4.5 billion years, 18 months, in 4 minutes on Indiana Nature Photography

Despite a barely used, brand-new, high-end zoom lens in its case on my office couch, a sunless last week of classes kept me off the trail the past seven days. Honestly, successfully shepherding 30 student projects across the deadline doesn’t leave much time for outdoor exploration. So, it wasn’t likely to happen anyway.

Instead, what nature time I had was spent wrapping my head around 4.5 billion years of history – and distilling it and my past 18 months of Indiana eco-travel into a four-minute slide show at IndianaNaturePhotography.com, which I share with my friend, landscape photographer Gary Morrison.

I’ve been researching and writing the geology section of the Northern Indiana Landscape chapter for the guidebook project. Here are some highlights:

  • The earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old.
  • The oldest evidence of life on the planet is 3.7 billion years old – a fossil discovered just this year in Greenland.
  • The tectonic plate on which Indiana’s land mass sits – the North American Plate – is one of 13 that form the earth’s crust.
  • Indiana’s geological record dates back 1 billion years, to the Proterozoic Era, when multicellular organisms first appear.
  • The bedrock atop which our landscape sits formed during the Paleozoic Era [570 million-245 million years ago], when vertebrate life forms evolved from fish to amphibians and reptiles, a.k.a. ancient life.
  • During that time, Indiana occupied the portion of the globe that is now Northern Brazil, about 500 miles south of the equator, under a vast tropical sea. During the Mesozoic Era, from 245 to 66 million years ago, reptiles and dinosaurs dominated the earth, with birds and mammals making their first appearances, a.k.a. middle life. During the Cenozic Era, which continues to this day, mammals become and remain dominant, a.k.a. recnt life.
  • The oldest human fossil is 2.8 million years old.

An updated image gallery

In real time, I’ve updated my personal gallery on the Indiana Nature Photography site, which can be played in slideshow fashion. Captured on natural areas from the Ohio River to the Sugar Creek and Big Blue River, these 50 images represent my eco-travels over the past 18 months, from July 2014 to this month. [Click the I button at the bottom for location and date.] 

With another semester over the shoulder, I will be putting that new telephoto through its paces over Christmas break. [Yes, the life of a college student suits someone of my old-age temperament.]

I also have a couple short, eco-travel slide-show projects on the docket. How about: “The folks I hang out with in the woods”? Or “Autumn 2016: A long fall”? Or …

Photographs: Top, Pine Hills Nature Preserve; Center, Leonard Springs Nature Park; Bottom, O'Bannon Woods State Park.


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