Hello, my name is Kristi Odom. I am a wildlife photographer and filmmaker, who is often on the road photographing in remote locations or teaching workshops photographing bears, sharks or some exotic animal. I have always felt I had to go far to photograph wildlife. My camera would often stay in my closet until a big trip, sometimes it would just live in my Think Tank airport roller bag waiting for the next adventure.
I had a dream to have one of my stories published in National Geographic, so every chance I got, I was on a plane traveling to far off lands to photograph exotic animals.
Up until the end of last year I lived in the DC area, so photographing wildlife around home was challenging, or so I thought. In 2018, in a series of fortunate events (which I may not have felt so fortunate about it at the time), I needed some wildlife photos in a short period of time. My schedule was too crazy to go on the road, so I had to shift my mindset and look for photos I could take of wildlife close to home. I randomly got an email, on the right day, at the right time, about an insect survey group that was going out to count butterflies and dragonflies. I had no idea the can of worms that this would open (pun totally intended there).
Passion is contagious, and this quirky group of insect enthusiasts, at first had me scratching my head and wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into… but soon had me excited and curious. From the patterns in a dragonflies back to the question marks on a butterflies wings, there was exploration and discovery all around. Every time I was in town on a Friday (they meet every Friday and have been doing so for 27 years to count bugs), I would grab my camera and head down to the local parks.
I found myself in the middle of a big story about such little critters. With climate change, use of pesticide and land management, there have been all sorts of changes in insect populations that this group’s data had keys to understanding. They also had records of the depth of biodiversity, endangered species, first arrivals of the seasons….their data helped preserve lands and create awareness. This group, who I now consider my close friends, quickly became my heroes. They were making change while connecting with nature.(more…)