A/V Room









In the Southern Wild - Joe Mac Hudspeth, Jr

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

JOE MAC Hudspeth Jr has been photographing wildlife in its natural habitat for many years; in particular, in the wetlands of the southern states of North America. In the Southern Wild is the result; a compilation of images - 150 in all - that are a visual feast.

But are such images easily come by? The answer, of course, is no, as Hudspeth himself explains in the preface. It's all about patience, timing (how does 5.50am grab you?), meticulous planning and the right kind of equipment.

The results, however, speak for themselves. Not only are the images aesthetically pleasing, but a testament to the importance of the world's vanishing wetlands and the rich diversity of life they sustain in the great ecological scheme of things.

So, what do we have? There are, as you might expect, ducks in abundance - mallards, pintails, mottled ducks, gadwalls and wood ducks. But it's the wood duck that takes centre stage.

Hudspeth who, by his own admission, favours this colourful water bird, has captured it in all its glory - from ducklings in duck weed (what else!) to adults preening. There's even a cluch of wood duck eggs. But my favourite is the female nesting in a tree cavity - not at all, as you would expect.

Birds, perhaps not surprisingly, form the bulk of the images - egrets, sandpipers, herons, white pelicans; there's even a scarlet tanager and a prothonatary warbler - all beautifully photographed. Bird lovers will simply adore it.

It would, though, be remiss to omit other life forms, so expect white- tailed deer, alligators, water snakes, butterflies and spiders complete with prey - everything, in fact, that makes its home in the southern wild.

A beautiful book, In the Southern Wild is certain to give lasting pleasure.



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