One year anniversary for our paper on the bees of GSENM

Map of bee species richness in the monument.

It was one year ago today that Joe, Olivia and I published our paper that explores how shrinking and carving up the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument might impact the incredible bee communities that live there. The issues raised in the paper are what took us back to the monument this past summer to continue studying the bees and create our documentary film. Give it a read when you have the chance, it’s open access at https://peerj.com/articles/6057/.

🗺 Joe Wilson

The actual *bees* of GSENM

Image of bees pinned and labeled in collection boxes.

In addition to getting the film put together, there has been a tremendous amount of time and energy put into identifying and labeling all of the specimens that were caught in our eight days on the ground. And here’s a first look at that hard work! Now on to the analysis of this collection, so we can compare our new data with the results of the original study. 📷 Olivia Carril

A peek behind the scenes

Image of film crew, with full gear, in the field.

Sometimes the film crew ends up on the other side of the camera! During our week on the ground, Olivia Carril took an occasional break from collecting bees to capture a few shots of me and Tony Di Zinno, our director of photography, doing our thing. Here we are with full payload, getting ready to head up to the mesa top of Fiftymile Mountain.

Curious what filming in the backcountry was like? Register for the free ioby webinar happening Monday, Oct. 28, for a peek behind the scenes! It’s going to be a great panel discussion about using photos and film to promote any project you’re working on.

📷 Olivia Carril

Animations!

Animation of walking thru mud puddle in slot canyon.

My usual medium for storytelling is print, a beautiful yet frozen form of weaving characters, scenes and events together. Publishing on the web certainly provides a much more dynamic way to share a story – but graphics and GIFs and video are still secondary to the text in the majority of cases.

But making a film – being completely immersed in and driven by visuals – is an amazing experience! The same guidelines for good storytelling still apply. But crating a great story from the raw materials available means drawing on a whole different set of tools. And one of my favorite visual tools in the process so far has been bringing still photos to life through animation!

My inspiration for animating photos is the documentary Valley Uprising. (If you haven’t seen it, do!) Here are a few of the animations I’ve been working on. I don’t know if they’ll all make the cut into the final version of the film. But they’ve been fun to create – and the process of creating them will certainly have contributed to the animations you do ultimately see in the film!