Ethical photography…

we need to make a shift.

Any tool can be used for good or bad. It’s really the ethics of the artist using it.

John Knoll

It was a beautiful winter day. The snow had stopped falling and the temperature had inched up to just past the point where it was no longer holding the landscape in its frozen clutches.

I decided to go for a drive and check out some local parks. It seemed like I was not alone with that idea and it gave me some insights.

The biggest being just how disruptive some photographers can be. Often I will park my Jeep and just sit for awhile, watching, getting a feel for the space, seeing what animals may be in the area.

If nothing appears, I might head out in search of sign: I love to photograph tracks and fresh snow is such a perfect opportunity to do so.

The internet is full of stories about staged wildlife shots: animals glued so that they remain stationary and the photographer can then get that “perfect” one in a million wildlife shot. I was surprised at the lack of consideration shown for the wildlife on this day. Drivers speeding by, others leaping out, cellphones in hand and in the process scaring the animals.

I think as photographers we need to become more respectful of the environments that we’re photographing in and give animals a little space, keep the wild in wildlife. Become more respectful too of other photographers who may be waiting patiently for wildlife to naturally enter their frame.

I almost always travel with my telephoto lens on my camera and a wide angle in my pack. If something of interest appears, I can easily grab the shot without disturbing the wildlife and if nothing appears I can switch over to the wide angle for some landscapes.

A national park recently began not publishing bear spottings because of the hoards of people that would show up and stress the animals by following them and invading their space.

Each year we hear of animals having to be euthanized because of their habituation to humans. Something to think about…

Note: The image above was shot with a telephoto from inside my vehicle.

Bear…

number 3.

blacj bear brown wildflowers trees

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

Albert Einstein

On a recent trip to the mountains we had the great pleasure of seeing this guy munching away amongst the wildflowers that infused the meadow with color. The bear’s sense of smell is incredible so although I was a good distance away and using a long lens, he knew I was there.

I love that I have the opportunity to be in the presence of these large apex predators. When steps are taken such as proper food storage while camping in their backyard, everyone is safer, bear included.

For me it’s a thrill to have wildlife appear in a setting that is already filled with beauty. I’ve been at this very place throughout all of the seasons and I’ve never failed to be rapt in awe.

Nature…it’s a beautiful thing.