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A warm hello to our friends and associates! Please enjoy this inaugural edition of The Bookmark: our new monthly e-newsletter about all things bookish at Farcountry Press. This month, we’d like to introduce you to a member of our staff, share some mind-blowing bird facts, get you behind the scenes with a landscape photographer, and more.
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What the...?
A woodpecker’s long tongue coils up inside its skull. The flicker’s tongue is so long that it curves into the base of the skull, winds up over the forehead, and attaches near the nostrils. Strong muscles shoot the tongue out and pull it back again—like a party blower or a tape measure. Tiny bones inside a casing of muscles add strength to this ant-eating tongue.
NAME: Kathy Springmeyer
TITLE: Director of Publications
YEARS AT FCP: 10
INTERESTING TIDBIT: Kathy has an ever-growing collection of office knick-knacks, which includes but is not limited to: a boxing nun, a cow skull, and Tiger Balm.
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The Going-to-the-Sun Road turns 75 this year! Learn more about this incredible feat of engineering here and here.
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Northern flicker
The northern flicker comes in a red-shafted form that lives in western states and a yellow-shafted form that inhabits eastern and northern areas of North America.
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Meet the Staff
Q/A with photographer Chuck Blackley

FCP: With the time you spend in the field, you must have some surprising wildlife encounters…
CHUCK: While I was hiking and photographing on the Appalachian Trail a few years ago, I startled a mother black bear and two small cubs not 30 feet from me. One cub immediately climbed a tree. The other ran directly toward me through the dense shrubs. The little guy was so small that all I could see was the rustling of the bushes as he sprinted in my direction. Suddenly, he popped up through the shrubs just a couple of feet from me and looked directly at me. His eyes grew large and he made an “o” with his mouth—just like in the cartoons. Immediately, he dropped back down and I again watch the rustling shrubs as he made a bee-line back to his mom. I guess he ran the wrong way the first time! In the split seconds of this encounter, I didn’t shoot one frame. Photography is much like fishing. Sometimes the best shots get away. However, being there is priceless.

FCP: It seems that some potential photographic subjects run right up to you…but what’s your hardest-won photograph?
CHUCK: Two particularly hard-won photos appear in Blue Ridge Parkway Simply Beautiful. In the wee hours of a cold and snowy December morning, I arose and headed for the Parkway some 20 miles away. The weather forecast the night before called for the clouds to part early. Being on the Parkway for that would be special. In recent years in western Virginia where we live, there are only one or two snowfalls per winter when photographic conditions are ideal.  I had set out in the dark that morning hoping that this would be one of them. After driving on mostly salted main roads, I turned onto the 4-mile stretch of country road that parallels the Parkway. Slipping and sliding on what proved to be ice, not snow, I made my way to the point where that road is closest to Humpback Rocks and parked. Donning my ski pants, snow gators, and down coat, I set out in the light of dawn on the 1.5-mile trek along the Parkway through the ice-covered snow to the Humpback Rocks Farmstead. My luck was good.  No cross-country skiers had been there first, and the clouds were just beginning to part. Ice hung in the trees, and new snow blanketed the area. It was magical. Within one hour the sun had melted the snow from the trees and the scene was crisscrossed with ski trails. The best part is that the resulting photos do the scene justice—a happy result of preparation and being blessed with perfect conditions. (See thumbnail at right. Click on thumbnail or here to see larger)

FCP: Any product tips for gear junkies?
CHUCK: Last year we replaced our old aluminum Gitzo tripod with a new carbon tripod that is so much lighter and just as sturdy. It is a joy to use. This model is the GT3540XLS. It weighs only 4.3 pounds and will extend from 3.5 inches to 6.5 feet. With that height range, we rarely have a situation where this tripod will not provide the platform we need.
We've been getting excellent feedback about our new release, Bird Feats of Montana! We wanted to share, so here are a few facts from page 20 of the book. The author, Deborah Richie Oberbillig, has been busy promoting the book with signings (See slideshow below. Download full size pdf slideshow by clicking here) and even a little video (to view click here). Awesome!
Happy Birthday
Feats of authordom! Congratulations to author Caroline Patterson and designer Shirley Machonis for their work on Who Pooped at the Zoo? San Diego Zoo, winner of the Bronze Award for juvenile nonfiction by ForeWord Magazine. Kudos to author Jack Horner, editor Jessica Solberg, and designer Shirley Machonis for their work on Digging Up Dinosaurs, a finalist in the same category. Find full list of awards here.
Next month... we plan to have more new and fun info, another Q&A, and much, much more. So keep us bookmarked!

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