Welcome to 2018!

Happy New Year!

Baby Skunk in Backyard by Cyrene Krey
A group of small skunks making my backyard home was one of the highlights of my 2017 summer!

Now that we’re into 2018, I’m finally getting a chance to catch my breath and reflect over everything I did in 2017.

The past two years have had so much going on, that they’ve blurred together in my mind a bit. I was completely focused on getting my Master’s degree. That single ambition led to the feeling that the last couple years have just blended into one. Obviously that isn’t how it works though, so focusing on 2017 is the goal today!

Green Foliage by Cyrene Krey
Green foliage against a bright sky always makes for a pretty photo. And it makes me wish I was somewhere tropical! Working towards that goal was a focus of 2017 and will continue into 2018.

The year ended with a huge accomplishment. I finished my Master’s degree in biology! After spending so long in school, on one degree or another, it’s been kind of surreal to not have to worry about that anymore. A few people have asked if I plan on going for a PhD and the answer is an anti-climactic “maybe.” While I would like to, it doesn’t currently fit into my plans or what I can realistically afford to do at the moment. In a few years though, I plan on looking into it.

Underwater Creek Bed by Cyrene Krey
One new thing in 2017 was underwater photography! I purchased an underwater camera and began experimenting with that. While I wasn’t able to do much more than check out local streams and creeks, I plan on doing a lot more with this in 2018 and I can’t wait!

For now, I’m exploring different career opportunities and I’m going to see where I end up! But of course, photography will always be a part of whatever I do.

One of the new areas I’m exploring is photojournalism. I was able to learn a little more about this during the trip to Standing Rock in late 2016. However, I hadn’t at the time given it much thought. But since that trip, it’s been on my mind a bit. I decided to really try it out and see how I felt about it with a mini-vacation during my last semester at school.

I needed a bit of a nature break and there was this really interesting place I was dying to visit: Snake Road!

Net Neutrality Protester by Cyrene Krey
As an activist, I’ve attended many protests and marches. It’s been a new experience though to attend strictly as an observer. It’s provided me with a new perspective and appreciation for these activities.

This is a road in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois that is closed twice a year to protect reptile migrations. I’ll have more posts about it coming up (with more information on other places you can read all about this trip ;D). But for now, let me just say that it was awesome and I highly recommend visiting!

While I was expecting a fun trip, I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did. I ran into a few problems and my plans had to change, but I was able to make everything work out. I met some really great people, saw some incredible animals, and came away with a few great shots and an interesting story. It was a trip that made me want to do more of this kind of work.

Frog Monitor Sign by Cyrene Krey
My academic and professional career weren’t the only things I focused on in 2017. I also added to my volunteer work by becoming a frog call monitor for the local forest preserve district.

I have a few ideas for some interesting upcoming projects related to this, but more on that will have to wait until later 😉

For 2018, my plan is to continue focusing on what I began in 2017. I’ll of course be continuing with my volunteer work, because that’s just too much fun to give up! But I’ll also be looking for ways to expand my experience and try out new and exciting photography projects.

So I hope everyone has an exciting, fun, and safe 2018!

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Standing Rock Camps

Standing Rock Camps by Cyrene Krey
Two of the camps at Standing Rock, adjacent to the Cannonball River, where people gathered in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Friend and journalist, Winifred Bird, and myself went there in mid-November 2016 as the final leg of our journey to travel the length of the pipeline’s route to survey for ourselves what natural areas were being placed at risk.
Super Moon at Standing Rock by Cyrene Krey
The night we arrived was the night of the super moon. Everyone in the camps took a moment about of their busy work to appreciate the sight.

I learned a lot from this experience and challenged my photography along the way. More of the photos from this project are available on my website at www.cyrenekrey.com. My co-pilot and I published a brief photo essay about our trip on Sierra Magazine’s website. More of Winifred Bird’s journalism can be accessed at her website, www.winifredbird.com.

I encourage everyone to continue fighting for better energy alternatives and clean water for all. I’m grateful to the people of Standing Rock who were welcoming and enthusiastic about this project.

Sunrise at Missouri River by Cyrene Krey

Missouri River Sunrise

Sunrise at Missouri River by Cyrene Krey
The last stop before reaching the camps in North Dakota, brought us to the banks of the Missouri River. Downstream of the contested crossing, we witnessed a stunning sunrise along the shore on a misty morning.
Sunrise Over Missouri River by Cyrene Krey
The sun rising over the Missouri River. At this point, we were still in South Dakota, about to cross into North Dakota and drive a couple more hours to reach camp.
Beaver Enjoying the Sunrise by Cyrene Krey
We spotted a beaver taking an early morning swim as we walked along the shore. The Missouri River is home to many different species as well as a source of water for humans.

Other photos from my trip are available at my website at www.cyrenekrey.com.

Ducks by Cyrene Krey

More DAPL Photos

Blue Heart on Tree by Cyrene Krey
A blue heart painted onto a tree near the Illinois River, one of the major waterways the Dakota Access Pipeline crosses. The risk of a spill along one of these major sources of fresh water has been a motivating factor in the opposition to the pipeline.
Old Tree by Cyrene Krey
A tall, old tree stood along the roadside at a scenic turnout located near the Illinois-Iowa crossing. Based on the survey flags that were there, it stood directly in the path of the pipeline at the time of my visit. This probably means this beautiful tree has since been removed to make way for an oil pipeline.
Gray Trees by Cyrene Krey
Bare autumn trees are reflected in the waters at the Mahaska County Conservation Center in Iowa, near where the pipeline route is located. Locals complained to us about the pipeline, stating they felt it put their waters at risk and compromised unmarked Native burial grounds located in the area.
Ducks by Cyrene Krey
Several different species of aquatic birds were observed at the Maskunky Marsh, a small marsh maintained by Mahaska County Conservation. The pipeline is immediately adjacent to the marsh that waterfowl make home during breeding seasons and use to refuel during migratory periods. Loss of habitats like this have led to numerous disease outbreaks, compromising both bird and human health.
Wind Farm by Cyrene Krey
A wind farm in Iowa was the last stop of the second day of the trip. While wind turbines are controversial because of the harm they can inflict on birds, it was an interesting dichotomy to see an oil pipeline being constructed through a source of renewable energy.

More photographs from this and other projects are available at my website, http://www.cyrenekrey.com. For additional background on my work and extra info, please like my Facebook page.

Smith Lake

Smith Lake is near an itty bitty town in Illinois and right nextdoor to the pond the Dakota Access Pipeline cuts through. The pond and lake are connected and during flooding, the lake spills over into the Illinois River. It’s a very risky area to place an oil pipeline and yet it’s one of the locations Energy Transfer Partners decided to cut through.

White Pelicans at Smith Lake by Cyrene Krey
Smith Lake was absolutely stunning! It was our first destination of the second day for our journey. Gravel roads were the only route to the out-of-the-way lake. We went early morning and arrived just at sunrise. It was chilly and there was a thick mist all across the lake. Flocks of over 150 white pelicans were gathered there, likely on their way south for their fall migration.
White Pelican Drifting by Cyrene Krey
This pelican was the star of the morning! He kept swimming out of the mist closer towards the center of the lake where the sunlight was. It’s always nice when critters decide to cooperate 😉
Bird in the Sky by Cyrene Krey
Birds soared overhead, just awakening for the day as the sun rose over the lake. Although the waterbirds were still lazily drifting in the lake, several species of gulls and birds of prey were already moving about overhead ready to find food.
Private Pier by Cyrene Krey
Small homes dotted the lake, several with small piers. Other than a couple of birders out observing the migrating pelicans and waterfowl, we didn’t see or hear anyone else. It was beautifully peaceful.

Other photos from this location and my DAPL project are available on my website at www.cyrenekrey.com for purchase and viewing. Please contact your representatives to let them know you aren’t interested in any more pipelines and want cleaner energy sources (and the tons of jobs that will come with them!). The Army Corps is also taking public comment on the pipeline, please voice your opinion.

Meredosia Pipeline Construction

Backlit Forest by Cyrene Krey
Along the way to a lake we wanted to photograph at night, Winifred Bird, friend and journalist, and I stumbled across a construction site. Needing to check the map, we decided to pull off on the side of the road and see if any of the workers would speak to us. However, we soon found out that although floodlights and generators were running, nobody was in sight.
Photographing an Empty Construction Site by Cyrene Krey
Winnie and I photographed the empty site while looking for someone to talk to. Eventually we decided to continue on towards the lake.
Construction Work at Night by Cyrene Krey
After leaving the first construction site for the lake, we stumbled across a second site. People were there and we decided to stop and try to talk to them. Unfortunately security believed we were there to make trouble. Although we remained in the car, they accused us of being there to make trouble. We soon left, but they followed, prompting me to stop and photograph the site. They claimed there had been problems at the site previously, although locals denied that. Considering the hostile behavior we received from security, we opted to skip the lake and go back in the morning along another route that allowed to avoid further harassment.

More photos from this project can be viewed at my website, www.cyrenekrey.com.

Winifred Bird Photographing DAPL Site by Cyrene Krey

Patoka, IL DAPL Site

I’ve mentioned a little bit about my trip along the Dakota Access Pipeline to see some of the natural habitats and wildlife that may be impacted by the pipeline’s route. Now it’s time to start sharing a few of those photos and stories!

Water Pipe Flags by Cyrene Krey
Behind these flags for water pipelines and this fire hydrant, is a storage yard for the pipes needed to complete construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Right next to this site is the final endpoint for the pipeline in Patoka, IL. This is where I began my journey, accompanied by my friend and journalist Winnie Bird.
Winifred Bird Photographing DAPL Site by Cyrene Krey
We weren’t allowed onto the site, so we photographed from the road and ditches around the site. Security kept a close eye on us all the time, driving around the site and the roads to keep us in view and reluctant to talk to us.
Birds Flocking in a Cloudy Sky by Cyrene Krey
This flock of birds maintained a presence at the site. They huddled together on the construction materials until disturbed by the trucks driving around the site. They would then gather in the bright blue sky until they once again resumed their posts.

Some of these photos will also be shared on my website at www.cyrenekrey.com and you’re invited to like my Facebook page where I’ll continue posting my wildlife and project photos 🙂