There’s a lot that finds its way underwater at Boise’s MK Nature Center.
“A lot of cell phones,” said wildlife educator Sara Focht. “A lot of sunglasses. This last time, it was a toy lightsaber, the kind that would light up.”
Every now and again, staff will suit up in scuba gear to trek the various ponds, retrieving items that aren’t meant to be there and checking up on the wildlife that is supposed to be there.
It’s a side of the Nature Center we only see through plexiglass viewing windows. Boisean Alex Lindbloom wanted to know what life is really like in the ponds.
Lindbloom has spent the past few years in Indonesia, where he documents underwater landscapes and the beautiful fish who swim through them. Tropical oceans have their appeal, but for Lindbloom, there’s history in Boise’s chilly ponds.
“I grew up in Boise, and as part of one of my high school (zoology) classes, we got to come out (to the Nature Center) and do a class. Part of the class was you spent a lot of time walking around here, making observations and things like that,” Lindbloom said. “I’m just happy to be back in it.”
Though Lindbloom’s portfolio includes shots of everything from giant manta rays to sea turtles and venomous blue-ringed octopi, he was excited for the chance to try some new subjects: sturgeon, salmon and trout.
“(The sturgeon) are really unusual fish, and quite hard to see in the wild,” Lindbloom said.
So he donned a wetsuit on a chilly September morning, dipping one toe into the sturgeon pond to get a feel for just how chilly things were. The shallow, silty ponds posed some challenges for photography. So did the fish, which are almost completely unfamiliar with humans thanks to the protections of the Nature Center.
Still, Lindbloom found what he came for.
In the frigid alpine lake, as Lindbloom snapped photos, a mother and her young son stopped to watch him through the glass. For the photographer, it was a chance to really see what life is like on the other side of the window.