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UP book event on Zoom tonight

U.P. Notable Book Club will present a virtual session with Upper Peninsula author James H. McCommons on his book “Camera Hunter: George Shiras III and the Birth of Wildlife Photography.”

CRYSTAL FALLS — The Crystal Falls Community District Library, in partnership with the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association, has scheduled author events with winners of the U.P. Notable Book List.

The fourth event is with U.P. author and Northern Michigan University professor James H. McCommons, featuring “Camera Hunter: George Shiras III and the Birth of Wildlife Photography,” the first significant biography of Marquette’s famous naturalist George Shiras III in decades. The event will be at 6 p.m. today on Zoom and is open to all U.P. residents free of charge.

Contact Crystal Falls Community Librarian Evelyn Gathu in advance by email egathu@uproc.lib.mi.us, or by phone 906-875-3344. They recommend participants borrow a copy of the book from a local library or purchase from a local bookseller in advance to get the most out of these events.

McCommons joined the NMU’s English department in 2001. He is a veteran journalist, specializing in ecology, environmental, and travel topics. He has written hundreds of magazine articles. In the past few years, McCommons has contributed to the History Channel, Next American City, Wildlife Conservation, Organic Gardening, Backpacker, The Oregonian, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minneapolis Star and Tribune, the Saturday Evening Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Discover and Michigan History.

He attended the Art Institute of Boston, majoring in photography, and later earned a bachelor of arts in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. After several years of newspaper work and a stint in corporate communications, he moved to upstate New York, where he was a freelance journalist from 1990 to 1997. During this period, he earned an master of arts in magazine journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and an master of science in environmental science from College of Environmental Science and Forestry-SUNY. McCommons is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

U.P. Notable Book Club will present a virtual session with Upper Peninsula author James H. McCommons on his book “Camera Hunter: George Shiras III and the Birth of Wildlife Photography.”

In 1906, Shiras (1859-1942) published a series of remarkable nighttime photographs in National Geographic. Taken with crude equipment, the black-and-white photographs featured leaping whitetail deer, a beaver gnawing on a tree, and a snowy owl perched along the shore of a lake in the U.P. The pictures, stunning in detail and composition, celebrated American wildlife at a time when many species were going extinct because of habitat loss and unrestrained hunting. As a congressman and lawyer, Shiras joined forces with his friend Theodore Roosevelt and scientists in Washington, D.C., who shaped the conservation movement during the Progressive Era. His legal and legislative efforts culminated with the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

More information about the U.P. Notable Book list, U.P. Book Review, and UPPAA can be found on www.UPNotable.com.

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