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Author and photographer Robert Dash takes nature exploration to new levels in his book On An Acre Shy of Eternity, to be published in June by Hyla Press. On May 24 he launched this exquisitely designed and artfully crafted volume in an Orcas Currents lecture in Orcas Center, followed by a reception and book-signing party.

Over the past few years, Dash has been roaming from bluff to tree and from feather to seed, on just an acre of Orcas Island forest, meadow and cliff shouldering the Salish Sea. Using his camera, a scanning electron microscope and subtle metaphor, he finds surpassing beauty at scales ranging from miles to micrometers — from moon craters to pollen grains and leaf stomata.

To view objects at the microscale, Dash took advantage of an electron microscope made available to him by Friday Harbor Laboratories, which allowed him to photograph features hundreds of times smaller than a pinhead.

Dash views the mystery of this island as one might read a book, promoting a visual, poetic and ecological literacy that he calls “locavore art and ecology” — the art, science, and discovery that beckons in our own front yards. “There’s no end to what you can find right beneath your own feet if you look with patience and the right tools,” he observes.

Robert Dash is an Orcas Island photographer, naturalist, and educator whose work invites people to take wild, contemplative “hikes” in miniature realms. His photographs have been published in National Geographic, Time, The Week, and Lensculture, and have appeared in galleries and juried shows around the country. In 2016 he presented the widely viewed TEDx Orcas Island lecture, “The Intercourse of Nature.”

This event was cosponsored by Paul and Tammy Pollard, and Robert Austin and Anji Rigzin, with the reception cosponsored by Orcas Food Co-op. As with all Orcas Currents events, admission was free, but donations are gladly accepted at the door.

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