About Robert C. Berdan

August 1, 2010

The Boring stuff.


I am married to a beautiful woman, Donna an accountant and enthusiastic part time musician who I met in Grad School in Houston, Texas more then 26 years ago. I have one son Brandon who Robert Berdan photo by Peter Dettling lives for playing computer games. I have a wacky sense of humor and try not to take life too seriously, but I am also competitive and a double AA personality - I set my watch 20 minutes fast. I live and play in and around Calgary, Alberta. I am proud to be Canadian and I specialize in Science, Nature, and Wildlife photography. One of my goals is to visit and photograph as much of Canada as I can.

I moved around a lot as a kid, spending some time in Toronto. When I was in grade 8 my family moved north to cottage country between Midland and Penetanguishene, Ontario. I loved going to school there and being surrounded by forests and water.

My main interests are science, nature and photography. While growing up I also played a lot of sports (badminton, track and field, basketball). As a teenager, I had a microscope and laboratory in my garage. One of the reasons I began to take pictures was to photograph microorganisms through my microscope so I could share this invisible world with others.

One summer at the age of 16, I was lucky to get a job as a news photographer for the local town newspaper, The Midland Free press. Many years later I received my Ph.D. in Cell Biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and subsequently did my Postdoctoral training at the University of Calgary. I spent 5 years at the University of Alberta as a Heritage Research Scholar where after working 16-18 hour days for the past 15 years I finally decided to jump ship and spend more time with my family, get outside again and focus on education, multimedia and photography.

I loved research and my area of specialty was cell- to-cell communication and nerve regeneration (you can read more here if you are inclined). As computer technology developed rapidly in the late 1980's I became more interested in multimedia technology. After my son was born, I left research and joined the Calgary Science Centre for 5 years as manager of Educational Programming. I developed numerous exhibits and lead a team in developing the first interactive computer exhibition in Canada called "Cybersense". While I was there I also developed the first Internet training courses in Calgary called "Surf the Net" and promoted computer technology in education.


Article about my Photography Published in PhotoED - May 1, 2013 PDF

Isolated nerve cell Scanning electron micrography by Robert Berdan

Isloated Brain Cell from a Snail that was used for research into nerve regeneration and cell-to-cell communication.

In 1996 I started my own business, Science & Art Multimedia to focus on developing web sites, photography and teaching. I developed and taught the first courses on HTML, Javascript, PHP, Flash, Dreamweaver and Photoshop at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. I continute to teach on a contract basis for various colleges and I teach privately out of my studio in Calgary. I am also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Calgary.

White Pine section viewed through light microscope with polarizing filters and quarter wave plate by Robert Berdan ©

I love photography because it allows me to share discovery's and natures beauty with others whether its staring at views through a microscope, telescope or a telephoto lens. I believe life is a gift and photography helps me realize how special our short journey is. I believe if you met me you would be hard pressed to find someone more enthusiastic and passionate about life, science and photography. My hope is that through my photography I can bring about a better appreciation for nature and wild places and in so doing encourage all of us to do more to protect our ancient forests, coastal waterways and natural areas for future generations.

Snail Embryos photographed in a light microscope using Interference optics by Robert Berdan My photographs have been published in books, magazines and I have won several international photography contests. Magazine and web credits include: National Geographic, Canadian Geographic, PhotoLife, Outdoor Photography, Impact magazine, Alberta Views, Alberta Heritage Foundation, Nikon and Zeiss Calendars. I have had two photography exhibits of my Science Photographs. Recently I have become interested in making HD videos about nature and science photography and plan to make short nature films in the future.

I am grateful to the following photographers for advice and inspiration: Budd Watson, Keith Logan, and Dr. Wayne Lynch. Halle Flygare, Peter Dettling, Jack Leung, Frank Wood and Dave Lilly are good friends that share my passion for nature photography and the outdoors and we have traveled together on numerous excursions. I am also very grateful to my father who helped me purchase my first camera and then also became interested in photography. I try to get together with my father at least once a year to travel and take photographs.

Photo contest winners with prints

October 21, 2006 - Calgary Parks and Wilderness Photo Contest - Science & Art workshop participants take 8 out of 14 photography awards. From Left to Right: Robert Berdan, Peter Dettling, Steven Fagan, Simone Tomasi, Jim Catley - absent Michael Wieser.

October 21, 2007 Robert wins grand prize and 2nd place in people in nature. Brandon Berdan won 2nd prize in the Under 15 category. Simone Tomasi and Mike Wieser also won first prize again in their categories.

Teachers Do Make a Difference in one's life and I would like to acknowledge several teachers that shaped my life and career. 1) Bob Armstrong at Bayview School in Midland Ontario - he taught me that hard work and preparation could make anyone better and more successful. 2) Mate Lichtenberg who taught me how to become a champion and that there is no shame in being second. Drs. Stan Caveney and Richard Shivers who helped forge my career in science. Dr. Carl Robinow the most enthusiastic Mirobiologist I ever met. Dr. Norton Gilula who taught me that almost anything was possible if you wanted it bad enough. Dr. Andrew Bulloch for introducing me to the exciting field of invertebrate nerve regeneration research.

Donna, Brandon, Robert and Karl Berdan

Left Donna Berdan Right: Brandon Berdan, Robert Berdan and Karl Berdan - three generations

Links to Additional Articles about Dr. Robert Berdan's Photography: