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Steven Goldsmith
Sherman, Texas
Professor of Biology, Dean of Sciences at Austin College
Interests: taking care of my family, field biology, animal behavior and ecology, cooking, building furniture, hiking
Recent Activity
The challenge for one of our last photo-challenge weeks was “silence.” This was in December, and the examples showed lots of images with snow. Well, where I live in north Texas, we rarely get snow. I live in a small city (Sherman, Texas) with major highways both north-south and east-west,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2018 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
This week’s lesson was a fun one, but I didn’t do it exactly as Ricky suggested. It involved shooting out of the window of a moving car, so I had to have Becky drive as we were taking Jack and Bear out to “run” them. We were going to the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
October is a good month for butterflies in north Texas. The monarchs come through on their way south into Mexico, and the weather is warm enough that many species are foraging on the diversity of fall flowering composites and other plants. The species include queens, sulphurs, fritillaries, painted ladies, hairstreaks,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Last week’s photo challenge was an interesting one. The assignment was to find a spot, set your tripod up, and move no more than one long step from that spot for an hour. That is why it is called “stuck in place.” The idea was that you should be attentive... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
This week’s is an interesting challenge: Roads. The idea was to show something interesting, with a “road” as an important element in the composition. Class members took quite a bit of liberty with what a “road” is and with how important it should be as an element in the composition.... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Abandoned: Week 8’s challenge was to photograph something that was “abandoned.” Ricky’s example was an aging, rusting truck that is in his neighborhood in La Veta, CO. There are lots of possibilities for abandoned things in my area of north Texas – farm equipment, vehicles, buildings, industrial structures. I decided... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
The Ricky Tims 2017 photo challenge Week 5 was “One Shape.” The idea was to capture an image that portrayed a shape as one of the seven elements of artistic images (line, shape, form, space, value, texture, color). The ways to do this are almost infinite; the participants in the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Our next photo challenge was depth of field. In contrast to the first week, Selective Focus, week four was “Tack Sharp.” Here again, once you understand the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, composing photographs that emphasize different artistic elements is easier. This week’s challenge was to compose a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Our first lab exercise in Vertebrate Biology (Biol 220 at Austin College, spring semester 2017) was an observation and comparison of foraging in ring-billed gulls, American white pelicans, and double-crested cormorants. These three species were all foraging simultaneously along the Red River (the one that separates Texas and Oklahoma) just... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
The second week challenge was “find a line.” The purpose was to compose a simple photograph that emphasized a line as one of seven elements of artistic composition: line, shape, form, space, color, value, texture. When you begin looking, lines are everywhere. Obviously the human altered environment has lots of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
After a hiatus of several years of not taking many photographs, I am trying to get back into photography. Partly at Becky’s urging, I am doing so by participating in Ricky Tims’ 2017 photo challenge, a 52 week course in digital photography and photo editing. Parts of this certainly will... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2017 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
This week’s lab was a comparison of foraging microhabitat and foraging technique in three phylogenetically closely related species of wading, fish-eating birds, the snowy egret, the great egret, and the great blue heron. Sometimes this lab exercise works well, sometimes it is a complete bust, and sometimes it is marginally... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Mid-July is not the best time to go hiking in the Hill Country of central Texas – it is really hot and humid, but there is little chance of cloud cover or rain. That said, I did it anyway, because I was in the Hill Country in mid-July, and I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area occupies about 1644 acres in northern Gillespie and southern Llano counties in the Hill Country of central Texas. The entrance and visitor center are about 16 miles north of Fredericksburg, TX on Ranch Road 965. ERSNA includes a number of outcrops of pre-Cambrian granite, which... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
I had an unusual herpetological experience recently with Prairie Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis calligaster). This is probably a fairly common species in the central and western part of north Texas, but I don’t see them very often. A full grown adult is a meter or more in length. This is one I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
There are two species of sliders in north Texas: the Red-eared slider and the Texas slider. (The Texas slider illustrates the problem with common names, as opposed to scientific names – its scientific name is Pseudemys concinna, and it goes by several different common names in different parts of its... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
I don’t have any data to support this statement, but I would be willing to bet that I am one of the few people in this country who has written two letters to Ann Landers and had them both published. Some of that is probably luck but some is also... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
The courses I teach these days are about animals, and about the ecology and behavior of animals in the field, under more or less natural conditions. I like to give students a broad conceptual framework for understanding animal ecology and behavior, so I often begin a course by asking them... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
I am often nervous when I fly on an airplane. Not so much about the flying part, but about who I am going to sit next to, because the most frequent flight I have been on in the last two decades is the DFW-Honolulu flight. I was frequently on that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
In no particular order: Naupaka kahakai, the beach naupaka Naupaka kuahiwi, the mountain naupaka Pohuehue, AKA beach morning glory, another beach or strand plant Hala, another lowland plant. Called Pandanus tectorius. The tectorius part refers to roof or covering. A hala fruit A hybrid between silversword and Na'ena'e, in Haleakala... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands The group with Mauna Loa in background Steam eruption from Halema'uma'u A recent pahoehoe lava flow a blossom of Ohia Lehua Megan and Rachel at Laupahoepahoe Point The group at the Waipio Valley overlook The Green Sand beach Honu (green sea turtles) at Puna... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2016 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
I am behind the times in posting, but I have had a busy couple of weeks since Becky and I got back from Nova Scotia. Part of that involved driving a 20 foot U-Haul truck from Sherman, TX to Charlottesville, VA. Becky had a teaching gig in Mahone Bay, for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2015 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
I was out at the McCarley Woods Nature Preserve over the weekend, doing a variety of chores – there are always chores at a place like this. I don’t mind the chores, because I like being outdoors, I like getting things done, and I think physical labor is good for... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2015 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Builder of furniture, that is. After building furniture for family and friends for years on a volunteer, amateur basis, I have begun to get paid for it. I have finished my second piece, which is a standing height desk for a friend and co-worker. A bit of history: Becky has... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2015 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
Before the arrival of Europeans in North America, the central part of the continent was covered with grasslands. About one million square miles of prairie stretched from the Gulf Coast of Texas northward into Canada, and from the Rocky Mountains eastward to the temperate deciduous forests of the Midwest. Grasses... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2015 at Professor Steven Goldsmith