This semester, the UCMP has been excited to host a visiting photographer, UC alum Dave Strauss. A self-described “computer guy” for the last 42 years, he is also an avid naturalist, hiker, and mountain biker. Dave finds inspiration at the UCMP through the opportunity to use his talents to communicate evolutionary and historical knowledge to the broader community.
Collaboration with Dave has provided many opportunities to contribute to science. He has confronted technical challenges photographing unwieldy Triceratops fossil fragments with Assistant Director Mark Goodwin, to photographing tiny tadpoles just beginning to grow their skeletons with graduate student Theresa Grieco. He is also assisting with the CLIR/UCMP archive project, documenting and digitizing historical records, particularly more unusual items like lantern slides (for examples of lantern slides depicting California geology, click here).
Dave’s willingness to experiment with lighting, lenses, and artistry has paid off – he has helped at least 7 different researchers get great images for their work. He finds he is learning more about photography as his paleontology collaborators push the boundaries of optics and camera technology with unusual requests, and he is able to quiz them about the most current research projects going on in the UCMP.
You can find some of Dave Strauss’s work, including images from the UCMP collections, at his website.