Environmental protection and landscape photography

Discussion in 'Landscape' started by Vieri, May 9, 2019.

  1. Vieri

    Vieri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    597
    Location:
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Home Page:
    I am posting this here for lack of a better alternative, I know it's not photos but it's landscape-photography related. Jim please fell free to move it if I am in the wrong place :)

    I just published a new blog article about something I deeply care about and that I have been thinking about for a long time now. As landscape photographers, we love the environment: however, we also contribute in no small part to its destruction. In the blog article below you can find my thoughts about this conundrum and about what we could do to start helping instead:

    https://www.vieribottazzini.com/2019/05/environmental-protection-and-landscape-photography.html

    Looking forward to your thoughts, ideas and opinions on this. Best regards,

    Vieri
     
  2. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2017
    Messages:
    8,715
    Likes Received:
    6,929
    Location:
    Vancouver, Washington
    Home Page:
    Well written article Vieri. Thanks for taking the time to put those thoughts down in writing.

    I have watched some of my favorite places to shoot get so overrun with photographers I no longer wish to visit them at all. The instagram crowd is the worst for environmental impacts since the only thing they seem to care about is their portrait in front of some photographic icon. The icon itself is a background to their images of themselves and what they did to the environment is entirely secondary to their portrait.

    These types of behaviors have me actively reevaluating where, what, and when I want to go out and under what conditions I feel motivated to shoot.
     
  3. Carlo Didier

    Carlo Didier Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2017
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    170
    Location:
    Luxembourg
    Home Page:
    Fully agree with Alan (haven't read the article yet). There's a number of well known places in Scotland that I haven't been yet and I'm becoming really reluctant to go there, except way out of the (photographer-) tourist season.
     
  4. Vieri

    Vieri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    597
    Location:
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Home Page:
    Thank you very much Alan, I am glad you enjoyed the article :) I agree with you re: the instagram crowds. Some might be genuinely loving nature and just choosing to use their phones to portray it, but most are simply horrible for the impact they have vs the understanding they gain of nature.

    I totally see you point re: reevaluating destinations and time to go.

    Totally see your point Carlo. I am leading Workshops on Skye every year since 2015, and I noticed a drastic worsening in crowds starting around 2017-2018. People on Skye confirmed me that in the last two-to-three years things started getting out of hand - and, I was going in March, not July!! Luckily, I have enough locations and I know where to go to avoid the crowds even on the most famous spots, but still I decided to run my Workshop in February starting in 2020. February is dead season there, and has the added bonus to let us photograph Skye with a completely different look, sky, weather (snow is often capping the mountains) and so on. It's slightly more complicated logistically but I managed to solve all issues, and I am really looking forward to it :)

    What I mean is, there is still a solution for many of the "famous" places to enjoy them in relative peace and quiet. But for how long? That I don't know :)

    Something else that I think can help, is educating photographers about the beauty of, and the value of going to, relatively unknown places rather than all going to crowd the most famous ones - of course, I appreciate it that the famous ones are famous for a reason, they are amazing locations and we all want to get a great shot of them, but still spreading out a little more will definitely help :)

    Best regards,

    Vieri
     
  5. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2017
    Messages:
    11,973
    Likes Received:
    8,237
    Location:
    SoCal
    Home Page:
    A very interesting read Vieri. Well thought out and written.

    The situation feels hopeless at this point with our own desire to make a difference being too small and too little. But you lay out some ways we can help and make a difference.

    One suggestion to modify in the blog is where you discuss the Destruction Cycle, I would add the word Hikers next to Walkers since here in America a Walker is a Zombie. I am guessing though that a walker is someone who hikes outdoors? Maybe a walkers/hikers change?
     
  6. Vieri

    Vieri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    597
    Location:
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Home Page:
    Thank you very much Jim, I am glad you found the article interesting. Yes, the situation is not great - but I still believe that we can make a difference :)

    Thank you for your suggestion re: wording, with all that's going on in the environment we certainly don't need zombies in there as well! :D :D :D I think it might be a UK vs US English thing perhaps, will fix it immediately - thanks again!

    Best regards,

    Vieri
     
  7. ckcarr

    ckcarr Founding Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2017
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    1,426
    Location:
    Back of Beyond
    Unfortunately, this isn't just photographers.

    It's all greed.

    This town has been completely rebuilt in the last 5-10 years under the blessing of the new town council, state of Utah, and major hotel chains in order to accommodate their endless motels, and the hordes of tourists than now have to come for mountain biking, road biking, and the worst (worse than the Jeepers) the ATV riders, who show up with their Dodge diesel pickups towing a behemoth trailer with 8 ATV's stacked on board. These things didn't exist 20 years ago, so it's a new form of destruction.

    Strange as it may seem, there aren't that many remote places when 100,000 people arrive weekly, and have no where to go... (OK, maybe not quite 100,000... but it seems like it).

    There's no local shopping, no really good restaurants being built. Oh, but they are planning a giant Love's truck stop between Moab and Monticello, to enhance the "dark skies"...

    Now, every Thursday or Friday, there is a backlog of vehicles trying to get into town, and on Sunday traffic is backed up for 40 minutes with people trying to leave town. Now, they all think 500 west is a bypass, whereas it's a residential neighborhood.

    SO that's what you're up against...
     
  8. Bob

    Bob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    665
    Vieri,
    I read your article and agree 1000% to what you are asking. Just another example of things gone amok is the BLM. They are putting out a request for input on increasing the size from 20 to 96/day the people allowed to hike Coyote Buttes North. This would create a major impact to a very delicate ecosystem. I urge everyone to write to the BLM office in Kanab Utah to get them not to implement this policy.
    Bob
     
    Ben Egbert likes this.
  9. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2017
    Messages:
    11,973
    Likes Received:
    8,237
    Location:
    SoCal
    Home Page:
    Oh wow! Raising it from 20 to 96? That’s like going from one extreme to the other! I could see the limit being raised as 20 is no very many and usually when I have been there I have never seen mor then 5 or 6 others max since people straggle in, and at sunrise or sunset there is usually on 2 or 3 others there.

    So for me, maybe raise it to 30? But certainly not 96.

    I just thought... if it was raised to 96, that’s like your bus sized. I wonder if the tour busses are pushing for this? I can just imagine the horrors and the injuries of a bus load of tourists from a foreign country come in unprepared and decend on that area....
     
  10. Bob

    Bob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    665
    Jim,
    This was the proposal that was sent to me. The BLM is taking suggestions and input from the public right now. I have already sent my objections for 96/day. The Wave and that whole area is so fragile it would not survive very long with that kind of onslaught. Below is the content person to send your comments.
    Bob

    Brandon Boshell
    BLM, Vernlilion Cliffs National Monument 345 East Riverside Drive
    St. George, UT 84790
    blm az vcnm pcvc comrnents@blm.gov
     
  11. Ben Egbert

    Ben Egbert Forum Helper
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2017
    Messages:
    8,225
    Likes Received:
    5,194
    Location:
    American Fork Utah
    Home Page:
    Very well written Vieri. I agree completely. I am sure I have contributed in some way to the destruction cycle.

    I have reduced my trips to the iconic places, at least the ones with large crowds. I am hoping to do more local photography, but even local places can have lots of people, just not lots of photographers.
     
  12. Vieri

    Vieri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    597
    Location:
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Home Page:
    I know, sometimes it feels like there is not much we can do - but there always is :)

    Thank you Bob, I am glad you found the article interesting. 96/day at the wave is complete nonsense, I hope they'll not go forward with it.

    Thank you very much Ben, I am glad you found it interesting.

    About reducing trips to the iconic places, I totally agree with you. For what is worth, i.e. running Workshops as I do, I noticed this:

    1. Some Workshops get full much quicker than others; almost inevitably, these are the ones in "famous" destinations;
    2. When going to famous destinations, I try and do a 50-50 locations between famous locations, and inevitably people seems to enjoy the "less famous" location as much if not more than the famous ones;
    3. I have a 60% returning rate: people that came first to a "famous" location, very often comes again to a less famous one, and they love it.

    However, for some reason it is still much more difficult to fill "less known" locations for first comers. So, I think that we - as photographers - have some responsibility in perpetuating this habit, and should perhaps be a little more "daring" when it comes to explore new places and "less famous" ones.

    Does that make sense?

    Best regards,

    Vieri
     
    Ben Egbert likes this.
  13. Carlo Didier

    Carlo Didier Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2017
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    170
    Location:
    Luxembourg
    Home Page:
    Hey, maybe I'll come to one of your workshops! I love Skye!
    Ciao!
    Carlo
     
  14. Vieri

    Vieri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    597
    Location:
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Home Page:
    Ciao Carlo! You are welcome to join us next February, it will be a different one next year because I am going much earlier than I usually do :) Different light, possibly snow on the peaks, sun in different position when setting / rising, and even less people around than in March - in short, I can't wait! :D

    Best regards,

    Vieri
     
  15. Jim Dockery

    Jim Dockery Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,995
    Likes Received:
    2,327
    Location:
    Lake Stevens, WA
    Home Page:
    Good article which I agree with wholeheartedly. It isn't just the instagramers though (not that you said that). Some of the more egregious off trail (in the popular areas near the road where it's posted to stay on the trail otherwise the flora will all be trampled) offenders I've encountered at Mt. Rainier have been serious photographers trying to get the perfect shot of the flowers. One guy I had a heated discussion with said that he was a pro whose photos were used to promote environmental issues, so that made it OK!

    The other thing I would point out that I've felt guilty about for years is that the act of travel - driving and flying - makes a huge carbon footprint. I now try very hard to limit my driving by staying in my close to home mountains most of the time when I need my nature hit. When I do travel I make the most of it and stay for a long time (a typical trip to southern UT from my home in WA will be for 5-6 weeks) to get the most out of the gas I've guzzled. Of course these greenhouse gasses have a much greater overall impact than a few trampled flowers, or the annoying crowds at the popular spots that get in the way of our pretty pictures.
     
  16. Vieri

    Vieri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    597
    Location:
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Home Page:
    Thank you Jim, glad you found the article interesting. I totally agree about the impact of traveling: for me, that is a necessary evil and I am trying to offset my carbon footprint by being extra careful about everything else and by pledging the equivalent of my carbon footprint to organisations planting trees every year. I am also becoming partner of one of these, to make a donation for each Workshop participant to offset the carbon footprint of his travels to the Workshop's location.

    Not much perhaps, but better than nothing :) Best regards,

    Vieri
     
  17. Vieri

    Vieri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    597
    Location:
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Home Page:
    AlanLichty likes this.

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Welcome to Focal World. As a Guest you have access to view the resources here. But it is totally FREE to Register and participate in the forums. If you find FocalWorld useful, please support it be Upgrading your Account to a Premium Account located in your Profile page. It is only $15 a year and will give you added ability of uploading photos directly from your computer and also the allows you to create your own Galleries. We will be sharing the Daily Featured Photos on FaceBook, Instagram and in a Pbase Gallery to help share FocalWorld with others and to draw in new users as they view the incredible photos shared here. All photos share will include the name of the photographer who took them. If you do not want your photo to be shared in this method please let me know. But hopefully everyone will participate in helping to spread the word of FocalWorld in this manner. Thanks, Jim Fox