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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
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I was going to title this post “You never know,” meaning you never know when or where you are going to find something interesting happening in the biological part of the natural world. I saw something unusual happening with Mississippi Kites over the course of a couple of days last... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2018 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
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Becky suggested I post some additional images from our trips to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Most of these have been with Austin College students in our course on Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands. We took them hiking in places that are currently closed to the public because of the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2018 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
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I have been to Hawaii 19 times since August 1995. 5 of those trips were to teach a January Term course on Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands. Our media folks at AC asked me to write up a short piece on the current eruption. Here is a link to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2018 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
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Day 3: Lost Lake trail. We drove uphill (and some downhill) on NM 538 from Red River, east and south, 6 miles to the end of the pavement, then another mile or more on a gravel road to the trailhead parking area. When we got there, about 7:30 am, there... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2018 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
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Day 2: Williams Lake hike. On our second day in Red River, we drove toward Taos, but turned back uphill on the highway that takes you to the Taos Ski Valley, which is 20 miles or so north and east of the actual town of Taos. Once you get to... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2018 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
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Red River, New Mexico Part 1: Jeff and I spent Monday, May 21st driving from Sherman, TX to Red River, NM. This is a 10-hour drive. We took Hwy 82 west from Sherman, picked up Hwy 287 at Henrietta, TX, through Wichita Falls, and several small cities in northwest Texas... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2018 at Professor Steven Goldsmith
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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