Thursday, May 10, 2012

What's Your Thing?

Dr. Richard Hebda

An old YTV commercial that I saw in the '90's (and still see today) asks, "What's Your Thing"? For some of those kids, it was bugs or magic. For Dr. Richard Hebda, it's ancient environments and plants. A few minutes with the man is all that's needed to figure out that he's really enthusiastic about what he does. A job as a curator suits him. Peat deposits are his thing, pictures are mine.

When I'm not taking making pictures of cats, I'm a shooter and occasional writer for my university's paper, The Martlet. On that Thursday morning, I was both. I put on a brave face before walking into the fossil collection, but I had just woken up an hour before and had to call a taxi to get there on time. I brought all the gear I needed, but overloaded myself. I forgot my written interview questions at home. The shot I thought would be the cover (and formatted as the cover) didn't end up being used. Such is the life of a photojournalist. It makes your deodorant work overtime, but it's worth it. Usually I hate flying by the seat of my pants, but when I have a camera with me, suddenly it seems OK.

The story is about the new Dinosaur exhibition that's happening at the Royal BC Museum, one that's sure to draw a crowd. It's a show from the American Museum of Natural History that uses new tools to look at old bones. University students and preschoolers should take note. The older students will appreciate the biomechanics, the younger students will like the huge skeletons they've got. I'm going to the press preview of the exhibit tomorrow, and I can't wait. A dinosaur skeleton hasn't been in the RBCM for a few years now, and it'll be interesting to see what's different between Dragon Bones and this exhibit. That was one of the questions I asked him...

That reminds me - I ended up remembering the questions I wrote down, but he went well beyond them, which made him the perfect interview subject. Nothing's worse than asking questions and getting terse yes/no replies. I guess I treat interviews like I treat PJ work. It gets better when it doesn't go according to plan.

Read the original article here:

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