My picture of December Roses in our front yard was included is a set showing the effects of a winter that has not seen much cold.
Sparrow Hill Drive, Columbus Ohio. November 17, 2015. Photo by Dennis Dimick/flickr
My preferred seating location when traveling by air is by the window in case something interesting passes below. While traveling to Columbus, Ohio in November 2015 for a visit to Ohio University in Athens, this scene passed by as we approached the Columbus airport.
While it is understandable that local taxing authorities may seek to maximize revenue by packing as many houses as possible into the available space, I am struck by this tight arrangement of houses with negligible open space as part of the plan. Google reveals the main street as Sparrow Hill Drive.
Suffice to say in a world overwhelmed by media, still images retain an amazing power to distill and convey the essence of the human experience, and as seen in this picture above, how we have transformed the planet in our expanding journey across its face.
This power of still photography - the intersection of great ideas and emotional power - was a topic of discussion during my visit with Tom Hodson of WOUB Radio in Athens. My OU visit and slide-show lecture on the emerging Anthropocene epoch was part of GIS Day at the invitation of Geoff Dabelko, and was co-sponsored by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, and the OU Department of Geography.
Further to this theme of planet transformation, I witnessed the scene below in March of 2015. This is Sun City, Arizona where we have colonized a very dry place on a very large scale, and survival here requires imported water from the Colorado River and from depleting aquifers.
The design and impact of our earthly arrangements can often be seen most dramatically from above.
Sun City, Arizona, March 10, 2015. Photo by Dennis Dimick/flickr
My daughter Sofia Dimick’s picture shows me at National Geographic in Washington DC as we retrieved the June 2007 NGM cover that had graced my office for years.
This “Big Thaw” cover picture of melting Greenland ice by James Balog helped launch his Extreme Ice Survey at Earth Vision Institute and was one of several projects we created together to raise awareness of climate change and its impacts.
A great run for me as a picture editor and environment editor at National Geographic ends this month after more than 35 years as a staff member, with more than a dozen books edited, and an uncounted number of National Geographic magazine stories that I originated and/or picture-edited. Some recent highlights: Can Coal Ever Be Clean?, Western U.S. snow failure, the U.S. Wilderness system at 50, the future of the world food supply, the effect of rising seas, and what we learn from remote sensing images.
Some earlier major projects included global warming, world freshwater, and world population. A National Geographic PROOF blog post of mine from December 2013 details many environmental stories produced since 1996 in team with photographer Peter Essick. A recent PROOF post highlights a favorite picture of mine by Jim Richardson of two farmers facing a looming Great Plains storm.
In the past year or so I also wrote online pieces on a range of environmental issues: vanishing aquifers, drought as an underrated crisis in media narrative, shrinking western snowpacks, world population and natural resources, carrying capacity in the anthropocene, and the need for more agricultural research to feed a hungry world.
It's been an awesome and humbling experience collaborating with so many of you to document and report on the great environmental issues of our time. Thank you for your amazing contributions and passion, none of this would have occurred without you.
Now it is time to go. Not to "retire," but time for new adventures. 🌎
(This is an expansion and revision of an original posting at my Instagram account from December 18, 2015.)
Poor conservation practices on farmland lead to soil erosion from water run-off. USDA/flickr
My latest piece at National Geographic looks at soil erosion: Do We Treat Our Soil Like Dirt?
"...We lavish attention on our food, we want to know where it came from, who grew it, and whether it is “conventional” or “organic.” But we give hardly a passing thought to the ground our food grew in...."
"Try to imagine how life would change if your water supply suddenly vanished."
In 1967 photographer Tor Eigeland visited the marshes of southern Iraq. The resulting photographs of this now vanished landscape and way of life have been mostly unseen until now. I write about his pictures and visit for National Geographic Proof. Eigeland's pictures and recollections of the trip have been published in a new book called "When All the Lands Were Sea."
Books published from previous Missouri Photo Workshops. Details here.
For students at Missouri Photo Workshop 67 in Perryville, Missouri, this PDF file shows the structure and outline of my Keynote presentation of September 20, 2015. You can download at this link:
The Missouri Photo Workshop is a week-long educational immersion in techniques of documentary photography, in-depth narrative story-telling with a camera. MPW has been documenting small-town America for more than six decades, and you can find out more about this oldest of photographic workshops here. We will be in Perryville, Missouri the week of September 20-27, 2015.