BigPicture Opens At The Tennessee Aquarium Oct. 1

Local Photographer Selected In International Competition

Thursday, September 13, 2018
Rhapsody in Pink by Donna Bourdon
Rhapsody in Pink by Donna Bourdon

Photography is sometimes referred to as a “hobby of a lifetime,” and in the case of Donna Bourdon, that bit of popular wisdom has certainly borne out. The Chattanooga-based photographer’s love of capturing images began when she was nine years old.

“My parents gave me my first ‘Brownie’ camera, and I never looked back,” Ms. Bourdon says, adding that she upgraded to her father’s hand-me-down Minolta SR-7 as a teenager. 

Inspired by watching episodes of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” her love of photography and wildlife naturally intertwined. Soon, she invested in better equipment and sought opportunities to capture spectacular animal imagery in some of the wildest places on Earth — a quest aided, in part by her participation in trips organized and led by the Tennessee Aquarium.

“Those made the dreams of Africa come to life,” Ms. Bourdon says. “I took my first Aquarium-sponsored trip there in 1998. Since then, I’ve been on eight African photo-safaris, five of those with the Tennessee Aquarium.”

Ms. Bourdon has warmed hearts with photos of Snow Monkeys, Coastal Brown Bears, Puffins and Red-Crowned Cranes. Her shots also have garnered international acclaim. One, an image of a crocodile taking a young Cape Buffalo, was used in an African segment of the Nat Geo Wild program “Caught in the Act.” 

One of her images, “Rhapsody in Pink,” was selected as a finalist to be included in BigPicture, an annual photography exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Since launching in 2014, BigPicture highlights the works of the world’s best nature and conservation photographers. This annual competition focuses a lens on the wonders of the natural world and critical environmental issues facing our planet. More than 6,000 entries poured in from around the world for the 2018 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition, which includes a shot Ms. Bourdon captured while in St. Augustine, Fl. 

“This beautiful Roseate Spoonbill is flying into the nest with its wings in what is referred to as the ‘orchestra position,’” Ms. Bourdon says. “I love capturing beautiful images of nature that inspire others to fall in love with the natural world. Hopefully, my works inspire others to promote conservation and protection of these precious animals and vital resources.” 

Beginning Oct. 1, the BigPicture exhibition will be on display at the Tennessee Aquarium, sponsored locally by Erlanger Health Systems and GET OUT Chattanooga. This will be the only location outside of San Francisco to host this photo collection.

“This collection of amazing images is a perfect fit with the Aquarium’s mission to connect people with nature and empower them to make informed decisions about water and wildlife,” says Cindy Todd, the Aquarium’s vice president and chief marketing and communications officer. “This exhibit will inspire more people to get outdoors, observe nature more closely, and appreciate all of the amazing ways that wildlife can thrive.”

In the introduction to “Wonders,” a companion book about BigPicture, famed oceanographer, explorer, and conservationist Dr. Sylvia Earle describes how technology enables more individuals to focus on conservation issues.

“The photographs in this extraordinary collection do more than capture moments in time…they tell stories, arouse sympathy, provoke joy, and make you gasp with wonder. Images such as these are precisely what is needed to inspire new generations of people to know and care about wild places and wildlife, and to take action while there is still time.”

The BigPicture Natural World of Photography exhibit is free with Aquarium admission.

 

Terrestrial by Sebastian Kennerknecht
Terrestrial by Sebastian Kennerknecht


2018 Wings Over North Georgia Air Show To Showcase Elite Aerobatic Performers

Airshow legends Michael Goulian, Patty Wagstaff and Buck Roetman headline a field of the nation’s top aerobatic performers set to thrill audiences in the skies over Northwest Georgia Oct.13-14 during the Wings Over North Georgia Air Show.  Few air shows offer as much record and award-winning talent on the same stage.   Review of the airshow: Millions of airshow ... (click for more)

Rome, Ga., Has Inaugural Hot Air Balloon Festival

Rome, Ga., held its inaugural hot air balloon festival over the weekend at the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport. There were over 20 balloons present.   Over 70 vendors were present, ranging from food to Italian ice to crafts.   Tethered balloon rides were offered and a moon glow even topped off the evening. . (click for more)

Fight Breaks Out During Friday Dismissal At Central High School

Earlier Friday afternoon, during dismissal at Central High School, a fight broke out, at which time the SRO assigned to the campus called for additional deputies to respond to the school to assist.  The fight involved several students. Of those involved, four juvenile students were transported to the Juvenile Detention Center for disorderly conduct. Additional ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Zoo Begins Construction On South American Expansion

The Chattanooga Zoo has started the construction phase for a new exhibit which will be added to the Zoo’s existing South American “Corcovado Jungle” area. The new exhibit is slated to open at the end of the year. The exhibit will first house one Giant Anteater, but is designed to house multiple animals with potential for breeding as part of the zoo’s participation in the Association ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous - And Response (4)

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dumb Ain’t A Crime

As half of America wonders how a Texas school superintendent still has a job, the other half of the country now understands that being dumb is no crime. Minutes after the Houston Texans dropped a ugly 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, an upset educator – obviously with a full head of steam -- pounded this sentence out on his Facebook page: “That may have been the most ... (click for more)