Wednesday, June 27, 2012

pressing flowers

This month's accretionary wedge is about field notes. Jennifer at Fuzzy Science mentioned that she kept two field logbooks: one for the science observations, and one for the more personal observations.

I've never been one to keep a travel journal, and my field notes tend to be relatively dry - they're owned by my employer and subject to be rifled through during discovery for potential litigation, so I don't have a lot of local color in my field notes. You can get a pretty good sense for when I'm having a bad day, though, because you'll find a lot of pointed "spoke to person X, who told me this, and then person Y told me something completely different, and then because of conflicting directives, this other thing got missed".

Back when I was in my field study course in college, I was pretty careful to follow the requirements for logbooks - numbering pages, having thorough observations and maps, and recording things like temperature and time. I didn't have a lot of side observations. One thing I did was collect flowers and press them in the pages of my logbook.

This was back in the day of non-digital photography (remember then?) and I'd been conserving my film so that I wouldn't miss anything spectacular while I was out in the field. Then my camera died right at the end of the first roll of exotic field photographs, and I lost the entire roll and the use of my camera for the rest of the trip. When I returned home and got to a camera shop, my camera was diagnosed with a terminal case of "sand in everything", so my only mementos of that time are those pressed flowers I kept.

In lieu of photos of me doing fieldwork (since I didn't have any), here's a photo of what killed my camera (from NPS photo):

It was a lovely way to go, I'll admit!


JW said...

That is a lovely photo! And I, too, know the sadness of camera death by sand. Thanks for writing :)

Sumo Services said...

Ah, I can remember the good old days before digital photography. Had I not kept extensive and highly descriptive journals, I would not have had anything to remember those precious experiences by. By the by, my camera got victimised by sand too. Good thing I got it fixed.