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CAMPBELL RIVER :: BRITISH COLUMBIA
Diving in just a few feet of water, angling my camera just so to look up to the surface, I explore the habitats of one of my childhood obsessions: tadpoles. The swamps and ponds where they live became one of my favorite places to shoot in 2012 when I happened upon a large group—called “a cloud”—of these little larval toads. I was intending to capture abstract images of yellow water lilies when a swarm surprised me and changed my photography forever. My first photo (and many that followed) showed a typically unseen behavior: tadpoles swimming together in search of food.
I’ve learned to love the shallow, muddy environments where these tiny larvae feed on algae-covered tree stumps, encouraging their growth into western toads—a species of concern due to logging and the draining of wetlands. Joining them under the water shows me that every bit of the watershed is important. Big lakes and rivers get most of the attention, but each side stream and marsh also plays a vital role in our planet’s overall health.