Reflections in Nature: Many animals and birds in wild have albinism in nature | News, Sports, Jobs


Shown is a fawn with albinism.

Recently, a friend sent me a picture she had taken of a partially albino fawn deer that was found on her lawn. My friend knew not to disturb the fawn since the doe would be nearby.

Spring is here and young wildlife will frequently be seen. When encountering young wildlife, with no mother in sight, it is often believed the animal has been abandoned. This is when some people decide to intervene. However, in most cases, these young animals have not been abandoned.

The mother is nearby but out of human sight and watching over her young from a distance. Young fawns are camouflaged, with spots, to blend in with their surroundings. This provides protection from predators. An albino or partially albino will not blend in as well and not be as well protected. A partially albino animal is known as piebald.

The word piebald originates from a combination of pie, from magpie, and bald, meaning white patch or spot. The reference is to the distinctive black-and-white plumage of the magpie. Piebald refers to the absence of mature melanin-forming cells in certain areas of the skin and hair.

It is a rare autosomal dominant disorder of melanocyte.

We humans seem to seek the unusual, such as looking for a four-leaf clover, hoping that it will bring us good luck. However, walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror or a black cat crossing our path are all considered signs of bad luck. The belief that a broken mirror brings bad luck arises from the ancient Greeks, who believed spirits lived in reflective pools of water.

The fate that awaited the Greek mythological figure Narcissus could have grown out of this belief. When Narcissus saw his reflection in the water, he fell in love. Although in the beginning, Narcissus did not realize that it was just his own reflection and fell into despair when he understood that his love could not materialize and committed suicide.

Many stories have been told of hunters shooting white deer and never being lucky enough to kill another deer during his or her remaining years of life. This superstition of shooting a white deer comes from our Native American tribes, who considered the white deer sacred and bad luck for a hunter to kill.

These white deer were often called ghost deer and were a symbol of a spirit and an omen of good luck.

Albinos are individuals that show a lack of pigmentation and thus appear white or whitish. Technically, this abnormality results from a failure of the body to produce or distribute coloring pigments to the skin, hair, or feathers. Usually, this is an inherited trait, but it can occasionally result from an accident, improper diet or even psychological shock.

Albinism is known to affect mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Of course, albinism occurs in humans as well. People with albinism are generally healthy, with growth and development occurring as normal.

However, humans will suffer from impaired vision, with varying degrees. While albinism is a condition that cannot be cured or treated, small things can be done to improve the quality of life for those affected.

Many animals, with albinism, lose their protective camouflage and are unable to conceal themselves from predators. Usually, the survival rate of animals with albinism in the wild is quite low.

Albinism had been documented in 304 different species of birds, with the American robin being the most prone. Total albinism occurs when a bird or animal is entirely lacking color, being pure white with pink eyes. A partial albino animal is known as piebald or calico, showing a complete or partial lack of coloring in certain body areas. An animal is not a true albino if it lacks pink eyes.

Bill Bower is a retired Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Officer. Read his blog and listen to his podcasts on the outdoors at

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Learn about Scotland’s ‘rewilding’ with Nature Speaks


The Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission (PH-NRC) and the Prospect Heights Public Library are co-sponsoring an entertaining and educational program by Peter Cairns, executive director of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, via a virtual presentation from Scotland at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 20.

As a renowned visionary whose inspiring earth changing project has been highlighted by National Geographic, securing Cairns to speak is a major coup for the commission and library.

It wasn’t so long ago that vibrant, wild forests stretched across much of Scotland. Beavers and cranes were abundant in its extensive wetlands. Salmon and trout filled the rivers. Lynx, wolf and wild boar stalked wooded glades.

But today, Scotland has become one of the most ecologically depleted nations on Earth.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

A bold vision for the future is slowly emerging where native woodlands regenerate at a landscape scale; where damaged peatlands are restored; where rivers run freely and where oceans are full of life. This is the vision of a wilder Scotland — a place where nature works, where wildlife flourishes and crucially, where people thrive.

Using stunning imagery created by the SCOTLAND: The Big Picture photography team, this presentation showcases the country’s beauty and drama, but also poses an intriguing question: What should Scotland look like?

Peter Cairns has spent nearly three decades as a conservation photographer, videographer, nature tourism operator and environmental communicator. A longtime advocate for rewilding, Cairns previously directed major conservation media initiatives such as Tooth & Claw, Wild Wonders of Europe and 2020VISION. Five years ago, he founded SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, a charity that works to drive the recovery of nature across Scotland.



The Zoom program is free, but registration is required. To register, call (847) 259-3500, ext. 35, visit or stop at the library’s information desk.

The program will be recorded and encore presentations will be shown at a later date.

Nature Speaks is a partnership between Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission and the Prospect Heights Public Library.

Additional information about the Natural Resources Commission’s numerous native prairie restorations and other activities can be found at One can also learn more about our area’s natural resources, native prairies, volunteer activity days, and other conservation information there as well.



Defending the dark: Utah’s dark sky advocates protect Utah’s shining natural resource


Estimated read time: 5-6

SALT LAKE CITY — In a universe full of irony, one contradiction is this: Dark skies are not dark. When our sun sets at night, the “lights in the firmament” come out in the thousands, lighting the night sky.

But in the age of artificial lighting, these brilliant stars have, in many places, been extinguished by the lesser lights on Earth — incandescent, fluorescent, LED. Truly dark skies do not exist for much of the world’s population.

Yet in Utah, where Gov. Spencer Cox has declared April as Dark Sky Month for a third straight year, Utah’s dark skies still burn bright. Virtually all of Utah’s population is an afternoon’s drive away from one of the state’s 24 International Dark Sky Association-approved Dark Sky Parks or Places. In this unique place in the world, the dark skies movement continues to receive support from all sectors.

“We wish to recognize the efforts and advocacy of federal, state, local and non-profit agencies, as well as Utah’s recreation, tourism and education sectors, which make night sky opportunities in our state available for all to enjoy,” Cox’s declaration states.

Convincing the public that protecting the night sky is important, however, is difficult.

Why protect the darkness

Herriman city planner and International Dark Sky Association advocate Laurin Hoadley said the most common misconception about the organization’s movement is that “dark skies means ‘turn off all your lights.'”

Hoadley, who graduated in the first cohort of the Dark Sky Studies minor at the University of Utah, explained that the first step to reduce light pollution is for individuals to simply replace a bright light bulb with a warmer one.

“Personally, I feel like it is a no-brainer to at least try,” she said.

Astrophotographer and founder of, Ryan Andreasen, has found more success in advocating for the night sky by personal experience than by any amount of scientific persuasion.

“I’ve got to have them touch it,” he said. Andreasen regularly teaches astrophotography classes at Antelope Island State Park. Going to a designated dark sky park and seeing the night sky for one’s self, he said, gets a person out of his or her “fish bowl” and leaves a lasting impact.

However, Utah’s growing population still threatens the night sky of at least one dark sky park designation. Antelope Island State Park assistant manager Wendy Wilson has long been a champion of Utah’s night, helping her park reach International Dark Sky Association standards in 2017. She explained that ever since then, the night sky over the island has grown brighter, as evidenced by regular measurements she takes by pointing a small sensor straight up into the night.

“It is minor,” she said, but lights from growing communities to the south and north of the island are suspect.

“More development means more lights; more lights means more light pollution,” Wilson said, adding that some communities are not as good as others at enforcing lighting ordinances.

Layton, which is east of the island, has one such lighting code. A city official told that the city can only enforce the code on properties built under a specific code, but that city officials “definitely take all complaints seriously.”

We are protecting the highest concentration of accredited dark skies in the world.

–Lisa Stoner

Light pollution comes in four basic forms: glare, skyglow, light trespass and clutter. Skyglow, which washes out the stars, happens when light shines into the night sky “needlessly,” as most dark sky advocates will point out. By fully shielding, or covering light fixtures, “useful light” shines on the ground and not into the sky, according to the International Dark Sky Association website.

Once you’ve shielded your fixture, a warmer light — at 3000 Kelvins — will further help the night sky, said Wilson and Hoadley.

While Wilson and Hoadley, as well as Andreasen, each point out these measures individuals can take to help, many municipalities throughout the state have or are in the process of adopting dark sky lighting ordinances. A walk down the amber-colored paths winding through Ivins, in southern Utah, shows the fruits of their long-adopted ordinances. A survey of all residents last fall confirmed the importance of the night sky.

Torrey and Helper already hold the association’s Dark Sky Community status. The cities of Moab and Park City, as well as their respective counties, have adopted dark sky-friendly ordinances, which go into effect at the end of 2024.

How do you bring all these disparate groups together? That is the mission of the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative, headquartered at Utah State University.

“We are protecting the highest concentration of accredited dark skies in the world,” said coordinator Lisa Stoner, who added that many of those designated dark sky parks fall within state boundaries.

On April 5, the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative will host the first of four Quarterly Connections meetings, where it hopes to bring together people “ready to engage,” said Stoner, in the cause of the night sky. The cooperative also works with state and national park officials to enhance astro-tourist activities.

More than enough to share

Utah is also willing to share the night sky with others.

“We identify dark skies as an important travel motivator,” said Utah State Office of Tourism public relations manager Anna Loughridge.

This is because of the benefit that small, dark sky-friendly communities reap from visitors stopping and staying the night, so they can take in the night sky. Gas and a Snickers, Loughridge and Hoadley pointed out, turns into gas, dinner and a hotel room.

The Utah Office of Tourism has said that astro-tourism contributes to the state’s “Red Emerald Strategic Plan,” which promotes attractions that are “rarefied, distinctive, unique to Utah and highly coveted,” according to the office’s website.

“The night has a thousand eyes,” mused the poet Francis William Bourdillon, illustrating the stars that seem to blink. He continues pointing to the importance of the skies, and the sun, in particular.

While many human eyes, these days, cannot behold a truly dark sky, advocates and activists in Utah are hard at work to keep Utah’s dark skies shining.

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Ryan Boyce is a lover of science and history. His first writing project was compiling the history of space exploration on his 3rd grade teacher’s computer, and he hasn’t stopped writing since.

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Photography specialist site DPReview is closing down


Digital Photography Review, a popular online resource for photographers, is shutting down after 25 years of service.

The website’s closure is part of the restructuring plans announced this year by Amazon, which acquired DPReview in 2007.

“The site will remain active until April 10, and the editorial team is still working on reviews and looking forward to delivering some of our best-ever content,” DPReview said in a message posted on its website on Tuesday.

“This difficult decision is part of the annual operating plan review that our parent company shared earlier this year,” it confirmed.

DPReview added that “everyone on our staff was a reader and fan of DPReview before working here, and we’re grateful for the communities that formed around the site.”

Within hours of DPReview announcing its closure on Tuesday, another site dedicated to photography, PetaPixel, revealed it was offering a home to Jordan Drake and Chris Niccolls, whose YouTube channel, DPReview TV, shares camera and lens reviews, along with photography tips and other related content.

The pair will be the faces of a new PetaPixel YouTube channel launching in May and offering similar content as DPReview TV while exploring a number of new photography-related themes.

It’s not the first time Drake and Niccolls have shifted sites, as five years ago they moved from The Camera Store to DPReview.

“The show is going on,” Niccolls said in a video posted on Tuesday. “Everything that you know and love about [DPReview TV] , you’re still going to know it, you’re still going to love it, we’re still going to be doing our technical gear reviews out in the field, which means out in freezing cold Calgary, Canada. That’s not going to change.”

So vast is DPReview’s database of reviews and other content that it’s likely you’ve landed on the site whenever you’ve researched a camera or lens, or sought out news related to the industry. It’s not clear if the site will remain online so that its valuable resources remain accessible to photography fans, but it will certainly feel like a waste if the site simply disappears from view next month.

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Lovely Linda: New exhibit showcases McCartney’s photography skills | Currents Feature


click to enlarge Lovely Linda: New exhibit showcases McCartney’s photography skills

(Credit: © Paul McCartney / Photographer: Linda McCartney).

Linda by Paul. London, 1968

The land of majestic saguaros attracts many visitors from across the pond each year. The diverse and prickly plant species that stand tall, like guardians that watch over the Sonoran Desert that is home to many resilient creatures. Even the kaleidoscope-colored sunsets are second to none. Many who leave, inevitably get back to where they once belonged.

Perhaps these are just a few reasons why Linda McCartney (nee Eastman) felt a kinship to Tucson.

UA’s Center for Creative Photography is hosting the North American premiere of, “The Linda McCartney Retrospective,” from Saturday, Feb. 25, to Saturday, Aug. 5.

It celebrates McCartney’s barrier-breaking career that spanned across three decades.

“We will have not only the exhibition at the CCP, but also an incredible range of campus and community events and opportunities for engagement,” said Andrew Schulz, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

The exhibition, which will include about 200 pieces, will be divided into three broad groupings including “Artists,” “Family” and “Photographic Exploration.” McCartney’s work opens avenues for investigation and exploration, Schulz said.

Roots in Tucson

Born and raised in New York state, McCartney was an UA art history student. Her formal photography training extended to just two lessons at a night school.

Once she married Paul McCartney, the two bought land here in Tucson, a ranch in the Tanque Verde area, near the Rincon Mountains.

“In addition to exposing the public to Linda McCartney’s iconic work, this collection will allow our students and faculty throughout the university to learn from her innovative creative process and devotion to important societal issues,” said UA president Robert C. Robbins in a statement.

“The McCartney exhibit is allowing us to really showcase the other extraordinary pieces of the CCP,” added Staci Santa, interim director of the Center for Creative Photography. “A lot of people don’t know that we have a robust archives collection and the breadth of work we have under that little roof, millions of objects and for us to be able to showcase that in a meaningful way while we’re engaging the music scene in Tucson.”

The Center for Creative Photography houses the work of more than 2,200 photographers including co-founder Ansel Adams, David Hume Kennerly, Lola Alvarez Bravo and W. Eugene Smith and houses close to 9 million objects.

Rebecca Senf, chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography, said it has an extensive history with the McCartney family in addition to their long-standing relationship to Tucson.

“I think the landscape here meant a tremendous amount to her and she’s a horsewoman so being in Tucson allowed them to keep horses,” Senf said.

A McCartney archive is in London where Paul and their children live. Senf and Megan Jackson Fox, associate curator of the Center for Creative Photography, visited the archive to see primary source documents and talk with the archivist Sarah Brown about McCartney’s work.

“Being in the archive and working with the archivist allowed us to do a kind of research that augmented the retrospective as it was seen in other locations,” Senf said.

In terms of Tucson, Senf said Fox is doing a show about McCartney’s teacher, Hazel Larsen Archer, which expands the discussion about McCartney’s photographic education as it happened in Tucson.

Archer was an American female photographer during the 20th century, who attended and taught at Black Mountain College in Black Mountain, North Carolina. It was a hub for intermedia, cross-medium avant-garde work in the United States for dance or photography for painters, musicians and architects.

The “vibrant community” was known for matriculating influential individuals of the latter half of the twentieth century including Willem de Kooning, whose work “Woman-Ochre”’ was recently returned to the UA’s Museum of Art after being stolen in 1985.

In Tucson, Archer worked at Pima Community College and the Tucson Art Center, later known as the Tucson Museum of Art. She also helped found other colleges as a photographer, photo educator and art educator.

“She brought all of that knowledge, energy and dynamism with her,” Fox said. “That was really the foundation for Linda McCartney and her education in photography.”

Senf said the Center for Creative Photography wanted to explore McCartney’s work further and look at how she had experimented in photography through her process and practice by analyzing the results she had obtained through various experimentations.

click to enlarge Lovely Linda: New exhibit showcases McCartney’s photography skills

(Photo Courtesy of UA Center for Creative Photography)

Jimi Hendrix. London, 1967, © Paul McCartney / Photographer: Linda McCartney.

Curating the exhibit

To curate the exhibit, Fox said, took intensive research. From the McCartney archives to the Archer estate in Tucson. Fox said she worked closely with it and Archer’s daughter.

“We have a really long runway for creating these exhibitions, they can be three to five years if not more,” Fox said.

Additionally, about 50 undergraduate students from the college of humanities are working with the Center for Creative Photography, learning from the Archer images, materials from the McCartney exhibit and El Pueblo Neighborhood Center and building community projects.

“We’ll have the Hazel Larsen Archer exhibition open with the McCartney exhibition and then in May we will put the students’ projects in the center of that exhibition,” Fox said. “So, you have this intergenerational conversation happening.”

As a photo historian, Senf said that one of the center’s strengths is moving from archive to exhibition and using materials so audiences can benefit from the wealth of an archive.

“I think that it was really fun writing the labels of the musicians’ section because I was imagining various audience members seeing pictures of Neil Young, Jim Morrison or Bob Dylan from the time that they were young and listening to these musicians as young people,” Senf said.

The Center for Creative Photography has been working with students from the Honors College, building audio tour guides for the exhibition. “Sir Paul McCartney has even offered to respond to any of their questions that they have,” Fox said.

McCartney’s photographs include some of the greatest artists and cultural icons of all time such as Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and, of course, The Beatles.

“These are people who changed the course of American culture and Western culture and so it was really interesting to think about all of that and how to provide the supporting information that would allow different audiences to deeply appreciate the photographs that were there,” Senf said.

The more profound images include intimate family photographs of Paul, Linda and their children. Of Linda McCartney’s level of fame and visibility, Senf said that she displays a level of joy of family life the way anyone else might or playfulness between two romantic partners.

“I think she did a really exceptional job of making people comfortable in the presence of the camera so that you see people in a candid way,” Senf said. “The way she helped people feel at ease and able to be more themselves.”

McCartney’s techniques

McCartney mostly worked with a 35-millimeter handheld camera, which Senf said suits her style and her approach, allowing her to be more spontaneous and less obtrusive.

The exhibition will also include a group of about 60 Polaroids, or facsimiles of Polaroids because Polaroids fade really quickly when exposed to light. This feature of the exhibition can convey to the audience McCartney’s spontaneity and snapshots of casual moments.

“If you think about Linda McCartney as the centerpiece of the project, then everything is kind of coming from and inspired by her right as a photographer, as a person as an activist,” Fox said.

Calling the exhibition the heartbeat of McCartney’s photography, Fox said that there will be an accompanying lecture series starting on opening day.

“Women’s rights were an important part of her activism and her interests and so we’re going to have two photographers who are also entrepreneurs who are going to come and speak about their projects, on women in photography and what they’re doing to help amplify women in photography and to help steward their careers inside of the larger photographic field,” Fox said.

McCartney who was also a food and animal activist was well known for her vegetarian lifestyle. Fox said that the Center for Creative Photography will have a photographer and artist who works at the intersection of food studies talk about her work inspired by indigenous foods.

In addition to the lecture series, the Center for Creative Photography is planning pop-up community tables at the Children’s Museum, farmers markets and the Phoenix Art Museum to talk about sustainability and food issues, food equity in relation to photography.

“That’s another way for us to build bridges from the institution to your everyday world and I think that’s really important that we break the four walls of a gallery so that we are very open,” Fox said.

The Center for Creative Photography will also have weekly live performances from musicians. “That also harks back to Linda for her love of music and her relationship to music over the context of her life,” Fox said. “We’re trying to create doorways for every interest.”

Fox said that she hopes museum visitors get to know McCartney as an amazing photographer, but also as someone who had a variety of interests.

“You bring all of that life into an image and into a practice,” Fox said. “I hope we as an institution continue to do this for the photographers that we exhibit, that we show this entirety of a person and what that means to the photographs themselves.”


One Planet photography winners celebrate Cheltenham and Weihai 35th twinning anniversary


Published on 1st February 2023

winner of Photography competition with 35th Twinning association and Cheltenham camera club

Mayor Cllr Sandra Holliday presented certificates to the winners and highly commended

To celebrate 35 years of twinning between the twin towns of Cheltenham and Weihai in China, an amateur photo competition was organised, with the theme ‘One planet … many ways to care for our environment’.

The entries were judged by representatives of Cheltenham Twinning Association and Cheltenham Camera club, who felt the successful photos captured people’s interactions with nature illustrating images that motivate us to live sustainably.

The winners:

Steph Gore, Ist place with the image ‘Peace at Last’

David Elder, 2nd place, ‘Weeding in Naunton Park’

Balcarras school pupil Joha Nawar, 3rd prize with the image of ‘Save the Bees’.

Highly commended went to Tim Howarth and David Hyett.

Mayor Cllr Sandra Holliday said: ‘’It’s always a privilege to see people’s creativity flourish to mark a special occasion. I was impressed by the quality of entries that demonstrate interactions with nature to help motivate us to live sustainably. Congratulations to all and special thank you to Cheltenham Camera Club for their assistance with this project.’’

All images can be viewed on the Cheltenham Twinning Association website.

For press enquiries contact [email protected] 01242 264 231

Image single use only. Steph Gore with Mayor of Cheltenham Cllr Holliday.


Live interview with astrophotographer Josh ‘Tinian Astro Dad’ Brazzle Saturday | Lifestyle


Josh “‘Tinian Astro Dad” Brazzle is a Marianas-based astrophotographer, a photographer who specializes in images of the night sky and deep space.  

He’s recently been capturing images of a rare green comet that last swung past Earth 50,000 years ago. Experts predict its closest pass will be on Wednesday or Thursday. 

The Pacific Daily News will be talking with Astro Dad live on our Facebook page, barring any technical difficulties, at about 2 p.m. Saturday ChST.   

You can watch the interview live at