Greg Lasley’s portraits of texas creatures give us a closer view of nature
By John and Gloria Tveten
Texas harbors an astonishing array of wildlife and is often called a biological crossroads because the state blends eastern flora and fauna with representatives from the west. Northern species reach the southern limits of their range in Texas, while many others venture no farther north than South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. The Piney Woods of East Texas, the grasslands of the Panhandle, the scenic Hill Country of Central Texas, the mountains and deserts of the Trans‑Pecos, the Coastal Prairie, and the remaining thorn‑scrub forest tracts along the Rio Grande all contain their own complement of wildlife, some found nowhere else in North America.
Texas also claims an ample supply of avid naturalists who study these treasures. Local birders search the fields and forests year-round for resident species and the occasional vagrants that add excitement to their quests. Countless others venture out in ever-increasing numbers in search of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, mammals, or reptiles and amphibians. Many carry cameras and document their discoveries. More and more naturalists have now become ardent photographers as well.
In our minds, one Texan best personifies the combination of expert naturalist and consummate wildlife photographer. That person is Greg Lasley. Indeed, Lasley is widely known for his photography and for his encyclopedic knowledge of birds.
In his own words, Lasley first began to photograph birds as a novice, but enthusiastic birdwatcher. His interest lay in documenting appearances of rare birds through photographs and sound recordings, a discipline sadly lacking at that time. When our paths crossed through the years, at High Island on the upper Texas coast in spring, along some clear stream in the Hill Country, or at a refuge in the Rio Grande Valley, a camera and long telephoto lens always hung from Lasley’s shoulder. They were as much a part of his persona as the ever-present binoculars. If an unprecedented bird species wandered across the Rio Grande or appeared in the Davis Mountains, Lasley was there to document it as a new state record. Lasley shared our love of watching birds, but he also approached his quarry from a scientific perspective.