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"The Symbol" is a coffee-table book about the Ibiza Wall Lizard - a threatened lizard species that's endemic to Ibiza and Formentera.
"The Symbol" is a coffee-table book about the Ibiza Wall Lizard - a threatened lizard species that's endemic to Ibiza and Formentera.
290 backers pledged $20,045 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

The Symbol has arrived!

Dear Kickstarter backers,

We have big news! After more than a year of work, our book, The Symbol: Wall Lizards of Ibiza and Formentera, has been printed, has begun to be distributed in the islands, and is now available to pre-order at a discounted rate!

To recap: The Symbol is the first ever book about the Ibiza Wall Lizard (Podarcis pityusensis) – the symbol of Ibiza and Formentera. This lizard is one of the most fascinating and beautiful reptiles in the world. Last summer, we spent five weeks in Spain, intensively photographing the lizards for this book. In the months that followed, amidst our other projects, we wrote the book’s text and designed the layout. 

The book is 128 pages long, with more than 170 full-color photos and accompanying text. It’s 8" x 8" (25 cm x 25 cm) and is written in four languages: English, Spanish, German and Italian. The books have arrived in Spain, and our distributors have been delivering them to bookstores throughout Ibiza and Formentera at the height of the tourist season!

Nate is headed to the islands next week for a “press tour” of sorts… Folks in Ibiza and Formentera are pretty excited about the book, and Nate will have a busy schedule of talks and interviews for radio, television, and newspapers. Nate, Valentin and I still haven’t seen the books in person, but our friends at Tandem Stills and Motion, the stock agency that managed the book printing process for us, says they look terrific. We can’t wait to see them for ourselves and get them into your hands!

Backers who selected the $100 or higher reward tier will be receiving a special signed copy of The Symbol in addition to the other rewards they have already received. These reward copies of The Symbol will be shipped in early August.

If you backed our project at the $75 level or less (or if you want more than one copy of the book!), you can pre-order the book at a discounted rate for a limited time. Check out the official book website here. The books are currently available for $15.99 plus $3.99 shipping and handling (on August 1, the price will increase to $19.99 plus shipping). We can accept payments via Paypal with any major credit card. If you pre-order your book now, it will be shipped as soon as the books are available in the US.

We’re also excited to announce that the photos from our 2012 expedition to the islands are available to purchase as fine art prints through Tandem Stills and Motion. Many of you already received a print as part of your reward package, but if you didn’t, or if you want more lizard- or island-themed art for your home or workplace, you can order high-quality archival prints here.

And remember that the project doesn’t end with the publication of the book! We’re still working on an interactive e-book edition, which will complement the print edition of the book, and we’ve got some other ideas in the works too. Become a fan of The Symbol by "Liking" us on Facebook, and visit the book's official website here.

Thanks again for your support, and we can’t wait to share the book with you!

All the best,

Neil, Nate, and Valentín

Book progress and more!

Hello, backers! We apologize for not being very communicative as of late. Luckily, that’s because we’ve been busy doing stuff we love – we’ve been hard at work on The Symbol, of course, and we're starting some exciting new projects as well.

Remember when we asked for your help in November? Nate and I needed your votes to win an online competition for the first-ever $25k "Stay Thirsty Grant" from Dos Equis (yep, the beer company!). Well, thanks to your votes, we won the competition and received the grant! So in January, we traveled to Uganda to explore the Rwenzori Mountains, the highest in Uganda and the third-highest in Africa. Our goal was to photograph the rapidly receding glaciers at these mountains’ summits, re-creating photographs taken on the first-ever expedition to reach the peaks in 1906 to show the effects of more than a century of climate change. It was a fantastic expedition, and we’re really excited about telling the story of the Rwenzori Mountains through magazine stories and a film later in 2013.

In the meantime, you can see a few of our favorite photos from the trip in these galleries on Facebook (don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook if you haven’t already!).

Rwenzori Mountains: Ascent to Base Camp

Rwenzori Mountains: The High Peaks

Rwenzori Mountains: Mountains of the Moon (Flora, Fauna, and Landscapes)

Queen Elizabeth National Park

But what about The Symbol? Don’t worry, we’ve been making progress on that front, too! We’ve gotten quotes from several possible printing companies for the book, and we’re narrowing in on the best company for our needs. Nate has done an amazing job on the book layout, and we’ve almost finalized the design of the whole book. We finished the book text in January, and the English text is being translated into Spanish, German, and Italian as we speak. Once we’ve got the translations back, we’ll be able to finalize the layout, send the finished layout to the printers, and – we hope – get the book on the shelves (and into your hands!) some time in May. 

Next week, Nate and I are headed to the Solomon Islands with Dr. Al Uy, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Miami, to work on a documentary film about his cool research on how new species arise! When we return in late March, we’ll be ready to take the next steps with The Symbol! 

Thank you again for all of your support. We hope you’ve enjoyed the backer rewards we’ve already sent out (postcards, prints, calendars, etc.) and we’re really looking forward to sharing the book with you! 

All the best, 

Neil, Nate, and Valentin

Final Photo Gallery - Select You Image!

Dear Backers, 

Thanks to your support, our expedition to photograph the Ibiza wall lizard was a success. During the summer of 2012, we spent four intense weeks visiting Ibiza, Formentera and about two dozen remote islands and taking tens of thousands of photographs of this amazing species. 

Our expedition is over, we’ve reviewed our photographs and we’re thrilled with the results. We feel we’ve successfully captured the amazing diversity of this species’ color variation and behaviors. We’re confident that we have all the photos we need to put together a beautiful photographic book about this species' natural history, evolution and conservation. 

You’ve given so much to help us succeed. Now it’s time for us to give back to you. If you donated $50 or more to our project, we want to thank you by giving you signed limited edition archival print of one of the project photos. Backers who donated at different tiers are entitled to different print sizes. Please check out our Kickstarter page and review the rewards for your level of donation. We've also posted them below. Once you know what we’re giving you, please check out the master photo gallery from our trip, which has highlights from the expedition here. 

$50 or more    - 8" x 12" print
$75 or more    - 11" x 14" print or a calendar + above
$100 or more  - 11" x 14" print or a calendar + above
$250 or more  - 13" x 19" print + above
$500 or more  - 20" x 30" print + above

You’ll notice that each image in the gallery has a number before its title. Once you decide which image you would like us to print, sign, and send you, please email the following information to 1) Your full name, 2) your address, 3) the image number and title that you would like, and 4) any special requests. 

Neil and I are planning to print these images soon, so please send us this information as soon as possible! The deadline for selecting your image and sending us your information is September 30th 2012. We look forward to seeing which images people select! 

Again, thank you so much for your support. You made this trip possible and we hope you enjoy browsing the images we took during the expedition that you helped fund! 

Calendars, books and other incentives will be coming out in early 2013, so please stay tuned!

Video Update #4 - our expedition to Spain is complete

Hello backers! Our expedition to photograph the Ibiza wall lizard in Spain is over. Neil and I are back in the states. We're sorting through our images and selecting the very best ones for our book. Soon, we'll finish the writing and begin the layout process. We can't wait to show you what we'll create! 

Also, we finished our last video dispatch from our expedition today. You can watch that here: 

Earlier in our expedition, we visited an island called Esparte, where we found a very dark blue, almost black population of lizards. This came as a big surprise to me, because not less than 10 meters away was the island of Espartar – home to a population of light teal-colored lizards. Lizards on these two islands are incredibly distinct. What accounts for this dramatic difference in color expression? No one knows. 

As evolutionary biologists it fascinates us that these lizard populations are so close, yet look so different. The situation on Esparte and Espartar exemplifies the mysteriously high color diversity among island populations of this species, which has some of the highest color diversity observed among all reptiles. Our understanding of how these uniquely color populations evolved to be so different is poor. Nonetheless, one of our goals on this expedition was to capture, photographically, the color diversity of these lizards among island populations. To do this, we used a technique called “Meet Your Neighbors.” 

“Meet Your Neighbors (MYN)” is a worldwide photographic initiative created by Niall Benvie and Clay Bolt. The MYN photography style is to photograph organisms on a plain white background. This approach removes the subject from its environment and allows viewers to focus on the organisms details as an individual. I encourage you to check out the MYN website. It has some absolutely stunning images and is making a big splash in the conservation photography scene. 

For our purposes, we think that this photographic approach really allows us to demonstrate the color differences of these lizards from one island to the next. On the last few days of our trip, we realized that we were missing an important image that we needed to complete our book. 

During the last month, we photographed lizards on the majority of small islands surrounding Ibiza and Formentera, but we still didn’t have a single photo of Ibiza wall lizards on the island of Ibiza! So, we spent the last day of our expedition photographing the Ibiza wall lizard on the island where it got its name. 

Our work is far from done. We still have to select and edit the best images for our book. We also have to finish writing the text. Finally, we’ll need to layout the text and images for printing. Shortly, we’ll publish a master photo gallery with many imaged from our expedition. If you were one of our backers who donated $50 or more, you’ll be able to select one of these images to be printed and signed by Neil and I. 

To wrap things up for now, we’d like to give you links to all four photo galleries and all four videos that we created during this trip. We’ve still got more to come, so stay tuned! 









Thank you again to everyone who contributed to this project. We couldn’t have done it without you!

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Update #8 - Photo Gallery 3!

Hi Everyone! Check out the third photo gallery from our expedition to photograph the Ibiza Wall Lizard:

Time is flying by here on the islands. None of us can believe that we only have one more week of our expedition to photograph the Ibiza Wall Lizard. We got back to Formentera from Ibiza on July 1st. Since then, we’ve photographed lizards on a handful of small islands. The natural reserve kindly boated us to Isla Negra Nord, Penjats, Malvin Nord and Dau Grand. We also waded out to the island of Espalmador. The lizards on each of these islands were all different colors. No matter how many uniquely colored lizards I see, its always a wonderful surprise to arrive on a small island and find a population of lizards that is totally different from any others that we’ve visited. 

In addition to documenting some of the color diversity among islands, we made a serious attempt to photograph some of the hard-to-capture behaviors of these lizards. We still haven’t gotten all the images we want, but we’re happy with a lot the images we’ve captured so far. 

We hope you enjoy the images! In addition to taking pictures, we’ve been working hard to create another video updated. That should be done in another day or two. So stay tuned!

Just in case you're interested in checking out the first and second galleries again, here are the links:

Gallery 1:

Gallery 2:

Thank you all again for your support!