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Author Topic: Environmental protection and landscape photography  (Read 951 times)

Vieri Bottazzini

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Environmental protection and landscape photography
« on: May 09, 2019, 09:36:01 am »

Ladies and gentlemen, 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
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 09:44:33 am by Vieri Bottazzini »
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Vieri Bottazzini
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2019, 09:31:37 am »

Interesting thoughts and proposals that I fully subscribe to. I am just a hobbyist/enthusiast landscape photographer from Portugal. I have seen several areas of my country being spoiled by what you describe.

It is a challenge to achieve, and then maintain, a sustainable level of visitors/intruders, so to speak. In recent years, Portugal has seen an increasing level of tourists, particularly from cruise boats. This brings much needed income to the country; thankfully, the majority of tourists stick around the most famous locations, and do not venture into the more isolated and pristine regions of the country. I have visited some of them, and try to keep a certain level of "secrecy".

Of course when you have famous TV productions being shot in some locations (Iceland, Morocco, etc), it does not help. As for photographers, with workshops being an important part of their income source, finding new locations to exploit and diversify the offer is vital. Such new locations work for a few years, before being "invaded" as you describe.

A typical example in Portugal are the islands of the Azores.

Lightsmith

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2019, 02:22:42 pm »

I see the advent of smartphone cameras as a critical factor. When a newspaper or magazine publishes a picture of an area with wildflowers at peak bloom there will be literally thousands of families who will visit the following weekend and trample all the flowers while taking selfies to put on their Facebook page.

There has been a tremendous increase in quantity of images and an accompanying decrease in quality. Too many individuals get their multi thousand dollar camera and lens and start taking snapshots and posting them and expect praise for their "work".

I dislike having government agencies restrict access to areas but I also appreciate how necessary it has become to protect them from people and from their pets. Environmental consciousness is at a very low point in the United States in particular where the focus is on status and private ownership of the land.
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LesPalenik

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2019, 11:12:04 pm »

Thoughtful article, Vieri. It should be translated also to Chinese.

Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2019, 02:52:42 am »

Thank you very much gentlemen, glad you found the article interesting :)

Interesting thoughts and proposals that I fully subscribe to. I am just a hobbyist/enthusiast landscape photographer from Portugal. I have seen several areas of my country being spoiled by what you describe.

It is a challenge to achieve, and then maintain, a sustainable level of visitors/intruders, so to speak. In recent years, Portugal has seen an increasing level of tourists, particularly from cruise boats. This brings much needed income to the country; thankfully, the majority of tourists stick around the most famous locations, and do not venture into the more isolated and pristine regions of the country. I have visited some of them, and try to keep a certain level of "secrecy".

Of course when you have famous TV productions being shot in some locations (Iceland, Morocco, etc), it does not help. As for photographers, with workshops being an important part of their income source, finding new locations to exploit and diversify the offer is vital. Such new locations work for a few years, before being "invaded" as you describe.

A typical example in Portugal are the islands of the Azores.

Thank you for sharing some information about Portugal, Paulo. To me, tourism is a necessary evil these days, that we have to factor in both when we go somewhere to do our photography, and when we think about environmental protection. As you said, tourism brings money. However, tourists could be educated about the areas they are about to visit, the fragilities of the environment (if any), about not littering, not camping and lighting fires where they shouldn't, and so on.

You have a point about the "famous" locations: on the one hand, it is probably better for the environment, in the long run, if we sort of "set aside" some iconic places for everyone to go to, organise them, create parking lots, toilets, restaurants, put rangers / guards to control the masses of tourists and so on., so that most people will go there, do little damage and leave the rest of the country alone. On the other hand, though, if we want to create an environmental conscience we need to bring people in the middle of "real" nature: this could be done via organised groups / workshops, where the leaders take care of sensitising the groups and so on. Perhaps this could be a good "middle way" between the need for tourism, people's desire to travel, and the need to protect the nature and environment.

I see the advent of smartphone cameras as a critical factor. When a newspaper or magazine publishes a picture of an area with wildflowers at peak bloom there will be literally thousands of families who will visit the following weekend and trample all the flowers while taking selfies to put on their Facebook page.

There has been a tremendous increase in quantity of images and an accompanying decrease in quality. Too many individuals get their multi thousand dollar camera and lens and start taking snapshots and posting them and expect praise for their "work".

I dislike having government agencies restrict access to areas but I also appreciate how necessary it has become to protect them from people and from their pets. Environmental consciousness is at a very low point in the United States in particular where the focus is on status and private ownership of the land.

You definitely have a point re: smartphones, to me it's more a combination of smartphones + social media. The killer combo is the extreme ease of taking and sharing picture with smartphones compared to a regular camera, together with this absurd new thing that everyone should: 1. Share everything they do (why should I care about what someone's feet look like??), 2. Go take photos and especially selfies of themselves in all the "must go" places they find somewhere online to tick each one off their list.

Again, a bit of environmental education wouldn't hurt here :)

Thoughtful article, Vieri. It should be translated also to Chinese.


:D I am not even go there :D

Best regards,

Vieri
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Vieri Bottazzini
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Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2019, 01:40:01 pm »

Not exactly environment-related, but kinda proves the point in my article anyway: https://www.dpreview.com/news/9985444771/easter-island-tourists-put-iconic-statues-at-risk-to-get-nose-picking-selfies

Best regards,

Vieri
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32BT

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2019, 11:26:10 am »

Didn't believe this was real, but apparently it is, mount Everest:
https://nos.nl/data/image/2019/05/24/552201/2048x1152.jpg

They recently cleaned up an unimaginable 16.5 tons of garbage there too.

Reference (in dutch):
https://nos.nl/artikel/2286093-zeven-doden-op-volle-mount-everest-ik-kan-hier-niet-naar-kijken.html
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sdwilsonsct

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2019, 12:06:01 pm »

Good article, Vieri. One thing I would add (apologies if it's there and I missed it): respect trails, especially in popular places. Leaving them results in dead vegetation, dirt, and erosion. Work a little harder to find a shot from the designated durable surface. This applies to both walkers and drivers!

Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2019, 11:15:01 am »

Didn't believe this was real, but apparently it is, mount Everest:
https://nos.nl/data/image/2019/05/24/552201/2048x1152.jpg

They recently cleaned up an unimaginable 16.5 tons of garbage there too.

Reference (in dutch):
https://nos.nl/artikel/2286093-zeven-doden-op-volle-mount-everest-ik-kan-hier-niet-naar-kijken.html

Garbage on Mt. E is a real problem. Good to hear that they managed to take some away! :)

Good article, Vieri. One thing I would add (apologies if it's there and I missed it): respect trails, especially in popular places. Leaving them results in dead vegetation, dirt, and erosion. Work a little harder to find a shot from the designated durable surface. This applies to both walkers and drivers!

Thank you very much Scott, glad you found it interesting :) Indeed, respecting trails is fundamental, and is probably one of the things that we - as photographers at large - are most often guilty of... I see that happen all the time.

Best regards,

Vieri
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Mark Nadler

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2019, 12:29:56 pm »

Vieri, well stated article.  I agree with the roadmap the article lays out that will
mitigate the problems you emphasize.

You wonder how the cycle of environmental degradation can be broken.  It's pretty
simple for me: do not share the physical location of your photographic sites.  Let photographers
earn their locations through hard, exploratory, work -- I know this sounds terrible.

I like to flyfish.  I live in a relatively dense urban environment.  Yet I have discovered local
streams and rivers that contain decent populations of fish.  I never share the location
of these streams.  If I did their fish population would be dramatically reduced.

mark



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Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2019, 02:49:45 am »

Vieri, well stated article.  I agree with the roadmap the article lays out that will
mitigate the problems you emphasize.

You wonder how the cycle of environmental degradation can be broken.  It's pretty
simple for me: do not share the physical location of your photographic sites.  Let photographers
earn their locations through hard, exploratory, work -- I know this sounds terrible.

I like to flyfish.  I live in a relatively dense urban environment.  Yet I have discovered local
streams and rivers that contain decent populations of fish.  I never share the location
of these streams.  If I did their fish population would be dramatically reduced.

mark

Hello Mark,

thank you for your reply, glad you found the article interesting. Well, your proposed solution - something I also mentioned in my article - is likely to help, but probably won't be enough in times of smartphones, google maps, and the like :) Still it would be a start, if - at least for the more remote and not-already-famous-and-crowded locations - we didn't at least share GPS coordinates, which definitely makes it a bit too easy to get there.

Thanks again! Best regards,

Vieri
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2019, 10:04:04 am »

Good article, Vieri. One thing I would add (apologies if it's there and I missed it): respect trails, especially in popular places. Leaving them results in dead vegetation, dirt, and erosion. Work a little harder to find a shot from the designated durable surface. This applies to both walkers and drivers!

Excellent point no doubt. When I climbed Pico volcano in the Azores in 2016, our guide was very strict regarding keeping to the trail. There were many people going outside of the trails, trampling vegetation and eroding unique lava formations.

Our guide was even better, as he used only wood walking sticks, not metal tipped ones; again, the metal erodes the rock formations.

jim t

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Re: Environmental protection and landscape photography
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2019, 12:30:11 pm »

So I ran across this headline today:  "Instagram influencer criticized for driving car in protected area of Iceland"

One of his excuses was that there were no signs saying not to go off road. No common sense, no respect.
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