by Mark Biddlecomb, Western Region Director of Operations
Tupper Ansel Blake’s latest book, Wind in My Face – Sun at My Side, features hundreds of Blake’s amazing photographs. Tupper is one of our country’s premier wildlife photographers, so naturally most of these photos feature wildlife ranging from waterfowl, raptors such as peregrine falcons, deer, elk and a variety of marine mammals to name just a few. But they also show the splendor of our natural landscapes.
There are remarkable photos of areas few people have witnessed first-hand. Tupper has captured images that show the extraordinary landscapes of the Farallon Islands, Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and even areas south into Mexico. Truly, these photos will take you on a journey without ever leaving the comfort of your living room.
However, this book is so much more than beautiful pictures. Tupper’s life story unfolds on these pages and it is a fascinating journey, indeed. Starting at the beginning, Tupper tells a story of Ansel and Betty Blake celebrating the arrival of their new adopted son. In the Hill Country of south Texas, neighbors and friends gathered to meet Tupper. As he writes in the book, “…they all gathered around the crib to admire the newest Texan. Much to everyone’s horror, I lay there fast asleep with a six-foot rattlesnake coiled next to me. I don’t know what happened next, but I do know from the story – told at many a gathering – that my first wildlife encounter was at the ripe old age of five weeks.”
I encourage anyone with an interest in wildlife, wildlife photography or simply in a life well-lived to buy Wind in My Face – Sun at My Side.-Mark Biddlecomb
And thus, his journey begins. Taking us through a childhood that includes his adopted father passing away when Tupper was just two years old, physical and mental abuse suffered from the man his adopted mother married afterward and a life changing encounter with a family of foxes, Tupper describes how nature eventually became so important to his life path. Blake has had many and varied experiences; attending (partying) in college, serving as a tank platoon leader along the Korean DMZ, learning the craft of photography with Pirkle Jones (and encountering FBI agents as a result), to becoming the renowned wildlife photographer that he now is–this book chronicles a lifestyle few others have experienced.
Many of the stories in this book are about what happened to Tupper in the field while carrying out his craft. These stories, interwoven with photographs, also serve to tell how Tupper became a staunch conservationist and helped many organizations in delivering conservation, most particularly in California. Tupper has received many honors, not the least of which is induction into the California Waterfowler’s Hall of Fame, recognizing his years of not just documenting waterfowl and their habitats, but also his commitment to conservation.
In keeping with that commitment, Tupper has pledged to donate a portion of the sale proceeds from this book to Ducks Unlimited. It is a fascinating and beautiful book. I encourage anyone with an interest in wildlife, wildlife photography or simply in a life well-lived to buy Wind in My Face – Sun at My Side.