Friday Flora: Picnic Amongst the Pines

When he wasn’t in the field making bird observations in pursuit of his ornithological hobby, Thomas Sadler Roberts shared his love of nature with his family members. Here Roberts is pictured having lunch with Mrs. Roberts and their three children (Catherine, Tom, and Carroll) amongst the pine trees (Pinus) on a family vacation to Itasca State Park in 1902.

Roberts family at lunch, bluff at south end, east arm Lake Itasca, August 1902

If you have been following the Exploring blog you will note that Roberts is almost always behind the camera rather than a subject being captured by it. Who then is taking this family portrait? The culprit is looking directly at the camera (Roberts). Notice the thick wire that enters the picture from the lower left corner and extends behind daughter Catherine and up to Roberts’s right hand (concealed by the sandwich he is holding in his left hand). [Click on the image for a larger version.] The camera was likely outfitted with a wire so that the photographer could manipulate the shutter “remotely.”

(From the glass plate negatives in the Bell Museum of Natural History collection)