on where photography has taken him around the world (such as Egypt) and will cover lighting, composition, and modern techniques that are available to people using Photoshop and Lightroom. The presentation will conclude with how Bert assembles an article for Native Peoples Magazine. The next day, Bert plans to lead a photographic field trip, utilizing the techniques that were discussed the day before.
Through his photos and stories, Bert has captured the beauty of nature and native peoples, even as they are being threatened on many fronts. Bert Gildart’s art underscores the importance of recommitting to the preservation of our national parks and icons, such as the spectacular Glacier National Park!