I gave my presentation on the new book of essays by Roger Tory Peterson last night at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History. RTPI is in RTP's hometown of Jamestown, New York (also the birthplace of Lucille Ball and hometown of Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs). The staff at RTPI made me feel very welcome and comfy and the crowd for both the reception and presentation were kind and enthusiastic. Mon@rch's Blog has a nice recap of the evening and photographic evidence, too.
A huge treat was getting a guided tour of the RTP archives at the institute. Marlene, the archivist, showed me original RTP paintings, correspondence with practically every luminary of the past 80 years, and thousands of books, hundreds of thousands of slides--the lifetime output of a great man.
Working on the book of his BWD column essays, I had a chance to look through lots of Rogers photographs. Compared to the images that you or I can get with our auto-everything cameras by pushing a single button, Rogers images are of moderate quality. He often wrote about his passion for photography and spent countless hours trying to get good shots of birds, insects, and animals. It makes me wonder, given his passion and drive, what kinds of images he'd get today, using the powerful, auto-focus, image stabilized digital cameras.
This morning, I awoke in my Jamestown hotel room to lake-effect snow. There are already 4 inches on the ground and more expected. I'm planning to wait until the roads are plowed before I venture out. The folks at RTPI laughed at me when I told them about the expected snow: "Eight inches? That's nothing! That's just a dusting!" Of course they have lots more experience living with the 200 to 300 inches of snow per year that Chautauqua County, NY gets.
I'm in no hurry today, so I'll take it slow and easy on the highway.
I want to thank Jim Berry and all the kind people at RTPI for having me as part of their lecture series. And I want to encourage Bill of the birds readers to visit the RTPI in Jamestown. It's a pilgrimage well worth making. And in summer, I understand, the area has very little snow.