So what’s a forest rat?

MeTo me a “rat” is someone who hangs out a lot in a certain place. So like, a person that plays a lot of hockey is a “rink rat” and someone that shops a lot is a “mall rat”. I like to hike and do lots of outdoor type stuff so I’m a “forest rat”. I don’t remember where I picked this terminology up. However…

Just the other day I was watching  “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel. Mike, the host, was visiting an Air Force base. His job was to clean and repair Stratotanker fuel tanks which often entailed crawling around inside the wings of the planes. The nickname for the maintenance crew was the Tank Rats!

Anywho, as I said I like to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. I also like photography so it follows that I would get into nature photography. This blog will mostly be about my hiking trips and include pics that I grab along the way. I will soon be opening a gallery/studio for my work at 74 Main Street (2nd floor) in Canandaigua, NY. I expect some of the entries will be about the trials and tribulations of getting that off the ground. I also figure I’ll offer my humble opinions on photo techniques, gear, and philosophy.

I have a photography web site ( It hasn’t been updated lately (this is probably true no matter when you are reading this), but you get the idea. 

For those still reading this drivel – a little background about me (Mark Whitney). I live with my wife (Demara) and my son (Calvin) in upstate NY near Rochester, the Finger Lakes, and Lake Ontario. I have a day job working as a computer programmer of sorts for a mid-western medical laboratory. I work from home and connect back to home office three states away via the magic of the Internet.

I graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis with degree in environmental studies and one in chemistry. I got a masters in organic chemistry from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. (By the way, ESF students are not called forest rats they are called “stumpies”) So of course with all this education in chemistry and environmental science I ended up in computers – weird.

If this was “Jeopardy” and I had to come up with tidbits for Alex to ask me about between rounds, one might be that my family built our own house. It took us almost two years. We did everything ourselves except the foundation and framing. We did plumbing, electric, roofing, drywall, HVAC, insulation, trim, decking, flooring, etc. It will never really be “done” since there is always something to add or change, but at least we are living here now and I don’t have to go to the building supply store every single day anymore. You can see it at:

Let’s see…What else might be mildly interesting. Oh yea, my other car is a Kawasaki Vulcan 800 motorcycle. The bike is a lot of fun, but living in NY, I get caught in the rain a whole lot more than I did when I lived in southern California.

I like to read books. I like a variety of stuff from Hugo and Tolstoy to biographies of Alexander Hamilton to goofy stuff by Dave Barry or Yogi Berra.

I hope you find my blog interesting and maybe even helpful sometimes. Thanks for visiting.


10 Responses to “So what’s a forest rat?”

  1. [jm.n] Says:

    That’s the way it goes sometimes (the computing thing). Often quite brilliant people academically end up in different industries to their field of interest, and contribute much to their newly adopted role, just because they are brilliant and can! Having read some of your posts, I have no doubt that’s what has happened to you and your life in computing. Cheers! :)

  2. bibomedia Says:

    Have a nice day !

  3. Patricio Murphy Says:

    I ended up here while searching form some info on color management. Wanted to say thanks for the amount of info you share, and tell you that I was amazed at the quality of your pictures!

  4. forestrat Says:

    Thanks, Pat! I always appreciate encouraging comments.

    I haven’t done a technical computer type post in a while – I guess everything is pretty quiet on that front right now. I’m sure it won’t be long before something upsets the apple cart and I’ll need a new monitor or a software upgrade or something.


  5. lookingforbeauty Says:

    My Mom used to say, “A good brain, is a good brain, is a good brain” meaning that this kind of person could apply their smarts to any kind of task if they so desired. Looks like you’re one of them!
    I enjoy reading your posts.

  6. lookingforbeauty Says:

    I went looking for the photos of Frogmeer, but they are gone! That is, they aren’t on the web page you refer to above, unless I’m missing something.

  7. forestrat Says:

    Yikes! Looks like I need to update this page. There is some out of date stuff here. Sorry about the photos of the house, K. They have been lost in cyber-space. I’ll see if I can dig them up. Guess I haven’t checked on them in a while.


  8. Cutthroat Stalker Says:


    Too interesting some of our interests that overlap. I tinker in photography (nothing like your beautiful art). I also ride a motorcycle (Vstar 1100). And my wife and I built our house (except for foundation and some exterior stucco). I was hoping to see your house pictures, but not such luck. If you are interested, here are mine: (nothing fancy on the photography, just snapshots to document the house).

    You have some stunning photos in your gallery!

    I’m still working on my skills. Here are some of my pictures. Most are utilitarian for the fishing aspect of the blog, but some are a little more “artistic”:

  9. forestrat Says:


    Yikes! Once again I am reminded that I need to update this page. Sorry the pics of the house are gone.

    I took a quick look at your photos. I’ll have to get back for a closer look when I have more time. What a beautiful place to live!


  10. knowledgetoday Says:

    I love your site. Keep it up !

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