Nov 092015

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta get out of the lab. After another busy summer (which, by the way, disappeared altogether too quickly), my wife and I decided to get away and visit a good friend in Northern California a few weeks ago. While we were in the area, I also made time to visit with friends and colleagues in a trio of museums along the way, and spend some time working through their collections looking for specimens to include in my research. It’s been awhile since I took my camera out of my bag and put it to use, and even longer since I shared a whole series of photos here on the blog, so I thought it might be a good opportunity to share some of what we saw and did!

Although we flew into Sacramento, we set out right away for the coast and spent some time exploring San Francisco. After exploring the Golden Gate area & Sausalito for lunch, we made our way back to the wharf in time for dinner. Pier 39 at sunset proved to be a good decision, and we managed to escape the Fog for our entire visit to the area, resulting in some pretty spectacular views.

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Jul 262011

Ryan FleacrestI’m busy. Not just a little busy, but really busy.

I’m on track to have 5-6 peer-reviewed papers submitted and/or published by the end of the year, I’m co-authoring a field guide which should be coming out this fall, I’m running a field trial for the first time in my life to help pay the bills while I wait for PhD funding, I can’t say no when asked for help from friends and colleagues, and of course the blog (although lately it’s been slightly neglected; sorry about that). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining and love what I do, and I willingly signed up for all of these projects knowing hoping that time spent now will pay off later when I’m applying for funding and looking for PhD/Post-Doc/Faculty positions.

But with all of these projects on the go, something has had to give, and lately it’s been my photography. After I defended my MSc this spring, I figured I’d have plenty of time to shoot more insects, experiment with a few ideas I’ve been thinking about (when I was supposed to be writing my thesis) and just spend more time in the field relaxing and creating new images to share. As the summer has slipped by (can someone tell me where July went?), photo opportunities have come and gone, and I’ve found myself repeating that there’s always next year…

A recent post by travel photographer and inspirational blogger David duChemin has given me pause however, and made me consider my priorities somewhat. I think it’s one of his best (which is really saying something), and hit close to home. Take the time to give it a read, then come on back (I’ll wait, don’t worry).

Well, what did you think? Amazing that a seemingly small commitment can add up to such a significant amount of time!

While I have dreams of becoming a tenured professor at a mid-sized university teaching, researching, and looking at flies until retirement, I also dream of that perfect photo, and the road trip with no fixed destination or deadline, dreams that seem nearly incompatible with my professional aspirations at times. But an hour a day? I think I could work that in. Whether it’s an hour writing something for the blog, editing photos that have become back-logged, or banking a couple of day’s worth for an afternoon out with my camera, I’m going to do my best to take a breath more often and leave something in the tank for things other than academia. While 45 days in a row could allow a pretty kick ass road trip or South American odyssey, let’s be honest; I’d probably end up with another project on my platter instead. I think the daily hour is a pretty good place to start.

This week’s song fits nicely with the idea of taking time for yourself, and allowing yourself a moment’s peace away from the busy colony life.



That’s it for this week, but I hope you’ll take the time to find an hour a day for yourself and your outside interests. If you’re interested in hearing about my “daily” hours, I’ll try to keep a Tweet-log about my time spent; feel free to follow along (@BioInFocus) or contribute your own journal by using the hashtag #1hr4life.

Have you found yourself passing up opportunities in order to get just one more paper/project/promotion? Feel free to air your thoughts below in the comments.

This week’s song is available on iTunes – Ants Marching – Under the Table and Dreaming

Jul 052010

Howdy Stranger(s)! It’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve got a good excuse: I got married!! Yep, some crazy lady said yes two years ago and June 19 was our big day! We couldn’t have asked for a better day, with beautiful weather (the wedding was on the beach of Lake Huron), lots of friends and family, and all sorts of fun!

Thanks to Adam L. for the photo!

I couldn’t ask for a greater partner to travel through life with, or one who puts up with each and every pause to check out a fly, the hours spent with a camera pressed to my face, and the field trips that take me away. Not to mention she let me use insects as table names, put plastic bugs on the tables to complement the centrepieces and butterflies on the cake! She’s definitely my greatest catch! <3