Science Book a Day Interviews Tom Uhlman


Special thanks to photographer, Tom Uhlman, for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives

Tom Uhlman has been a freelance photographer for more than twenty years. He enjoys photographing everything from mother bats in a Texas cave to kids and pets in backyards, as well as CEOs in creative office settings. His art is motivated by the rewards of capturing both scenes of action and the personalities of people he photographs, whether a geologist on the slopes of a volcano in Indonesia or a pitcher on the mound at a Reds’ baseball game. – From Tom’s Homepage

Tom’s Homepage:

#1 – What was the impetus for your involvement in Eruption!?

I got involved with Eruption thought the publisher. I’ve done several other SITF series books (The Bat Scientists, Emi and the Rhino Scientists and The Park Scientists). They needed a photographer to help out the the photo end of the book and thankfully the editor, Erica Zappy Wainer, thought of me.

#2 – The book has your before and after photos in there. How did you come to be there both before and after the eruptions?

I really wish I could have been near one of these volcanos during an eruption. All of the before photos of eruptions were old photos from stock photos sites. It’s amazing how few photos there are out there from back then compared to nowadays when everybody has a camera or smart phone and almost everything is extensively documented. At least Mt. Merapi was smoking a bunch, which game me a strange feeling to be hiking up the side of it looking a the smoke and thinking that it could blow at any minute! Mt St Helen’s was much calmer. The hiking trails go through all the devastation which is still there from 1980, but it looks like it would take a lot to get it started again.

#3 – How did you work with Liz Rusch on the book?

It worked out well with Liz who was able to ask a lot of questions to the scientists and help me get photos that would go well with her manuscript. It’s hard when starting one of these books and to figure out the direction it’s going to go and get photos at the same time. Especially when we were overseas and it wasn’t really feasible to go back to get photos that would be needed in the book. Liz almost had to decide while standing on the side of Mt. Merapi how the chapters were going to go.

#4 – What feedback have you gotten about the book?

We’ve gotten great reviews from some of the various reviewers, with several stared reviews and a number of mentions for big awards.

#5 – Are you working on any other books/projects you can tell us about?

Right now my wife, writer Mary Kay Carson,, are finishing up a book about Biosphere2. The large greenhouses near Tucson, Az., where a group of people lived sealed inside for almost two years back in the early 90s. Now the Uni. of Arizona has taken it over and are doing amazing earth science and atmospheric research there. Our book The Park Scientists came out in the spring and we are busy promoting it – Here’s a fun video book trailer that I produced with footage I shot along with the still photos –

My video skill were pretty rudimentary during the time we worked on Eruption!, which I regret. There was a lot of really good video scenes I missed.

[Image Credit: ]


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